|Vol. 13 No. 9 September 2011||
Mark N. Posey
A rich Texan was asked before he died, “Do you have a last request?” He said, “Yes, when I die, bury me in my gold Mercedes!” So, upon his death, they put him in his gold Mercedes and lowered him into a big hole. A certain man who came to the burial said, “Now that’s real living!” It’s amazing the ideas people have in regard to what constitutes good living. What matters most is God’s concept of good living. Therefore, what is good living?
Good living involves commitment to Christ (2 Tim. 1:12). You may have a good job, nice family, lovely home and good health, but if you are not committed to Christ, you are just existing (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:4; Galatians 3:27).
Good living involves a vital connection with the church (Acts 2:41-47). Abounding in the work of the Lord is more than having ones name on the role! We must be connected with the local congregation in faithfulness, service, fellowship and worship (1 Corinthians 12:12ff).
Good living involves a separation from the world (1 John 2:15-17). You cannot commit yourself to Christ while living a worldly life and call it good living. We must live in the world without the world living in us (Romans 12:1-2). It is good living when you can say, “I am through with the old life, and I am now living for Jesus!” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 2:20; James 4:7-8).
Good living involves walking with God (Ephesians 4:1). Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:21-24). Are you going God’s way (1 Thessalonians 1:9)? You cannot walk with God unless you’re going His way (Isaiah 55:6-9). God’s way leads in the “path of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3). We cannot walk with God and at the same time run with the devil (1 Peter 5:7-8; Philippians 1:27).
Good living involves fellowship with God (1 John 1:7).Our English word, “fellowship” is the translation of the Greek word, “koinonia.” A close study of the usage of this word shows that action is always included in its meaning. Fellowship is not just being together, it is doing together (James 1:22)!
Good living involves serving God (Matthew 4:10).Unspeakable joy comes from being a “good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). There was a time when Satan had us in his power; he was taking us to hell. However, Jesus went to Calvary and bought us for his own; He set us free from condemnation. Therefore, we should fall to our knees and cry out, “Master, I will serve you all my days!” Now that’s real living!
Good living involves cooperation with God in a worldwide task (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). We are not accountable for the lost, but we are responsible to them – responsible to share with them the good news of salvation in Jesus. Our desire should be like Paul’s desire (Romans 10:1). God’s work is the biggest and most important work in the world.
Paul knew the meaning of “good living.” It meant to him Christ and gain. He knew that death was not a defeat to the Christian. It is merely a graduation to glory, a net gain for the child of God.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “I have so much I have to do today, or maybe, “I have to do this and I haveto do that, too”? Yet, there is only one thing I have to do in life. Solomon wrote, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Previously in the book, Solomon had conducted an intensive experiment of man’s purpose in life. He considered things that cannot satisfy, such as:
In the end, Solomon found that the only thing we really have to do is to obey God. Serving Him ought to be the most important goal of our lives, because we are here for that very purpose. My ultimate task and your ultimate task is to live and die for Him. Consider what Moses said to Israel in Deuteronomy 10:12-13: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statues which I command you today for your good?” Later he would say, “For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life” (Deuteronomy 32:46-47). In the New Testament, Peter declared the ultimate aim of Christian ministry, “that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11). So, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Yes, this is literally “man’s all”!
Solomon went on to say, “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). He added another reason to obey and serve God. Why? We must be mindful of the fact that one day we must stand before God to answer for what we have done (2 Corinthians 5:10). Is it possible to keep things that we have done secret from God? No, we cannot hide anything from the One who knows and sees all (Hebrews 4:12-13; Proverbs 15:3)! God will judge even the secret parts of our lives by the Gospel (Romans 2:16). “Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord, and their works in the dark” (Isaiah 29:15a). It is foolish to ask ourselves, “Who is going to find out?” or to think, “No one knows what I have done” (cf. Isaiah 29:15b). Do you have secrets? Even if all other human beings are clueless, God knows all you have done! If they are not forgiven on God’s terms, then they will be made open at the judgment on God’s terms.
Obeying the Gospel is what you and I must do before it is eternally too late. That’s what we have to do, above everything and anything else. How do we do that? We must believe in Christ (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess His holy name (Romans 10:10) and reenact His death, burial and resurrection by being immersed (baptized) into His death and resurrected to life (Romans 6:3-6). Then as a child of God, we have to continue to be obedient to the commands of the Gospel (Hebrews 5:9; Titus 3:8). “And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Now as you write your “to do list” today, remember what you have to do.