Summary: How do we live in this world when people are so afraid of dying? Fearful of dying? What are we all in this together for?
5.24.20 2 Corinthians 4:13–18
13 Since we have that same spirit of faith, which corresponds to what is written: “I believed; therefore, I have spoken,” we also believe, and therefore we speak. 14 For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and bring us (together with you) into his presence. 15 In fact, all this is for your benefit, so that as grace increases, it will overflow to the glory of God, as more and more people give thanks. 16 Therefore we are not discouraged. But even if our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 Yes, our momentary, light trouble produces for us an eternal weight of glory that is far beyond any comparison. 18 We are not focusing on what is seen, but on what is not seen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are not seen are eternal.
I just went to the eye doctor this past week. “Which one do you like better? A or B? This one . . . or this one.” So it went for the next five minutes in an effort to try and figure out what prescription I would need for my next set of glasses. He was always giving me something to look at and focus on.
So the LORD gives us something to look at and focus on, but it’s invisible. Imagine the eye doctor doing that. “Ok, I want you to look at this invisible chart. A or B? Recite the first row of letters that you can see.” You’d call him crazy and tell him you’re going somewhere else. But that is exactly what God does. He doesn’t show you something IMAGINARY that doesn’t exist. He tells you to look at someplace you can’t see: a place with angels and saints and into the presence of God Himself, with beautiful streets and perfect beauty: no more tears: no more pain: a mansion in heaven that never perishes, spoils, or fades: through the eyes of faith. With a picturesque description He wants us to focus on being with Jesus in heaven, and stay focused. If we start getting distracted with the here and the now, we easily lose focus.
Focus on the Invisible Hope
It is focused on the future
How do we get there? We get there through faith in the death of Christ for the sins of the world. We get there through the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection is the means to that end. Jesus promised, “Because I live, you also will live.” With this vision we have a GOAL in life. We want to be in heaven with Jesus. We want others to be in heaven with us too. We know where we are going. We are focused on the FUTURE.
That doesn’t mean we don’t think about the past. Without the past, we have no future. Jesus died for our sins in the past. So now we don’t have to live with constant regret and sorrow over our past sins. God says that in the death of Jesus He has forgotten those sins, so we can too! He rose from the dead in the past. Without that, we would have no future.
We are grounded in the past, but we are not living in the past. Nor are we only living in the present. The present is important. We are to make the most of our time of grace here. But we know that life is temporary. What a contrast to someone who is constantly living from one thrill to the next, trying to get as much out of this life as possible, as if this was all we had. What a contrast to someone who is constantly depressed about how sad their life is here on earth. The resurrection changes all this. It’s easy to lose sight of this and forget about how temporary this life is.
It is a hope we are to speak about
Paul says, Since we have that same spirit of faith, which corresponds to what is written: “I believed; therefore, I have spoken,” we also believe, and therefore we speak. Paul quoted Psalm 116. The Psalmist wrote about having been through some turmoil in life or difficulty. He thought he was going to die and he said, “I am greatly afflicted.” But then, he spoke with confidence in the salvation of the Lord. He would walk before the LORD in the land of the living. The promise of eternal life gave him hope. He spoke up and made vows to the LORD and made sacrifices to the LORD. His promise of life enabled him to live and to speak and praise the LORD, no matter what the circumstances. And that is what Paul says faith in the future does for us too. I believe, therefore, I have spoken.