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by Richard Nichols

Published in
The Christian Informer
November  2004

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We get so wrapped up in time, maybe week to week trying to make it from paycheck to paycheck, and payment to payment each month.  We might look forward in anticipation of a vacation or an anniversary celebration, but seldom do we raise our heads to contemplate eternity,  but we really need to because our passage trough time is toward eternity.
Eternity is not another way of saying endless time.  It is timelessness–existence without time.  That which is eternal is of “infinite duration: limitless: perpetual: everlasting... without beginning; without end” (New International Dictionary, Merriam–Webster and others).  The words “In the beginning God created...” is the announcement of Genesis1:1 that God is eternal.  When “the beginning” happened God already existed.

A fellow said, “I cannot comprehend eternity, therefore I do not accept it.  We know that no thing, and no one, is ‘without beginning, without end’.”  That sounds really intellectual, doesn’t it?  It sounds good until you think about it, and then it becomes very foolish.  Question: Can you comprehend outer space?  How far into outer space can you go – how many multiplied millions of miles can you travel through it?  Is outer space endless, infinite?  If not, what is at its outer limit?  And, what is on the other side of that “outer limit”?  Now, can you comprehend that?  There are many things, like outer space, we cannot comprehend, but they only reveal the limits of our own comprehension.  Our not being able to grasp it does not deny the reality of a thing.
Jesus, the Son of God, taught that man’s destiny is eternal.  After depicting the conduct of those He called blessed, and of those He called cursed, He said, “And these shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).

The journey to eternal punishment is one which a man can make on his own merits, “for the wages of sin is death.”  But the journey to life everlasting is a journey of grace, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  The grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men (Titus 2:11), and we enter that grace by faith (Romans 5:1,2), but the choice is ours.
Life on earth may rightly be viewed as simply “a journey through time to eternity”, and the course we travel will determine where we find ourselves in eternity when we reach that other side.  The book we call the Bible is the revelation of the mind of God to man.  God in the Scriptures tells what man must do to be saved, how man must live to be successful, how man’s journey must be arranged to see him safely to eternity.

The word of God convinces men of sin, by showing how they should live in contrast with how they do live (Romans 2:3).  The word of God convinces men of righteousness, by revealing the righteousness of God compared to the sinfulness of men (Romans 1:16-32).  The word of God convinces men of judgment, informing them of the day “of the righteous judgement of God, who will render to every man according to his works” (Romans 2:5,6).
Whether a man enters eternally into “the kingdom prepared for him”, or departs eternally into the fire which is “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25), will correspond directly with his response to the instruction of God in the Scriptures, and his entering by faith into God’s favor.

Day to day seems long, and certain painful portions of it perhaps seem never-ending, but time still has no real comparison to the endlessness of eternity, and the pain we may encounter here fades to nothingness in comparison with the glory in store.  You recall, after recounting some of his personal distresses, persecutions and problems, the apostle Paul wrote, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).  Remember that momentary light affliction is working for us an “eternal weight of glory.”
James wrote, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).  Our lives are a little while, but this little while is that which we have to determine our eternity.  Is our thinking always focused with a view of eternity?  Are all our choices determined with eternity in mind?  God help us be prepared!