Temporal or Eternal


            It is a worn out cliché—but we should live everyday as if it were our last.  Obviously, this is not easy to do.  So, few of us do it.  The trappings of life seem too easy to fall into.  The temporal comes—at first it is a welcome relief from the pressure of living in the eternal.  We just need to catch our breath, we tell ourselves.  If only for a moment we’ll enjoy a well-deserved break.  Next, we start to rely on the breaks.  We live from break to break only relaxing when we live in the temporal.  Slowly, but surely, we are only comfortable with life in the temporal—the eternal once again becomes foreign to us even though we believe it is home.  Eventually our entire life becomes temporal, lived for the moment, and we fail to realize that we are not living in the eternal.  Because we believe we are part of God’s chosen, we do not believe we can live outside His will.  Our lives, however, are totally outside His will.  Then the deception is complete.  The trap is shut and we are living a lie thinking we are anointed.  The lack of reality is only heightened by the eternal principal that God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike.  Living in the temporal we mistake blessing for approval, forgetting that judgment begins with the house of God (1 Peter 4:17) and those whom the Lord loves he disciplines.  (Hebrews 12:6.)  We mistake it because the Lord disciplines those He loves and He punishes everyone he accepts as a son.  (Hebrews 12:6.)  We must live life understanding the ways of the Lord.  We must hear his voice rather than try to live our lives according to signs along the way.  Signs along the way may have worked for a chosen few—but these were those who were walking so closely to God that they understood how to read the signs.  In a few other cases these are people who are so far from God that he can only minister to them through the signs.  It is not His way.  His way is to whisper in our ear—this way, turn to the right.  (Isaiah 30:21.)


            How do we get out of the trap?  As is the case in all of life’s questions or problems, the answer is found in the scriptures.  First and foremost, Jesus shows us the way.  He did not judge the value of His life against any of the standards the modern Church has established as her yard stick.  He died in the prime of His life.  He had no last will and testament, but then He did not need a last will and testament because He died a pauper.  In spite of what Dan Brown and others would like us to believe, His bloodline was not passed on.  He did not own anything that is ever accounted to us in the scriptures.  In fact, when He needed money to pay taxes it has to be raised immediately from outside sources.  Jesus needed money to pay the taxes that were due.  He did not shrink from the duty; but they did not turn to Judas and say “Go to the coffers for the cash.”   Jesus turned to Peter and told him to “Go to the sea, and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find money for the tax.  Take and give it to them for you and Me.”  (Matthew 17:24-27.)  He had no home.  (Matthew 8:20.)  at His greatest moment He arrived on a borrowed donkey—no private jet for Jesus.  (Matthew 21:6-8.)  He did not even have a way to get into town other than on His own two feet.  After He died He left nothing behind—except—eleven men equally sold out to the eternal with no further thought concerning the value of the temporal.  It had lost all hold on them; which is fortunate for them because they offered nothing of value to the temporal world.  “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you:  In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!”  (Acts 3:6-10.)  Uneducated, unemployed, unwanted by the religious leaders of their day, these followers of Jesus managed to turn the known world upside down during their own life times because they grasped hold of the eternal world and forsook the temporal world.  They did not have a mailing list, a television ministry, or a radio ministry.  This testimony should inspire us today.  It is not what we have to our name.  It is not the degrees we have behind our name.  It is not the genealogy of our name.  It is His name and what we do with it that matters.  And that is all.


            Were the eleven to arrive at our doorstep fresh from the first century, they would not be permitted to speak in our Churches, or appear on our television programs.  They would not be permitted to offer any help when it came to answering theological questions, because they were untrained and uneducated—both nearly crimes in modern America.  (Acts 4:13.)  That is okay, because I believe they would quickly lose interest in the Gospel According to America, shake the dust from their feet, and move on to the outer reaches of the earth for the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  For Jesus’ Gospel is a gospel that improves man’s eternal life rather than increasing the profitability of man’s temporal life.  In fact, the Gospel as presented in the scriptures almost always decreased man’s profitability in the temporal world.  And when it did not it was usually detrimental to the eternal well-being of the person affected.  Solomon may be the best example of this.  He was raised in a godly home by one of the most righteous rulers in all of history. Yet, he found himself separated from God in his later years because he sold out to the temporal realm.  (See Ecclesiastes.)  God does not and cannot dwell in the temporal realm.  He is an eternal being who only knows the eternal realm.  He does not believe in the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As much as it hurts as an American to look at this truth we must.  For once we have faced this truth we will truly be prepared to present the true Gospel of Jesus the Christ to the entire world—not just our little corner of it.


            In the temporal world there is no life, because God is not there in all His glory.  God’s glory is so great that when it enters the temporal realm it cannot be fully viewed by man.  (Exodus 33:18.)  God’s life is eternal.  “I have therefore been crucified with Christ.  It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me….”  (Galatians 2:20.)  “If we have been crucified with Christ then we have been buried with Christ.”   (Romans 6:3-5.)  The moment we accept Jesus into our lives we must change.  There is no way for Jesus to be in us and for us not to change, because when He enters us we immediately go from being temporal beings to being eternal beings.  Our spirits are eternal from the moment they are created by God, however, the dedication of our life is temporal until the split second that we meet and accept Jesus the Christ.  Every person who encountered Jesus and the Apostles either rejected the eternal life they were confronted with or accepted the eternal life and were immediately changed.  Of course, it was different in those days.  Acceptance of the cult of Jesus meant immediate danger to your life.  You immediately gave up the temporal things that surrounded you because they were no longer available.  There were no superstars of the Gospel.  Of course, they did not live in a superstar society like modern America.  There was only glory for Jesus; everyone else was subservient to Him.  Christians in the first century realized that they deserved only death.  God has given them a reprieve only for the sake of spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  There was only one ministry—die to your flesh daily, live for Jesus every minute.


            In the temporal world there is no liberty.  We are called upon to die to our flesh and live to our spirit.  In the temporal world there is only death.  The true life lived in the spirit is a life dead to everything this world has to offer.  We sing about it on Sunday, but do we really believe it the rest of the time?  I do not think we really do.  Why?  Because a life lived in such a manner is a life lived without concern for the things of this earth.  Treasure is made only to be stored in heaven; any earthly treasure is a distraction to us as men and women of God.  It is human nature to place our hearts with the things we treasure.  God knows that, after all, He made us.  AFor where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  (Matthew 6.21.)  That is why He commands us to store our treasures in heaven, give away all that we have, for where our treasure is, there is our heart also.  He does not command us to place our earthly treasures in the proper section of our heart.  He commands us to turn our back on our earthly treasures.  There are no blind trusts with God when it comes to our earthly treasuresBtheir very existence will destroy us because eventually they will pull us from the eternal world back into the temporal world like Solomon.


Only in the temporal world there is pursuit of happiness.  In fact, in the true gospel of Jesus the Christ there is no pursuit of happiness.  This gem is from the French Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment.  It is a far cry from anything relating to the Gospel.  The Gospel is clearly about one thing the life that I now live, I live in Jesus.  Old things have passed away.  (II Corinthians 5.17.)  There is no pursuit of happiness that is guaranteed to the Christian.  In fact, it is against the very nature of the gospel as lived and preached by Jesus and the other great saints of the Church.  It is only a part of the gospel of man, the lord of the temporal world.  The deception for us comes from the belief that America is the new Israel, God’s chosen nation.  If that is true, and we are founded by Christian men, then we do not question that the pursuit of happiness is godly.  That is our mistake because pursuit of happiness is not inherently godly.


In my work as an attorney working predominately in the area of international human rights I often run across American Christians who insist that the problem with America is that we are not being true to our roots.  If we could only go back to the Declaration of Independence and live the life our Christian forefathers intended.  This is very troublesome to me.  First, many of our founding fathers were not Christians.  Society, in Western Europe, however, was heavily influenced by the Church and therefore even their pagan beliefs often were based in a Christian understanding of the world around them.  Thomas Jefferson was certainly not a Christian.  Yet he said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”


It also troubles me because it shows a clear lack of understanding of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  Jesus is not and will never be an American.  He is a citizen of the eternal world.  His allegiance does not and never will lie with rulers of the temporal world.  He is the savior of the eastern and western man and woman.


So from the beginning we must face the fact that our religion and our nationality are separate completely.  I know that you are saying to yourself, how stupid, of course we knew that already.  There is, however, a big difference between saying that we already know something and living as if the thing we already know is true.  The key to Christianity is always how it affects our lives.  Thinking is not as important as living.  We act upon what we believe.  We do the things that are important to us, regardless of what we say.  The quickest most efficient way to analyze a man’s beliefs is to look at what consumes his time.  There is only one thing in this whole world that we really control and that is our time.  We sell it in small blocks and refer to it as a career.  We buy back even smaller blocks and call it a vacation.  We turn the money we earn at our jobs into time consumers through the objects we purchase.  We purchase items to take up more of our time.  These are the places where we can see what we really believe.  Our Americanism is rampant.  We export the best and the worst of what we have created.  Our theology is no exception.  We export as much theological nonsense as material nonsense.  We export doctrines about wealth and the rapture that all show where our beliefs really lie.  God has become an American.  America has become His chosen country the new Israel.  Reality is far from this theology, however.  We are not a chosen people.  I would submit that we are barely a Christian nation and in fact have barely ever been a Christian nation.  We are a republic founded on the principles of the enlightenment Christianized to be sure, but not necessarily Christian.  The best example to prove this point is the issue of marriage and divorce.  Divorce in America is a problem that is virtually unparalleled in the rest of the world.  We as a people cannot be faithful to our wives and husbands, how can we believe that we are remaining faithful to God.  Of course, our first reply to such an accusation is that this is a problem with the secular in America rather than the Christian.  Unfortunately for that argument, Christians have a divorce rate that is slightly higher than the rest of the country.  Our lives as an example are a testimony to the lack of commitment that the world already knows.  We are no example at all.  If we cannot be faithful to that which we have seen, how can we expect to remain faithful to that which we cannot see?  If we are faithful in the little things God has promised us bigger things.  (Luke 16.10.)  America is no longer the home of the free and the land of the brave–if it ever were.  Our leaders and our heroes are all weak examples of the reality of America.  They have no character, they have no moral strength.  They are not sold out to denying themselves for the common good.  In fact, the opposite is true; they are sold out to denying the common good for the sake of themselves.  This is the gospel; however, it is not the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  It is the gospel of the depravity of man. 


I am never upset by the sins of the world; by its very nature the world must be sinful.  I am, however, very upset by the sins of the Church.  We complacently sit back and permit men to call on the name of the Lord in vain.  We call on the name of the Lord in vain.  Rather than serve a risen God before fallen man, we serve a risen man before a fallen God.  We can never change the society we live in with that approach.  We can only change the society we live in when we find the true purpose of life and live it out at all costs before the society  we so love.  Acceptance of sin has never changed man.  Passive living in the midst of sin has never changed man.  The only thing that can change man is the power of God and that can only be shone to man in two ways.


First, God can appear before any man He chooses.  You will notice that He seldom seems to choose this manner of changing man.  Second, and more often, God changes man by letting other men be the example of God’s ability to change man.  A drug addict changed through the twelve step programs is better off in the temporal world, even though he is still an addict living one day at a time.  I do not believe that he is necessarily better of in the eternal world, however.  A drug addict changed through the power of God is no longer a drug addict; he is set free by the life changing power of the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.


The most likely way for that change to occur is for a man to set aside the glory of the temporal world and live in the eternal.  This means giving up time and personal satisfaction to bring about painstaking change often in resistant changers.  That is what this life is supposed to be about, lest we forget.










4 Responses to “Temporal or Eternal”

  1. 1 the One 21 April 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Okay fella, you sound pretty cynical for someone who does not even go to church. If the acts of the church are so important to you, and you believe that Jesus Himself set the church up, then you need to have your family involved in one so you can use your wisdom for good and not just complaining.

  2. 2 The One 5 May 2008 at 1:40 am

    Unhuh, no response as I figured. Wimp

  1. 1 when did thomas jefferson die | Lasts information Trackback on 21 April 2008 at 7:18 am
  2. 2 when did thomas jefferson die | Hottags Trackback on 21 April 2008 at 7:18 am

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