When you accept God’s gracious gift of salvation, offered through His grace and your faith, your eternal life begins at that moment. That should bring you great peace and joy. Each day on earth, we should thank Him for our health and our lives, but we should hunger for the moment He calls us home to be with Him … in Paradise.
Psalm 84:2b (NCV): “My whole being wants to be with the living God.”
Philippians 1:21 (CSB): “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
THIS SEEMS SO WRONG, YET IT’S SO COMMON — EVEN IN CHURCH.
You go to worship the living God and praise His holy name when there, right in front of you, is an esteemed brother or sister in Christ.
You give a hearty greeting, like, “It’s good to see you!” and the person responds, “It’s good to be seen. Sure beats the alternative.” Then he or she chuckles.
“Really?” you say, “and, just what do you think IS the alternative?”
“Death,” the other person replies, looking at you as if a spider is climbing down your cheek. “You know, pushing up daisies. Right? Don’t you get it?”
“Sure, I get it,” you want to say, “but do you?”
THIS IS IN CHURCH, mind you, and it happens nearly every week.
It’s ridiculous. Here’s why: If you are a believer, God promises you an eternity in Paradise with Him. So, if you are done with this world, you’re happily in place in the next.
If you’re a believer.
The apostle Paul, who testified to having seen the “third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2), said he would rather be in Paradise with Jesus in his glorified body than remain on earth in his “weak, dishonorable” body.
THIS IS SAD TO ME. Let me explain.
In November 2010, the most amazing event happened to me. Mid-month, on a Wednesday evening, I received the Holy Spirit into my heart.
Immediately, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, went to work on me. One pastor described the transformation process this way: While we think we need a minor tune-up, the Lord is working on a transmission overhaul.
Big time changes. Heart change, attitude change, habit change. Out with the old; in with the new.
Scripture backs that up. Check out 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (KJV 2000)
Or read Colossians 3:10 (NLT): “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”
SINCE MY CONVERSION, my peace and joy come from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. I take seriously His statement in John 14 that He was going to His Father’s house to prepare a room for me so that where He is, I may be also (John 14:2-3, paraphrase).
Because of that joy, it strikes me as supremely odd and disappointing when those joining me on Sunday morning to praise the Lord and worship His mighty name take the same position regarding their life-and-death cycle as do those who skipped church that day for an outing on the golf course or just to sleep in.
“Sure beats the alternative!”
True enough if the alternative is that place reserved for the ones who reject the Lord’s saving message; however, no where near true if the alternative is to be with the Lord in His Father’s house.
THAT BRINGS US back to you, really, the most important person in this message.
How do you envision your destiny? Do you see yourself enjoying God’s promise of eternal life right now, as you exist in this world, only to see it bump up in glory when the Lord calls you home … or do you see that every day you’re on this side of the ground is a good day because, you know, it beats the alternative?
There’s nothing wrong with loving the life the Lord has given us and thanking Him daily for His gifts of grace. The problem is when we hold onto this part of eternity because … deep down … we don’t really trust Him to deliver on the post-death part.
Our two text source verses above, Psalm 84:2b and Phil. 1:21, testify to man’s desire to be with His maker. We can lay claim to that desire just as we can lay claim to the Lord’s promise.
It’s in John 10:10 (NASB), the “b” part: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
With Christ, your eternal life starts the day you receive Him into your heart. When this life is over, you’ll join Him immediately in His arms.
QUESTION: Now do you think this life really beats the alternative?
O Blessed Redeemer, how mighty is Your name, how majestic is Your power, how great is Your love. We thank You and bless You for Your goodness and mercy. Empower us, O Lord, to serve You through our lives, then, when our walk is done, please call us home and let us rest in Jesus’ bosom with the other saints. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen