How about heaven and hell? If you could really see hell in all its horror with the eyes of your face and not the eyes of your faith, you wouldn’t go anywhere near sin for the rest of your life. Hell is mentioned 57 times in the Bible; we know the reality of it, but do we have to see it to believe it? How much do you believe in hell? What chances do you take with your salvation? That will tell you something about how much you believe what God has revealed.
Heaven, hell; the sheep, the goats; the right, the left; the split. In Matthew 25, Jesus says that if you do not feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the invalid, then "Depart from me ye cursed into the everlasting flames of hell…" If we neglect to do it to one of the least of these, we neglect to do it unto Him. We say we believe all that, but what do we do in terms of living that belief? Do I believe it? Do I really believe it? Do I act as if I believe it? These three questions in sequence of intensity can be asked about any revealed truth (doctrine).
Let’s look at heaven, a more positive focus. In Colossians 1:5 we have a statement of secondary faith: "You are looking forward to the joys of heaven and you have been ever since the gospel was first preached to you." In Colossians 3:1-4 Paul says "since you’ve become alive again—been born again—now set your sights on the rich treasures and joys of heaven where He sits beside God in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts, let your conversation be in heaven. Don’t spend your time worrying about things down here." That last sentence alone, from Scripture, could really transform our lives!
Now listen to the next sentence. "You should have as little desire for this world as a dead person has. Your real life is in heaven with Christ and God. When Christ, who is our real life, comes back to earth, you will shine with him and share in all his glories." What does money mean to a dead millionaire? There are no pockets in a shroud. He looks back on all that money and it’s like ashes. I don’t care where he is on the other side of eternity, that money is useless to him. People may he fighting for it here and now but in his mind and for the rest of eternity that money is trash. And most of the things it buys are trash unless he used it to help the poor, feed the hungry. As a tool, as a means for helping people and to sustain life on earth for himself, it had worth. Paul says don’t worry about things down here, and have as little desire for the things of the world as a dead person does. That statement carries a secondary faith content.
Do we do that in our lives? Paul says that anyone who clings to this life as if it were the only thing that matters is a person that needs to be pitied (I Corinthians 15:19). The worldly person is really a twisted and warped individual. But how easy it is to become worldly! We wouldn’t think of giving up that favorite television program. We must have that new car. It is very easy to get caught up in materialism to the point where we become ungenerouswith the missions, the poor, the starving. It doesn’t make much impression on some that there are 40,000 people dying of starvation every day, as long as they get their three square meals a day. It is frightfully easy to lose perspective through materialism. Thus, if we have a weak secondary faith in the revealed Word of God about worldliness, it would reflect a weak primary faith in God who revealed it.
Next Installment: Measuring Maturity it does no good to worry!