2000-06-10 - The Long Life, or a Life
Genesis 47:9 So Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The years of my
sojournings are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the
years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived
during the days of their sojournings."
CNN has reported that the world's oldest man has revealed the secret of longevity
(at least for him). The Carnegie, Oklahoma 110-year old man is the oldest
in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Benjamin Harrison
Holcomb says that he "always ate a big breakfast, cried a lot, rarely
drank and never smoked."
There are three kinds of life described in the Bible: natural life, eternal
life, and spiritual life.
Natural life is fleeting. 1 Peter 1:24, "For all flesh is like grass,
and all it's glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers. And
the flower falls off." Part of living is experience with death. It is
common to live as if death were far off, or only a possibility. Wisdom would
have us conscious of the reality of the impending end of our natural life
and thus live with a proper perspective that focuses on our eternal life
and our eternal life.
We also know that eternal life has begun. So eternal life has a double aspect.
It is already, and not yet, at the same time. John 3:36 says, "He who
believes in the Son has eternal life..." So we know that saving faith
secures eternal life for us already. But we also know that eternal life also
has a future aspect. There is a future aspect of eternal life. It is what
Matthew 19:29 calls an inheritance. "And everyone who has left houses,
or brothers, or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or farms from
my name's sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit
eternal life." Jesus, in fact, defined eternal life when He said in
John 17:3, "And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only
true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent."
While we might focus our hope on eternal life, we should focus our whole
person, all our totality, on our spiritual life. This spiritual life is founded
upon and grounded in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man
is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new
things have come. What are these new things? We know there are many,
but here is a short list: Obedience toward righteousness (Romans 6:16-22),
Walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16,25), Abiding Love (1 John 3:14), Spiritual
Mindedness (Romans 8:6), and Spiritual Growth (1 Peter 2:2).
Those of us who have a hope of eternal life should work to develop the spiritual
life. It is the spiritual life of the soul that ought to captivate our efforts,
strivings, and struggles. The development of those aspects of the short list
above, and other related Biblical strivings, are part of longing after holiness.
And longing after holiness is one of the chief desires of a Christian. May
God give us the ability and strength to long for the spiritual, keep the
natural in perspective, and hope for the eternal realities of our lives.
Soli Deo Gloria,