2013-11-07 - Eternal Endurance
Originally Published 2002-12-05
1 Cor 13:13 But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Our washing machine is broken. After twelve years of faithful service it is making very unpleasant grinding noises that warn that the end is near. It is a simple reminder that, with very few exceptions, the things that we know in this world will wear out, at best.
Paul has a very interesting list of items.
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Faith is the assurance of salvation that those of us who believe in Jesus Christ know with an unexplainable certainty that He is alive and waiting to come and take us home to Heaven to be with Him for eternity. And one day that faith with be fulfilled when I look into Jesus' face. It will be a humbling moment I am sure. But the cares and trials of this world will melt into meaninglessness in that single instant in time.
Hope. Our hope is sure and fixed. It is not, "Oh, I hope it happens." We say, "I hope it happens soon!" There is no doubt of the outcome. The only thing we do not know is when. And one day that hope will also be satisfied when we meet the Lord in the air.
Now, love is an entirely different matter. Genuine, unconditional love says there is nothing that can be done or said that will change my mind. There is a close circle of family and friends who fit into this category. If someone tries to hurt them they will have to deal with me too. If one of them were to commit murder, regardless of the details, it would change nothing between us. There would be disappointment. But the love would endure and I would stand with them to whatever end might play out. If one of this small group were to move to the Moon and we never spoke again, the fact of my love and care for that person would not change. Would I be saddened by the loss of their presence? Yes! Certainly. The pain would be something to carry for a lifetime; but only for a lifetime. We will meet again in Heaven and be together for eternity with Christ.
Many things in this life will simply end up in the junk pile. You can't take it with you - the old saying goes. Wealth will be left behind as meaningless. The universe and the Earth itself will be destroyed with intense heat to make room for a new heavens and a new Earth that is as perfect as the original creation. Love will be taken with us and perfected in our love for our Savior, family and friends. We will learn to see clearly and love even those who were unlovable to us in this life.
I can think of one other thing that will endure eternity. The nail prints in Jesus' hands and feet, and the thorn marks in His head. But that is just one more example of His love for us.
Col 3:12-14 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
Just as you forgave us Lord such an unimaginable debt, help us to forgive. Amen
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.