Today’s Reading: “I believe in God, The Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day, He rose again. He ascended into heaven. He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit. The holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”
As we’ve discussed earlier in this blog series (see Session 14), when Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, returns to earth in all His glory, this current age will end, and a new age will begin. The resurrection and reconciliation of all Creation, which began with the first visit of Jesus to planet Earth, will be finalized upon His second coming.
Think of it this way.
Visit One initiated the in-breaking of God’s Kingdom, our Creator’s right to rule and reign over His creation.
Visit Two will consummate that same in-breaking of God’s Kingdom, summing up all things in Christ.
You see, it’s actually at the consummation of the Kingdom, at Jesus’ second coming, when life really starts to happen. “Everything up to that point is all “practice,” my mentor, John Wimber, used to say, “…and it’s the “real game” that starts on the other side!”
The Creed states it clearly…at the end of all the things that we believe…life becomes everlasting.
What was once finite will now become eternal.
What was once fragile and easily broken, now becomes whole and complete.
We began this discussion of Life Everlasting last time when we talked about the resurrection of all things, including our physical bodies. You see, on that final day when Jesus splits the skies, returning to planet Earth just as He promised, He is bringing with Him the fulfillment of the ancient promises found in Genesis. The Tree of Life we see mentioned in the Garden (Genesis 2:9) is now, once again, on full display for all of mankind to see. But this time, there will be no lying serpent slithering amongst the bushes, whispering half-truths to men and women who don’t know an apple from an orange. No, with Jesus’ second return, the Light has come so the whole universe can now eat of the fruit found on the Tree of Life. Eternal life is now ours. All creation is now fully alive, and you and I will live forever.
One final question still remains for every living creature made in the image of God.
After all these things, every man and woman who has ever lived on planet Earth will be given the gift of a lifetime, an opportunity we’ve never fully had here on this fallen planet. On this final day of this present age, we will stand before our Creator/King, seeing the fullness of God like we’ve never seen before. No distractions. No delusions. No confusion. Evil and all of its trappings have been dumped in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14), and now, in the fullness of God’s Light and Love, we will see our lives as He desires us to see them. Not just our fallen condition, but all the good God intended them to be. And then, just as Jesus did with those He walked with on the shores of Galilee, and just as He did in this lifetime with us, the Son of God will extend an open invitation to you and me, one final time, to come, follow Him.
Now, in Jesus’ presence, life will have no limits, we will be totally free of all the constraints that once held us captive, so the choice we make on this day will be both clear and forever. The great theologian, C.S. Lewis, describes this moment well. Let me paraphrase his thoughts for you…
God, you see, is a God of great love and amazing mercy. The Creator of the Universe does not want a single person to live in eternity outside the on-going presence of God. Yet, being a loving Father who refuses to make His children choose something against their will, He offers us two clear choices. Choice number one: Living life where we say, “let God’s will be done.” Choice number two: Living a life where we say, “Let my will be done.”
So, on that Last Day, all of us will make our final choice. We will choose one of two clear options. We will choose to walk with Jesus into Eternity, or will choose to walk it alone, only because we chose it to be so. Not because God chose it. Not because God predestined it. But because we, alone, chose again and again in this life, and now again on Heaven’s doorstep, to adamantly refuse God’s mandate of love that He has written for our lives.
And, Life Everlasting will be the beginning of the new life, the new age, for us all.
As a follower of Jesus, it’s my hope that all will choose to walk into Eternity in communion with the Master. The work you and I do here in this age for the cause of Christ will hopefully encourage many to make that decision sooner rather than later. Yet, apparently, there will be some who will choose on that Day to continue walking in the way they’ve journeyed through this life. By themselves and for themselves alone. And with that decision, they will find that true hell is nothing but the complete absence of God.
Jesus, in one of His parables, calls this the separation of two groups; the sheep and the goats. (Matthew 25: 31-46) Interestingly, in this present age, sheep tend to follow, while goats tend to demand their own way. Apparently, it’s this stubbornness (or lack of it) that will greatly influence the decision you and I make on that final Day.
Eternity with God vs. Eternity alone. God have mercy.
My prayer: Father God, may You soften my heart in the coming days, so that both here and in the Age to come, I’m found following Jesus of Nazareth rather than demanding my own will and my own way. I turn from my self-centered, self-absorbed life, asking the Holy Spirit to remind me that life eternal is found not in pursuing my own will, but Yours alone. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Am I demanding that my way and my will be done today? Or am I one who is learning the fine art of deferring to God’s will? What if the question of everlasting life is not the primary issue? What if the key question focused more on who I will choose to spend eternity with? If faced with a future of total aloneness compared to one defined by communion with the One who loves me more than I can know, which would I choose?
So, what are you experiencing today as we are Contemplating The Creed?
Over a seven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Apostles Creed. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Creed home page for ease of use.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!