“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”
(2 Corinthians 4:18)
Turning on the news or flicking through social media, it’s easy to get absorbed in what is happening in the world right now. We get caught up in the most pressing issues of the day. Maybe we don’t need the news for that; perhaps it’s our individual lives that have us completely transfixed on the here and now with all of its competing demands. Our daily life keeps us moving from one thing to the next.
For followers of Christ, there is a view that we need that which reaches beyond the immediate concerns of today. That view is eternity. It comes with hope and warning – and we need to heed both. Let’s take off the lens of our present circumstances for a moment and look with a steadfast gaze towards eternity.
Here are seven reasons why we need to keep that eternal perspective in view:
1. Our Life in This World Is Temporary
We are on this planet for such a short time in comparison to eternity. We may live our lives believing we have years to do all that we want, but the reality is none of us knows how long we have left. Our life is fleeting, so like the psalmist our prayer might be to ask the Lord to “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
We must consider the brevity of life, not knowing what will happen tomorrow, as our life is but “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). For Christians, we are pilgrims passing through this world; it is not our home, nor our final destination. It helps us to keep that perspective, having the confidence that our momentary troubles will pass. It should also remind us to not become attached to the things of this world.
2. People Are Facing Life and Death without Hope
Death is inevitable for all of us, and many in our community and around the world are living and dying without knowing the good news of Jesus. Eternity should propel us and drive us with an urgent desire to share the gospel. We know that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16).
Death is not the end of the story for any of us as there will be an eternal outcome, whether in the presence of God or out from His presence for eternity (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Jesus has made a way for all people to come into His Kingdom through the cross on which He died for our sins. We must share this truth with others, for their eternal future depends on it.
3. Believers Can Live in Hope of Heaven
Believers have a secure hope that they will one day be with God in heaven. The death and resurrection of Jesus has made a way for sinful mankind to be reconciled to a holy God. When someone declares with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead, they will be saved (Romans 10:9) and they have eternal life. We can live boldly, having full assurance in where we are going after death. We also have the promise that Jesus will return, and we will be with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
The gospel also provides hope in suffering with the eternal promises found in Scripture. We know that we will suffer in this life and that the very call of following Jesus is a call to deny ourselves and take up our cross (Matthew 16:24). However, our suffering is never for nothing and there is purpose in the pain which Jesus can use for our good and His glory. When suffering comes, we must remember that He is the Savior of the world who suffered for all of us because of our sin, yet by His wounds, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).
Even if we are not physically healed in this life, we will be healed in the life to come where there is no more suffering or pain (Revelation 21:4). We have hope both now and for eternity that Jesus will never leave us, nor forsake us as we go through struggles and suffering here on earth.
4. The Gospel Needs to Be Proclaimed Clearly and Truthfully
If we fail to understand the gospel ourselves, it can have eternal consequences as it shapes our view of eternity. There are ramifications for not proclaiming the gospel with clarity to others or omitting core truths because we fear what others will say. Having an eternal view should keep the gospel at the forefront of our mind and direct our conversations with others.
This is the greatest news for a broken world desperately hungry for hope; we shouldn’t keep it to ourselves. There is a need for urgency – do others know Jesus? How can we daily live our lives with fervor for the souls of those we encounter? Our minds can be filled with God’s Word which shapes our understanding of who He is and the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ as we seek to faithfully proclaim it to others.
5. Jesus Is Eternal and He Spoke of the Eternal
Our chief aim is to glorify God who is worthy of all praise. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. God has always been and He will always be. In Isaiah 46:11, it says “What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.” God brings about His plans and purposes for all things, for all time and He has revealed this to us through His Word.
When Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who had always been with the Father entered our world as a human, He had a purpose. This was planned from before the beginning of the world. He could see what His death and resurrection would accomplish. Jesus declared that He was “the way and the truth and the life” and that no one could come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). He also said that “whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life” (John 5:24).
We should take the words of Jesus seriously as He spoke about the eternal frequently including heaven and hell. We need to remember the eternal reality that we will all encounter and not be fearful to speak of these truths.
6. What We Do in This Life Affects What Happens in the Next
Our world is passing away with its desires, but those who do the will of God will abide forever (1 John 2:17). The things that this world holds dear such as money, possessions, power, status and security cannot be taken into eternity. However, we are told to store up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20). We do this when we faithfully and obediently follow Jesus. If He is our greatest treasure, our heart will be with Him, for where our treasure is, there our heart will be (Matthew 6:21).
We will all have to come face to face with God who will judge everyone at the appointed time. Psalm 45:6-7 says, “a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom” and “you love righteousness and hate wickedness.” This foreshadows what is written about Jesus in Hebrews 1:8-9: “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.’” Justice and righteousness are part of God’s character and He cares about what is going on in our world. He hates wickedness and will one day bring forth His justice. “He commands all people everywhere to repent” and “he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice” (Acts 17:30-31).
The greatest commandments are to love God and to love others, yet how much time do we spend thinking about our own lives and individual pursuits rather than obeying God and serving others? How much time do we think about eternal things in comparison to the things of this world? Are we storing up for ourselves everlasting treasures in the kingdom of God or do we ignore Him? If Jesus is rejected in this life, the next life will be an eternity without Him and that is an irreversible consequence.
7. An Eternal View Gives Us the Perspective We Need to Finish Life Well and Remember That Jesus Will Return
We must keep running the race in our faith daily, and the motivation that we need to succeed is to keep our eyes on Jesus. Our life and eternal salvation was bought at a price; the precious blood of Jesus. No matter what happens in this life, whether good or bad, we must never lose sight of the cross of Christ and how it opened up the way for us to come before our holy Father forever.
We must take hold of this truth with confidence knowing that Jesus will one day return. There will be a new heaven and a new earth where we will enjoy being in the presence of the eternal God forever. He alone is worthy of our praise and He loves us immeasurably more than we can fathom. He will never leave our side and we can trust Him as we continue to put one foot in front of the other daily, in obedience to the One who calls us (John 10:3).