This meditation is Part 1 of a three-part series of meditations on Romans 6-8.
In Genesis 25 we read of the birth of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was Abraham’s son and Jacob’s (Israel’s) father. Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. Though Isaac was the heir of the covenant God had with Abraham, he had produced no heir. Isaac’s wife, Rebekah was childless so Isaac prayed for his wife. God heard Isaac’s prayer and Rebekah conceived after almost twenty years of marriage to Isaac.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die–ever!” (John 11:25-26, HCSB).
This meditation is Part 3 of a four-part series from the story of the raising of Lazarus from death. When Jesus reached Bethany where His good friend, Lazarus, lived, Lazarus had already died and his body placed in a tomb where it had been for four days.
Martha, one of the sisters of Lazarus, came to meet Jesus as He approached the tomb where Lazarus was buried. Martha told Jesus that Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had been there before he actually died. And the words in these verses were the response of Jesus to Martha’s grief-filled complaint.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10, ESV).
Jesus used the metaphor of a sheep pen or sheepfold and a shepherd to tell a beautiful story in John 10:1-18 of how God desires to care for and protect His people.
“O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace” (1 Chronicles 29:13-15, NLT).
King David summoned all the officials of Israel to Jerusalem including the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of the army, and the overseers of royal property. He told them that he wanted to build a temple in Jerusalem to worship God, but God planned for his son, Solomon, to succeed him to the throne and build the temple.
“An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” (John 5:25, ESV).
Since Jesus came to this world the first time and inaugurated the Kingdom of God on earth, the time has come when many “dead” people hear the voice of the Son of God and He grants them eternal life.
“Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in goods works, to be generous, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good reserve for the age to come so that they may take hold of life that is real” (1 Timothy 6:18-19, HCSB).
In Part 1 of this meditation Paul instructed Timothy to train himself in godliness in this present life in order to prepare for eternal life. In Part 2 Paul told Timothy to fight for his faith and start living the lifestyle of eternal life in the present.
In these verses Paul alludes to Jesus’ admonition from the Sermon on the Mount to store up treasures in heaven: “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth… But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
“But you, man of God, run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life that you were called to and have made a good confession about in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:11-12, HCSB).
In Part 1 of this meditation Paul instructed Timothy to use this present life as an opportunity to prepare for eternity with God by becoming more like God. To accomplish this, Paul told Timothy to train himself in godliness through disciplined, rigorous practice in personal devotion and service to God.
Now Paul tells Timothy that he should fight for the faith and take hold of eternal life!
“Train yourself in godliness for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8, HCSB).
In this verse the Apostle Paul is explaining to his protege, Timothy, that we live our present life in preparation for eternity. Paul says that we should live our lives in anticipation of eternal life!
“Those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age…” (Hebrews 6:4-5, HCSB).
I’ve lifted this phrase out of its context for a reason. The context of the verses is, of course, the apostasy of believers in Christ (actual or figurative, depending upon your theological perspective) .
“Set your sights on the realities of heaven…For you have died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1,3, NLT).
Every once in a while we need to stop and remind ourselves that the life that we live in this world is not our real life. It’s a virtual reality and eternal life is the real reality. That’s why Paul admonishes us to “think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth” in verse 2.