Eternity: Confidence in the Eternal

This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to [or to strengthen the faith of] those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began (Titus 1:1-2). NLT

Here we read something else about God’s plans for our eternity—He will give us assurance that it will happen. In this short letter, Paul repeats it again in the third and last chapter: God, in His grace, gives us confidence of our immortality.

Think about this for a moment. It is one thing to read that God promises eternal life; but as is the case with so many things we say we believe, this must sink deep into our bones (figuratively speaking) before we are truly confident of the promise.

God’s truth can make us confident.

As we’ve already said, we do not have the capacity to understand or grasp eternal. Or maybe we do have the capacity (since we were created to live forever) and our “sight” has been so dulled and weakened by our sin that only God’s power can bring that faculty, that sense in us, alive again. In human language, perhaps we need to relearn how to see the eternal, just as some people after devastating injury need to relearn how to walk or read or use an arm. Those glimpses I was describing yesterday are signs that God is teaching us, He is re-training that eternal part of us—bringing back to life the eternal dimensions He gave us to begin with and restoring sight that can see the eternal.

We do not have the ability to see the eternal; it is only by God’s grace that we learn to see and believe it. That’s all pretty hard to get hold of, very difficult, nebulous, and elusive.

But as the psalmist points out, our gracious Shepherd God provides all that we need; and the verse above tells us that He has provided something to bolster our confidence in our own eternity: His truth, found in the Word and in Jesus Christ, and made plain to us by the Holy Spirit.

* God’s Word teaches us how to live in His paths—in His eternity, if you will—even while we are living within our earthly dimensions.

* Jesus says that all of God’s truth resides in Him. Knowing Jesus, coming to Jesus, learning from Him, trusting Him with our lives and ourselves, putting ourselves in His hands and in His service—this puts us smack dab where we need to be to have our understanding illuminated by God’s truth.

* And this is so amazing to me — God puts His Spirit within each of His children, a connection that tunes us into God’s thinking, even, Paul says, to the “secrets” of God! (1 Cor. 2:10-12)

A simple illustration. I was arriving home late—much later than I’d expected—and so I had not turned on the porch light before I left. No moon lit the sky, and the street lights do not reach to the back door under the tree. It was very dark; I could not even see the sidewalk. My feet felt their way along, slowly, because I was remembering the big toad that sometimes hops among the flower beds.

And then my fears were realized. The lump on the sidewalk squished around my shoe. I let out a small shriek. Oh, disgusting, disgusting!

Finally at the door, I unlocked it and snapped on the light and looked to see what damage I had done. There, slightly flattened, lay one of my grandson’s squishy baseballs.

Finding God’s truth is very much like turning on the porch light. I love Jesus’ words that assure us His Holy Spirit will be our guide “into all truth.” We are not left groping in the dark. His Spirit gives us better vision, and we begin to see things as they really are. Seeing God’s truth may not be as instantaneous as snapping on a light switch (although sometimes it does happen that way!), but the point is that as we seek truth, we learn to see things as God sees them. We learn to see eternal things.

God doesn’t leave us floundering about, trying on our own effort to believe huge promises we can barely grasp; He gives us His truth to build our confidence! The more we get to know Him, the more clearly we can see as He sees.

The more we seek God’s truth, the more confident we become of the eternal dimensions of our lives.

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