The World is Passing Away


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“For the present form of this world is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:31)

Perspective makes all the difference in how we see the world and live our lives. The perspective of faith is wholly different than the perspective of skepticism. The person who has been born again, born from above, born of the spirit[1], is a new creature; the new has come and the old has passed away.[2] We are no longer of this world, though we continue to live in it.[3]

Do we really grasp the meaning of these things? Sometimes I wonder. I wonder about myself as I look back at the things that have captured my attention at times, the anxiety and worries I have had about temporal things, and all the time I have wasted doing trivial things.

By faith, Abraham when he was called by God uprooted his life and traveled to a land that God promised.[4] If we pay attention to the story, we come to realize that Abraham never really put down his roots again after he was called by God to go.[5] This is true even though he was called to a land that God promised. Why is that?

We are not left to guess. We are told that Abraham was looking for a city whose architect and builder is God.[6] He didn’t find it in the soil of the land of Canaan, the land that God promised and gave to Abraham and his descendants. Abraham knew that the God who promised him had something far greater in mind. God who is timeless and eternal certainly had a more permanent place for Abraham in mind, and Abraham had the sense (the faith) to grasp that on the basis of understanding who God is.

Yes, God promised Abraham physical land, and God did deliver on that promise. Various passages of Scripture reinforce the idea that God blesses people temporally who honor Him.

But is this what we are after? Are temporal blessings all that God has promised? Of course not! He has promised us something far, far greater. Jesus teaches us to ask God for what we need and the good things that we want, but the very best thing God desires to give us is His Holy Spirit.[7] No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him![8]

The present form of this world is passing away. This is actually how God planned it. He has a greater purpose for us than anything we can find in this world. He has subjected this world to futility in hope that we would be willing to let go of this world and reach for the greater purpose for which God has created us.[9]

We live in a world in which our greatest desires can never be realized because God wants us to look towards something else, something far greater and longer-lasting.

As Christians, of all people, we need to fix our eyes on greater things. We have the treasure of the Holy spirit in “jars of clay”, our present bodies, which are subject to death.[10] Unless this seed of our bodies dies, it remains just a seed – just a potentiality – but, if it falls to the ground and dies, it will grow up into the plant and bear the fruit for which it was created.[11]

We are much too fixated on temporal things. We should not be tempted by them and distracted away. We should not be willing to settle for blessing in this temporary life and lose sight of eternal life.[12]

“Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”[13]

This world that we know is passing away. We should be focused on the world to come.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[1] “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. ‘Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’” (John 3:1-8)

[2] “[I]f anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

[3] Jesus prayed to the Father: “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:14-18)

[4] “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8)

[5] “By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.” (Hebrews 11:9)

[6] “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:10)

[7] See Asking, Seeking and Knocking Like Jesus

[8] “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9 ISV)

[9] “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:20-25

[10] “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11

[11] “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:23-26)

[12] “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

[13] 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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