Where do we go from here? What will happen to us when life is over? What lies ahead…in the misty, shadowy, fuzzy world beyond the grave? What will be our final destiny? Many will say, “Death. Death ends everything.” Popular answer, but it’s wrong. Death may be the last stop in our earthly journey, but it cannot be considered our ultimate destination. Death is merely the tunnel that transports us to the very real world beyond. And the Bible is the only reliable guidebook for our final journey.
With all our daily activities and responsibilities, we tend to push the central doctrines of the Bible onto the back burner. But these truths are vital to our daily Christian walk. Consider the doctrine of the return of Christ—what we believe about this important doctrine affects the way we live our lives. And if there’s one thing we can know for sure, it’s that Jesus will come back to earth one day! But what do we do until then?
Few things are clearer in Scripture than Christ’s return. Once He revealed the news of His death and departure from this earth, He wasted no time in reassuring His followers that He would indeed be coming back. Again and again, God’s Word includes statements, hints, symbols, implications, and undeniable predictions of the promise of Christ’s return.
We live in a society and day when blood is seldom seen in public. Surgical operations are done in secret, sterile places behind closed doors. Slaughterhouses are rarely visited by the average citizen. And apart from a cut finger or a rare superficial wound we don’t often witness the presence of blood. Most will spend their lives eating the meals made from animals they personally did not kill. It has not always been so!
A substitute is someone who takes the place of or acts instead of another. In education substitute teachers stand before a class usually taught by someone else. In the game of baseball a substitute hitter or runner is commonly used to take another player's place. Even the prime minister, if necessary, appoints a substitute and gives him or her the full authority of leadership.
The path of humanity is littered with the trash of depravity. Instead of being shining examples of beauty, righteousness, and perfection, we have darkened the world with hostility, hatred, and unrest. War and brutality score the history of humankind. Deceit and wickedness make up our story. Even our best—courageous warriors, heroes of humanity, graceful artists—fall embarrassingly short of perfection. From one life to another the theme repeats itself: no one measures up…with one beautiful, righteous, perfect exception.
Many scholars scoff at the thought that the world was created by God in six days. But this is exactly how Scripture reveals the beginning of the universe and of humankind. In fact, God’s creation of the first man and woman is one of the earliest truths recorded in the Bible. Regrettably, following directly on its heels is the sad account of Adam and Eve’s fall into sin. Four simple words say it all…from creation to corruption.
“I believe in the Holy Ghost….” These are familiar words to those who have ever attended a church where the Apostles’ Creed is recited during the service. Six words commonly heard yet seldom thought through. What, exactly, do they mean?
Balance. That’s the ticket. While Christ is the bulwark of balance, our Adversary is the expert of extremes. Satan will do anything to disturb our spiritual equilibrium, move us off centre, and tempt us into an out-of-balance lifestyle, one that is “too much.” For example: Christian liberty. God’s desire is that we, His people, fully enjoy our freedom in Christ. However, there must be self-imposed boundaries or we will become self-serving, independent-minded, and careless rebels with no regard for others. The last 11 verses of Romans 14 address this issue.
We do not live and die only unto ourselves. This is true of humanity and of Christians in particular. Believers in Christ are interwoven and interrelated, comprising an interdependent system of cells and nerves, muscles and limbs in the same body—the body of Christ. Therefore, it is not surprising the Bible frequently emphasizes the importance of unity among the Lord’s people. No one can deny the presence of diversity in God’s family. We know the value of unity, yet cannot ignore the reality of diversity. And therein lies the rub!