An old gospel song says, “This world is not my home / I’m just a-passing through. / My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” It’s a good reminder for all of us that this life is not the end goal. As Christians, we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom and are not to love this world or what it offers (1 John 2:15). In fact, to do so makes us enemies of God (James 4:4).
In today’s passage Jesus tells a story about a rich man who lived for himself and ignored the Lord. He was a success by earthly standards but discovered too late that his riches and comfort were only temporary. After death, he experienced the consequences of his choices—eternal separation from the Lord.
It’s important to realize that this man wasn’t judged harshly by God because of his wealth. The rich man’s mistake was that he prepared everything for the body but nothing for the soul. Our culture practices a similar style of living. Acquiring material riches and satisfying oneself is the primary pursuit of many in our world. In fact, fulfilling personal desires seems to be the goal whether one’s bank account is overflowing or nearly empty.
Despite what our culture thinks, this life is not about us. It’s about being reconciled to God. Whoever repents of sin and turns to Christ for salvation will live eternally with Him in heaven. But those who reject or simply ignore the Lord will suffer eternally. Death comes to all of us, and we never know when. Therefore, if you haven’t trusted Christ as Savior, do so today. Your eternal destiny is at stake.
This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.—1 Timothy 2:3-4
The Scriptures speak clearly of existence after death—people will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Yet many individuals consider this truth inconsistent with other facts about the Lord. While their objections are understandable, the Bible provides the answers:
How can the Lord be good if He lets some people spend eternity in hell? God is love (1 John 4:8), and He doesn’t want anyone to live without Him (1 Timothy 2:4). According to His plan, every person can turn from sin and receive the Savior, enjoying His presence both now and throughout eternity. Some, however, reject Jesus Christ and live apart from Him all their days. Unless they change that tragic decision, their separation from divine love will continue eternally.
Why would God create certain individuals, knowing they’d never turn to Him? To some, this seems unloving. Yet God so values our free will that He won’t force anyone to go to heaven against his or her will. Doing so would amount to creating robots who are unable to truly respond, love, and worship.
An endless penalty seems unfair, especially if a non-Christian never heard the gospel. As long as unbelievers are alive, the heavenly Father goes to great lengths to keep them from eternal punishment—except He won’t violate their free will. He gives enough time and evidence so that nobody has a valid excuse for rejecting the one path to salvation (Rom. 1:20).
Jesus wants you to spend eternity with Him. So do you know Him as your Lord and Savior?
The Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy were spoken near the end of his ministry. He was in prison and he was expecting to die soon. He wrote, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come” (II Timothy 4:6). Many of his associates had deserted him, probably for fear of ending up in prison like him. Onesiphorus and Luke were among the few who remained with him.
Paul summed everything up in three statements. First, “I have fought the good fight.” Paul used a metaphor derived from military battle to describe his life and ministry. It had been a fight. One is reminded of his teaching on the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18. Our fight or struggle is not against human beings, but “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Thus, his fight was not just any fight; it was the “good” fight. It was good because he fought for the Lord Jesus Christ against the hosts of hell.
Second, “I have finished the race.” This time, Paul used a metaphor derived from athletic games to describe his life and ministry. It had been a race. One is reminded of Acts 20:24 where Paul referred to his desire to finish “my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” His life and ministry had been a race on a course around the known world. He had fought the good fight in every place that he had visited in his missionary journeys.
Finally, “I have kept the faith.” With this statement Paul stopped using metaphors to describe his life and ministry. During the good fight he fought in the race on a course around the world, he had remained faithful to Jesus Christ and the ministry he had been given. His fight was over, his race was finished, he had kept the faith, and it was now up to Timothy to follow his example.
Timothy kept Paul’s letter, obviously, and Paul’s message to him has now become a message to all of us. Hence, let us also follow Paul’s example. Let us fight the good fight, and finish the race, and keep the faith.