The Future Life # 4
This is the life of sorrow and cross bearing, but in the life beyond will have the recompense of reward. He forever changed the truth from a rumor or dream to an established fact. Take, for instance, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. To Martha, Jesus said, "He that believeth on me though he were dead, yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." "In my Father's house are many mansions."
Man was the crowning work of God's creation, having body, soul, and spirit. Man lives in three realms, mental, physical and spiritual. Yet, most men live and die in the basements of their nature. These three realms can only be reached by man through the New Birth. God stamped the word "Eternity" upon man's very nature and started him upon a high and noble destiny. Man was not a savage or an ape but created in the image of God and put in the garden for culture, development and obedience. It was a golden age for man. Traditions tells us that all nations have their stories of a golden age somewhere in the far distant past.
The next act of creation was the creation of woman. The Lord put man to sleep and took a rib from his side and from it, He made a woman. Matthew Henry says, "Woman was formed out of man. Not out of his head to be ruled by him, not out of his feet to be trodden upon by him, but out of his side to be his equal, to be loved, comforted and protected by him."
Man bears the marks of the divine likeness of his maker. The divine likeness in five aspects: dominion, intellect, free will, spirituality and immortality.
Man was given dominion over all animal creation. Also, he has marvelous dominion over the mysterious forces of nature. He has spanned the river, crossed the ocean and his voice has taken wings and crossed the continent until distance is annihilated and the entire world has become one great neighborhood.
The intellect of man shows a marked and wide gulf between man and the lower animals. Man is a genius and his ability is seen in his naming the animals of the earth according to their nature. Animals and birds have made no progress in building their nests and homes, but man with reason and genius has made marked progress.
Man is not a creature of necessity or of instinct, but he is to choose his own destiny. Man may rise to the heights of eternal glory or sink to eternal despair. He is free to obey or disobey God's commands. He can go upward to glory or downward to despair. He can rise to the height of an angel or he can sink to the depth of a demon. He can walk gold paved streets or he can tread the road to eternal despair. He can have fellowship with God or he can shake his fist in the face of Almighty God. He cannot blame God or any one else for his failure.
Man has a nature which impels him to be religious. He has been called a religious animal.
You can travel the world over and you can find cities without literature, without kings, without theaters, or public halls, but cities were never founded without churches, chapels or temples, without some god or other.
The recognition of God as Creator gives a new meaning to life. As Creator, He has a definite claim upon our lives. When we lose confidence in Him, we are on the road to confusion and uncertainty.
A belief in immortality is universal and age long. Every attempt to crush out immortality has failed. A divine imprint upon man tells him he is a creature of eternity and not of time. Men of science, falsely so-called, have been searching for the missing link for years but their task is yet unfinished.
Man was created by God for a high and noble destiny. His powers are almost unlimited. He reaches his highest in recognition of his Maker and in obedience to His will and commandments. Man is more than an animal or a beast. An animal is the creature of a day but man is the creature of eternity. Man has the stamp of eternity upon his brow. It is the height of folly for man to go on in sin and expect to rise to his highest. With God, he can rise to the highest, but without Him, he will sink into darkness, defeat and despair.
Is Dying to be Dreaded?
Christ's triumph over the grave removed the mystic conception of death and immortality. Before this men looked forward to death with awful dread. For every believing heart, Jesus changes the fear of the grave to joy and peace. Literary writers have referred to death as though death was God's punishment for a sinful life. Physical death did not come to Adam, the first sinful man, nor to Cain, the first murderer, but to Abel, the innocent and the righteous. The sinful brother was punished by living and the good brother was rewarded by being transplanted into a higher and better life. Death is a part of the cycle of change which God has established for everything he has created. People dread death more in health than in sickness. When the time comes, Mother Nature smoothes the way so that it's as natural as to fall asleep. For sleep, the absence of consciousness, is the twin brother to death. Let us not worry about dying grace, but keep on hands a good supply of living grace and dying grace will take care of itself. We should not prepare to die, but rather prepare to live. After all, life is more to be dreaded than death, for life is overshadowed with temptations which mar the soul and harm the influence. Dying is an easy matter; living is solemn. Never let us look at the grave as the goal, but one more star in the firmament. Should a doubt come to the mind about the future life, remember the words of Jesus, "I was dead, but behold I am alive forevermore and have the keys of death and hell." Ask Jesus for the key when you want some perplexing problem solved touching the future life. Jesus has lighted up the gloom of the grave and made its gates to turn on golden hinges. He made the Cross His pillow that we might pillow our heads on the precious truth of immortality.
When we lay our dead away, we comfort ourselves with the precious assurance that what has been sown in corruption will be raised in incorruption that they will be restored to us again informs beautiful, glorious, and immortal; that they will be again embodied, for God will give them bodies as it pleaseth Him. What will please God will be pleasing to us. We may rest assured that they will be as perfect, and as desirable and as lovable as God with all His power and skill can make them. As 2 Corinthians tells us that death is simply going from one house to another." "To depart," says Paul, "is to be with Christ." "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:8).
~W. B. Dunkum~