January 13, 2016

The Life to Come

People make New Year’s resolutions to diet and get in shape for various reasons. When we were younger we strived to get to that perceived perfect size body, but as we age many of us simply want to keep up our strength so we can avoid going into a nursing home. Thank goodness dieting and exercise are temporal and someday they will end. Paul tells Timothy, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim 4:8 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----Dieting and exercise are expressions of discipline, of which godliness is also an expression. Discipline is an expression of obedience made in the presence of imperfection. This present life is the place of imperfection. Obedience within the place of total perfection is a void concept. All things right and proper happen naturally where there is total perfection, otherwise the most fundamental property of the perfect place would be imperfect, which then would nullify the totality of that place’s perfection. So it is meaningless to speak of obedience in the perfect life to come, for everything there will happen in total congruity with God’s pleasure, that is, everything happening there will produce only good effects of actual benefit. No other possibility will exist. That’s what this place of degradation, sin, and death was created to effect, the elimination of the possibility of sin from even existing by God’s acting upon the will of His creatures for Him to do so, their having witnessed its disastrous results in the light of God’s immense benevolence (salvation by grace.) So neither discipline nor obedience will have any substantive meaning in the life to come for everything there will be benevolent naturally.
-----In this life, godliness is produced by discipline and obedience. In the life to come, godliness will just be. The value godliness has for all things is that, by its nature, every effect of godliness is beneficial only. There can’t be much perfect godliness in this life, for the effects of even the smallest actions usually reach far beyond our abilities to control or even perceive. Perfect godliness means the entire butterfly effect of even the simplest action is beneficial only. The butterfly effect in this place of imperfection can not happen totally beneficial, because here everything is in conflicting competition. It was critically beneficial for the frog to eat; it was highly detrimental for the fly that the frog did eat. So what value can godliness in this life have upon the life to come?
-----”Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.” (I Cor 3:12-14) No man will get into the life to come having been rewarded by the survival of all his works except for Christ, since we are all His work. The rest of us get there with only some reward, because all our godliness is either detrimentally beneficial or beneficially detrimental, I suppose which one depends on either degree, perspective, or some combination of both. But the real value for the next life godliness has in this life is its aim rather than its score upon any target. The aim of our expressions is the product of our spirits made alive; the score on the target is merely our physical ability (or inability) to express accurately.

Love you all,
Steve Corey