18th April 2012

Our Eternal Destination

Many people enjoy visiting London. However no one was fooled by the sign on one of the bendy buses making its way through St Julians recently. It’s destination? Trafalgar Square. Quite obviously getting on that bus wouldn’t have got anyone there. But what if for a minute we imagine that I sincerely thought that the bus was going to stop by Nelson’s column. It still wouldn’t have got me beyond the War Memorial column in Floriana anyway. It is really a number 12. The truth about our destination and how we are to get there are vitally important.

This is the Good News of Easter. It addresses man’s most essential fear: death. There comes a time in life when one faces one’s mortality in a deeper way. Perhaps death in the family or of a close friend; or the recent news of the young 25 year old Italian footballer who collapsed and then died on the playing field or the 100 years anniversary of the Titanic; or we ourselves get very sick. It won’t go away. We can postpone death and we can ignore it but we cannot avoid it.

So Jesus shows us that death is no longer an enemy for those who believe in Him because of His own death and resurrection. Just as a little child comes out of the dark womb and beholds the mother who bore him or her for 9 months, face to face, so death is the canal we pass through to enter into the fulness of the gift of eternal life that Jesus has given us in baptism. This doesn’t mean that our natural repugnance to the physical death of our body will disappear overnight. It means that we are to remind ourselves that Jesus has conquered spiritual death (eternal separation from God) so that our physical death becomes but a passageway to heaven where we will see God face to face and He ‘will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain’ Rev 21:4.

But we need to remember also that the road to life is narrow. We need to make sure not only that we on the right ‘bus’ and not taken in by ‘every wind of teaching’ (Eph 4:14) but that we remain firmly put. Sincerity is no guarantee that we are in the right place. One can be sincere but still sincerely wrong. In the midst of the competition of voices within and outside us we need to stop, pray and listen to the One who tells us what He told Pilate:

I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:37

It is really a matter of life and death! Jesus wants nothing more than to bring us into eternal joy with Him. He is committed to our salvation. If we haven’t yet found Him we need to seek Him. If we have found Him we need to deepen our relationship with Him and to persevere. He has given us all that we need to do so.
The way we live our lives here on earth matters a lot.

As St Augustine says:

If we spend so much effort, so much care, and do so much in order to live a little longer, what ought we do when it is a matter of living forever? If we consider prudent those who do all they can to put death off and to obtain a few more days, how senseless are those who live in such a way that they forfeit the day that is eternal (De Verbo Domini,Sermon 64)

2 Comments

  1. Zuccaro

    Andrew,

    I have today read your blog for the first time and I must say I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it mostly because of a verse you quoted, (Ephesians 4:14). I feel that in my life I have been blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming until I once was taught that the best way to avoid this is to be faithful to the scriptures of the Holy Bible. Moreover I’ve been taught that its prudent to comment on what the Bible teaches but be silent on what it doesn’t. I feel that in this way, I no longer remained and infant and grew in my faith in God.

    What are you thoughts on this? Do you feel the same way?

    Thanks,

    F

    1. Youth Fellowship

      Thanks for your comment, much appreciated. The Scripture has been the vitally important for my faith in God and my ministry over the past 25 years. It is truly the living Word of God that we are to be rooted in and which needs to be shared with others. Faithfulness to the teaching of the Bible is what is necessary for every Christian.

      Of course the Bible is the Word of God as handed down to the Church and given to us by the Church. If I remained silent about everything that the Bible doesn’t say I may be in trouble. For example, the Bible doesn’t tell me which ‘books’ are canonical ie. the authentic and inspired Word of God. In others words the Bible is silent on what constitutes the Bible. So I know that the Bible is the inspired Word of God because the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, told me it is.

      There is another thing we need to keep in mind. The Bible itself never mentions sola scriptura so I cannot argue that the scripture is the only source of truth regarding doctrine and morals. Why? simply because the Bible doesn’t teach that. That would be unscriptural. Rather writing to Timothy, Paul has something surprising to say about the church – he calls it ‘the pillar and foundation of the truth’ (1 Tim3:15).

      Sadly throughout the ages, there have been and will always be those inside and outside the Church who will teach wrong things or water down the word of God, even if sometimes their motives may be sincere. It is safe to say that we should never accept teaching that contradicts a proper interpretation of what the Scripture teaches. As to what it is silent on, there are already a number of truths that we as Christians have accepted even if not contained explicitly therein.

      Feel free to write to me at info@youthfellowship.org

      Andrew

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