The World Is Perishing
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
This world, all of it, is truly perishing. Though we do not perceive it, all of it is dying constantly. It is not just people and animals, but all that belongs to mankind. Everything that is not spiritually alive within Christ will die and fade away: all relationships, words, works, wealth, plans, families, names, ideas, kingdoms, inventions, generations (Eccl 1:11), etc.
All of these things are passing away. Look at the generations before us—is it not so? All the people are dust and all their possessions are gone or made antiques. Some of their photos or pieces of pottery remain and yet even the memory of them is gone.
Man thinks to escape this perishing by his own efforts, by trying to make for himself “a name” or to carve this name in some form of “stone”. And yet this is exactly what the people before us thought to do. And we see today just how fragile these artifacts are that hold their names—crumbling and rubbing away. However great we think our “stone” to be, our generation too will pass way, and all with it.
Man is too slow to realize this, and those who do not attend to the Scriptures only find the truth of this at the end of their lives, breaking in upon them suddenly. And even when they do discover this great "vanity" they have no idea how to remedy it. Man is inclined to curse God for this perishing and this vanity, but this is exactly what Christ saves us from, saving us to eternal life. This great death is upon us all. And here alone, Christ our great Savior comes down, that all who believe in Him might not perish but have eternal life. Though this world will continue to pass away, we will not eternally perish with it, but will be saved. And will see the day when the heavens and the earth are made new, no longer to die and fade away.
And so we shall see that this perishing continues. We will see the decay of our plans, lives, ambitions, ideas… This shouldn’t discourage us, for God has purposed this world to perish. That is why we must not put any hope in this life. How often do we curse God for what He has told us He would do? How often do we continue to try to hold onto our treasure in this life and expect God to bless it? Rather, we must put all in Christ and the life to come—the eternal life to which we are saved. This is God’s will for us.
Here we are also blessed with knowing the great truth that Paul reveals in 1 Corinthians 13—that all things will pass and perish, yet there is one thing that will not: love. This cannot mean love that is outside of Christ, for God has taught us clearly that everything outside of Christ perishes. So it is only that which is truly of Christ that remains. Therefore love itself is not sacred, as so many people imagine these verses to mean, but only love that belongs to Christ. And this is that love which is towards God and to man (in Christ).
This world is perishing, therefore even the physical works we’ve done will also eventually perish. And yet here is our great hope: the love for God and man in which we do these things springs up eternal, and so our works will follow us (Eph 6:7-8, Rev 14:13).
So in everything, let us ensure that we remain in Christ and that all we do and love is in Christ. Let us labor under these spiritual principles, ensuring that all things are done in this love for Christ. Let us not trust in paper and pen, online storage, photographs, fame, or stone; but ensure all our work is done in holy love, and this—the great spiritual work—will follow us into eternity.
As we look into the Word of God and onto the world and learn how it is perishing, let us not mistrust God at this. Rather, let us say, “Aha! Yes, and You, Lord, have taught me this. In Ecclesiastes and in the whole of Your Word, You, Lord, have labored to warn and save me. Bless You, Lord, in Jesus Christ, that though I die, yet shall I live!” (John 11:25)
When we look upon the world that is dying, along with all that belongs to it, and mistrust God for this (however silently), this reveals sin on our part. Let us repent, saying, “Look, Lord, at how much of this perishing work I’ve tried to keep hold of in my hands, all against the warnings in Your Word. How foolish I have been, enraged against You because of what I’ve sought against Your Word. Lord, I repent.”
Christ has taught us plainly that this world is perishing, and that all who are of the world perish along with it. This is nothing that should be strange or a surprise to us. But let us know and believe that God works for our good here, working all of this for our holiness (Hebrews 12:7-10), and that good is the greatest good there can be—preparing us for eternity.
Let us submit to God’s plan and will for this life, and set aside our plans and wills for it. This is a work that God has set in motion, and it cannot be stopped. All of our recycling and clean energy will not stop the physical world from fading, nor will our humanitarian work and moral conquests stop everything else from fading. So many people are caught up in these things because they are in love with this life. We are often exposed, showing how much we really don't understand the Gospel—what Christ is saving us from and to. We go about pursuing the world still, entirely unaware of and denying how the world will perish. Instead, we must see that repentance and walking in holiness is the whole purpose of our lives in Christ. Let us seek Christ alone, that we ourselves and all our works might be found and preserved in Him.
“As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor 4:18)
“He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” (Heb 11:26)
“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Cor 3:10-15)
Come, Lord Jesus, come!
February 26, 2021