Bible Society of South Africa

Forever and ever - 28 July 2023

By Mims Turley

Bible text(s)

25And this is what Christ himself promised to give us — eternal life.

1 John 2:25GNBOpen in Bible reader

My husband often said to me: “I love you forever and ever, plus a day.” It made me feel so happy and secure. He, unfortunately, passed away and that forever and ever came to an end. However, when Jesus refers to eternal life, it is not a defined period. It may be beyond our comprehension, but what we do know is that the Son has promised us eternal life.

Read the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-26. There are many lessons we can learn from this, but the most important is that there is indeed a heaven and a hell. There is no access from one to the other. Our decisions here on earth will determine where we will spend eternal life.

The Bible tells us that heaven will be a place of joy (Luke 15:7), reward (Matthew 5:12), peace (Luke 19:38) and righteousness where God’s will will reign. In Revelation 21 we get, among other things, a wonderful description of the new Jerusalem, but like many things in Revelation, it is difficult to distinguish between symbolism and the literal. What is clear is that there is no place on earth that even comes close to the splendour of heaven, where we will live forever.

The Bible also tells us that in heaven there will be no more pain (Revelation 21:4), no more grief (Revelation 21:4) and no more death (Luke 20:36).

Make no mistake, the Bible also describes hell for us. It is a place of torment (Revelation 14:11) and a place of darkness (Matthew 8:12) that will also be there forever. I think we can safely say it is the opposite of heaven. The decision you have to make for your eternal home is really more urgent than which rugby team you are going to support on Saturday.

Your choice is about Jesus, our Saviour. This eternal decision does not mean, however, that you can confess with your lips that he is your Saviour and then simply live as before. This weighty decision affects both our attitude and behaviour: “For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows. But you, man of God, avoid all these things. Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:10-12a)

I believe in life everlasting.

Prayer: Lord, even if we don’t understand everything, help us to live with an eternal perspective, with our eyes fixed on you. Amen

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