Outside of Time

I heard a message last night at The Base , in which Greg Crawford talked about having an eternal vs. temporal perspective.  His “jumping off” point was in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

He made a point of differentiating between eternal and temporal things by the characteristic of their visibility. Not that I think for a moment that either Paul the Apostle or Greg is saying that all things invisible are eternal.  I have a friend named Becky who has a prophecy that, if I understand her, we will come to see clearly into the spiritual realm. I don’t think she means that will be physical sight, but there is precedent for the sort of sight about which Becky prophesied.  See 2 Kings 6:17. So, I would take this assertion in 2 Corinthians 4 about the eternal being unseen as meaning “as a general rule up until now”.)

During Greg’s teaching, I also didn’t really grapple adequately with a critical message contained in this verse; that temporal afflictions can be a tool in the hand of God, acting in the process of our transformation into the likeness of Christ.  Since the spirit is eternal, our transformation into becoming one with God’s spirit is a weighty, glorious, eternal result. Don’t think there is much chance of becoming transformed in this way? I’ll say more on that, shortly.

As I age, I see more clearly the value of the admonition not to lose heart about the decay of my body.  This decline is apparently practically inevitable, and happens to everyone who lives long enough to see it.  The recognition does not have to produce despair, as long as I keep an eternal perspective.  That which is visible on the outside (temporal), is no indicator of the renewal that is taking place on the inside (eternal).  In fact, recognizing the decay on the outside actually makes it seem easier to stop putting confidence in the aging flesh and focus more on the eternal nature of the spirit.  The question I should be asking is whether the renewal is, in fact, taking place on the inside.

It’s funny how God finds ways to reinforce His message from different sources. I recently read a devotional passage that talked about acceptance and self-examination as necessary to finding serenity about difficult situations. The devotion was drawing from the “Serenity Prayer” which I’ll quote here:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

The last part, the wisdom to know the difference, really only belongs to God.  I must draw near to You, Father, if I am ever to know Your wisdom in my spirit as to whether things that seem to beset me are actually tools in Your Sovereign hand that should be allowed to do their glorious eternal and weighty work or whether they are an attack of the enemy intended to hinder me from accomplishing that which You have called me to do.

At least, I have this promise in Romans 8:28 ff

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I know I promised to say more about the possibility of transformation. Here it is. Look back into the passage above. You will find there evidence that this transformation is actually a purpose of God, that those who love him should become like Jesus. Try not to get too wrapped around the axle at the mention of predestination. The writer is trying to get across something about the purposes of God, who knows the end from the beginning because He is totally unconstrained by the temporal (Hey! Isn’t that where we started?). Since we are completely constrained to the temporal in the physical realm, learning to see things from an eternal perspective in the spiritual realm takes some help from Him.

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One Response to “Outside of Time”

  1. DM Says:

    I’m more tuned in to the aging process, both in myself and extended family…I am gradually morphing into my dad (speaking in physical terms), and I can definitely see him morphing into his dad (which means if I live long enough, I will probably eventually morph into my grandpa (physically speaking) 😉 I am SO thankful that when it’s all said and done, I was brought out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light, back in my early 20’s not because of anything I’d done..just pure grace.

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