November 8, 2005

Considering the Future

A reply to Josh's response.

I will agree that simple emphasis is part of our disagreement, but I do not think it can account for it all. We still seem to have a fundamental difference on the proper outlook on a Christian in viewing the present and the future. You assert that:

I am of the opinion that the future stuff is nice, but the things of tomorrow are not things that we are to be worrying about; those things will take care of themselves.


I feel like we turn away from God's grace if we ignore it and its sufficiency in the present. There will be time to appreciate and live in the future things when they come.

While I agree that God has provided the strength and grace we need in the present, I can not accept the proposition, which you present, that we should not pay much attention to the blessings of eternity future. I understand, as you point out, that an otherworldly attitude can be overdone to great loss. As it has been said, some become "so heavenly minded they are of no earthly good". However, we must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. When we have both Paul and Christ repeatedly pointed to the future and emphasising a heavenly outlook by calling us to:

1 - Lay up your treasure in heaven - Christ

2 - Run so that ye may receive the prize (at the end of the race, that is, when our life is done) - Paul

3 - 1Th 4:17 - 18 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Here we are specifically commanded to comfort each other with a look to the future by Paul!

4 - Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Christ won our salvation spurred by a future minded outlook. Looking towards the joy of our salvation which was to come, He endured the torment of the crucifiction. Certainly, we would not be wrong to follow His perfect example.

Therefore, I would argue that the future is something we are not just to look forward to, but commanded to keep in mind. Furthermore, it might be considered part of God's present grace to reveal future blessing to us.

Finally, you argue that "the things of tomorrow are not things that we are to be worrying about; those things will take care of themselves", a clear reference to Matt. 6:34:

Mat 6:34 So never worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - ISV

I do not think this verse applies to the present topic for two reasons:

1 - Christ commands us not to worry about tomorrow. He says nothing about anticipating the glorious promises of future blessing. In fact, as I pointed out above, His example is the opposite as He anticipated future joy in enduring the pain of the cross.

2 - I do not think that Christ's use of tomorrow applies to eternity future. Christ is specifically speaking about individual days, and it seems to me, that these days would be restricted to life on earth. Once we reach heaven, I doubt each day will involve much trouble. ;)

Furthermore, it is important, as I am sure you know, not to confuse worry with thinking or planning ahead. While we are commanded to be "wise as serpants", we are also commanded to trust God. Thus, thinking ahead and anxiously agonizing over possible problems are two different things. It is wise to consider the future, but foolish and sinful, exhibiting a lack of faith in God, to anxiously obsess over future problems.

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