By Guthrie Dean
Not only does the Bible present the realities of God and Satan, of the church and the world, of good and evil, of the broad way, and the narrow way, of heaven and hell, but it also repeatedly contrasts temporal things and eternal things. I wish to call your attention to a brief study of some of the contrasts mentioned in the New Testament.
In 1 Jn. 2:15, we are admonished, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” When Satan was tempting Christ, he said to the Lord, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:9). Jesus reminded Martha, who was cumbered about much serving, “Thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Lk. 10:41-42). Material things can be taken away from us. The rich man was overly concerned about “my fruits,” “my barns,” and “my goods.” The Lord stepped in and told him, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Lk. 12:20). Jesus taught, “And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things” (Lk. 12:29-30). If we get our priorities straight, He will provide the necessary things. He promised, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). In the parable of the sower, the Lord said that those represented by the seed which fell among the thorns are such as hear the word, “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mk. 4:19). We are warned that “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 Jn. 2:17). For this reason Christians should set their affection “on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2). “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” (2 Cor. 4:18).
There are spiritual things required of all children of God. In admonishing brethren to add to their faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity, Peter stated, “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall …. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (2 Pet. 1:9-10, 12).
Truth Magazine XIX: 29, pp. 452-453
May 29, 1975