As we move on in the book of Job we see the same arguments happening where Job’s friends are trying to convince him that bad things only happen to bad people. In Job’s response to his friends he gives some key insight into life and eternity that pertain to us all. Job is a man who is struggling emotionally, physically and spiritually and he feels that God has abandoned him yet in the midst of his pain God reveals some things to him to help him continue in the world. Throughout the book of Job you see his beliefs begin to change as everything he believed gets turned upside down. It is in this moments that we see Job reveal truths from God that apply to us all.
Read Job 14:1-5
Eternity should be our focus because:
1) Life is short
He comes out like a flower and withers
Flowers are given for many different occasions in our world. Some are given to loved ones to just let them know they are loved and others are brought when a loved one passes away. Whatever the reasoning of the flowers being given all of them without exception will eventually die. Job compares our lives to flowers who bloom for a little bit but then they eventually shrivel up and die. We are here for a purpose but that purpose is short lived.
We all know that life is short because you cannot go a day without hearing about the passing of a celebrity, a sports athlete or a tragedy that took many lives. Death affects us all and we all are touched by it no matter how hard we try to avoid it. Our lives are short compared to eternity but it seems that this life is more of our focus than the one to come.
Philippians 3:18-21 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself
Even Christians look at Heaven and eternity as something that we will get to later and so we focus the majority of our time and energy on things that will not matter. We forget, or we do not know, that everything we do this side of Heaven will have an impact on our eternity and the eternity of others.
You have appointed his time limits that he cannot pass
As much as our world tries to defy death one day we will all reach our day and we will be done.
Psalm 39:4 LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered–how fleeting my life is. (NLT)
We must always remember that this world and this life is not the one we should be focused on and we must change our focus to things that matter to God. Everything in this life is for us to be prepared for eternity and for us to also prepare others for eternity. No matter what your occupation is there are people that are not going to spend eternity in Heaven and it is your responsibility to tell them about Jesus Christ. As Christians we have to get back to what is really important and what really matters because when we are focused on the things of this world then we are not showing others that the things of this world is not all there is to our existence.
2) People are sinners
Who can bring a clean thing out of unclean?
Job knew he and everyone else was full of sin. He never said he was sinless but he did know that what he was suffering was not because of his sin. Others people had sinned as bad or worse than him and they had not suffered the same consequences that he was experiencing.
Every person on earth has been corrupted by a sin nature. People like to say they are generally good but that is not what the Bible teaches us. Job knew that he was a sinner from birth and that his original parents, Adam and Eve were sinners, and that all have sinned because corruption had filled the entire earth.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men[a] because all sinned
Romans 3:10-12 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;no one understands; no one seeks for God.All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
We have to stop thinking that Christianity is behavior modification instead of life transformation. Until people surrender their lives to God through Jesus Christ they cannot be in a right relationship with Him. We are so corrupt that even our best actions are not good enough for a Holy God.
Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
People that do not have the Holy Spirit living in them will never be free from sin because only through the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you can you overcome your sin nature. Yes, you might argue, people can be good moral people according to the worlds standard but we are talking about being back in a right relationship with a Holy God. We have to remember that those who are not Christians are still in their sin nature and our first job is to share with them about Jesus Christ, who through the power of the Holy Spirit, will transform their lives. We are made Holy because of Jesus Christ not because of the works that we do.
Colossians 3:1-4 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[c] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
We have to be made right in Gods eyes and that can only happen through Jesus Christ. We have been Washed which means we have been cleaned. We are a total filthy mess and if we come in from a mud pit and try to wipe off some of the mud that does not make us clean. We have to go and shower off (wash) to get the dirt and mud off of us. It is not something we can do to ourselves we must allow ourselves to be washed clean by Jesus Christ. We are Sanctified which means we are made Holy. Again, this is not something we can do to ourselves but something we have to allow to happen to us. Justified means, just as if I never sinned or Just as if I always obeyed. The story of Christianity is how Jesus took our place. We get credited with living a perfect life if we accept the free gift of salvation from Jesus. God has done all He could do to be back in a right relationship with Him but if we do not accept what Jesus Christ did on the cross then a Holy God cannot accept us no matter how good we are compared to the rest of the world.
To answer Job’s question it is Christ who can bring the unclean and make it clean. Job knew there was no cleaning himself up but he did not have the full understanding that God Himself would come in the flesh through Jesus Christ and die for our sins. (John 3:16)
3)There are no second chances
Read Job 14:7-12
Job had lived long enough to realize that there are no second chances once you die. Many religions want you to believe that when you die there are still more times that you can redeem yourself from the life you lived. Some people teach reincarnation and that you will have many chances to live a life till you become a good enough person. Some teach in purgatory which is the belief that once you die then you will go to a place to pay off your sins till you get to Heaven.
Hebrews 9:27-28 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Anytime you make a way possible to get to Heaven except through Jesus Christ then you diminish what Jesus did for us. If all roads lead to God then Jesus Christ died for nothing. If you continue to live forever on earth until you become good enough to go to Heaven of Nirvana then Jesus Christ died of nothing. If you can go to purgatory to pay for your own sins then Jesus Christ died for nothing.
Once we die there is no returning and Jesus taught this principle in a parable about the rich man and Lazarus. In Luke 16 there was a rich man who had it really good in life and Lazarus who had a miserable life. When they both died the rich man went to Hades and Lazarus went to Paradise. Jesus teaches us that there is no crossing over to another place once you get to your destination.
Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’
As Christians we are told that “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) Once in Heaven we as Christians will not have a second chance to do things differently on earth. It is not just a negative for those who are not saved, although they will have it much worse, but it is also a negative for believers in Christ who throw their lives away. Many Christians think it is just about making it to Heaven but God, who is a fair and righteous judge, will also judge us on how we lived our Christian lives.
2 Corinthians 5:9-10 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
As Christians we will not give an account for our sin but we will give an account for the life we lived in Christ. The evil that is referred to in 2 Corinthians 5 means things that are useless or things that have no bearing on eternity. Things like watching football games or television shows that have no eternal impact will be considered evil compared to what will be in Heaven. Again, we cannot earn our way to Heaven.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
What we are supposed to do as Christians is focus our lives on eternal things. People that do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and focus on those who are in need.
Matthew 25:35-40 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’
Many Christians live their lives just being content that they are a Christian but God has called us to focus our entire lives on things that really matter. Jesus tells us to not put our investments in this earth but to put them in eternity (Matthew 6:20) Jesus also promised rewards for the faithful (Luke 6:23;35) A case can be made that Heaven will not be the same for everyone and people will be given responsibilities for all eternity for how they lived here on earth.
1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
“What is God’s purpose for us here and now? We, as God’s chosen bride, are being prepared for future responsibilities. … We are being tested to see whether we are worthy of such responsibilities.” (Your Eternal Reward, Erwin W. Lutzer, Pg 46)
4) Helps us have the right view of suffering
Read Job 14:14-17
Suffering is difficult in and of itself but when you have the wrong view of suffering it makes life unbearable. An athlete that knows that the grueling training has a purpose and therefore they push through the pain and the desire to quit simply because they know that at the end of the training they will be a better athlete. Most of us do not look at the suffering we are experiencing as something that can benefit us. We like Job just want the pain to end and a time when we can just go to Heaven and be done with suffering forever.
Job longed for the time when God will be watching over him like a father watches over his son and Job longed for the time that God would remove his sins for all eternity. For a moment Job moves out of his pessimistic mood and speaks about what eternity will be like and he remembered that his suffering and his sin would be no more. Job remembered that there would be a day when he would not have to feel or experience the pain that he is going through. What Job did not understand is that he would be rewarded for his faithfulness through his suffering.
Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
We do not suffer in vain but God uses it for purposes that go beyond our knowledge and understanding. Everything we go through is being used by God for eternal purposes that we will discover and understand when we get to Heaven.
“This life is but a schooling process, a time of preparation designed to make us ready for the real life that lies ahead.”(Let God be God, Ray C. Stedman, PG 96)
“What is life but preparation for eternity?” (One Minute After You Die, Erwin Lutzer, Pg 13)
If you were to plan a trip overseas to take your family, a place you have never been before, you would do some preparation ahead of time. What airline to fly, what hotel to stay in, what places you must see, and how you are going to travel while there. Before you spent thousands of dollars and possibly several weeks of your life you would want to make sure that you have the best possible experience you can have. Compared to eternity the things we do in this life are small in comparison to the life we will experience. We make preparations for the little things in life but many times we do not make preparations for eternity.
Every New Testament writer looked forward to the life to come.When you realize this is not your home and that we are all just passing through then you will realize that whatever suffering we face here God is using to prepare us for what we will experience.The suffering in this life is preparing us for the life to come and that alone makes the pain a little more bearable. Like an athlete that is training for the gold and endures long days and sore nights we know that everything we walk through will have a benefit in the life to come.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control,[b] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
In the life to come God will be the perfect judge who will judge us thoroughly in that nothing will be hidden from Him but He will also judge us graciously knowing that as Christians our sins have already been forgiven through Jesus Christ. We will be judged individually where we give an account for not what we went through as much as how we went through it. For all of eternity we will benefit from the rewards given us by God for how we endured in this life.
Staying eternally focused helps us through our suffering because we know that nothing is happening to us that God is not using somehow. Staying eternally focused helps us because it helps us keep our eyes on the finish line even though the pain we are experiencing is too much for us to handle. Suffering in light of eternity will be worth it no matter how much you have to endure because God sees it and you will be rewarded for all eternity with how you walked through it.