It seems rather a foolish question to ask anyone, “Where will you be in a thousand years from today?” And yet, if it is considered seriously, it may not be so foolish as it seems. We are told in the Bible, which is God’s Word, that “godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” The sum total of the wisdom of this world, with all of its philosophies, sciences and religions, has to do with the life that now is. And even then, it is admitted by all the worldly wise men that the present life is an unsolved and unsolvable mystery. In all of their literature they have no satisfactory answer to the question, more than 4000 years old, “if a man die shall he live again?” Job 14:14.
The Bible claims for itself Divine inspiration. It claims to be God’s eternal Truth; and therefore, this claim for the Bible is made by every true Christian. We say, true Christian, because there are many religious people today who claim to be Christians but who are not Bible Christians; because they question the Divine authority of God’s Book.
Without apology or defense, the Bible claims to express Divine Truth as to the whence and whither of the human race, “the life that now is and the life which is to come.” Therefore, if we want information about “right now” and “bye and bye”, let us turn to the inspired Word of the God in Whom we live and move and have our being. In this Book we are told that not only our reward in the “bye and bye”, but our very destiny, is determined by our decisions and our activities “right now”. Here is a wonderful verse of Divine truth
“BELOVED, NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD, AND IT DOTH NOT YET APPEAR WHAT WE SHALL BE: BUT WE KNOW THAT WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; FOR WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS.” I John 3:2.
Surely this is not only a glorious message but it is a blessed fact: “now”, “right now”, here on this earth; we are the children of God. But let each one examine himself to know whether or not he is included in the “we”. If you would know positively, read and believe Galatians 3:26, which we quote “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus”; and John 1:12, which we quote: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” Surely no one, how, ever simple, should stumble over these clear statements of truth. Perhaps it is the one who is wise in his own conceit who is apt to stumble.
Regardless of man’s attitude towards God’s Truth, that Truth remains Truth. God declares there will be a day of judgment and hearers of this Truth will be judged by this Truth. How much better it is to hear the Truth and hear right now, and “the Truth shall make you free.” You will pass out of death into life. John 5:24. Now we quote for your information, and we trust for your edification and comfort some of the blessed “nows” of God’s Word:
“There is therefore NOW no condemnation to them, which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit”. Romans 8:1.
“Much more then, being NOW justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5:9. “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have NOW obtained mercy through their unbelief.” Romans 11:30. “But NOW in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13. “NOW therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19.
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but NOW are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8.
After we have read these and pondered over them, and receive them into our hearts, we shall know something of the meaning of Ephesians 1:3, which we quote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” In Christ we are spiritually multimillionaires, To be justified right now means to be glorified bye and bye. We read in I John 3:2, “Now are we the children of God; and when Christ shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” While we are waiting for this glorious climax, we are told, in Romans 8:22 that “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now”. And in I Peter 1:6 we find these words which tell us something of the heaviness even in the soul of the believer “right now” “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” Faith is the victory that overcometh the world. Therefore, every believer should be able to say with a real head knowledge and heart experience what Paul said in Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” When the children of God shall come into the realization of glory, when Christ shall appear, they shall know the full meaning of I Corinthians 13:12: “For now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
As believers, waiting for the appearing of Christ, we should obey Romans 13:11, which we quote: “Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed”, and should walk day by day in accordance with Romans 6:22: “Now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” The coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ will mean great blessing for the redeemed child of God. What a time of awful judgment for the child of wrath; and such are all by nature. Ephesians 2:1 to 3.
This world belongs to the crucified and glorified Christ, by creation and redemption. Until He comes we must all join in the words expressed in Hebrews 2:8: “Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him. But now we see—not yet all things put under Him.” Some glorious day another message will ring out, the message of Revelation 12:10: “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” In the meantime, the high and holy place of our living Christ, the sinner’s Redeemer and Friend, is recorded in Hebrews 9:24. “In heaven itself, NOW to appear in the presence of God for us”.
Our closing word we give first to the child, in the language of Ecclesiastes 12:1. “Remember now, thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” Then; to all in the language of Isaiah 1:18 “Come NOW, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
Hear these words of God:
“COME FOR ALL THINGS ARE NOW READY.” Luke 14:17. You have nothing to add to the Great Supper. God’s Gospel is His own perfect work and Christ has finished the work: Supper tickets are not for sale. A place at the table means eternal redemption. Come. It is without cost so far as man’s pay is concerned.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.