The Expository Files

 Life Is Transitory

1 Peter 2:11

Transitory is defined: “of a passing nature; not enduring or permanent; temporary, fleeting” New World Dictionary Of The American Language. A very sobering truth we all need to learn is that life is transitory. We all casually say that “we’re all terminal, it’s just a matter of when we die not if.” But enter some debilitating disease, heart attack, cancer, and etc., and our outlook is prone to change when we realize our time is short. We are not so brave when the real end appears to be short are we?

As believers in God we acknowledge that this life under the sun is not all there is. When we die, it is not the end. We, by faith, confidently hope to see the Lord in heaven (Rev.22: 4). We are familiar with Paul’s words to Timothy: “There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved (longed for) His appearing” (2 Tim.4: 8). We have read Peter’s words many times about that “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you (us)…In this we greatly rejoice” (1 Pet.1: 4-6). We rejoice in the Lord’s words in Matt.25: 23, where He says: “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Lord,” and we cringe with dread when we read His words in verse 46: “And these will go away into everlasting punishment.”

Yet, if we are not careful we may live our lives as if our earthly existence is the only place we’ll ever live! It is so easy to fall in love with this world and to lust for physical things that we can see, and take pride in our possessions, but this world will pass away with everything it craves! (1 Jn.2: 15-17). Thus, while we must live in this world we must not be of this world. As children of God we must be different and our focus must not be on a car, a job, or a house in a fine neighborhood, or fine clothes, power and prestige. But many times it is, isn’t it? We must “not be conformed to this world” (Rom.12: 2), but instead, we must “set our minds on and seek those things which are above” (Col.3: 1-2). But how often do we let the world set our standards for us? How often is our heart set on the things of this world? If our hearts are on this world that is where our treasures will be (Matt.6: 19-21), because what we treasure or center our life on reveals what we are. Thus, the wise man said: “for as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov.23: 7). But real life is not measured by how much we own, even though the vast majority think so (Lk.12: 15).

Listen to the words Albert Brumley, penned in 1937:

“This world is not my home, I’m just passing through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Beloved, we are “sojourners and pilgrims” on this earth (1 Pet.2: 11). A sojourner is “one who lives as a foreigner in a strange land.” A pilgrim is one “who remains in a place but a short while, as a traveler on a journey,” and thus we sing: “Here we are but straying pilgrims.” Paul said: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil.3: 20). Thus, a Christian is not a permanent resident on this earth, but a citizen of heaven and his conduct must match his citizenship!

William Barclay sums it up nicely: “Jesus never said that this world was unimportant; but He said and implied over and over again that its importance is not in itself, but in that to which it leads. This world is not the end of life, it is a stage on the way; and therefore a man should never lose his heart to this world and to the things of this world. His eyes ought to be for ever fixed on the goal beyond” The Gospel of Matthew, Vol.I, p. 242,243.

What is your perspective of life? Do you believe that on this earth life is transitory and being with God in that “better, and heavenly country” is where you want to live? (Heb.11: 16). If so, it will show in the way you live your life now, today. The End.

By Dennis Abernathy
From Expository Files 19.6; June 2012