“One of my neighbors,” Stan began, “is so focused on what benefits he’s going to have when he retires, that he really doesn’t enjoy what he has right now.”
“Saving for the rainy day that may never come,” I commented.
“Even more than that,” Stan replied. “He’s real concerned about medical insurance, Social Security, other governmental benefits, and all of those sorts of things. He worries about having all of the benefits he thinks he’s going to need.”
“I can relate to that,” I responded. “Those are important things to think about. I want to be sure I have enough to survive ever how long I may live on this side of eternity. It’s kind of like not wanting to run out of gas before I get to where I’m driving.”
“I agree,” Stan replied, “but there are much more important benefits that need to be considered.”
“Like what?” I asked.
“Well,” he replied, “I think a person really has to consider all of the benefits that come from the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is, of course, the benefit of being able to spend eternity in God’s presence when the time here is done.”
“What about on this side of eternity?” I asked.
“I was focusing on that very thing earlier this morning where the apostle Paul put it in terms of because I have been freed by accepting Christ’s finished work on the cross, I am able to pursue the benefit of sanctification on this side of eternity.”
“What are the benefits of that?”
“Two-fold, in seems to me,” Stan replied. “First, there is the personal benefit of being able to have a deeper and closer personal relationship with God for the time while I wait for the train. Paul described this as sanctification.”
“Secondly,” he continued, “there is the benefit that goes beyond myself to benefit other people.”
“In what way?” I asked.
“Other people who interact with a Christian who is walking closely with God should have the benefit of seeing the manifestation of God in Christ through that person.”
“And that may affect their eternal destination? Is that the point?”
“That’s right,” Stan replied. “People seeing the manifestation of Christ may well want to know what that’s all about, go on to ask, and end up making their own decision about spending eternity in God’s presence. From that point, such people should then have the benefit of personal sanctification that results from pursuing the eternal life of knowing God on this side of eternity.”
“Great benefits, indeed!” I commented. “Benefits that far outweigh anything the world has to offer.”
Bible verses to consider:
But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome eternal life. Romans 6:22.
This is the will of God, your sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34.
This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all you provide. Please help me to focus entirely on the benefits you provide, the benefit of life eternally with you when my time here is done, along with the benefit of knowing you and your Son more deeply on this side of eternity. Thank you for the process of sanctification so I will be set apart for you and can be a part of whatever you want to do in and though me. Please forgive all of the times I have focused on the so-called benefits the world wants to provide, rather than focusing on all of the benefits you in fact do provide. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: We all want to be secure in what we are doing, but the security of having the assurance of eternal salvation is crucial. Do you have that assurance? If no, why? If you do not have that assurance, do you know it is a free and gracious gift that only needs to be accepted? Along with the assurance of eternal salvation comes the eternal life of knowing God the Father and Jesus the Son. How are you doing with pursuing that knowledge? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? Why or why not? How can you gain the benefit of that knowledge?