Mortality; June 16, 2019

2 Peter 3:11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.

This chapter too is loaded with dearly-loved passages, making it very hard to know what the Lord specifically wants to say to me right now. However, this morning I’ll be speaking on How to Live, and this verse specifically addresses that issue. (The Japanese includes the exact title of the message.) We have trouble really grasping that everything is going to be destroyed, whether we can’t believe it or just don’t want to believe it. We have an emotional objection to impermanence, particularly when it comes to ourselves. Practically everyone has a real struggle with their own mortality. Even if we are so caught up in materialism that we can’t believe “the heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare,” (verse 10) we eventually come face to face with the reality that we ourselves will eventually die. For us, at any rate, everything material will cease to matter. (And yes, there’s a pun in that.) Writing to the Corinthians, Paul quoted Isaiah’s comment about the attitude of people in his day: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (Isaiah 22:13, 1 Corinthians 15:32) That is not the attitude Peter says here that we should have. Paul too was saying that we need to have a heavenly perspective on things, not focusing on the physical. Frankly, that’s not easy when the physical demands our attention, as it does in so many ways. It all comes back to free will, to our values and choices. As I expect to say in this morning’s message, we have to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts. (1 Peter 3:15) It is only when that is firmly settled that we will live as God intends us to, as Peter exhorts us here.

I have known, as objective fact, that Jesus was Lord for as long as I have been able to think about such things, but I certainly haven’t always lived “a holy and godly life.” I too have been distracted by many things physical, sometimes to the point of deliberately disobeying God. Having passed 70, I am much more aware of my own mortality, particularly since my father died at 64. Just this morning I dreamed of a dear family friend in a way that makes me think she is no longer with us. She was born about 20 years before I was, but we also just got word of the sudden death of another MK/missionary whom I saw every year at Mission Meeting. Whether we’re talking about the end of the world or just our own demise, everything is temporary. The better we grasp that, the easier it is to make the best use of it all, in faithful stewardship, for the blessing of others and God’s glory.

Father, I didn’t expect this to be about mortality as such, but thank You. Everyone goes sometime. Help me live in that awareness, so that as many as possible may go to You and not away from You as they leave this earth, even as You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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