Are You Living Only for Today - Or Living Also for Eternity?
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?
-2 Peter 3:11
One day I was standing at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt with my wife and sons. We had spent that entire week floating down the Nile River, touring all the sites of ancient Egypt, many of which were more than 4,000 years old. We were amazed at how well the condition of these ancient locations had been preserved. Finally we stood at the foot of the ancient, massive Great Pyramid of Giza. It, too, was in marvelous condition, considering that it had been standing there for so many thousands of years. It was very evident that the Great Pyramid had been built solidly so it would stand as an eternal remembrance to the Egyptian king who built it.
As I stood there with my family, I told my sons, "This pyramid has stood here for thousands of years, but a day is coming in the future when it will be completely dissolved. When the final Day of the Lord comes, the Bible tells us that everything that exists on the earth will melt with fervent heat, and the earth and all its works will be burned up. Boys, that means a day is coming when none of these monuments will exist any longer. Everything built by man will vanish, including these monuments that have stood the test of time for thousands of years. The only thing that will last is what people have done for Jesus Christ."
The scripture I referred to as I talked to my sons was Second Peter 3:10. This verse says that when the Day of the Lord comes, "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
According to Peter, when the Day of the Lord comes at the very end of the age, everything we presently see and know will be changed. Even the heavens as we currently know them will pass away. The words "pass away" are from the Greek word parerchomai, which pictures something that is temporary and will soon be passing away. Peter says that the present heavens will pass away with a "great noise." The words "great noise" are from the Greek word hroidzedon. This word describes a sound so loud that it is nearly deafening to those who hear it. It further carries the idea of a tremendous hissing, sizzling, cracking sound that rushes all about or a noise so thunderous that no one can escape it.
When these events transpire, the heavens and all "the elements" shall melt with a fervent heat. The word "elements" is the Greek word stoicheion, and it refers to everything that exists - from the heavenly bodies in the sky overhead to the mountains, the earth, the buildings constructed by man, and even the smallest atomic particles. Absolutely nothing will survive the transforming, purifying fire that will melt everything.
The word "melt" in this verse is from the Greek word luo, which normally means to loose. But in this case, it pictures the dissolving of matter and the complete dissolution of the earth's elements.
This melting of the elements will occur because of a "fervent heat" that will be manifested on the Day of the Lord. The words "fervent heat" come from the Greek word kausoomai, which depicts a fire so intense that nothing escapes its blaze. It was used by medical writers to convey the idea of a fever that consumed a victim. This is an intense, raging, blazing, blistering, burning fire that consumes and hence purges everything it touches. Absolutely nothing will survive this fire when Jesus purifies this present world and creates a new heaven and a new earth.
I spoke these words to my sons because I wanted them to know that the only thing to survive this life will be what we do for Jesus Christ. We tend to think that our houses, buildings, and the things we construct in life will live forever. But the truth is, even the structures that are built to survive through the ages of time will eventually pass away. Since only that which is done for eternity will outlast this world, we can see why Peter asked the question, "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?" (2 Peter 3:11).
A day is coming when all the material possessions you own and hold to be dear will be "dissolved." The word "dissolved" is from the Greek word luo, which is the same word mentioned above in Second Peter 3:10 to describe the complete dissolution of everything that presently exists. By using this word, Peter alerts us to the fact that nothing we presently own will last forever. In light of this truth, how should we view our material possessions, and how should we prioritize our lives?
Too often we devote the bulk of our time to our homes, gardens, cars, businesses, or other worldly affairs. Although we must give attention to the basic things that are necessary to life, we make a huge mistake if we focus on these temporal matters while neglecting the eternal spiritual issues that will pass from this life into the next. Only what is done for the Lord will last. Everything else will be left behind in a world that will one day be consumed with a fervent heat. Since everything will be dissolved, as Peter tells us, doesn't it make sense that we invest in our spiritual futures as well as in our present lives?
How should this knowledge affect the way you live? Peter asked, "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be.?" In other words, since the heavens and the earth and everything in them are temporary and will one day pass away, what should have your greatest attention and devotion?
Unsaved men in today's world live for the present. Often they do great philanthropic works because they want their names to be remembered in future generations. Their desire is to have people revere them, place their names on buildings, name streets after them, and so forth.
However, every building that bears a person's name will one day evaporate. The pyramids that have stood before us for centuries will one day be gone. Those who live only for the present or to impress men will be the greatest losers of all, for everything they have lived for will burn up and pass away, never to be remembered again. On the other hand, those who live for eternity, walk by faith, and obey what the Word of God tells them to do will make a name for themselves that will be remembered in Heaven for all of eternity. These are the biggest winners in life!
The message I conveyed to my sons that day in front of the pyramids is the same message I want to impress upon you today: Take the time to consider your priorities in life. Are you investing in eternity, or are you consumed with natural things that won't survive that consuming fire, which will one day melt everything that exists? Since what you do for Jesus is the only thing that will survive, don't you think it would be wise to prayerfully consider your life to see if you are investing as much in eternity as you are investing in the present