Lost Crusader #142 Now and Later
“For bodily exercise profits little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”
In another place, Paul told Christians that we will not all sleep (die) but we will all be changed. There is an indispensable transition from the present life dominated by the physical to a life dominated by the spiritual. While the change is beyond our immediate comprehension, it is not as great a change as many suppose. The two major changes seem to usher in everything else.
The first change is a bodily one. In the shared divine life of the spirit, there is also a body. Paul calls it a celestial body—the same term we use for the galaxies, stars, planets, and moons.
I think the best model for this celestial body is that of the post-resurrected Christ. He appeared at will, unhindered by walls, doors, or windows while at the same time being solid enough to touch. He ate food. He spoke. It seems he also had the ability to be known to and/or unrecognizable to others as he willed. But whether this trait was true only in regard to mortal humans is debatable.
Therefore, since the scripture says that we shall both see him as he is and be like him (1John 3:2), it is safe to assume the same qualities will belong to us once we shuffle off the mortal coil.
The other huge difference is time—not only our perception of it but our thinking in a timeless existence. Every moment will be or can be the present moment. We will still be living the life we always lived, thinking our own thoughts, feeling our own emotions, exercising the same gifts and talents we have possessed, and valuing the same things we have always treasured.
The life we live now with its pains and sufferings, seen from a timeless view, will ever appear to be our choosing godliness and so ever be seen as our victory and our joy.
This present life never really ends, it is extended into eternity headed in the same direction it is now going. If we are moving toward God (even in the minutest increments) we will continue in God. This can be nothing but Heaven, eternal bliss.
If we are currently moving away from God, we will continue to do so into what Jesus termed outer darkness. This is Hell, the torment of separation from the divine.
Are you on the road you wish to be on? We are free, as long as we are in this body, to change direction. Moving toward godliness will not only make us more loving, joyous, peaceable, gentler, good, faithful, meeker, and temperate in this life, but it will bring all of those things into full bloom and abundant fruit in the life to come. What greater profit is there in all the world worth trading for these things?