We are only renting

Our existence on this earth is only temporary.

When tackling the task of walking out our lives we must be mindful that this is not our permanent home.

Much like moving into that first apartment, there is the realization that someday one will have to move. Moreover, as the lessee, there is a clear understanding one is not the owner of the property.

Christians know this to be true concerning this world. Deuteronomy 10:14 reads, “To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.”

The Lord is the undisputed owner of “the earth and everything in it.” There is nothing in this world that we actually own, because it is on loan from God.

Consequently, Psalm 115:16 reads, “The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind.” What the Lord has done for us is an awesome thing. He has created for us a world to enjoy of its many pleasures and where we were to have dominion. The earth is a gift.

As God’s top creation in the earth, humankind was charged with the assignment of being its caretakers. With the fall of man, however, being a caretaker of the earth has become an onerous task.

One of the penalties of original sin was that the ground would be cursed, and through “painful toil” and the “sweat of your brow,” man would be able to eat from it (Genesis 3:17-19). The sin of mankind has made the earth less responsive, not allowing us to thrive as God intended.

The most prevalent penalty of sin is, of course, death (Romans 6:23). God told Adam that if he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he would surely die (Genesis 2:17), effectually serving Adam his eviction papers.

Adam’s sin has plagued humankind ever since, as Romans 5:12 reads, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.”

These proofs point to the fact that everyone who is born into this world will eventually have to leave; we have essentially inherited Adam’s eviction papers.

Hebrews 9:27 records, “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” Ecclesiastes 3:20 posits, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”

God, however, has solved both of these problems in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of God’s great act of mercy, everyone has a right to eternal life (John 3:16) as God has reconciled man to himself. Moreover, God has enabled us to have a more enjoyable human experience; “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).

The curse that humankind is relegated to outside of fellowship with God through Jesus is not a factor for the believer, if we obey God’s commands (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). Our relationship with God is a faith relationship, and Jesus declares, “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23).

Faith in God allows us to operate on a higher plain that the fallen human dimension. Believing on Jesus means that we can do “all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13) because he has placed his very Spirit on the inside of us.

The fact remains, though, that we will still have to exit from this finite human existence.

As Christians, we await with earnest expectation for our lease agreement with this world to expire, that we may enter eternal rest with Jesus our Savior. In 2 Corinthians 5:8-10, the apostle Paul articulates this expectation when he writes:

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

For this reason, Philippians 2:12 tells us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” As temporary citizens of this world, Christians must be mindful of their vocation as ambassadors for God’s heavenly kingdom.

First Peter 1:17 instructs, “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” Living as strangers means that we do not cultivate a friendship with the world (worldly systems and standards: sin), as “friendship with the world is hatred towards God” (James 4:4).

Our Christian lives are to look completely different from ones who do not know Christ as Lord and Savior. That is, in essence, how we personify being a light in the midst of darkness (Matthew 5:14-16).

Peter reiterates this point in 1 Peter 2:11-12:

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Jesus assures us that this existence is not forever, going so far as to say that heaven and earth will pass away (Matthew 24:35).

Just as Jesus comforts his disciples (later apostles) before his earthly departure, he leaves us with the same comforting words:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:1-3)

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~ by christianballenger on August 14, 2011.

2 Responses to “We are only renting”

  1. Amen! You are so right! Thank God this is not my home and my real home is so much better! Glory to GOD!

  2. […] Wednesday Devotion: Treasure and Rust, Joy and Lament | Daily Devotions | Bible Readings | Chr1We are only renting « The Bible Says […]

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