The reality of eternal life should definitely change how we live! In fact, we’re directly told that in 2 Peter 3. In verse 10 Peter says, “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” We need to look at this present Earth as a passing, temporary time where what matters is how we live now and how we invest in eternity.
Peter continues, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. …in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (verses 11-12a, 13).
When you know Jesus and realize that you’re going to live forever in a world that is the home of righteousness, then you want to get a head start on living the righteous life, to God’s glory and by His empowerment, right here and now! There’s continuity between this life and the next. We will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). Not people who once were us, but we ourselves—that is continuity. So how we live now does matter.
Then Peter says in verse 14: “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” Our reference point for the past is Eden. For the present, it is the redemptive work of Christ on our behalf—having a relationship with Him and living each day seeking to become more conformed to His image. For the future, it’s the New Earth, where God will dwell with His people forever.
This changes our perspectives. It’s revolutionary to realize, “I don’t have to spend all this money on myself. I can understand that I’m like God’s ‘FedEx guy.’ He has entrusted these resources to me to help others who need to hear the Gospel and need to be fed and clothed. I can do this, knowing what awaits me in God’s presence.”
But if you don’t have a clear picture of all that is ahead of us in eternity—that which is promised by God that we can invest in right now and experience eternal reward for—then you’ll think, “I’ll just grab onto this life right now to make myself happy. I’m going to do whatever I think it takes to make me happy.”
Nothing could be more short-sighted in light of the long tomorrow.