Sunday, June 02, 2013

The two lives

1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

Writing to Timothy of issues with which he must grapple, Paul speaks of the life that now is and the life which is to come. This sums up the totality of our existence. Now in time and in the flesh we live "the life that now is" a mortal temporal existence. It is appointed unto men once to die. This temporal existence numbers only a few days, and is full of trouble. It is like a vapor that appears for a little while and then disappears.

When we die the second life, the life which is to come, must follow. It will be for all, but it will not be the same for all. This is graphically illustrated in the lives and deaths of the rich man and Lazarus (Read Luke 16:19-31).

In Paul's exhortation to Timothy we see the need to rightly divide between the temporal and the eternal. In verse 7 Paul's urges us to exercise "rather unto godliness." He follows that by noting "bodily exercise profiteth little." Paul is not campaigning against exercise or healthy living, but putting it in its proper perspective. Physical exercise is temporal. It only affects this body, which lives this life that now is -- the vaporous life. Godliness, on the other hand, is profitable both now and forever. Let us not exalt the things that are temporal over the things that are eternal.

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