From the Times to Eternity
by Impact Church
4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
With each New Year, we see the ball drop and celebrate a new beginning. Whatever the past year’s travails have been, to experience the new year and a new start, reminds us of a restart. There is also a conflict present in the experience of time. Time is temporal and fails to last. The Present makes the Future the Past. Things of this world are just that: temporal. Paul addresses the struggle we face in living in time: our life is decaying. We are slowing down and our bodies are diminishing with time.
There is another truth in play for believers in Jesus Christ. There is an inner man who is eternal and alive in ways not seen with earthly eyes. Most of our life is defined by our body and our experiences of time. In that dimension, we experience difficult moments, Paul described them as “momentary, light affliction”. But arguing from the lesser to the greater, Paul is looking to the contrastive untimed world, the eternal. From the temporal moments of struggle, God is creating His world in His children. It is an eternal weight of glory exceeding all comparisons. Eternity is greater than time. Believers in Jesus Christ are people of eternity. We are timeless.
The beginning verse highlights the encouragement: do not lose heart. And the reason Christians can do that? Because we look at things not seen. How paradoxical is that? We see beyond the temporal. We see beyond the years. We see what lasts forever. We are eternal people.
It is right to be excited by a new year because it reflects the loving-kindness of God that is new every morning. But we are to also know that as the years go rolling by, they are nothing in light of the “eternal weight of glory”!