Is Living Longer Really the Goal?

At a recent family gathering I was joking with my family that I expected to live longer than 100 years old. Why not? From organizations to businesses to human life, mankind always looks for ways to prolong what is good. We celebrate 100 years of farms owned by the same family. We celebrate people who live to 100 years of age, and often ask these individuals what their answer is to long life.

The life expectancy for Canada in 2023 is 82.96 years. If you break it down between males and females, life expectancy for men I around 80 years while female life expectancy is around 84 years. Most people love to point out that this number is slowly climbing. We are making progress, we think, by keeping people healthier longer. Scientific studies have been done to determine how to help people live longer.

People have attempted all kinds of things to prolong their life. Some have used magic potions, others have chosen to drink mercury, or played around with DNA manipulation. One pope from the 1400’s asked three young boys to give him their blood. According to the story, all four of them died as a result of this blood transfusion and attempt to lengthen one man’s life.

Is living longer the goal? Is long life the best thing we can hope for or dream of?

What all these people who have dedicated their lives to living longer don’t understand is that longer life is not the goal. Living again is the goal!

We just celebrated Easter. Easter is the celebration of resurrection – life again – specifically the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We celebrate this resurrection because the Bible clearly states that all who put their faith in Him for eternal life will live again. While human death will still happen, we will live forever in a new body with God Himself in a renewed version of the original Garden of Eden. Living longer is not the answer – living again is!

The Bible tells us that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified on a cross, and then buried in a tomb. On Easter morning, first some women and then others, saw Jesus alive. We are told that many people saw Him alive after that. He defeated death. It looked like the grave had claimed him until he rose again, alive, as attested by many people.

That, in itself, is amazing! For someone to die and then rise from the dead is amazing. Some of us may think this was only possible for Jesus because he was the Son of God. He was God. He could do what humans can’t, except that is not the full story.

Jesus said that resurrection was possible if only we believe in him. In John 11: 25, 26, just before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said this to Lazarus’ sister:

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

Later in the Bible, after Jesus went back to heaven, the Apostle Paul writes that resurrection is possible for us if we believe in Christ.

So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. (1 Corinthians 15: 25, 26)

I like to write about the church and about leadership and how to do things well, but all of that is in service of this message that by faith in Jesus Christ, we can have new life. New life that begins now, and continues after we die. Resurrection comes after death. So living longer is not the answer. Living again is. When we live again, we will live forever and do not need to fear death ever again.

Living longer is not the goal – living again is!

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Don’t Let Satan Give You a Time-Out!

Many children are familiar with a “time out” This is used as a punishment to remove the person from something they would like to do and, help them see the behavior results in negative consequences such as missing out.

As a follower of Jesus, I want to do what is right and good. I read the Bible and talk with God. I make decisions to do right and work at being self-disciplined. I work at training myself to be whom God wants me to be. But like you, and everyone else around us, I sin. There are times when I allow the sinful nature in me to take over, where I do something that is clearly against God’s best for us.

Spring brings us to the holiday of Easter. This is much more than bunnies and eggs. This is the annual celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection for all people. Because of our sin, we deserved to die. That was how God created things. And then He arranged for a way out. God sent His own son to die in our place – to take our penalty for us. Good Friday is the reminder that Jesus, the only perfect human, died in our place. Easter is the celebration that when His friends went to the tomb, Jesus wasn’t there. He was alive! This resurrection gave Him the right to offer forgiveness and new life to all who believe in Him.

When we put our faith in Jesus, when we acknowledge our sin and repent of it, confessing it to God, Jesus forgives us. And we enter into a relationship with God! God now sees Jesus’ righteousness in us!

So, yes, we sin from time to time. Now what?

Often, we have this feeling that we need to put ourselves in a time-out. We feel need to wallow in our guilt for awhile before we can be in right relationship with God again. I don’t think I’m the only one who has felt this way. We think that to be sorry for our sin means we have to show it by spending time in our sorrowful guilt-ridden state.

But that is straight from the devil!

God does not want us to live in a state of guilt. Jesus has paid for our sin. God arranged this plan because He did not want us to live in guilt but to live in the joy of freedom. If Jesus already died on the cross, He already paid for that sin. The sin you are wallowing in is already paid for, already forgiven!

When we sin, we can immediately come to Jesus with it. As soon as the Holy Spirit reminds you that what you did was wrong, you can use that conviction to repent. The Holy Spirit is not pointing out your sin in order for you to feel bad, but in order for you to repent. So confess your sin, stop doing it, and get back on your feet.

Some of you might remember that old commercial that had this one iconic line: “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Well we may have fallen, but the Holy Spirit is already showing us we can get back up. Jesus is already reaching out a hand to lift us to our feet.

1 John 1: 9 tells us, “But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins an to cleanse us from all wickedness”.

This does not tell us we have to take a time-out. It says, confess and receive forgiveness. Receive the cleansing from Jesus, and get back on your feet. Serve Jesus again!

Yes, we sin, but we can confess and receive forgiveness immediately. We are then cleansed and ready to be of use to God again. This is the only way that I, and any other pastor, can stand up every Sunday and preach a sermon. It is because Jesus forgives all my sin of that week and that morning. He cleanses immediately so I can preach with confidence.

Do not allow Satan to put you in a time-out. Receive Christ Jesus’ cleansing forgiveness and get on your feet immediately, serving God again.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe