Why these things pop on the radar, I don’t know. Well, actually I think I do, it’s the supernatural dynamic of illumination–the active agency of the Holy Spirit.
I’m hovering over a four word phrase I have never taken note of before. For many years, because it didn’t appear in the Bible translation I was reading. Then, it was just a single word found many times in the New Testament, the word “forever.” But for the past 7 years the ESV has been my translation of choice, and though I’ve read this phrase many times over those years, I don’t think I’ve ever really seen this phrase. Perhaps because it resides in the shadow of a much more familiar part of Scripture.
But this morning it pops. This morning it captures my attention and my imagination. This morning I’m chewing on “the day of eternity.”
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
(2Peter 3:17-18 ESV)
The day of eternity. Only time this phrase is found in the Scripture. Like I said, other translations render this combo of Greek words as “forever.” But looks like it’s more accurately translated as “the day of forever” or, the day of eternity.
Strikes me as a bit of an oxymoron, at first. What is it? A day? Or eternity? Yes!
And then, I consider there’s a sense in which we have already begun to live for forever. While our bodies are temporal, our souls are eternal. Our time on earth but the preparatory ground for our “untime” in eternity. What we do with Christ now dictating how we experience eternity on that day. To confess Him as Lord while we have breath, and to receive His finished work on the cross as payment for our great debt from sin now, allowing us to live in the promise of abiding in His presence forever. To reject Him now, a decision to suffer apart from Him forever.
And then, as believers, determining, while we can, to build on the foundation of our salvation and invest in the kingdom, in the sure hope of realizing the eternal return of treasure stored up for us in heaven. But to play games with our calling now, to not live for the King, will be to have our earthly efforts burned up, to suffer loss, yet still to be saved “but only as through fire” (1Cor. 3:11-15). So yes, we are, in a sense, living now for eternity.
But this morning, I’m reminded that there is coming a day –the day of eternity. That there will be a starting point when “now” becomes “then.” When our context for life will shift from being acutely aware of the temporal to being consumed by the eternal. When we’ll forget about time, have no need of a calendar, no longer be concerned about planning for retirement (or wondering how we’ll get through retirement), and have no desire to consider what legacy we might leave. Because then, in that day, we ain’t leaving! It will be time without end. The day of eternity.
How different will that day be? I can only imagine.
So knowing this beforehand, writes Peter, take care! Don’t be carried away by the world’s allure and the error perpetuated by lawless people. Stand fast, and hold tightly to the truths and promises you have come to know and believe.
And grow. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Don’t stagnate. Don’t settle for autopilot. But grow.
And that, for His glory.
For His glory now. For His glory at the day of eternity. For His glory throughout eternity.