Transitory Present

by Frank Jones


For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 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)

There is in the life of every believer the ordinary stresses and pressures of living in this world. These would include the common ailments and groanings of life; sorrow, death, financial worries, cares and anxieties over one's home and family, disease, etc. Lost people have these infirmities. Once a person becomes a child of God there are the additional afflictions that threaten to crush us; persecutions, loss of job due to being a believer, mockings, reproaches, loss of material goods, the torment of our sin nature, the spirit of this age, our warring lusts, etc.

Our strength to stand comes from the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The aspect that I am referring is - looking at the things which are not seen. There comes into our inner man from the Spirit of God, like a flood, the love of God when we continually meditate on the beauty, loveliness, and glory of our Savior through His Word. Christian, is this not worth taking up the sword of the Spirit and the helmet of salvation to fight for! Is this not the prize to be had? Is not this the good fight of faith?

We miss the mark when mentally we fix our gaze on the seen; thereby over-valuing the temporal things of this life over the infinite worth of Christ. John Owen exhorts us in this area. Let us take these words to heart and may the glory of His countenance be upon our faces this day.

And unless we can arrive unto a fixed judgment that all things here below are transitory and perishing, reaching only unto the outward man, or the body, (perhaps unto the killing of it), - that the best of them have nothing that is truly substantial or abiding in them, - that there are other things, wherein we have an assured interest, that are incomparably better than they, and above them, - it is impossible but that we must spend our lives in fears, sorrows, and distractions. One real view of the glory of Christ, and of our own concernment therein, will give us a full relief in this matter. For what are all the things of this life? What is the good or evil of them in comparison of an interest in this transcendent glory? When we have due apprehensions hereof, - when our minds are possessed with thoughts of it, - when our affections reach out after its enjoyments, - let pain, and sickness, and sorrows, and fears, and dangers, and death, say what they will, we shall have in readiness wherewith to combat with them and overcome them; and that on this consideration, that they are all outward, transitory, and passing away, whereas our minds are fixed on those things which are eternal, and filled with incomprehensible glory. (John Owen, The Glory of Christ, 279)