Living with Life in God’s New Order in View
“Fight the fine fight of the faith, get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called.”—1 Tim. 6:12.
1. Why would it be foolish to begin living for the pleasures of this world?
FROM what we have considered in the previous article, how foolish, how insensible we would be if we began to live our lives for worldly associations, pleasure of drink, opportunities to toy with sexual immorality or the illicit satisfaction of fornication and adultery! Why should we displease Jehovah when, by our conduct, we can honor him and prove the Devil a liar? Why cause debilitation of health by these abuses, possibly contracting some loathsome disease that may bring early death, when we can contribute to our physical and mental health by clean living? Why risk being cut off from the Christian congregation and even everlasting cutting off in death, for a few moments of ill-gotten selfish pleasure, when we have before us everlasting life in God’s new order as the reward for those who maintain integrity?
2. What Scriptural principle governs how our conduct turns out, and what must we do if we want life in God’s new order?
2 Yes, why? There is no sensible reason for us to do so, no matter how we look at it. It depends upon what we want. The Bible is very clear: What we sow is what we reap. If we sow to the flesh, we will have to reap the pains and sorrows that come with the momentary fleshly satisfaction, and in the end, death. In contrast, if we sow with a view to the spirit, we have the benefits of a clean life now and everlasting life as our sure hope ahead. (Gal. 6:7, 8) The question before each of us is: For what are we living? If we want life in God’s new order, we must live for it now!
3. How does Paul describe some in his day who turned aside from the Christian course?
3 Paul, at Philippians 3:17-19, encouraged fellow Christians to imitate him and others who were following a faithful course, but then, in warning, stated: “For there are many, I used to mention them often but now I mention them also with weeping, who are walking as the enemies of the torture stake of the Christ, and their finish is destruction, and their god is their belly, and their glory consists in their shame, and they have their minds upon things on the earth.”
4. If we want life in God’s new order, on what should our minds be focused?
4 The point is, Where are our minds? Where are the interests of our hearts? What are we pursuing? We must be realistic. Paul, at 1 Timothy 6:19, gave orders to those who were pursuing earthly interests and desires, that they should ‘safely treasure up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.’ Yes, the real life! That is what we want to get a firm hold on! This means living for God’s new order and not for the satisfaction of fleshly desires. Romans 8:6 puts it well: “For the minding of the flesh means death, but the minding of the spirit means life and peace.”
5. How did Moses set the right example in living for the New Order?
5 Moses set a fine example in living with God’s new order in view. He chose “to be ill-treated with the people of God rather than to have the temporary enjoyment of sin, because he esteemed the reproach of the Christ as riches greater than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked intently toward the payment of the reward.” (Heb. 11:25, 26) Do we, like Moses, reject the “temporary enjoyment of sin,” but, rather, look “intently toward the payment of the reward” in God’s new order, even though at times we are reproached and looked down upon? Even though we have to discipline our bodies and bring our fleshly desires into subjection? Yes, even though we have to exert ourselves vigorously to keep strong spiritually?
6. In keeping free from the practices of this world, are we as Christians really depriving ourselves of anything of value?
6 Of course, being a Christian and keeping oneself free from the practices of this world will make one unpopular with the world. Others may say we are depriving ourselves, denying ourselves needlessly. But, are we really losing out on anything of real value? No, we are actually gaining everything! We are not depriving ourselves of anything we really need in order to have true happiness. The Christian way of life is not a sad, unhappy life. Our greatest joy comes in pleasing our heavenly Father. Moreover, when we serve Jehovah, we spare ourselves the awful pain and sorrow that come with disobedience. Why should we go through life looking for “kicks” and thrills, only to suffer tormenting pains of conscience, knowing full well that such things do not bring real happiness, but only lead to death. Even retribution pays off with many hard experiences while we still live.
7. How will faith in God’s promises help us in living for God’s new order?
7 When you get right down to it, What can compare with life in God’s new order? At present we can get only mental glimpses of what life will be like then, but how these create within us a longing to be there! The question is, Do you see yourself there? If you do, in faith, this will be a great help in resisting the desires of the flesh. You will not want anything to jeopardize your prospects of being there in reality. Remember, faith is defined as “the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” Consider, too, that faith involves belief not only that God is, but “that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Heb. 11:1, 6) Our hope of living in God’s new order should be so strong in our minds that we can picture ourselves being right there, not presumptuously, but certainly with a strong, fervent hope to be there by Jehovah’s undeserved kindness. But, again, what do we want? For what are we living? If it is with God’s new order in view, there is just no comparison with the frills and thrills of this empty world.
MAN CREATED TO ENJOY LIFE
8. Why can it be said that God created human creatures to enjoy life?
8 When Jehovah created man and his helpmate woman, he did not purpose that they should live austere lives without pleasure. To the contrary, God purposed that Adam and Eve, as well as all their descendants, should enjoy living, and that is what God has purposed to be the case when the whole earth becomes a paradise under his kingdom. Consider for a moment the grand conditions and surroundings in the Garden of Eden that contributed to the pleasure and contentment of the first human pair. Their bodies were so constructed as to perceive sensations transmitted by the nervous system. Food from the plants of the ground were created with great variety of tastes and smells, and the tongue and nose were designed to be able to savor these. Eating to satisfaction would be thoroughly enjoyable and not just a thrice daily chore to fill the belly. The ears would receive the melodious sounds of the earth, including the words of communication produced by the organs of speech from fellow human creatures. The eyes would perceive reflections of the beauty around them in all the colors of the spectrum. Jehovah wanted man to see and appreciate the infinite beauty and design of his creation.
9. Why would man not need to venture beyond the limits set for him in satisfying all proper desires?
9 And then to add to man’s delight, Jehovah made it possible for him to feel, to enjoy the delicate sense of touch. Yes, in their relationship with one another, and all things round about them, Jehovah made everything so that all the senses and proper desires of man would be perfectly satisfied. There would be no frustrations, no lack of fulfillment, and yet no perversion of these senses by an improper use of them. Procreation by sexual relations within the bounds of marriage would be pleasurable, drawing the man and his wife closer both physically and emotionally. Jehovah gave man a brain with which to reason; he could appreciate, he could contemplate, he could draw conclusions. He was a moral creature. Having the qualities of God built within him, man was truly created in the image of God, his Creator.—Gen. 1:26-31; 2:7-15.
10. While the first man and woman lost the right to live in paradise, what has God purposed for the earth?
10 But while human creatures today are far from those perfect conditions and that perfect setting into which the first human pair was placed when created, we must remember that God’s purpose for the earth did not change because some of his spirit and earthly sons rebelled against his sovereignty. Jehovah has arranged through his Son Christ Jesus to restore paradise to this earth and to give life therein to any of Adam’s offspring who show that they would be obedient there and would not be misfits. Jesus said: “I have come that they might have life and might have it in abundance.”—John 10:10.
SEEING GOD’S NEW ORDER BY THE EYE OF FAITH
11. In God’s new order, what will the elimination of human imperfection and death make possible?
11 What an indescribable free gift it will be to have perfect health and true happiness in God’s new order! No more will sin war against our hearts and minds. Instead, there will be perfect control of our faculties, both physical and mental; and yet God will see to it that every normal and proper desire of man will be satisfied. No more will our strength, mental agility and endurance ebb away. No more will a lifetime of knowledge, skills and experiences be poured out in death, when the “golden bowl” of the brain gets crushed back to the dust and the person is no more. (Eccl. 12:6) Instead of our seeing people go into death, what a thrill it will be to welcome back from the grave our dead loved ones who are in God’s memory, yes, the thousands of millions who will stand up to life again! What a pleasure it will be to teach them God’s purposes, as they tell us of their ancient experiences! Would you exchange the privilege of associating with these, including all the faithful men back to Abel, for worldly associations now? Never may that happen!
12, 13. What provision has Jehovah already made, and what blessings can we confidently expect in God’s new order?
12 In God’s new order, what a delight it will be to worship and serve our God in spirit and in truth, to learn of him every day, to sing praises to his name, to marvel at his creation, to see his purposes fulfilled, to see his principles in action to accomplish good! There will be no end of things to learn as he instructs us. By his Son Christ Jesus he has already established a perfect government for the blessing of all mankind. Under its rule our hunger and thirst for righteousness will be fully satisfied. No more injustices and inequities. (Isa. 9:6, 7) What a pleasure it will be to take another step each day not only in developing our minds and abilities, but also in using these to perfect this earth and to turn it into a wonderful paradise home!
13 Yes, the earth itself will be given to the children of men for their inheritance. Look where you will then, from east to west, from north to south, you will see that the earth is but one grand paradise. Its plains, its valleys, its hills and mountains, yes, its seas will all be under the supervision of man. Under God’s guidance, what a delight it will be to work with our hands and mental faculties to make this earth into the grand home the Creator purposed for man! Would you trade this happy prospect for a night of drunken carousing? How foolish one would be if one did!
14, 15. What fine privileges will man enjoy with respect to the plants and animals on earth?
14 What enormous possibilities are ahead! See with your mind’s eye what these are. How wonderful it will be to look after the plants and animals, as God originally assigned man to do! The vast variety of plants will provide man with the choicest food, fibers for clothing, building materials and other beneficial products. There will be unending things of interest to learn about the earth’s plant life. How fascinating it is to watch the plants grow, to see the different ways they propagate, how the seeds are scattered! We marvel at how Jehovah has made each one.
15 And the animals—what a pleasure it will be to look after them, to study them, to work with them, to enjoy them! How natural it is from the days of one’s youth to like the animals! We go to zoos or special parks to see them today, but then we will be able to see them in their natural habitats. We will know their ways. We will not want to abuse or misuse them. As we see them at play and building their dens or nests, as we see them raising their young, how we will marvel at the handiwork of Jehovah, the great Creator!
16. What are some fields of knowledge that can be explored, and what must we do in order to share this inheritance?
16 And, as you develop your own inheritance, your neighbors will be doing the same. In fact, all the inhabitants of the earth will be your neighbors. And what opportunities you will have to love your neighbor as yourself! Love will be the motivating force and thus there will not be any desire to do harm to others, rather, to bestow a blessing. So many good things will be going on in the new system of things that there just will not be any room for monotony. No one will be lazy. As we teach others, there will be unending new things to learn and to enjoy. (Isa. 11:9) Think of the fields to explore. Advanced knowledge of physics and chemistry will enable man to utilize fully the resources of this earth, and this without the pollution and disposal problems that face this present generation. Architects, planners and builders will be able to use their talents to the full. There will be time, too, to perfect skills in what today are termed the fine arts, and to enjoy these fully: The finest music, with no taints of immorality, Babylonish religion or mythology; paintings or sculptures that have meaning and reflect skill, rather than products of twisted minds. But, now, would we forfeit all this for a night of fornication or toying with sexual immorality? Some have! But that is not what the faithful servant of God wants! He knows that Jehovah God will not be mocked, and to live in God’s new order there must be a hating of what is bad as well as a loving of what is good and righteous.
17, 18. (a) Why can we not relax our vigilance even for a moment in pursuing our goal of life in God’s new order? (b) What did Jesus mean when advising that a part of the body should be torn away from us if it makes us stumble?
17 We must keep proving our love and devotion to Jehovah in the face of all that the Devil can bring upon us, and this despite the weaknesses of the flesh. We must keep walking in the narrow and cramped way that leads to everlasting life. We cannot afford for one moment to get off this road and on to the broad road with all the millions who are walking on it to their death.—Matt. 7:13, 14.
18 What does it matter if we have to tear out an eye or cut off a hand, symbolically speaking, if they are making us stumble, in order to reap everlasting life in the New Order? Jesus warned that anyone married who kept on looking at a woman, so as to have passion for her, had really committed adultery with her in his heart. After that he said that one should tear out an eye if this eye made him stumble or that the hand should be cut off if the hand caused one to stumble. Better that this be done, arriving in the new system without these offending members, as it were, if they would cause the whole body to be pitched into Gehenna to be forever destroyed. Hence, do our eyes at times gravitate in the direction of immoral ways and attitudes? Is there an appetite for immoral information, whether from books or movies, or do we look at those of the opposite sex with immoral motives? Then drastic changes have to be made, comparable to tearing the eye out of the body and throwing it away. Does the hand incline to get into the wrong places at times, doing wrong things? Then it should be immobilized when faced with temptation, just as though a surgeon had severed it from the body.—Matt. 5:27-30.
19. How did Paul set the example in running the race for everlasting life?
19 Paul put it another way at 1 Corinthians 9:24-27: “Do you not know that the runners in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may attain it. Moreover, every man taking part in a contest exercises self-control in all things. Now they, of course, do it that they may get a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible one. Therefore, the way I am running is not uncertainly; the way I am directing my blows is so as not to be striking the air; but I pummel my body and lead it as a slave, that, after I have preached to others, I myself should not become disapproved somehow.”
20. What provisions are made to help us keep pressing forward to our goal of life in God’s new order?
20 If we are truly reaching out for life in God’s new order, we must prove our sincerity by learning the divine law now and living by it. We cannot fool God, and it does no good to fool ourselves. We must follow through without hypocrisy. We should watch ourselves and the company we keep. Our associates should be those who are also working to be in the New Order with us. We should prove our sincerity by our devotion in the preaching of the good news, by our personal study, by our attendance at the meetings. Yes, the service of God should fill our whole life, and then we will not be diverting any energy, any machinations of heart, to satisfying the desires of the flesh. We will indeed be living for God’s new order.—Col. 3:23-25.
ENDURANCE AND PERSEVERANCE NECESSARY
21, 22. (a) Why is endurance important if we are to reach our goal? (b) Why should we not feel discouraged if the obstacles are many? Who will help us?
21 We of course, have not as yet arrived there, but we know it is very near. We know, too, that the times in which we are living now are very difficult. Not only do we have to put up a hard fight today, but tomorrow will require the same. In other words, it requires endurance. Jesus said: “By endurance on your part you will acquire your souls.” James comforts us with these words: “Happy is the man that keeps on enduring trial, because on becoming approved he will receive the crown of life, which Jehovah promised to those who continue loving him.”—Luke 21:19; Jas. 1:12.
22 At times we may feel it is impossible. The odds may seem overwhelming. We have temptations, we have opposition, we have troubles, we have sicknesses, we have all the things common to imperfect men, and occasionally all these seem to cross our path, even coming all at once, so we feel that we just cannot make it. From the human standpoint, we would be helpless, yes, hopeless. But notice how Jesus answered his apostles when it became apparent to them that getting into the Kingdom would be very difficult, seemingly impossible: “They became still more astounded and said to him: ‘Who, in fact, can be saved?’ Looking straight at them Jesus said: ‘With men it is impossible, but not so with God, for all things are possible with God.”’
23. (a) What did Jesus have to say about the reward to those who keep following his steps closely? (b) For God to help us, what must we be doing?
23 It was then that Peter was moved to state: “‘Look! we left all things and have been following you.’ Jesus said: ‘Truly I say to you men, No one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the good news who will not get a hundredfold now in this period of time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, with persecutions, and in the coming system of things everlasting life.”’ (Mark 10:26-30) Yes, with men it is impossible, but all things are possible with God. We can make it, we will make it into the New Order with God’s help! We can reap the reward of everlasting life, if we want to. But, he will not force us; he will not lead us against our will; neither will he put his spirit upon us to bless us if we are inclined toward doing what is wrong. We must be heading in the right direction for his spirit to boost us along. We must keep studying his Word in order that we might know how to direct our steps if we are to walk in the way that leads to life. Note the admonition at Psalm 119:144: “The righteousness of your reminders is to time indefinite. Make me understand, that I may keep living.” Like David we can have full confidence in Jehovah. He said at Psalm 16:8: “I have placed Jehovah in front of me constantly. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be made to totter.”
24. In summary, what can we not live for, if we want life in God’s new order?
24 Let us not lose out in the race for life in God’s new order. Let us not sell our birthright, as it were, for a mess of pottage. (Heb. 12:16, 17) For what are we living? Worldly friends? None of these can help us to gain life, but they can bring us into death! Are we living for the pleasures of drink? Alcohol, or, for that matter, drugs or other stimulants, can help us to escape everyday reality, but not the reality of Armageddon! Are we living for opportunities to toy with immorality, to commit fornication and adultery? Remember, it is the harlot who tempts with the words: “Stolen waters themselves are sweet,” but the proverb concludes by saying that the one who succumbs to her “has not come to know that those impotent in death are there.”—Prov. 9:13-18.
25. Why is it important to live now for God’s new order?
25 How clear it is, then, that we cannot live for those things condemned by Jehovah if we want to get a firm hold on the “real life”! We must live for God’s new order now, if we expect to live in God’s new order then, to enjoy everlastingly the blessings that Jehovah our God has in store for those who truly love him. Yes, with every vigilant and diligent care, live your life now as if your future life depended upon it—because it truly does!
[Picture on page 77]
Keeping your mind on the hope of living in God’s new order helps you to resist fleshly desires and to get a firm hold on everlasting life