- Eldon Peterson
Does Your Life have Eternal Viability?
I have worked in the Center Block area of downtown Logan for a dozen years. The last couple years have been marked by “razing and rebuilding”. Everything from redesigning Center Street to include a gateway arch, to removing the Emporium buildings for the new Center Block plaza.
While some may push for preservation of what has been, others are looking to what could be. Both voices have their place in preserving and growing a city. In the case of the Emporium and the old city library, city leaders voted for their removal partly because they determined that they were not economically viable.
Economic viability determines if a project is worth doing. To not be economically viable does not necessarily mean that it could not be done, but rather that it is unlikely to be capable of producing a profit. Hence, Logan City chose to tear down the old Sears building to make way for a new library, and the Emporium to make way for a public open space.
The determination of viability applies to more than cities and buildings; it also applies to the way we live our lives. Is there eternal viability in how we are living? Scripture tells us that without receiving the forgiveness that Christ brings, our lives are not eternally viable; they are not profitable and cannot achieve for us the eternal life that we need. Therefore, as the gospel declares, our lives need to be razed in order to be rebuilt.
Jesus was born, lived, died, and was resurrected because we have no eternal viability in our lives apart from what Christ has done for us. Why? Because the “bad news” is that, “you are dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) Yet, the “good news” is that, “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” (2:4-6)
Just as it is foolish to invest in a project that has no economic viability, it is also foolish to not consider the eternal viability of a life lived without God. It is critical for us to consider if such a life can offer us the return that we need. It is shortsighted to follow the “eat, drink and be merry” philosophy to life because it is not eternally viable; it cannot offer us the eternal hope we need!
Paul describes our plight using the imagery of us being dead in our sins. Though we presently have physical life, unless we are born again, we remain spiritually dead due to our sin. A change is needed to resuscitate that which is dead. The old needs to be razed, or as Paul says in Romans, “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.” (Romans 6:6–8)
Just as an old building must be razed to construct a new one, so too must the old life be razed, nailed to the cross, for us to receive the new life that Christ died to give us. Our old life is a crumbling foundation that cannot support a new building. We need the sure foundation of Jesus Christ our Lord to give us the hope for a future beyond this life, “But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.” (Romans 6:22)
Having been set free from sins that once enslaved us we are now able to have the assurance of eternal life. Romans 6 concludes saying, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (23) Unless this life of sin is razed in Christ, we cannot build the new life that promises us eternal life. We are fools to invest our lives in that which is not eternally viable when what we need is eternal life.