We have been dealing with the biblical instruction regarding money. (156) This is particularly important in the Christmas season because it would be a sad travesty if we used the season in which we are to celebrate the birth of the Savior to worship at the altar of the Green God. The issue of worship is the issue of trust and we have already seen that God has promised eternal life to those who trust exclusively in Him for the promise. But what does this mean in practical terms?
Let's begin with a consideration of what the promise is all about. What does it mean to have eternal life? The answer is to be found in the reality that the Bible says men are only significantly concerned with three things. First, they have a very definite commitment to physical well-being. Eternal life, then, at its very least, would include some provision for sustenance for the physical body. This is the basic reason for the physical resurrection from the dead and the possession of an eternal body that is not subject to mortality. It also explains why the vision of eternity included a city in which a vast river flows with trees of fruits on both of its banks. Eternal life includes physical provisions for a physical body.
Second, eternal life has to do with the soul; man's emotional well-being. Emotional well-being is directly tied in Scripture to the quality of relationships between persons. The epitome of the promise of eternal life in this regard is a active, relationship with God as Daddy. The Scriptures are very clear that a fundamental aspect of eternal life is having a real and workable relationship between God and man. This is the reason the New Jerusalem is pictured in the Scriptures as a place where everyone loves everyone and sin (which is breaches in relationships) is no longer. Eternal life includes life for the soul through the forgiveness of sins and the establishment of a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
Third, eternal life has to do with the spirit. Man's spirit is his energizer. This means that he is task-oriented and derives a real sense of contribution from the things he can do. For man to have life in his spirit, he must have a sense that he is significant and that he has a contribution to make. Because the Gospel is that God loved us enough to sacrifice His Son for us, we have to be significant. To have the God of the universe die on our behalf makes us important! And once we have believed in His love, He gives us gifts of the Spirit to guide us into tasks that are meaningful and contributory to the well-being of others. To have eternal life in the spirit means to have a strong confidence in God's personal love and a personal commitment to God's assigned tasks.
Now can you see why money is so deceptive? It's the only thing that seems to be able to promise what God has promised. Money can buy the best physical provisions; it makes people want to maintain good relationships with us; and it appears to make us important. Beware: there is really only one God and He's not green. So, in practical terms, we trust either in God or in money. We cannot have it both ways.