Do you ever wish that “then” was right now? You know, that Jesus would come quickly and what we will experience then with Him would be what we are experiencing right now. Oh, how I long for that day and the days that will follow for all eternity. If I have spiked your interest in a life in eternity, I am guessing that you are either curious about what it will be like when Christ comes or you may be wondering how you are going to make it until then! In either camp, you are in good company, and there is a new book that you may be interested in knowing more about. Dr. Stephen Witmer, pastor and author of the new release, Eternity Changes Everything: How to Live Now in Light of Eternity, breaks down what will happen in our future in eternity and what we can do as we wait for eternity.
The Bottom Line
There are few things on this earth that make me more excited than spending eternity with Jesus; so you can imagine I was excited to read this book. I enjoyed Dr. Witmer’s writing style. He writes in a personal manner that seems like he is sitting in a coffee shop with you or in your family room for some evening conversation. This book is very readable and written for a reader at any level of faith.
Dr. Witmer begins the first several chapters covering our future. As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ is coming a second time and that all things will be new in His coming–no death, no pain, no tears (other than tears of joy!) Revelation 21:1-4 ESV. So this is really cool, right? But reading on in Scripture we find that not only is everything made new, but God will dwell with His people on earth. Witmer also covers eternal life as the seed to an unending life that is only available through faith. This is the gift we receive when we become a Christian; it bridges our current biological life to our resurrected, future life. In these chapters, Dr. Witmer covers what other books may do as well or even in more depth. However, this is not the main focus of the book, but it provides a foretaste of what is to come. I guess if this book was a meal, these first five chapters give you a preview of dessert before the main course.
In the second half of the book, Dr. Witmer focuses on living eternally now with Christ’s future coming in sight. This is really the meat of this book. Dr. Witmer covers several areas of consideration for this section including dealing with restlessness of waiting for eternity, being patient while waiting, living in the now as a future citizen of heaven, and needing this world less while loving this world more. He compares life in the now while focusing on the future as a balancing act, similar to walking on a tightrope. This really was an effective comparison for me. I’m not a tightrope walker, but I feel the delicate balance needed between my present life and future in eternity in my faith walk.
I found Dr. Witmer’s content excellent and informative in this section. He had some excellent points and ideas to consider as you wait and live in a world that is not your final stop. However, I found myself wanting more depth to these concepts and more application. I am by no means saying that this book was inadequate. I am just saying I wanted more of the excellent main course! Here were a few of the quotes I found meaningful:
Look for reminders that then is better than now. (Loc 778 )
Allow God to use pain and inconvenience of this life to help us focus away from this life and onto the next life. (Loc 782)
Live out what you believe–live as though the new creation will come. (Loc 791)
Jesus is the only answer to our failures and our only hope to our growth (Loc 914)
Overall, Dr. Witmer has excellent points and content for those who are waiting for eternity. He is a very readable writer who will appeal to many. However, I wanted just a little more of the main course. I give this book four of five stars.
Our view of the future affects how we feel and act in the present. Stephen Witmer excites us about where the world is heading, gives certainty about where we as individuals are heading, and thrills us about how eternity really does change everything in our daily lives. If you are worried about your future… or if your future doesn’t seem to make any difference to your now… or if you simply want to get more excited about where you will spend eternity… read this book!
Paperback: 128 pages Publisher: The Good Book Company (February 1, 2014) Language: English ISBN-10: 1909559911 ISBN-13: 978-1909559912 Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.5 inches Retail Price: $12.99
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Stephen Witmer grew up in Monson, Maine. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and the University of Cambridge (Ph. D. in New Testament) and taught New Testament studies at the University of Cambridge and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary before becoming pastor of Pepperell Christian Fellowship in June of 2008. His prior ministry experience includes serving as an intern under Dr. John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stephen continues to teach New Testament at Gordon-Conwell. He has written Eternity Changes Everything: How to live now in the light of your future, The Good Book Guide to Jonah, and numerous articles that have appeared in publications such as Bible Study Magazine, Reformation 21, and the Gospel Coalition website. Stephen and Emma live in Pepperell and have three children: Samuel, Annie, and Henry.