By Travis Biller
Pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church, Elizabethton
Focal Passage: Proverbs 23:17-21, 29-35
In his letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (I Corinthians 15:32b). He was writing to the church to help them understand the importance of the resurrection of Christ.
Without the resurrection of the dead, there is no forgiveness of sins and there is no motivation to suffer in service to God. Why suffer if this is the only life we know? The whole verse says, “If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’ ” Paul was not encouraging sinful living, only helping the church see the consequences of their faulty doctrine.
Tragically today, many live by such a creed. The reality is that there is nothing new under the sun. As Solomon is giving guidance to his son, he wants him to understand that he will meet people who give no thought to what comes next. They live for today and will seek to entice him to do the same. If this life is all we know, then (according to this view) the best we can do is maximize the pleasure we experience.
However, by way of warning Solomon writes, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:17-18).
Solomon knows that there will be times when serving God will become hard and he will become frustrated. In his frustration he will be tempted to abandon serving God and live only for himself. The sinners Solomon refers to live lives of self-indulgence, not giving thought to the “hereafter.” Their self-indulgence is seen in their drunkenness and gluttony. But in their greed for pleasure, they will be brought to complete ruin.
The Bible says that, “… it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Because of the reality of God’s judgment on sinners, Peter warns, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God?” (II Peter 11-12).
Instead of living a life of self-indulgence, Solomon wants his son to “live in fear of the Lord all the day.” One day all people will stand before a holy God and give an account of their life to Him. On that day it will be revealed who they lived for. They either lived for themselves or they lived for God. The drunkards and gluttons demonstrated through their actions that they had no fear of God’s judgment, and therefore lived only for themselves.
However, for those who fear God, living a life of self-indulgence in not an option. The Bible says, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:20). What we do with our lives and our bodies matters much to God.
Jesus redeemed us from sin to live holy lives in dedicated service to Him. Getting drunk and destroying our bodies through gluttony are not an option for the disciple of Christ.
Our bodies belong to Christ. Let us offer them to Him in holiness, looking forward to the day we hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. … Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:23).