A flower displays its beauty and fades away. An animal lives its life and breathes no more. The years of a tree are many and they end in a moment. But there is hope for a tree when it is cut down, that it will sprout again. Walk through the woods and see — it is one of the most amazing sights, the tender shoot of an oak or maple rising from a weather-beaten stump, the leaves huge on the infant tree. There is an end to everyone’s life, the final barrier which no amount of genius or grit can overcome — death. All will one day be remembered only by a name carved in polished granite, all their greatness laid to rest. The rich and poor, the good and the evil, all go there.
There is hope for a man that he will live again. That is the promise upon which all human life depends. That is the certainty men once lived with: that God has bound himself to give life to those who live by the standard he has put in their conscience. In today’s world, men live recklessly as though their life will end at the grave. Deeds of deceit and treachery are found in those who scorn the promise and live, as they say, only for today. This is not evidence that God has broken his promise, but that men no longer believe the promise. Yet for those who live according to their conscience, the hope of life burns in their hearts.
Though a man dies and he does not rise throughout all time until the heavens be no more, the day will come when he will rise. All men will be called forth from the grave. Those who did good deeds will enter life and those who did evil deeds will go to death again. For there is a second life and there is a second death. One day the measure of time itself will cease. For time has no purpose when there are no endings. Neither the second life nor the second death will ever end.
It was God’s mercy to mankind that he gave us specific directions on how to avoid the second death and enter the second life. These instructions were sealed in everyone’s conscience. Men and women who live according to their conscience, no matter what the pressure to compromise, show that they desire the favor of God rather than the favor of man. The choices of good and evil have eternal consequences.
Good and evil do not vary with the times, the nation’s mood, or its political system. God set the limits of morality in people’s consciences. When you go beyond those limits, you are guilty of breaking the everlasting covenant — his unchangeable standards. What are these unchanging standards?
They are everything individuals and societies need to maintain the security children require to grow up to be stable, responsible people. They provide for order and they encourage faithfulness. They are very simple: sexual relationships are to be confined to the marriage of a man and a woman. (Homosexuality is wicked — a cheap perversion of real love.) A woman is to desire her husband and a man is to rule over his wife. A woman is not to avoid the pain of childbirth. A man is to work hard for a living, not live off the labor of others. Human life is holy and the life of a murderer is to be taken from him, lest the value of all life be cheapened. Not only are these the standards for people’s actions, but for their attitudes. To approve of evil is no different from doing it yourself.
No one will ever be good enough to avoid the first death. All will be trapped in the first death, except the ones who belong to the Savior we talk so much about. For everyone has done things they knew were wrong during their lives. While one person has remorse over the ways he has hurt others and goes to every length to make it right and not do it again, another hardens his heart and rages against the bitter consequences of his choices.
Every person chooses to receive or reject the hope of the promise God has made to them. Those who ignore their conscience for the pleasures of immorality suffer from guilt, depression, anxiety, and inevitably, loneliness. And so it is for any other violation of what the Bible calls the everlasting covenant. This covenant is God’s promise to man. It binds God to raise men from the dead and give them everlasting life. It binds man to live by his conscience no matter what the pressures on him to conform or compromise.
Many of us were not those who valued God’s promise of eternal life. We exchanged the lasting comfort of a good conscience for the fleeting pleasures of sin. We found that we would do almost anything to be accepted. But we didn’t like the way we had become by breaking the everlasting covenant. Even though we wanted to change, we didn’t know how. The God of heaven heard our faint cries and brought us to his Son, Yahshua. He dwells among his people, in his community here on earth, the place where the lonely are put in loving, caring families.