Time is one thing about which we as youth seem to think so little. We are young; there is so much time left in our lives. But stop a moment, think, do we really know what time is? It is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and other similar terms. We can think of a time to get up in the morning, lie down in the evening, time to eat and drink, time to go to school or to work, or a time to go to church. But do we still know what time is? Genesis 1:1says this; “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Yes, that was the origin of time; it is a creature created by God just as well as the light, the firmament, and all else that God created on those first six days. In fact, time is so much a part of creation that to it we are bound. It governs and rules our entire life. One simply cannot escape its clutches for it controls-all that we do and all the creation in which we live.
Since time is a creature it also was affected by the fall into sin by our first parents, Adam and Eve. As the rest of the creation came under the curse, so also did time. The result, of course, was, disastrous for man. Since the fall, everything that man attempts to accomplish is foolish and empty, for time brings all man’s work to destruction. Psalter #247, a versification of Psalm 90, says it this way: “Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away; they fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day.” That is right, irresistibly man is carried by this stream to the grave; and all of his mighty works perish with him.
We know that there is a purpose in all that God created, time included. There arises then the question, What is the purpose of time? Certainly it is not an endless succession of moments. No, time has an end, but that end is not a mere arbitrary stop at some arbitrary moment in the misty future. Rather, time works for the end of time, that is, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the clouds of heaven. When that goal is reached, time shall be no more. All that God has determined to do in His counsel will have been realized when this end comes. However, in order to obtain that goal, time must also be redeemed from the curse which God placed upon the creation. This is necessary, for in the world of sin time is useless and vain; in fact, it is man’s enemy, dragging him remorselessly to the grave. Therefore, time can only serve the purpose of God and point towards the day of Christ’s coming again, because Christ has redeemed time. As the redeemer of time He rules over all God’s works and therefore is Lord- over time as well. He came into this world, our time, worked and ministered, set up the cross, suffered, died, and rose again. In that glorious work He redeemed time, for He came to atone for sin, to bear the burden of God’s curse, to pay here the penalty for man’s transgression. Thus Christ made time to serve the purpose of God. As Lord of God’s creation He rules time and history in such a way that the purpose of God is accomplished and time comes to its end in the return of Christ from heaven.
By this time you are perhaps asking yourselves, “To where is this all leading?” Look at it this way. We are redeemed by the blood of Christ; He saved us from our sins. But we still live in this world. Before eternity is ushered in we are called to live in time for a while. While we are living in the course of time we are called to redeem the time. The apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15, 16says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” This is the call to walk a sanctified life, the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new man. If we do not redeem the time, then we live as the world lives and we are carried by this stream of time merely as creatures of time. The muddy stream with its hopeless current pushes us relentlessly to the inevitable end of destruction. Living this way we seek only those things which time has to offer. In other words, we divorce time from the purpose of God. Having divorced time from its purpose, our life also loses its purpose and we are caught in a whirlpool, a swirling eddy of hopelessness. Take a hard look at this truth as you drive through the neighborhood or listen to the conversation of fellow-workers. What do you see and hear? This: the ungodly are completely selfish, working only for a bigger home, a new boat, another car, a longer vacation, a better tennis racket or set of golf clubs, etc. Now none .of these items are wrong in themselves; but they are objects of time which constitute the sole goal of almost everyone. However, since this is their goal there is always a sense of emptiness, of not having achieved what life is all about because time erodes these things and carries them away. Nothing lasts, they despair, and cry for more and more to fill an empty void. This we must guard against, for as children of God we are going to be most miserable if we do not lift up our eyes above the world. Our flesh wars against us for the temporal things which are objects of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life: We must seek the kingdom of heaven as pilgrims in a strange country seek a better country, yea, an heavenly country where our citizenship resides.
Covenant youth, your strength and my strength is in Christ Who calls us to redeem the time. This implies, in the first place, that we see and believe the works of God as He performs them in Christ. Then we can observe the fact that Christ reigns supreme over time and that He uses it to serve the purpose of God. Time will no longer be a puzzle but we will understand it because we can see it correctly in the light of God’s Word. Secondly, having seen that Christ is Lord over all, we know that He will bring also time to an end in order to usher in the everlasting kingdom. Then the pleasures and treasures of this present world will lose their appeal and we will long for that new heaven and new earth where God shall tabernacle with His people forever. Finally, motivated by the love of God in our hearts we will live a life of gratitude, using God’s time unto the purpose for which it was created. With our eyes fixed upon the return of Christ we will utilize every moment of time to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The cause of God and the welfare of His church will always be foremost in our mind, that cause being the preaching of the gospel of salvation, for God through the preaching in the course of time gathers, defends, and preserves His church. Therefore, all of our labors will be directed to God’s kingdom. When we work, it will not be for the purpose of satisfying ourselves with all the pleasures of the earth, but that we and our children may be instructed in the truth of God’s Word. We will attend church because that church is our connection to Christ, our contact with the kingdom into which we presently shall enter. Consequently, this redeeming of the time, this seeking of God’s kingdom, covers the whole of our life. Always we desire to walk antithetically as children of light, that is, contrary to the world of sin in which we are called to live for a short while. Walking in this way we walk in hope of the end of time when we shall be fully redeemed.
This kind of walk calls for wisdom. We must walk as a wise man walks, not as a fool. A fool, you understand, is one who knows reality but does not walk accordingly. This is true both naturally and spiritually. In this case reality is that time is under the curse of God, but redeemed by Christ, Who will bring it to an end and usher in the day of the everlasting kingdom. This reality the fool knows but ignores. He knows that the world is filled with death and decay, that sooner or later he too must die, that the creation in which he lives cannot last forever. But does he live according to that knowledge? No, rather, he adjusts his life to fit his own ideas. He preaches the social gospel in a vain effort to make this world the best of all places. He labors to build a heaven here on the earth, thinking that his house shall stand forever. He lives entirely for himself, sating himself with the carnal pleasures of this present time. But no matter how intelligent he talks, no matter how he thinks he can solve the problems of the world, he is a fool.
The wise, on the other hand, are wise because wisdom is the gift of God’s grace which Christ earned for them by His obedient death on the cross. They know reality, are able to see the work of God in time and realize that it is not this world that counts, but the kingdom of heaven. So what does the child of God do but adjust his life according to that knowledge. This knowledge is our knowledge whereby we redeem the time, walking as children of the light in the hope of Christ’s return.
Referring back to Ephesians 5:16 we see that Paul not only warns us to redeem the time but that there is an urgency with respect to that call “because the days are evil.” Looking about us in the world it is not hard to see that. Contrary to what the modern philosophers and evolutionists tell us, the world is not getting better, but is getting increasingly more and more wicked. The cup of iniquity is getting fuller and fuller. Sin, like a tree, begins small but grows and grows. The more man invents, the more he has with which to sin. A good case in point is the very country in which we live. Reputed to be the most civilized of nations, it is fast becoming a cesspool of iniquity, lawlessness. There is no respect for authority in the home as this basic institution is broken up by divorce and women’s lib. This in turn influences the rest of society so that there is no respect for authority in the school, the church, in labor, or for the government officials. It is fast becoming a nation where everyone does that which is right in his own eyes. And to make matters worse, this “doing your own thing,” asserting your “rights,” is approved and condoned by the world and the church alike. We are bombarded from all sides by the false philosophy of the devil. And it all looks so appealing as the church attempts to clothe it in her pious robes, a sure sign of the “mother of harlots” uniting with the antichristian powers. And what we see in the world is also true of that which calls herself the church. The love of the truth is gone. Oh, the appearance remains—a form of godliness but a denial of its power, white-washed sepulchers filled with dead man’s bones. Truly the days are evil.
Are you wise? If you are, you will soon see that all this points to the foolishness of ever expecting heaven here on the earth. Do not, then, seek this earth, but seek the kingdom of God, redeeming the time, looking for the return of Christ upon the clouds of heaven. This is our calling. Let us continue to call upon God’s name to strengthen us that we may heed this calling to the end.