“Having promise of the life that now is,
and of that which is to come.”
1 Timothy 4:8
True religion lies deep; it is not a balloon hovering over us miles up in the air. It is like truth—it lies at the bottom of the well. We must go down, then, into religion, if we are to have it really in our hearts. The Lord Jesus Christ was “a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He took the lowest, last, and least place. He was always down; so that if we are to be companions with the Lord Jesus Christ, we must go down with him—down into the valley, down into suffering, down into humiliation, down into trial, down into sorrow. When we get puffed up by worldly joy, or elated by carnal excitement, we do not sympathise with the Lord Jesus Christ in his suffering manhood; we do not go with him then into the garden of Gethsemane, nor behold him as “the Lamb of God” on the accursed tree. We can do without Jesus very well when the world smiles, and carnal things are uppermost in our heart. But let affliction come, a heavy cross, a burden to weigh us down, then we drop into the place where the Lord Jesus is only to be found. We find, then, if the Lord is pleased to bring a little godliness into the soul, and to draw forth this godliness into vital exercise, that it has “the promise of the life that now is.”
There are promises connected with it of support and strength, comfort, consolation, and peace, that the world knows nothing of; there is a truth in it, a power, a reality, a blessedness in it, that tongue can never express. And when the soul gets pressed down into the vale of affliction, and the Lord is pleased to meet with it there, and visit it then, and draw forth godliness in its actings and exercises, then it is found to have “the promise of the life that now is.” Faith, hope, love, repentance, prayerfulness, humility, contrition, long-suffering, and peace—all these gifts and graces of the Spirit are exercised chiefly when the soul is down in affliction. Here is. “the promise of the life that now is” in the drawing forth of these heavenly graces in the heart.
And godliness hath the promise also of “the life which is to come.” It supports in life and in death; and takes the soul into a happy and blessed eternity. Grace will end in glory; faith in sight; hope in fruition. The soul taught of God will see Jesus as he is. Thus godliness has “the promise of the life which is to come,” when eternal peace shall abound, tears be wiped from off all faces, and grace consummated in endless bliss.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869