Did you know that the invisible world is just as real as the visible? The apostle Paul says that our afflictions are in this world, but they are “working for us an eternal weight of glory.”
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you joined us, because we’re going to be studying the invisible world. And you’re gonna hear me say this again and again, that even though there is a world that is invisible, it is just as real as the world that is visible. But it’s the world of angels and demons and God, and of course, eventually it will be a world that you and I will see.
Today we want to take some encouragement from the words of the apostle Paul, who in second Corinthians chapter 4 says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” Now listen carefully. He goes on to say, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, while we look at the things which are seen. But the things which are seen are temporal, and the things which are unseen are eternal.”
My translation says that the things that are seen are “transient,” and the things that are unseen are eternal. Now follow with me very briefly. There are three contrasts here. There’s a contrast between our outer nature—and he means our body, which is wasting away— and the inner nature, which is being renewed day by day. We can’t see our inner nature, but it is just as real. He’s referring to the human soul.
And you know, even though we are getting older—and by the way, all of us were born with an expiration date—even though we are getting older, the inner man is being renewed. I’ve seen people who are very aged, but despite that, in fact, I remember that my wife’s grandmother was very old. She in fact was struggling with senility, but she was one of the sweetest people you could ever possibly meet. The outer is wasting away, but the inner is being renewed.
But there’s another contrast here that is most important, and that is, the apostle Paul says our afflictions are in this world, the visible world, but they are working for us an eternal weight of glory. Now, I’m old enough to remember the days when you had a scale on which you put one piece of iron, perhaps it weighed a pound; and then you balanced it with a pound of meat.
I think that’s the imagery that Paul is using here. What he’s saying is, take all of your troubles. Take the divorce. Take the issues regarding your body and your health and your relationships, and all the struggles of this world that you can imagine. Put it on one side of the scale. And on the other side, put the eternal weight of glory. And Paul is saying that the scale will just go, “plump.” It will be something like a fly on one side and an elephant on the other. The eternal weight of glory is the invisible world, but it helps us during this time when we are in the visible world.
And by the way, the more affliction, the more glory; and the more affliction, the more desire for glory. But there’s a final contrast. Paul says, we don’t look at the things which are seen because the things which are seen are transient. But the things which are unseen—the invisible world—is eternal. You see, my friend, it is actually the invisible world that helps us to interpret what is happening in the visible world.
May I give you an illustration of how we have to keep our eyes on Jesus? A number of years ago, a friend of ours invited us to Lake Michigan during Venetian night, where you have all of the boats that are coming from different parts of the world. And we were out there bobbing on Lake Michigan and I got seasick. And my friend said, “What you have to do is to look at a building. Look at a skyscraper.” And I looked at what today is known as the Willis Tower. And because it was a solid place, which was not moving, my body began to adjust, and pretty soon, the sea sickness left.
Now, that’s an instance in which I was looking at the visible world to help me in the visible world. But that’s the way you and I have to look at Jesus. The Bible says, regarding Moses, that Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible. So you and I, as we struggle in the visible world, we look to the invisible, which Paul says is eternal, and that’s where Jesus is. And that’s where battles are won and lost. Today, think about the invisible world. Trust Jesus, who is invisible, and He will help you in the visible struggles of life.
Thanks so much for joining us today, and I sure hope that you join us next time, because we’re gonna talk about such things, eventually, as demonic spirits; we’ll talk about angels. We are exploring the invisible world through the lens of Scripture. And as for today, go with God.