Cultivating a Two-World View

Having a “two-world” view is one of those essential factors in our growth in grace.  A “two-world” view is simply having a focus on the world to come while living well in this present world.  This is the way the Apostles lived and what they taught.  However, it is this loss or diminishing of a two-world view in the lives of many of God’s people today which has significantly contributed to present spiritual weakness and worldliness.  It is not that so many believers today are necessarily involved in gross wickedness, but that, in the words of the Savior, they are chained by the worries, riches and pleasures of this present world.  Their focus is wrong.

When the writer of the book of Hebrews compiled his short list of super saints, it is apparent that all of them had this two world view. He said that these folks were people who saw themselves as “strangers”, “exiles”, “aliens” in this world because they understood that the best was yet to come. God Himself was so pleased with their two-world approach to life that He was, according to the author, “not ashamed to be called their God” and that “He has prepared a city for them.”  All of them had an eye on the world to come which enabled them to live with a high level of excellence in this present world. Few of us would want to suggest that these people lived poorly or irrelevantly.

Possessing this two-world view begins with an unobstructed view of the world to come; a view which the Scriptures provide for us.  But having this view is more than holding to a theological position.  Its presence in our lives is evidenced when there is a heightened desire of seeing the Lord Jesus Himself (“loving His appearing”); when there is a confident but sober anticipation of that time when we shall appear before the Lord Jesus and give an account of our lives; and when there is an increasing desire to participate and enjoy the future, forever kingdom of God.

Believers with a maturing two-world view have a different perspective on living in this present world.  They prioritize life differently, make better choices as they face trials, problems and other issues; and they seem to have a greater capacity to say “no” to questionable and sinful things.  Too many of God’s people today are living with a one-world view and focusing on this life.  Some of this comes about because of the one world emphasis in many too many pulpits and Bible studies.  When there is a one world focus, the reality is that believers lose out on both worlds.  In his wonderful book “Mere Christianity”, C. S. Lewis once observed the importance of having a two-world view.

If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for this present world were those who thought most of the next…It is since largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this world. Aim at heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in”; aim at earth and you will get neither.”

The Lord Jesus often spoke about having an eye on the world to come; that time when He restores and reconciles all that was lost in the Garden of Eden.  One of those important subjects in the coming world is the matter of the rewarding of believers at the “judgment seat of Christ.”  This is an event which appears to have a ripple effect into eternity.  In His “Sermon on the Mount”, He exhorted people to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven”, and His very last words recorded in Scripture were: “Behold I come quickly and my reward is with Me to render to every man according to what he has done.”  The Lord Jesus, and later on His apostles, saw that this future rewarding of His people was an important motivation for living well here and now and our present growth in grace.  This great event along with those truths about the coming rapture of the church, the tribulation period and the marvelous kingdom of Jesus Messiah (the millennial reign) are designed to change the way we think and live right now.

In several upcoming studies we will be probing into the details of this event of the Judgment Seat of Christ, our coming payday.  Since we, as followers of Jesus Christ, will all be participants in this event, we probably would do well to be informed about this time; a time which could be our greatest moment or (to use the words of the Apostle John) a time of unprecedented shame.