Last night on the television at the gym I could see an advertisement for the latest Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes. The large print banner for the ad said:
Win $5,000 A Week “Forever”
Did you notice those quotes around the word “forever”? Why are they there? Because the Publisher’s Clearinghouse folks really do not mean “forever”, but rather “awhile”. Naturally, there were also several tiny lines of legal text across the bottom of the screen that probably spelled out this distinction in detail, but I could not read them.
I am so glad that our promises from God do not come with quotes and legal disclaimers. Can you imagine if 1 John 2:17 was recast in this manner?
…whoever does the will of God abides “forever”.
Putting quotes around “forever” would severally dampen our enthusiasm for God’s promises. Imagine also if the Bible also included very small fine print in the footnotes:
This offer subject to change at any time. “Forever” means a period of time not greater than 120 years or until God decides to change his mind, whichever comes first. Not valid to residents of Rhode Island or Puerto Rico. Non-transferable. All benefits received under this offer will be reported to the IRS and are taxable.
Thankfully, when God says “forever” he really means it. So, we who are in Christ Jesus through faith (alone!) can have assurance of our eternal resting place. We can have assurance that all of our sins are forgiven, not “all” of our sins. We can know that we have peace with God, not “peace” with God.