Things That Endure

Contrasted With

Things That Perish


      "Perish" means to put an end to, to ruin or to destroy. Spiritually speaking "perish" means to give one over to eternal misery in hell. "Endure" means to remain or abide to be held or kept. Endure is the opposite of perish. John wrote, "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." (John 6:27.)


      Spiritual food endures while physical food perishes. What did John have in mind when he wrote, "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." (John 6:27)? The result of seeking spiritual good will be that which is eternal or imperishable. Material, physical food perishes when eaten. The body sustained by this food will also perish. The spiritual man lives forever and the spiritual food which sustains him does not per­ish. This was, in fact, a contrast between the fleshly body and our spiritual man. One endures while the other perishes. Let us give the most of our attention to the one which will endure.


      God's word endures while the word of men perishes. Fleshly man, his word and his glory quickly perishes. But the word of the Lord endures forever. Peter writes, "Because all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you." (I Peter 1:24-25.) Man's teaching will perish but that which has been uttered by the voice of the living God will endure. Peter's words are a quotation of Isaiah 40:6-8. "The voice said, 'Cry out!' And he said, 'What shall I cry?' All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever." A person is made new by the entrance of God's enduring words. No words from men could ever renew a lost soul.


      God's mercy endures while hope for the unjust perishes. I Chronicles 16:34 says, "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." God's people should praise Him for His enduring mercy. "Mercy" is God's goodness, kindness, faithfulness, or His merciful favor. His mercy endures forever. It is everlasting, perpetual and for evermore. But, "When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, and the hope of the unjust perishes." (Proverbs 11:7.) The obedient enjoy God's mercy while the unjust perish without hope. This is actually a contrast of the just and the unjust, the righteous cleansed by God's mercy and unrighteous rejecting that mercy. Where do you stand with God?


      A strong faith endures while gold perishes. Peter wrote of those with strong, enduring faith. He said, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (I Peter 1:6-7.) Gold may perish even though it had been tried with fire. A faith, enduring through severe trails is more precious than perishable gold. Gold is of an earthly origin. Our faith is heavenly in origin. God is both the object and the origin of faith. Faith lifts us to God while gold tends to drag us to the earth.


      The name of the Lord endures while the names of men perish from the earth. In each generation there are those people with whom others are enamored. But in time those names perish from the remembrance of men. Often people will declare what will happen when this one or that one dies. What happens is, the world goes on and those we thought the world could not get along without are soon forgotten. But, "Your name, O Lord, endures forever, Your fame, O Lord, throughout all generations." (Psalm 135:13.) God is the everliving, unchanging God. Generations of men come and go, but God is always the same. Therefore let us render humble service to our powerful Creator.


      The truth of the Lord endures while the opinions of men perish. Man's opinions constantly change in religious matters. But, God's truth endures. The psalmist said of God, "For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 117:2.) In any land and in any generation the truth of the Lord endures. What was truth is still truth. What was truth to Paul is still truth to us. Our obligation is not that of forming some great religious platform; but that of learning and obeying truth. This is true because "the truth of the Lord endures forever." "For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." (Psalm 100:5.)


      The righteous man endures forever white the unrighteous soul will perish. The psalmist described the blessed state of the righteous in Psalm 112:1-6. "Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Unto the upright there arises light in the dark­ness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man deals graciously and lends; he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance." The effects of one righteous life will be transmitted from generation to generation in that person's posterity. Your righteousness can travel from age to age to bless coming generations. Isaiah pleaded, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:7.) The reason the unrighteous man should forsake his way is for his own spiritual good and for the good of those generations yet to come. When an unrighteous man leaves this world he leaves his unrighteousness to trouble his posterity for generations to come. What are you leaving behind?


      There are many contrasts between perishing things and enduring things. Do not allow your soul to perish because of spiritual failures. To be saved we must hear the gospel of Christ (John 6:44-45), believe that He is the Son of God who died for our sins (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 3:19), confess Jesus as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). After baptism we must live for things eternal. (Mark 13:13.) Obey the gospel today and live for Jesus.


      By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P. O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA