Later

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By Tom Wiles | For The Times-Post

Remember that some people lead sinful lives, and everyone knows they will be judged. But there are others whose sin will not be revealed until later. In the same way, everyone knows how much good some people do, but there are others whose good deeds won’t be known until later. — I Timothy 5

I was more than a little confused when I opened the letter.

It was from the city of Dayton. It contained a picture of our van, a comparative analysis of our speed and the posted speed limit and finally an invitation to send them some money to make restitution for our transgression.

The inability to see the driver in the photograph has led to an ongoing debate in our home as to who was actually driving at the time.

Regardless, weeks after the incident we had to face justice and send them a check.

“Later” is a very common and significant theme in the Bible.

The complete fulfillment of all the promises of God are reserved for later.

Paul tells Timothy in this letter that “later” is the moment when justice will finally be served.

Those who have trusted in and followed Jesus as well as those who have not will stand before God.

All things unseen will finally be exposed. God will respond accordingly.

The question begs to be asked, “What will be seen when our unseen is exposed?” Is there an authentic faith in Jesus solidly in place or only appearances?

Who are we when no one else is looking?

Here’s an amazing thought — ”now” can be the beginning of a much better “later.”

Faith’s fruit

For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. — Galatians 5

Fall in the Midwest is one our family’s favorite time of year — sweatshirts, football, bonfires and our annual trip to the apple orchard.

Ever since our kids were little, this trek has been a priority for us.

Now, with grandchildren, the joy is magnified even more.

Rows of trees laden with all kinds of apples provide a labyrinth of sweet exploration and discovery.

Paul, in his letter to these churches, was addressing a devastating spiritual malady that was beginning to gain deep roots among them. The fruit producing tree of faith was under attack.

“Follow the law!”

“Keep the traditions!”

“Perform or be left out!”

False teachers were convincing them they needed to come under the Jewish law first before they could become Christians. Paul battled against this enslaving lie his whole ministry.

Paul made it clear to them that faith in Jesus and what he had done alone results in forgiveness of sin, peace with God and a fruitful life.

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Faith is the fruit bearing tree.

Love is the multi-faceted fruit that bears witness to faith’s vibrancy.

Are those walking near us counting that as a privilege or a burden?

Tom Wiles is senior minister of Fall Creek Christian Church in Pendleton. He can be reached at 765-778-3166.

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