Professional athletes train and compete with one clear goal in mind – to achieve first prize. Just as Olympians compete for the prize of a gold medal, so too followers of Christ are striving for a prize. This prize is not made of temporal materials such as gold, silver or bronze; rather it is eternal and incorruptible. They are racing for eternal life in God’s Kingdom on earth.
The Prize of Eternal Life
The Bible makes it clear that those who have been obedient to God and His Son and have run the race will be granted eternal life. Those who race for Christ are hoping for an eternal and everlasting prize rather than a temporal and perishable medal:
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
God’s Kingdom on Earth
Where will recipients of eternal life spend their everlasting days? The Bible makes it plain that the dwelling place for those who are granted eternal life will be on earth in God’s Kingdom:
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)
This passage is speaking of the future establishment of God’s Kingdom and its expansion to fill the whole earth. Daniel, one of the books of the Bible, speaks of the kingdoms of men making way for the Kingdom of God:
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever”. (Daniel 2:44)
Quite simply, the present world order will be swept aside to make way for God’s righteous Kingdom.
What Will it be Like?
The world as we currently know it is plagued with problems such as wars, famines, natural disasters and disease. As such it is perhaps not the most appealing place to spend eternity. The Bible gives a picture of a world free from these problems in God’s Kingdom:
“…they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
Eternal life spent with God on a perfect earth free from its current problems, as described in these Bible passages, is surely a prospect not to be missed!
The return of Jesus
The bible tells us that Jesus will return from heaven to set up God’s Kingdom, beginning in Jerusalem:
“The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30)
While we know from Bible prophecy that God’s Kingdom will be established at the return of Jesus to the earth – and that time appears to be near – no one knows exactly when it will be:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)