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Brevity of Life

As a young man or woman, you must constantly fight off the temptation to forget about the brevity of life and the vanity of even the longest life lived apart from God’s will. You must learn from the Scriptures that your life is less than a vapor. You must become convinced of this truth, and then you must set it before you as a constant reminder. You are mortal and your days are numbered! (See Psalm 39:4; 90:12; 103:15; James 4:14).

Keeping your mortality at the forefront of your thoughts is not for the purpose of being morbid or lamenting as those who have no hope, but to compel you to hope in Christ alone and to give yourself wholeheartedly to His will for your life. Only in Christ is the grave swallowed up in victory and temporal futility replaced by God’s eternal and glorious purpose for you.

Paul Washer, A Word To the Young
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Don’t Lose Life for the Sake of Living

On the whole, that security which ought to confirm the pious in the worship of God is opposed here to all those tortuous and mistaken counsels which some men adopt, and thus, for the sake of living, lose life itself, according to the sentiment of even a profane poet. For of what use is life except to serve God’s glory? but we lose that object in life for the sake of the life itself—that is, by desiring to live entirely to the world, we lose the very purpose of living!

—John Calvin
Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Daniel, 221–222.

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Quotes

Death a Powerful Aid to the Stewardship of Life

The face of death, and nearness of eternity, did much convince me what books to read, what studies to prefer and prosecute, what company and conversation to choose. It drove me early into the vineyard of the Lord, and taught me to preach as a dying man to dying men.

—Richard Baxter
The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, 18:409.

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The Gospel: a Doctrine of Life, Not Tongue

The apostle denies that any have rightly learned Christ, who have not been taught that they must put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and put on Christ (Eph 4:20ff).

Their knowledge of Christ, then, is proved to be a false and injurious pretense, with whatever eloquence and volubility they may talk concerning the Gospel.

For it is a doctrine not of the tongue, but of the life.

It is not apprehended merely with the understanding and memory like other sciences, but is then only received, when it possesses the whole soul, and finds a seat and residence in the inmost affection of the heart.

Let them, therefore, either cease to insult God by boasting themselves to be what they are not, or shew themselves disciples not unworthy of Christ their master.

—John Calvin
Institutes of the Christian Religion, III, vi, 4.

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Quotes

The Porch of Eternity

Life is the Porch of Eternity

Here the believer dresses himself that he may be fit to enter in with the Bridegroom.

We cannot say of a wicked man that life is his

Though he lives, yet life is not his; he is dead while he lives. He does not improve the life of nature to get the life of grace. He is like a man that takes the lease of a farm, and makes no benefit of it. He has been so long in the world, as Seneca speaks, but he has not lived. He was born in the reign of such a king, his father left him such an estate, he was of such an age, and then he died. There is an end of him; his life was not worth a prayer, nor his death worth a tear.

The privilege of life is a believer’s

Life to a child of God is an advantage for heaven. This life is given to him to make provision for a better life.

While he has natural life, he lays hold upon eternal life. How does he work out his salvation? What ado is there to get his evidences sealed? What weeping? What wrestling? How does he even take heaven by storm?

So that life is yours; it is to a child of God a season of grace, and seed-time of eternity. The longer he lives, the riper he grows for heaven.

The life of a believer spends as a lamp, he does good to himself and to others. The life of a sinner runs out as the sand; it does little good. The life of the one is as a figure engraved in marble; the life of the other as letters written in dust.

—Thomas Watson