The race God has set before us is on a spiritual pathway – in God’s world, not man’s. His world is the eternal world. Before God created this physical world was created, his world existed. There was no record of any physical thing before the universe. God is from everlasting to everlasting and his world – the real world – is a spirit world. “God is Spirit” (John 4:24), not a physical Being. His spirit form is unseen (by men) and eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). God’s angels are spirits (Heb. 1:7, 13,14). Elisha knew that God’s ministers were around but Gehazi could not see them until they appeared (2 Kings 6:17). God’s Holy Spirit is Spirit. God’s spirit world is the eternal world.
This physical world will soon be burned up, melted with fervent heat and dissolved (2 Pet. 3:7-13) but God’s world will continue to exist. God’s faithful children have always understood this truth and sought for a heavenly country (Heb. 11:13-16). Abraham “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:8-10). Our hearts should be entwined with God’s world, not this world. “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15-17) and is not following his eternal purpose. If we learn to love spiritual things, we will not lose them when we leave this world. Jesus encouraged his disciples to put their faith and hope in the heavens where he has gone (John 14:1-3), not on this earth (Col. 3:1,2). The race and the mark we are striving for is part of God’s eternal world.
Some claim that hope and promise are the same thing. Thus, if they had hope of eternal life, they had the promise of eternal life. This definition is false. We all know that we must endure to the end to be saved (Matt. 10;22, James 1:12). Laodicea had the same promises and hope that we have, but they did not endure to the end and were going to be spewed out of Jesus’ mouth. He wants us to abound in hope (Rom. 15:13), which tells us that there are degrees of hope just as there are degrees of love.