I’d rather be on the right side of eternity than history

“You can’t stop progress.”

Has anyone ever said that to you? It’s the idea that society changes and moves “forward” in certain ways—in ways many people agree with. Therefore, they attach a positive value to that “forward” movement (called “progress”). Saying ‘you can’t stop it’ is a way of saying ‘don’t even bother trying.’

As a pastor I sometimes hear it too. ‘Well, the world seems to be doing such-and-such so we should just go along with it or else we’ll be on the wrong side of history.’

But I’m okay with being on the wrong side of history if it means I’m on the right side of eternity.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we should dial back the clock 100 years; that would be terrible. And there are many changes in society that are good—very good!

But we do ourselves a disservice when we naïvely think that all change is good, and that it’s inevitable.

In 1 John 5:19 (NLT) the apostle John writes, “We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.” That’s serious business. Even though the world God made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31) it has since come under various sources of pollution—and not just environmentally.

So why am I telling you all this?

Because when it comes to “progress,” apathy or resignation undermines your willingness to pray and work for a world which honours God’s ways. So with everything that comes along, see how it measures up to God’s will as we find it in the Bible.

It’s not about whether or not you can stop progress; but whether or not our lives and communities can better reflect the ways the God of grace and truth is making all things new.

I’d rather be on the right side of eternity than the right side of history. 

By Matthew Ruttan

  • To learn more about what to expect on Sunday at Westminster — and Part 2 of the “Oops!” series — click here.
  • “Up!” is published 5 days a week (Tuesday to Saturday) and returns on July 24th.


One thought on “I’d rather be on the right side of eternity than history

  1. This reminded me of a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln.
    “let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.”


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