Contrary to popular belief, we are not just pining away on earth until we finally get to heaven. We can experience the abundant life Jesus promised here, now, in this present life.
Because of the resurrection, eternal life starts now.
The fact that Jesus is alive is what makes the Good News so great. This means we can have fellowship with him today and experience the abundant life he promises for those who believe.
Eternal life refers to more than heaven. Often we equate “eternal life” with heaven; something we won’t receive until after we die. We buy into the idea that salvation is fire insurance, a get out of hell free card. Then we live the rest of our days as we please until we finally get to cash in on our eternal investment.
This idea of salvation and eternal life is completely short sided and biblically inaccurate.
The Bible teaches that heaven is indeed a large portion of eternal life but it is not the only part.
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).
Jesus didn’t say those who believe will have eternal life one day in the future. He said they have it, now, in this present life. Believers have already crossed over from death to life.
The word eternal can be translated as “everlasting; life with no end” (John 3:16, 5:24, 1 John 5:13-14). The word life is translated as “the absolute fullness of real, genuine life”, one that can be experienced by believers in this world and that will be made complete with new additions (like a glorified body, eternal rewards, spending eternity in the physical presence and Kingdom of God, etc) at the second coming of Christ and resurrection of believers.
Translation? The moment we believe and receive Jesus, we are no longer dead but alive to God. Being spiritually alive makes us capable of receiving and experiencing the kind of new and abundant life God intended for us; one that will never end. We can experience this everlasting life now which will only be more full, perfect and complete when we are physically united with Christ after death.
Eternal life is something only Jesus can give. During his time on earth, Jesus said, “I came that [you may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10) …I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to [God] except through Me” (John 14:6).
Wide and easy is the road that leads to destruction and death; narrow is the road that leads to genuine, everlasting life (Matt 7:13-15). The cross stands at the entrance to the narrow road and only through Jesus can we receive forgiveness, access to God and experience true life.
Jesus is the only life-giver. Real, abundant life can only be found through fellowship with him.
What does this mean for me today?
I can have an intimate relationship with God. For “this is eternal life, that they know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom [He has] sent” (John 17:3). Eternal life comes through the knowledge of God and belief in Jesus. A personal, intimate relationship with God is eternal life.
Because our faith in Jesus makes us right with God, we now have direct access to Him. We can communicate with God through prayer and experience His love, mercy, faithfulness, kindness, patience, goodness, compassion, and love. We can fellowship with Him in spirit. We can now discern what is true, know God’s will, hear His voice and yield to the promptings of His Spirit.
It is our intimate relationship with Jesus that completely transforms life.
I can have abundant life now. Often our view of the abundant life Jesus offers is misguided. He is not promising the big house, white picket fence, garage toys, big bank account or large retirement fund. Those things are nice to have but will not result in a deeply satisfying life.
Jesus loves us, not by sparing us hardship and suffering, but by giving us more of Himself. The Psalmist said, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Ps 16:11). Jesus does not give as the world gives; he gives life freely and abundantly to those who don’t deserve it or earn it.
To know Jesus intimately is to have abundant life.
What is this abundant life? If sin is our enemy, then the abundant life is one that is not tarnished by sin. The life Jesus offers us in this present age is a Spirit-filled life; one full of of hope, joy and peace regardless of circumstances. One where we are forgiven, accepted, secure and loved by Him. Where our relationships can be full of patience, kindness, gentleness, good-will, unity, fellowship, acceptance, accountability, and self-control; where relationships are not ruled by anger, fear, manipulation, control, shame, fighting or conflict.
If we’re honest, that’s the kind of life we all want to experience and enjoy. All of these things are ours in abundance when we yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our life and stay in close fellowship with our heavenly Father.
Will I seek the soul-satisfying life that Jesus offers? Or will I distract myself with the shiny objects the world temporarily gives?
How I live and experience life is a choice I make daily. I must stay close to Jesus and cultivate my relationship with him if I want to experience the kind of life he offers.
Because of the resurrection, I am alive to God and can experience the fullness of His presence. I can experience the new, abundant life Jesus offers in this present life. May we spend our energy on the things in this life that will last for all eternity!
Did you miss the other posts in this series? Check them out below!
A Living Hope: rediscover the power of Easter
Day 4: I am alive