Monday: Everlasting Life
As human beings (and whether we like it or not), an eternity awaits us. And according to the Bible, this eternity will come in one of two manifestations, at least for each of us individually: either eternal life or eternal death. That’s it. No middle ground. No straddling, a bit of one side or another. Instead, it is one (life) or the other (death). This truly is a case of all or nothing.
Read Romans 6:23 and John 3:16. What options are presented to us?
It is hard to imagine two starker or more distinct choices, isn’t it?
Chances are that if you are reading this, you have chosen eternal life, or certainly are thinking about it. God has the unique ability to do whatever He says He can do — to fulfill all His promises. Our part is simply to believe Him, rest upon the merits of Jesus, and by faith obey His Word.
Read John 14:1-3. What is the Lord’s counsel to us in verse 1, and what does He promise to us in verses 2 and 3?
In the final days of His earthly ministry, Jesus gave these amazing words of hope and courage to His disciples. These words would lift their spirits in times of discouragement and trial. They should do the same for us. Jesus came from heaven, went back to heaven, and has promised us, “I will come again and I will receive you unto Myself so you can be with Me there.”
And, perhaps more than anything else, Christ’s death on the cross at His first coming is our greatest assurance of His second coming, for without the Second Coming, what good was His first one? As sure as we are that Jesus died for us on the cross is as sure as we can be that, yes, as He promised: “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3, NKJV).
|Dwell more on the idea that Christ’s first coming is the guarantee of His second. What happened at the first coming that makes the second a promise that we can trust?|
I think that most of us are a bit scared of eternal life. We are frightened that after a million years of studying maths, and then another million years of space travel, and another ..., we are going to get bored. Walking around a celestial garden with Jesus sounds great, but after you have asked all the questions and agreed with all the answers, what then?
Let's do some maths. Mathematicians are very familiar with infinity. We have a symbol for it - it looks like an 8 lying down - and we use it a lot. There are a lot of mathematical functions that go to infinity. For the purposes of this discussion there are two types of functions; they either go to infinity and are bounded or unbounded.
I suggest that most of us have an idea of eternal life as some sort of function that is infinite but bounded. As time increases we find less and less to do because we are running out of things to do - eventually. Perhaps a more mature way of looking at eternal life is to think of it as an unbounded function. As time increases, we never run out of things to do.
Perhaps it is worth looking at a modern infinity example to get an idea of what this really means.
In my childhood, the Mount Wilson and Mount Palomar Telescopes gave us our best view of the history of the universe. The public saw the wonderful images of galaxies that we have previously seen as smudges of light. The scientists saw spectra that told what these galaxies were made of and how fast they were going and so on. Then came radio astronomy and suddenly we had a whole new set of data to investigate and study. This was followed by the Hubble and the James Web telescopes; each adding so much more information. The further we look with our scientific instruments, we are not finding less and less, but considerably more to challenge our understanding of existence itself. Scientists are turning summersaults of delight - they have so much data to process (and they have produced some very pretty pictures in the process)
Eternal life is not bounded by our perception of time, or counting of things to do. It is unbounded and unlimited.
There is a corollary to all of this. We live in a world where many folk believe that this life is all we have. In effect, those of us who believe in salvation are essentially running an advertising campaign for eternal life. Do we live our lives in such a way that our non-believing friends say to us, "We want some of that too!"
What does a Christ centered life look like to your friends?
I can imagine so many things I would like to do or see on this planet in the years I have that I will most likely never be able to do, so imagining a life that gives me that opportunity to explore is not so hard for me. I find it very encouraging and exciting! And to spend it in a sinless society with Jesus physically by my side, with potentially billions of new brothers & sisters (I always wanted to be part of a big family!)that is thrilling!!
The lesson states that "as human beings, eternity awaits us". Why is this? While is it common to think of eternity and therefore eternal life as a quantity of time, eternal life is first and foremost a quality of life and living. You could say that its quality is the reason for its quantity.
Before their fall, Adam and Eve were living eternal life. At the same time they were also living what Jesus later referred to as "abundant life" (zoe John 10:10). And what was it about how Adam and Eve were living that made it abundant, eternal life? It was because they were living in harmony with the way they had been created to live - the way of authentic, other-focused Agape love - otherwise known as 'living to give'. Guess what happens when everyone lives to give? Life is perpetual - eternal. So, living to give is the 'mechanism' that promotes and maintains eternal life and living for all*. Consequently, abundant life and eternal life are essentially one-in-the-same thing.
So, back to the question: why does eternity await us? As Ecclesiastes 3:11 notes, God has placed eternity within the hearts of man(kind). This is why eternity awaits us. We are being restored back to our original design - living to give - the only design that can and does enable true life and living. Attempting life on any other basis is doomed to failure - our world's experience since Genesis 3:6 being clear testament to this (1 John 2:16-17).
* This does not mean that God is not the exclusive Source of Life. God is the Source of all life, and 'His Ways' (characterised by living to give) are the 'mechanisms' so to speak that promote and sustain abundant life and living. Both are necessary for life.
Hi, Phil. I appreciate your deeper approach to the analysis of the issues in the great controversy between Christ and Satan which, for instance, observes in your earlier comment that any individual rewards will be intrinsic to how we have lived (and, I might add, the quality of our relationship with Jesus, that so powerfully affects the way we live), and not some arbitrary decision by God.
Again, you've made the point that eternal life is primarily a quality of life -- one that needs never end. You wrote:
Yes indeed, this is absolutely true, but I believe there is one more thing. That way, in which Adam and Eve had been created to live, is first of all God's way. They were created to live in harmony, and in happy face-to-face relations, with Him. I have to think that this aspect of "living to give" -- the personal element between us and Christ -- is especially vital for our focus, due to our fallen condition. We need a close connection with Jesus in order to even desire to live a holier, more beneficent, more unselfish life, to say nothing of actually doing so. Thankfully, His love awakens love.
Thanks for your input R.G. Yes, living to give is a very broad concept - so broad it encapsulates absolutely every aspect of life and living for both created beings and The Creator (eg John 3:16). God lives to give too. So when we say 'God's Way', it is not merely that God has ordained a certain way for His Creation while He Himself lives another way. It is the way He is - and therefore it is also the way of beings created in His image (keeping in mind that there is an inherent difference in capacity/capacities between The Creator and created beings).
I believe there objectively (non-arbitrarily) is only one way that true, "abundant" life can actually operate and, in turn, that God lives that way and also creates and governs in accordance with that way. Hence He is well able to correctly state that He is The (only) Way, The (only) Truth and The (only) Life (John 14:6). So, like you, I too believe that the way in which Adam and Eve were created was God's (own) Way.
“Whether we like it or no, eternal life awaits us.”
I like it. Revelation 21:7. No sin, (no temptation), no sorrow, no pain
“What options are presented to us.”
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NKJV
I have chosen life.
Since I started for the kingdom , since my life He has changed, since I gave my heart to Jesus the longer I serve Him, the sweeter He is.
Thank you John for your comment.
In your quote of the lesson, you misstated what the lesson stated:
You:"Whether we like it
or no, eternal life
Lesson:"As human beings
(and whether we like it
or not), an eternity
Eternal life is waiting for those in Christ Jesus.
Eternal death awaits those who reject God's gracious offer of eternal life in His Son.
Yes, you are right; I left out the 't' on not. Thank-you for your contribution. I am one of those waiting for eternal life, as I am in Jesus Christ. The Bible has a lot of those promises, followed by warnings. I would say if we take heed and respond positivity to the warnings, we have eternal life. That is what Moses was talking about when he said to the Israelites just before he turned leadership over to Joshua, and not too long before he died.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20. Choose life; choose Christ.
Christ's presence here on earth was so profound that it divided history! What is the fact nowadays that historians are trying to hide, anyway? Because there is still an event to distinguish prior (before common era) and current (common era). The first coming of Christ is an event which is simply undeniable. Some may suppress the name, but never His existence. And if He came, and did all those wonders, why would He lie about His second coming?
All of the things we plan or hope to see or do pale by comparison to seeing Jesus - finally. That occupies my mind often.