Eternal Life & The Resurrection
“And this is the promise that he hath promised us,
even eternal life”
1 John 2:25
Jesus did not come to give us eternal existence. All of humanity has an ongoing existence after this life. Christ came to bring His creation into life!
“I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly”
Life is so much more than the continuum of time; life is to be filled with an abundance of knowing, loving and worshiping Him who is the LIFE. Many believers consider eternal life in reference to something they receive after they die, rather than in terms of their relationship with God in the now. This is where we lose the impact and the wonder of all that Christ is. Jesus Himself defined eternal life and His definition was clear and concise; eternal life is defined by our relationship with Him and His Father.
“And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
The depth of our knowing of Him and the Father is THE determining factor in the power and wonder of our own resurrection.
“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection”
Eternal life is not something we earn; it is simply the gift of God. Through grace we are given this gift in the person of Jesus Christ without merit or works of our own. He IS eternal life; it is not a commodity given apart from Him. It is my relationship with Him which determines the power and the marvelous working of His life in mine. Relationship is never earned; it is fostered and nurtured by the entwining of one life with another. Love always denotes action, sacrifice and pursuit.
“And this is the record,
that God hath given to us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.”
1 John 5:11
Eternal Life is IN the Son and my partaking of Him determines the depth, the power and the influence of Him within my being. The branch must abide in the vine to partake of the power and life of the vine. As I yield to His Life and His government eternal life is at work. Jesus did not come to bring a new teaching; He came to bring unto us His Life in the “age” of our time* (see note below). Eternal life is not a futuristic notion. It is in the here and now that we are afforded the opportunity to deepen and grow in our life IN Him. In this present tense of life, we are made partakers of His promises and His goodness. The word of the Lord is ever “Today if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts”. It is the present tense of our relationship with Him that gives value and depth to eternal life. Paul says in Galatians:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I NOW live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Eternal life is the “now” life. It is Life held within the frailty of the earthen vessel. It is what we DO with His life which determines the power of His resurrection within us. The parables of the Talents, the Pounds and the Sower all clearly reveal our part in this mystery. The story of the talents was not about how many talents were received; the truth conveyed in the parable is all about what they did with what they received. Same with the story of the Pounds. The fruitfulness of the various lives represented in the parable of the sower were NOT predicated on the life of the seed; fruitfulness was determined by the soil into which the precious seed fell. So too with us. It is the soil of our lives which determines the fruitfulness of Christ. No one can hinder or cause us to be unfruitful or to be fruitful. It is our own relationship with Him which allows and determines the growth of the seed.
The story of the talents was not about how many talents were received; the truth conveyed in the parable is all about what they did with what they received
Relationship is the great Mystery of God; a mystery which cannot be taught or learned intellectually. It can only be surrendered to, explored and developed. Faith is the portal and love the motive for our relationship with Him who is the Life.
“The Life which I now live…”
This is true for all of us. The life we are now living is the expression of who He is in us. We must embrace the witness of the scriptures concerning our present and true spiritual condition. Religion seeks to insulate us from the truth of the words of Christ but there is a stark reality we must step into if we would walk with Him. In the shining forth of Him there is a beholding of ourselves. It is in this crucible of “present truth” that we are faced with our present need. How good is the living word of God! Let it cut and reveal the verity of what we are that we may run to Him for Grace. It is in Him “where we (can) live, and move” and fully become a new creation. How can we settle for a sip here and there when the living waters of His life are available? How can we continue to hide from ourselves and those around us our true condition when the power of His Life is available to us freely and without measure? It is in our ability to face ourselves that we discover the abundant resources of the living Christ. Truth, to be truth, must expose all that is untrue within us. Truly it is the goodness of God that ever leads us to repentance. Of all the gifts that have been given the gift of repentance excels them all!
Continued in Part Two
* Note: The Greek word translated “eternal”
[166 (aiṓnios) does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age (165 /aiṓn) it relates to. Thus believers live in “eternal (166 /aiṓnios) life” right now, experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession. (Note the Gk present tense of having eternal life in Jn 3:36, 5:24, 6:47; cf. Ro 6:23.)]