Last week we defined eternal or everlasting life as the divinely bestowed gift of blessedness in God’s presence that endures without end. It is noteworthy to see that eternal life is something that is gifted by God alone.
Eternal life is a “divinely bestowed gift” (John 3:16). It is not something we can earn, mandate nor make happen. It is a gift of God. Imagine if man could wield that kind of power. We catch a glimpse of the desire to live forever “on this side” by our continual search for ways to reverse the effects of aging or increase the number of our days.
Man is not equipped to bestow eternal life. He is limited by time. Only God currently lives and operates in both time and eternity (past, present, future). God alone is able through His divine attributes of goodness—His love, grace, and benevolence—to offer the extraordinary and irreversible gift of eternal life.
Eternal life is about our relationship with God. This relationship is built on the knowledge of who God is and what Jesus accomplished with His sacrificial death. We are not only reconciled with the Father (Rom. 5:10) BUT ALSO enjoy Jesus’ divine presence through His Holy Spirit (John 16:13). Acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior, begins eternal life.
Eternal life is lived out through our recognition and acknowledgment of God’s presence. God’s presence provides for us the confidence we need to navigate through the challenges of living in this fallen world.
The Apostle Paul expresses this thought in his letter to faithful believers in 2 Peter 1:2-5.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Equipped with God’s divine nature and operating continuously in His presence, we are able to navigate the challenges of 21st century living. “The life-giving knowledge of the Father and the Son is a true, personal knowledge, not just an academic awareness.”
We often limit eternal life to life after death. We also mistakenly view eternal life as simply an unending progression of years. It is much more. Eternal life can function outside of and beyond time, as well as within time. For this reason, eternal life can be thought of as something that Christians experience now.
We don’t have to wait for eternal life, because it is not something that starts only when we die. Eternal life begins the moment we exercise faith in Christ.
Jesus made this clear during his ministry. In the book of John, several indications of the “present and now” reality of eternal life is clear.
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” John 6:47
We have eternal life because of our current position in Jesus Christ and therefore, we can experience it now.
God’s presence that endures without end
A common New Testament word for eternal is aionios. We’ve addressed its relationship to the quality of life in this age. But it also addresses both the quality and duration of life in the age to come.
This duration cannot be compared with the limits of time we currently operate within. But our future eternal life will be the culmination of our existence. It is in future eternity that we will experience the full measure of God’s glory (Rev. 5:13) and the benefits of our resurrected body.
Next week we will spend time exploring eternity—time without end, specifically, the myths, lies, and misunderstandings about eternity.
 Got Questions