“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3
I don’t know about you, but I used to think of eternal life as heaven. Some perfect place up in the sky. With God of course. After life. The afterlife. For people who believed in Jesus. I learned this from people. Other people. Then the Lord led me to the Truth. His Truth. In His Word. That Christ’s followers are given eternal life. That intellectual faith in Christ is NOT the belief in Christ we need for everlasting life. That genuine faith in Christ as Lord is manifested in a way of life. A lifestyle. Of turning away from the world’s ways and turning to Christ. Of living for Christ. Of obeying God. That if we really believe Christ is Lord, we will live our lives as though He is. We will look different than the rest of the world. We will learn to live humbly, to walk in Christ’s love, to forgive, to be compassionate and merciful, kind and patient, to grow in God’s image, to seek and follow God, to die to self and live for the glory of the Lord. For Him.
Not so we can fly up into the sky one day when our lives are over and live in a perfect place where we can perfectly enjoy our perfect lives. For heaven will be perfect, no doubt. But there will be a new heavens and a new earth. And the best part of heaven won’t be a perfect life. It will be being with the Lord forever. In His company. And seeing Him face to face. Worshiping Him forevermore. So then eternal life is all about looking forward to heaven with God, right? And just trudging through our lives until we get there, right? Wrong! I was mistaken about this also!
Look at the verse above! Eternal life is about KNOWING God, the ONLY TRUE God, not false gods, but GOD ALMIGHTY in heaven, Creator of the universe, perfectly holy, righteous, true, faithful, sovereign, all powerful, all knowing, God who is love, God whose mercy lasts forever. Knowing per the Bible and concordance implies intimacy, relationship, fellowship. Oh, to know God the Father! And His only begotten Son Jesus! And the Holy Spirit! To know the Lord personally. The Bible makes clear knowing God involves loving Him and obedience to Him. It is about relationship.
So does this all begin after our lives on earth are over? This fellowship with God? This knowing Him personally? This being close to Him? This speaking to Him, hearing Him, being loved by Him, loving Him, worshiping Him, being in His presence, enjoying His company, revering Him, praising and adoring Him, getting to know Him, drawing closer and closer to Him, experiencing His nearness, being so sensitive to Him because He so indwells us by His Spirit that we know what He wants, how to please Him, where He wants to lead us, and is leading us, as He draws us closer to Himself, wooing us nearer, is this all for after life?
No, following Christ is about ETERNAL LIFE. Eternal. Everlasting. LIFE. Life in Christ. Life with Christ.
We can’t even fathom what it will be like to be in the Lord’s very physical presence for eternity, but we need not wait until we are in His physical presence to walk in His company. To be with Him, and Him with us. Through genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ expressed in lives utterly devoted to Him.
Let those who follow the Lord, let us walk with Him now – and forever. Glory be to the Lord, amen!