“He who believes in the Son has eternal life” John 3:36
“He who hears my word and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24.
These two verses tell us that we have eternal life right now. If you have spent any time thinking about the meaning of the Kingdom of God you soon notice that it is future. At the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead the Kingdom of God becomes ours in fullness. That is when this corruptible and mortal body puts on immortality and incorruption. It is when we are perfected in love and perfect in our relationship with God. (See 1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
But, one of the great wonders of the Bible is that the Kingdom of God, though it is future, has, through the cross event, reached back in time to include us now. The blessings of the Age to Come have broken back upon us who live in this present Evil Age (see Galatians 1:1-5) to deliver us from the bondage to sin and Satan.
We may experience eternal life in the midst of death and decay. And how do we enter into this experience of eternal life? It is through being born again. When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior we become children of the Kingdom of God. The full blessings are yet future but the assurance of those blessings are now part of our lives. “In Him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.” Ephesians 1: 13-14 (italics supplied)
The term Kingdom of God simply means that we allow Jesus to be our King or have rule over us. When we accept Jesus into our lives we accept His reign or rule over us and we receive the blessings of the Kingdom of God, which include eternal life.
So, here is a question for us and it is an important one, what is eternal life? We have a definition in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.” Notice that eternal life revolves around the idea of knowing Jesus, but it is not a simple matter of knowing about Jesus in an academic or cerebral way. Knowledge in the Bible goes far beyond intellectual apprehension it means to experience.
Knowledge means personal relationship and fellowship with the person. George Eldon Ladd sums up this idea nicely, “This is eternal life, not that you may be able to recite a creed, quote some Bible verses, or recite some facts about God. This is not knowledge of God. ‘This is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God.’ Fellowship with God, friendship with God; personal relationship to God: this is life eternal.” The Gospel of the Kingdom p. 72
We enter into the Kingdom of God now through a personal relationship with God. It is when we allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives that we move out of death into life. And though we only receive immortality at the coming of Christ, we have the present guarantee of it now because we have entered into a relationship with Christ. The coming of the Holy Spirit into our lives is more than promise; it is present realization of eternal life.
Eternal life is to know Jesus and surrender our will and our self-rule over to Him. It is the only way that we are free of the rule of Satan, sin and death in our lives during this present evil age.
I don’t want anyone who reads this post to think that I am speaking out against academics or an intellectual understanding of Scripture and God. I am simply saying that to “Know God” involves the world of the experience and carries us beyond simply knowing about Him through textbooks. And this leads me to one last thing in this brief post.
We are not expected by God to understand everything perfectly about Him in this present world because that is saved for the Age to Come aspect of the Kingdom of God. Paul says now we see through a glass darkly (see 1 Corinthians 13:12) by which he means we only understand a fraction of what there is to know about God.
It is sad to see Christians beat themselves up because they doubt that their faith is strong enough or their trust in God is deep enough. We need to understand that this is how things are. We live in an evil age where we are surrounded and bombarded by evil constantly. The fact that we are not super Christians is nothing to be ashamed of because it is not our calling.
We are called to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and allow the Spirit to dwell within us guiding and leading in our spiritual journey. You are not the person you were a year ago and you are not the person now that you will be in a year. But this side of Heaven we will never be the people God intends us to be because we are encumbered with a sinful nature, a sinful world and demonic influences and attacks.
What is important is that we put our trust each morning into the hands of God and walk with assurance that we are His sons and daughters and Satan cannot snatch us out of His hands. Each day we learn more and we grow a little more spiritually and that is all that matters. God loves us for who we are and He longs to be Lord of our life regardless of how imperfectly we allow Him to rule our lives. He knows our weaknesses and our failures and He wraps His arms around us to comfort us when we fall. Then He gently lifts us up, dusts us off and continues leading us along our journey called eternal life.
Eternal life is to experience the love of God every day regardless of where we are in life. He is our King, our Savior and our best friend. Trust Him with your life and you will never be the same.
* Please remember to pray for the thousands of Christians who are being persecuted for their faith – they need our support and prayers. Go to http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ for some of their stories.