Not Just A Destination

Eternal Life: Not Just a Destination

For every Christian, the subject of eternal life holds a position of great importance. If you ask someone what eternal life means, you find it is often described as a heavenly destination or a “better place” where there is comfort and peace after earthly life is done. However, a deeper understanding of scripture reveals that eternal life is not merely a place we go when we die; it is a profound relationship that begins in the here and now, transforming our existence and guiding us toward a purposeful journey with our Creator.

A Relationship Rooted in Scripture

John 17:3 encapsulates the essence of eternal life as a relationship: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." These words of Jesus redefine our understanding, emphasizing that eternal life is not primarily a future reward, but a present reality—a journey of knowing God intimately and embracing His love and grace in this life.From the very beginning, God designed humanity for relationship. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve enjoyed a close, harmonious fellowship with their Creator. Sin shattered this connection, but God's plan of redemption through Christ's sacrifice restores it. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, believers can now experience an ongoing, transformative relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Living in Communion

When we become a Christian, eternal life can be characterized as abundant communion with God. It is an ongoing conversation that shapes our thoughts, actions, and character. As we spend time in prayer, studying His Word, and meditating on His truths, we open our hearts to receive guidance, wisdom, as well as comfort in a troubled world. Jesus emphasizes that close connection in John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” This connectedness allows us to navigate life's challenges with unwavering faith in the One who never changes. Just imagine sitting with a dear friend, sharing your hopes, dreams, and fears, and listening to their advice and encouragement. In a similar manner, eternal life invites us into an ever-deepening fellowship with God, where we pour out our hearts to Him, transforming every moment (good or bad) into opportunities to experience His presence, filling our lives with purpose and joy.

Walking in His Ways

But we shouldn’t think that eternal life is merely a way to escape from earthly cares and struggles; it's an invitation to walk in the footsteps of Christ. As we lean into this relationship, we begin to align our lives with His teachings and examples. The apostle John affirms this transformative journey in 1 John 2:6: "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." Our eternal relationship compels us to love sacrificially, extend compassion to others, and embody Christ's humility and servant-heartedness. Then through this process of sanctification, we find ourselves drawn to acts of kindness, forgiveness, reconciliation and service to others – mirroring the heart of the Savior.

Bringing Heaven to Earth

Contrary to a narrow view of eternal life as only a distant reward, the Scriptures invite us to be agents of God's kingdom on earth. Jesus' prayer in the Lord's Prayer—"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) encourages us to participate in God's redemptive work in the here and now as we engage in acts of mercy, justice, and compassion. This is where eternal life becomes a present reality as we partner with God to bring His glory to everything we do.In summary, for the Christian, eternal life transcends a one-dimensional understanding of a destination beyond this life. While it is indeed a future hope, it begins with an intimate relationship with our Creator in the present—a journey of knowing Him, loving Him, and reflecting His nature. It’s in this communion that we can find purpose in our earthly walk, transforming our lives and the lives of those around us - co-laboring with Him to bring His kingdom to earth.

Father, we thank you that eternal life is free for us. Yet it was so costly to You. We are so grateful that you made it available to us through the death of Jesus who was the only one qualified to take our place and to make the payment. Thank you for inviting us to enjoy the benefits of eternal life here on earth and in heaven. Amen

Credit: Ron Kelley

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