What would your reactions be if one day you found out that God’s definition of ETERNAL LIFE is entirely different from yours?
This question is way more serious than asking a fourth year university student how would he react if he finds out that all the courses he has finished in the past three and a half years does not actually lead to any degree.
Many well-intended Christians persuade their friends, colleagues and relatives to become Christians so they, like them, will have the assurance of life eternal beyond this life. Such mindset implies eternal life as a form of continuous existence after this life ends on earth. Under such definition, eternal life starts after one’s physical death. Jesus is no doubt the way, the means, but not necessary, the end, that is to become our LORD in our life. You accept Him into your life once, then you’ll have eternal life. Between that moment and your last breath, you can go on your own merry way because your existence beyond this life is secured. I call such view of eternal life “self-immortality-motivated“.
Jesus’ prayer to our Father in heaven (John 17:3) illustrates an entirely different notion of eternal life: that ETERNAL LIFE IS to “know” the Father as the only true God, and to know Jesus whom the Father have sent. Such knowing is not “to know about”, but to know personally, relationally and experientially.
Jesus’ version of ETERNAL LIFE is so revolutionary!
- Eternal life does not start after we die. Eternal life starts NOW, in this life. It starts the moment we ask Him to be the Lord of our lives, the beginning of our personal relationships with Him.
- If we don’t ALREADY live in our eternal life with Jesus today in this life, engaging in a genuine, on-going, loving relationship with Him while living our days on earth, that status quo of the lack of personal relationship with Jesus will continue beyond our last breath on earth. There is no basis that we can wishfully hope that all of a sudden, we will, out of nowhere, switch mode to “start” living in eternal life, defined as living in loving relationship with Jesus, after our last breath on earth.
Jesus has a “Love-Relationship motivated” definition of eternal life. Anyone who does not have that love-relationship with Christ does not share such eternal life with Him. For the first time, I have a bit deeper understanding why Jesus would say, “I never knew you, away from Me, you evil doer.” [Matthew 7:23], to those of us who go through life by putting Jesus on the sideline or in the background, never depend on Jesus as our core Partner and Lord. Like a divorced spouse who is no longer in each others life showing up in a funeral of the deceased ex-spouse: “You weren’t invited!” is the kind of welcome he’ll get! Do we treat Jesus like a divorced or separated spouse?
Jesus once asked Peter, “Who do YOU think I am?” (Mark 8:29) Jesus is also asking you and I today: Who is Jesus to me?
Do I see Him as my Genie, to orbit around me and answer my prayers and requests, while I keep sending Him my wishlist and crying out to Him in times of trouble, but don’t expect Him to show up if I am not in need or in trouble, while driving my life on my highway towards my own direction?
Do I see Him as my Core, through His Word, growing my desire to follow after Him, yielding, obeying, letting Him be my purpose, motivations and the reason of being? That His calling and His purpose towards my life is all I seek to live out? Do I totally depend on Him instead of being constantly independent of Him?
Despite of our unfaithfulness that keeps interrupting our eternal life on earth in this loving relationship with Jesus, despite of our allowing the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life to fill our heart, like a cheating spouse whose heart is given to someone else, yet our Father has compassion, slow to anger and rich in love [Psalm 145:3].
Jesus keeps calling us to return to our first love for Him [Revelations 2:4]. While you and I still have TODAY, if we hear His voice, do not harden our heart.
Our life is fragile and temporary, like grass, the wind blows then it is gone and be remembered no more [Psalm 103:15,16].
Let’s not just seek eternal life as a form of immortality out of our self-centered view.
Let’s seek eternal life as the most intense form of love with Christ, overflowing beyond this life, His Bride eagerly looking to spend eternity with Him in love forever and ever!