Eternal Life - Part 2
August 14, 2022
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).
Eternal life refers to the quality of life as well as the quantity of life. It is more than living forever. It is both living forever with God (for the saved) and living forever without God (for the unsaved). The words ‘eternal’ (aionios) and ‘life’ (zoe) do not refer just to eternal life in heaven, but also in hell. (Matthew 25:46), And these will go away into everlasting punishment (aionios kolasis), but the righteous into eternal life (aionios zoe). Existence in hell is referred to theologically as eternal punishment, eternal death, eternal separation from God, and eternal damnation. But the point is that those who do not inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God will suffer eternal punishment separated from God in hell. There will be no shortening of time for those in hell, i.e., getting out for good behavior, being release because of the sacrifices of others, or for God having compassion on them to release them from hell.
For both the Christian and the non-Christian, there is a ‘fore-taste’ of the eternal reality of what lay ahead for them, though that ‘fore-taste’ is nothing compared to the final reality. For instance, the quality of eternal life in glory is not just a future possession, but also a present reality. (John 5:24), 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 (future tense), but has passed (perfect tense, active voice - has already passed) from death into life. Christians already enjoy some of the blessings of eternal life now because they have inherited eternal life now. Some of those blessings include fellowship with the Father through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, peace with God, the love of God, the joy of the Lord, assurance (confidence) of the resurrection to eternal glory, and much, much more.
Christians will experience the fullness of eternal life with Jesus Christ because of their personal and intimate fellowship with Him here in the earth. (Ephesians 2:4-7) But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:8-11) Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Amen.