Something very tragic happened inside our evangelical minds somewhere long ago. And that’s the idea that eternal life means going to heaven when you die. It’s tragic because it misses the whole point of why God redeemed us in the first place.
And, yes, if we believe in the finished work of Christ for salvation, we do get heaven when we die, but it’s only in a greater glory of what we already have right now.
Jesus came to give us eternal life. The word “life” in its simplest and most generic form means “connection;” whereas, death would mean separation. But it’s much more than that.
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3
Jesus’ main purpose was to re-connect us to our Father. That we may “know” Him, but there’s more to it than that.
And shouldn’t it be quite strange to us for Jesus to come in the flesh, fulfill the requirements to reconnect us to God in the flesh, suffer and die in the flesh, be raised from the dead in glorified flesh, and then send us the Holy Spirit to come live in us in the flesh…only so we could sit in church and wait until we leave this flesh to be with Him?
Jesus came to give us everlasting life and not perish. The word “perish,” like in John 3:16, can mean “rendered useless.” So, when we receive Christ our lives are not wasted. We now have the opportunity to live a fulfilling life with real meaning and purpose. But it’s also means so much more than that.
Here’s my paraphrased version of the very familiar John 3:16 passage. I paraphrased it, I believe accurately, so that you could see something wonderful, maybe something you have not caught before.
“For God is a Father who loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son, so that you would believe in Him and not be rendered useless, but be able to enter into God’s very own life.” John 3:16 (My paraphrase)
I highlighted the part I want you to see. This is where we’re getting to the heart of the matter. Let’s look at this further.
Jesus told the woman at the well something profound.
“but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:14
What’s profound is what we find in the two little words, “everlasting life.”
I don’t want to belabor the original Greek here, but the word “everlasting” (αἰώνιος – aiṓnios) basically means, “without beginning or without end.” In other words, existence outside of our time dimension in the time-space-continuum. The word for “life” (ζωή – zōḗ), in this particular context, does not mean our living and breathing, or our natural life…it means “God’s very own life.”
So, let’s think about this for a moment. What Jesus was inviting the woman at the well to, and is now inviting you and I to, is entering into God’s very own life…a life that transcends this four-dimensional box we think is reality. Actually, transcending all created dimensions in the quantum world. This is a Divine life that supersedes this age and even time itself.
And the point is, you enter into this Divine life as soon as you “drink” this water. And when you drink this water, it not only lives in you, it flows out of you too! (Jn.7:37-39).
As C. Baxter Kruger points out (“Jesus and the Undoing of Adam”), when Jesus, eternally God and eternally Man, ascended to the Father…“At this moment, a human being lives and dwells and abides inside the circle of all circles, inside everything that it means to be God, inside the very life and fellowship of the Father, Son and Spirit.”
So, Jesus came to invite us into this “circle of all circles,” into this great transcendent Fellowship, this Divine life of God now. And shouldn’t a life like this, by its very nature, overflow?
We are to follow Jesus in this way. For He is the “way, the truth and the life…to this place in the Father. This is why we’ve been given His Spirit. They have come to make their abode in us (Jn.14:23). Oh, what Divine fellowship! What glad tidings that brings great joy!
Our life is Christ’s very own life (Gal.2:20; Col.3:3). Where He is right now, as the Divine human being, eternally God, eternally Man, sitting at the right hand of the Father, is where you and I are right now (Eph.2:6; Col.3:1-2). This is our real home because of who we are in Him.
This is eternal life.
- This holy communion (melwild.wordpress.com)