What Is Eternal Life?
What is eternal life? I have asked that question to many people – people involved in a church and people not involved in a church. The answers I get to this question always sound something like this: eternal life is going to heaven; being in heaven; being reunited with loved ones when we die; entering into God’s presence; going to a place where there will be no more sickness, hurt, or pain.
These are all good and even accurate answers. It is interesting, though, that no one, not even those involved in a church, ever gives the answer that Jesus gave. Jesus gives us a clear definition of eternal life in John 17:3 when He says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
What is eternal life? Jesus simply says it is knowing God. Eternal life is not some pie in the sky idea; it does not consist simply of some far off distant place we hope to one day go. Eternal life is to be entered into and experienced right now by knowing God, having a personal relationship with God, and walking with Him daily. Knowing God is made possible only through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).
How do we know God, then? How do we attain eternal life? First we must acknowledge our need for forgiveness, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). The amazing thing about God’s love is that He offers us life through His Son even when we’re at our worst. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We must simply put our trust in God by believing that He sent Christ into the world to pay the penalty for our sin on the cross. Jesus said, “he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).
Church goers – do not be fooled into thinking you have received eternal life through your church attendance or religious activity. Heed Jesus’ words: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven. . . Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me. . .” (Matthew 7:21-23). Knowing God is of prime importance.
“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:11-12). It’s that simple. Do you know the Lord? If you cannot confidently answer “yes,” turn to Christ now, receive His gracious gift of salvation by placing your faith in His work on the cross, and enter into eternal life. God loves you so much that He was willing to die for you. He wants you to know this kind of love. He wants you to know Himself.
We at Lincoln Hills are growing in our understanding of God’s great love offered in Christ. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” We are growing in the freedom that God’s truth provides. Jesus is restoring our joy in life.
In a culture where people are becoming more and more isolated and lonely, we are seeking instead to build meaningful and even fun relationships. We are growing in our relationship with God and growing in our relationships with one another.