John 17:3 says, “ Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Eternal life is about knowing our God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not just a get out of hell free pass. It is not just a ticket into heaven. It is so much more. If we can begin to know the One who has rescued us from the dominion of darkness, know the One who was the ransom for the debt we owed God – then not only will it make us achingly yearn for heaven but it will also make life on earth really worth living.
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the greatest classic series ever written On the final page of the final book (The Last Battle) of the series, some of the children who have been to Narnia are very sad that they once again must return to their homeland—called the Shadowlands. Aslan (the lion who represents Jesus) asks them about this:
[Aslan spoke to the children,] “You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.”
Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.”
The point here is that the children of Narnia dreaded the idea of going back to the Shadowlands and leaving Narnia – not because they didn’t like their home but because it meant leaving Aslan. Whereas we, for the most part, dread the idea of leaving this world for the next. Lets face it, we like it here. We’re comfortable here. We have our stuff here. This world is known. We don’t generally get excited about the unknown. We don’t like the idea of either dying or being dead. Contrast this with how the Apostle Paul felt about facing death and leaving this world:
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain….I desire to depart and be with Christ which is better by far… I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil 1:21, 22; 3:8)
Perhaps he knew something that we think we know but don’t really know: that knowing Christ is what we were made for and what we were saved for. That knowing Him is what makes heaven worth waiting for and life worth living. That knowing Him is the secret to experiencing eternal life in the fullest sense of the term.
So here’s the question that I have to ask myself: Do I know Him like this? Not just know know about Him. Not just believe in Him or even trust Him for my salvation. But do I know Him? Know Him like Paul knew Him. Know Him like the children of Narnia knew Aslan. The answer to this question will determine whether I merely have eternal life or whether I am enjoying and savoring the eternal life that I have been given. And if you’re reading this, maybe these are good questions for you to think on as well. Grace and Peace to you as you think on these things! And while you’re thinking on these things, perhaps you can ponder this question as well: How do you get to know Jesus the way that Paul knew Him? Mmmm… I sense another blog post at some point.
One thought on “Thoughts On Eternal Life”
Until we are in heaven I don’t think that any of us will know him like Paul knew him. Paul had the privileged of walking the earth with Jesus, a perspective that for now we can only amagine. I think that we can strive to know him like Paul did. Spending time in our Bibles learning and really discovering what God wants us to know and learn, which is all of it has we mature in the scriptures . Not just reading the Bible and taking things at face value.
It is amazing to me how you can read the same passage, in the Bible, during different phase in your life and get a new message each time. One might say that this amazement is a lack of faith on my part but I prefer to think of it as a sign of faith, I still continue to go back to the scriptures for his answers and with anticipation, know that they will be there.
The new path that God put me on over 5 years ago has brought me to a new relationship with him, which is what he wanted, it worked. When you truly are living for God and not yourself it is amazing. It is hard to put into words the blessings that God gives you when you do this. These blessings aren’t even necessarily huge, but they are still a God thing which makes them awesome. I find myself wishing that I could just make people understand, but I have to remember that not everyone is at the same “grade level”. I tend to think of our relationship with God like the different grades in school. You start off in preschool and your goal is to continue through the different grade levels. You will only pass to the next one as you put in time and effort and do the work needed to advance. When you are at a higher level you can’t make someone understand your depth of knowledge because they aren’t there yet. This is my new challenge, I, by no means, have reached even close to the highest grade levels but I would say I have advanced enough to know that they are there. I still strive to advance.
As far as our outlook on death, In addition to your list, I think that we tend to think about how others will feel when God takes us home and that is why we don’t look forward to our home going. I think that some of that is healthy, especially if you think of the extreme opposite side of the spectrum. If we didn’t have a health desire to stay in this world then what would stop us from killing ourselves so that we could be with God. After all someone has to stay here to pass on the biblical word.
Well I guess you could say you defiantly invoked some thoughts from me this morning.