Given the title of this post (Eternity Now) it is possible that you have come here looking for cologne or perfume. If so you will be disappointed to know that this is not a resale site and I don’t carry any Calvin Klein products (though I guess it is possible that you will see an ad for it in the footer given that Amazon pulls keywords from the post to fill it’s ads section). But even if that was the reason you initially came to this post I would urge you to hang around as you might find the content of this post valuable anyway.
Eternity is a fun word. Its most basic definition is easy enough to put into words, yet extremely hard to comprehend; “No beginning and no end.” Of course from a Christian perspective there is only one thing that is truly eternal, and that is God himself. Now let’s pause for a second because I already foresee the objection you are likely to raise. “But doesn’t the Bible talk about eternal life for humans too.” Yes it does. It goes further than to simply talk about it. We are actually given a promised that every human being will live from now into infinity. Our souls will never cease. So then, is it true that God is the only actual eternal thing?
Yes it is. God had no beginning, you and I do. However, like God, you and I have no end. And this is true both for the believer and the non-believer. But, this does not make us eternal. More than that I think there is a misunderstanding or an ill-definition of what is meant by the phrase eternal life itself.
See when I hear the phrase “eternal life” I, like so many others immediately think of two things. The first thought is that I will live forever. Note what I pointed out above; ALL people will live forever regardless of whether they believe or not. That fact should be sobering and I intend to write about that more in a future post. The second thing I think of when I hear eternal life is what I refer to as “the floaty place.” You know the place with white robes, harps, angels, wings and clouds. But are either of these what Jesus is talking about when he uses the term eternal life?
Luckily we don’t have to speculate on what Jesus meant when he used the term eternal life. He tells us plainly during his High Priestly Prayer in John 17. In John 17:3 Jesus says,
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
So, there we have it. Jesus has clearly defined what is meant by the term eternal life, namely, knowing God and Jesus his Son whom was sent to be the atoning sacrifice, which would pay the sin debt we owed to God.
I have not had many brushes with famous world figures. But there was a time in my life when, from memory, I could quote to you every single stat of my favorite baseball players. Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Mark McGwire, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. I could even tell you some facts about their personal life. But I have never had a personal conversation with a single one of them. So do I truly know them? I think not?
Notice that Jesus does not say that eternal life is knowing about God, nor does he say that it is merely believing God exists. No he says, “knowing you.” The word know here does not mean to be aware of something, but rather having a deep familiarity and personal experience with something. And that knowledge is a mutual one. We must know and be known by God in order to have eternal life.
Just as I do not truly know Albert Pujols, someone who can quote all of the teachings of Jesus to you and his biographical information may not truly know him. Someone who can eloquently express the history of God and who can even rightly divide God’s word may not know Him. And if one does not know Him then we can also conclude that they do not have eternal life.
So is such a person going to hell?
The correct answer is that that person is actually currently already residing in hell. They are separated from God now and will remain separated after death. They are (not will) experiencing eternal damnation now.
So what about a person who does truly know God? Are they going to go to heaven?
Once again, the correct answer here is that they are not only going to “go to heaven” after the resurrection of the dead on the day of the Lord, but that they are already living in heaven, now. They are, right here, right now, experiencing eternal life.
Of course both of these realities will become more clear after death, but we must get it through our brains that we are living in eternity now or else we run the risk of living in the temporal only. And if we live in the temporal only then we will never experience God. And if we don’t experience God we will never know Him?
What are we to do then? How do we know God?
Why don’t you start by asking Him that question? If you seek Him you will find Him and if you knock on the door He will answer. (Matthew 7:7)
Pray. Pray a real prayer to God. Don’t make it flowery. Ask Him to speak to you, to meet you, to show Himself to you. Then, perhaps, it would be wise to open up the Word that He gave to us. Go to the Bible and read the words He says to you. But when you do, don’t try to learn about God, try to hear from Him instead. Read with your ears, not your eyes.
If you do this you will have the eternal life God desires for you to have and you will have it now.