God's family for the whole family

Eternal Living

Eternal life is not about going to heaven. If that goes too far for you, then I will back off a bit and say that eternal life is not just about going to heaven. Why do I say this?

John, a disciple of Jesus, writes to a group of churches to assure them of their saving faith. As he concludes that letter he writes,

God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1Jn 5:11b-12)

John identifies eternal life with the life of Jesus. Not just here in this text, but elsewhere in this letter (1Jn 1:2; 1Jn 5:20). Eternal life is not so much a future destination as it is a present quality of living. It is life intentionally lived under the transforming influence of Jesus, learning to live as He would if He were us. It is apprenticing under His direction and internalizing His values, virtues, and priorities so that they become second nature to us. Such eternal living will not lead to perfection during our earthly life, but John tells us that when Christ appears at the end of this age, then we will be like Him (cf. 1Jn 3:2).

As followers of Jesus we are not invited to wait for eternal life but rather to work out eternal living. As Dallas Willard liked to say, eternal life is not about getting into heaven, but rather getting Heaven into us.

What helps you work out eternal living?

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