BUILDING UP THE BROTHERHOOD

EVERLASTING LIFE NOW!

July 22, 2012

     

 

"For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted also to the Son to have life in himself.”

– John 5:26

 

    Jesus taught his followers many things.  Each Christian Bible writer seemed to have been impressed by different parts of his teachings. A review of the writings of the Apostle John reveals that John was most impressed with Jesus’ teachings on love and life.  In the verse noted above, John tells us that God gave Jesus “life in himself.”  So, though Jesus died, he did not continue in the death state.  He was resurrected because of the ‘life he had in himself.’ But John tells us that God did not limit this gift only to Jesus. God gave everlasting life to all believers:

 

And this is the witness given, that God gave us everlasting life, and this life is in his Son.  He that has the Son has this life; he that does not have the Son of God does not have this life.  I write you these things that you may know that you have life everlasting, you who put your faith in the name of the Son of God.”

 - 1 John 5:11-13

 

    Can this be so?  Do believers already have everlasting life?  Do we who follow Jesus have within us the same life Jesus had within himself?  Perhaps this is a poor translation of John’s letter.  Let’s look at other Bible translations:

 

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

– 1 John 5:11-13 (King James Version)

 

And this is the testimony: 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.  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

–  1 John 5:11-13 (Today's New International Version)

 

*And this is the testimony, that God gave 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.  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

–  1 John 5:11-13 (English Standard Version)

 

And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  So whoever has God's Son has life; whoever does not have his Son does not have life.  I write this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.”

–  1 John 5:11-13 (New Living Translation) 

 

    Yes, Bible translators consistently translate these words to mean that God has already given believers everlasting life!

 

    This teaching, that believers in Christ are given everlasting life during their earthly sojourn, is repeated in John’s gospel.  Let’s look at a few of them:

 

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”

– John 3:16 

 

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone that beholds the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him at the last day.”

– John 6:40

 

Most truly I say to you, He that believes has everlasting life.”

– John 6:47

 

This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”

– John 17:3

 

Most truly I say to you, He that hears my word and believes him that sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life.”

– John 5:24

 

    From these scriptures, we learn that when we hear Jesus’ teachings, believe them, and exercise faith in them, at that moment, we have everlasting life.

 

    The Apostle Paul’s letters also shed light on the gift of everlasting life.  Paul spoke of the giving of this gift as an anointing and a sealing, and the gift itself as the  “token of the spirit:”

 

But he who guarantees that you and we belong to Christ and he who has anointed us is God.  He has also put his seal upon us and has given us the token of what is to come, that is, the spirit, in our hearts.”

 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 

 

In fact, we who are in this tent groan, being weighed down; because we want, not to put it off, but to put on the other, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now he that produced us for this very thing is God, who gave us the token of what is to come, that is, the spirit.”

 2 Corinthians 5:4-5

 

But you also hoped in him after you heard the word of truth, the good news about your salvation. By means of him also, after you believed, you were sealed with the promised holy spirit, which is a token in advance of our inheritance, for the purpose of releasing by a ransom [God’s] own possession, to his glorious praise.”

 Ephesians 1:13-14    

 

    Understanding this gives real meaning to our anointing.  Anointing is not an act of selecting special believers.  It constitutes the granting by the Father of the gift of everlasting life! When we listen, believe and exercise faith in Jesus’ teachings, our anointing is sealed. And we symbolize our anointing with everlasting life by undergoing the baptism into Christ’s death.

 

Consequently, what shall we say?  Shall we continue in sin, that undeserved kindness may abound?  Never may that happen!  Seeing that we died with reference to sin, how shall we keep on living any longer in it?  Or do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” 

 Roman 6:1-3

 

Therefore we were buried with him through our baptism into his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of the Father, we also should likewise walk in a newness of life.  For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall certainly also be united with him in the likeness of his resurrection; because we know that our old personality was impaled with him, that our sinful body might be made inactive, that we should no longer go on being slaves to sin.  For he who has died has been acquitted from his sin.”

  – Romans 6:4-7

 

I am impaled along with Christ.  It is no longer I that live, but it is Christ that is living in union with me.  Indeed, the life that I now live in flesh I live by the faith that is toward the Son of God, who loved me and handed himself over to me.” 

– Galatians 2:20

 

    By our baptism, we symbolize that we are a part of the body of Christ, the body that “has life in himself(John 5:26), by means of the spirit:

 

For truly by one spirit we are all baptized into the one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink one spirit.” 

– 1 Corinthians 12:13

 

    But what teachings in particular lead to the gift of everlasting life?  Jesus gave the answer in an illustration that stumbled many:

 

“Accordingly Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. He that feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I shall resurrect him at the last day.”

– John 6:53-54

 

Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said: ‘This speech is shocking; who can listen to it?’  But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were murmuring about this, said to them: ‘Does this stumble you?  What, therefore, if you should behold the Son of man ascending to where he was before?  It is the spirit that is life-giving; the flesh is of no use at all. The sayings that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

 John 6:60-63

 

    Seeing that his disciples were shocked, Jesus explained that he was not speaking of his literal flesh – “the flesh is of no use at all.”  Thus, eating his literal flesh and drinking his literal blood would have no life-giving benefit.  He was speaking in a spiritual sense – “the spirit is life-giving.”  So eating his flesh and drinking his blood means that we must become sharers in his life in the flesh – the things he did, the way he conducted himself, the way he worshiped the Father, the way he treated men, the way he loved mankind.  It is also a sharing in his death, true.  But we die only so that we can be born again.

 

For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall certainly also be [united with him in the likeness] of his resurrection; because we know that our old personality was impaled with [him], that our sinful body might be made inactive, that we should no longer go on being slaves to sin.  For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin.”

– Romans 6:5-7

 

    Truly, everlasting life is the will of God.  

 

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone that beholds the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him at the last day.”

 John 6:40

 

    Since it is guaranteed, salvation should be taken for granted by those who believe in the fatherhood of God.  (Yes, we said taken for granted.)  Our chief concern should not be the selfish desire for personal salvation. That is a given. Rather, it should be the unselfish urge to love and, therefore, serve our fellowman even as Jesus loved and served men.

 

    Prior to Christ, mankind was lost and had become separated from the Father.

 

Indeed, you who were once alienated and enemies because your minds were on the works that were wicked, he now has again reconciled by means of that one’s fleshly body through [his] death, in order to present you holy and unblemished and open to no accusation before him, provided, of course, that you continue in the faith, established on the foundation and steadfast and not being shifted away from the hope of that good news which you heard, and which was preached in all creation that is under heaven.”

Colossians 1:21-23

 

    Jesus came to show us the way home.  (John 14:1-11)

 

Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 John 14:6
 

    And once mankind was re-directed toward the Father, Jesus commissioned us:

 

Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.  And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”

– Matthew 28:19-20

 

    The knowledge that we have everlasting life in ourselves strengthens us for our ministry and enables us to endure whatever trials this life brings.  We need have no fear of death.  For by means of this gift, which has already been given, we are assured of our resurrection to life in the heavens with Christ.

 

    If we use the illustration of purchasing a house, we could say that we already have the title deed.  We are not in escrow!  Once we have exercised faith by our words and conduct, we have met all the purchase requirements.  All that is left is to move into our new dwelling!

 

    So, in the interim, while we are in between residences and tarrying in the flesh, let us imitate the Christ and let the ministry be our primary concern.  As Paul explained:

 

But all things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of the reconciliation, namely, that God was by means of Christ reconciling a world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and he committed the word of the reconciliation to us.  We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us.  As substitutes for Christ we beg: “Become reconciled to God.”

 2 Corinthians 5:18-20


    We welcome your comments.   

 

“Elaia Luchnia”

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