Lately I’ve been watching a YouTube channel entitled “Impact Theory” which features interviews between Tom Bilyeu and his guests around topics having to do with health, longevity, success, and the good life. Tom will often express his desire to live as long as possible…maybe forever. When he says something like that, I want to yell at the screen and tell him he actually can live forever by committing himself to Jesus Christ who is Eternal Life. I’d be wasting my breath since, at this point, he doesn’t even believe in a Divine Being. His quest for immortality may make his life optimal while on earth but guarantees him nothing when his body finally says, “Enough!”
He and his guests often give insightful ideas about living a better life now. Yet, they usually come up short when addressing true longevity. By dismissing Jesus Christ, they miss the One person who has conquered death and is the Source of living forever. With death’s defeat, none of us have the need to fear it. However, we do have the need to live in the life of Christ so that we too can defeat death.
Eternal Life is Life
You see, eternal life is about more than longevity. Yet, the “eternal” element may be pre-eminent in your mind. Deep within is a desire to live forever; probably an expression of being made in the image of God. We’d be more than happy to skip the dying part and enter eternity without pain and sorrow – heavenly bliss and comfort…forever and ever. True longevity includes never dying while living infinitely.
As good as this is, “eternal life” is really much more about “life.” And, since life is what God gives us in His Son by the Holy Spirit, we can experience eternal life now by participating in this “Trinitarian” life. The catalyst propelling us into this life is Jesus Christ.
All life is about Eternal Life.
For the Christian, eternal life is a Person, not a place or chronological period of time. Jesus is getting at this truth when he informs Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11) The ONLY kind of true life is eternal life in the person of Jesus Christ. All other kinds of “life” are false, of little worth, and unstable. So, why do we try to “live” apart from participating in Christ’s life?
This reality changes everything. If not a future event but the person of Jesus Christ, then the aim of our lives is to experience Jesus Christ as fully as possible. That’s how eternal life happens.
The sooner we experience this truth, the sooner we’ll come alive and have the potential for living life to the fullest.
Eternal Life is Knowing the Trinity
Again, this is what Jesus explains to us in John 17.3: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” To “know” is not a brainy, cognitive kind of “know” located in your cerebral cortex containing lots of facts about God and Jesus. Storing some ideas about or doctrinal understandings of “the only true God and Jesus Christ” is not this kind of knowing. The kind of “know” Jesus is referring to is experiential. It’s the “know” of intimacy, personal involvement and participation, practicality and actuality. It’s the Trinity living in you and you living in the Trinity in such a way that every aspect of your life is affected – how you love, desire, do finances, think, occupy yourself, hope, give time, trust, and worship.
So, how does one enter this kind of eternal life, a life forever in Christ Jesus?
The fullness of baptism is the means of beginning to experience new life. St. Paul explains, in the context of his discussion of sin, that the act of baptism is an act of dying so that death is conquered and new life is entered.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
There is so much to understand and experience from this passage. However, my primary reason for bringing up baptism is to show that having died with Christ in baptism, we shall also live with Him. Meaning, we live with and in Him forever, starting now. Like Christ who is raised from the dead and dies no more, so are we alive forever. Our responsibility, then in light of the fullness of baptism, is to live into that baptism every day of our lives realizing our own death and resurrection in Christ.
Eternal Life is Living in Christ
Wow! That’s mind-boggling! Yet, it is how we are to live. This kind of true eternal life is how we defeat sin. It’s how we die to ourselves. It’s how we take every part of our body (“members”) and devote them to God. It’s how we truly live now and for all eternity. This is eternal life. Not only a promise for the future but a participation in God’s life now.
This is true longevity.
Eternal life – living in Christ (“knowing Him”) now while eagerly anticipating the fullness of life to come (plus not fearing death).
Thanks be to God for the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus!
Please respond or comment below. How is your understanding of “eternal life” challenged or affirmed by this post?