The True meaning of Eternal Life
Many Christians tend to think that the phrase "eternal life" as mentioned throughout the Holy scriptures simply means "to live forever" or "to have life forever". It is also seen as something of only a future experience in heaven, and that we believers cannot experience today.
But, is this true?
The truth is that all humanity lives forever. For those that are saved, their life forever is with God in that great Holy city where the lamb is the light. (See Revelations). For those that have rejected the Gospel, it is in Sheol (Hell). In the bible, the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John, the definition of eternal life is given:
"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
This can be interpreted as: Eternal life (as God's definition) simply means to know Him and His Son. We can have eternal life right now, by knowing Him! Eternal life is more of a quality of life, rather than a duration of time. Nevertheless, it is something we will have in Heaven as well. You may be thinking, "Eternal life, right now?" Yes!
To study this further, lets look at 1 John 3:15. "No one who hates his brother has eternal life abiding in him". Who was John writing to? The answer is in 1 John 2:1, "My little Children".
He was writing to believers (those that are saved), and warns them if they hate their brothers for any reason, eternal life will not be in them. With our definition of eternal life as to know God and Christ, as stated above, the passage in 1 John 3:15 can be rendered as "No one who hates his brother knows God and His Son". This is a theme consistently throughout scripture as well. However, the reverse is true. If we love Christ and one another, eternal life abides in us.
This means that eternal life is conditional on our faith in Christ, and our love for one another. (See 1 John 3:23).
In conclusion, eternal life is something that can come and go many times in this life, because if we are honest with ourselves, we will not always love our brothers and sisters, and If we just have anger with them in our heart without a cause, we have murdered them in Christ's eyes. Eternal life is the life abundance only obtained by knowing the eternal God who gives it. Thus, it is something to have right now, and also in the life to come, and is not to be confused with salvation.
What do you think?