Eternal life begins the moment a person believes in Jesus. This is one of the key messages in John’s gospel. You don’t have to wait until you die to receive it. But it will only be fully entered into at death. So there will always be something of an aching and longing in our hearts while we reside on earth, because God has made us for a purpose that cannot be fully realised in this world of time and sense. We have been made for resurrection life; an eternity in God’s presence (5). In our DNA we know we have a higher purpose. He is the first instalment, the down payment of heaven. Someone said: ‘How do you know you’re going to heaven?’ The answer is: ‘You’ve got a little bit of heaven inside you right now!’ You have ‘heaven on the way to heaven’. A deposit is a part of the full amount and also a commitment that you will receive the remainder. It is a promise. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is the ”deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.(On this subject see also 2 Cor.1:21, 22 and Eph.1:14). ”We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less. The Message.
Believing in this resurrection future and seeing it just over the horizon, makes the heart skip a beat. The conviction provides a confidence (6, 8) for while we are still living in this world. We have a sense, while we still live in the body that a day is coming when we will actually be in the glorious eternal presence of Jesus. (It is not surprising, then, to find Paul writing as he did in Phil. 1:21, 23, especially when you go on to read verse 8 in this chapter.)
”That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead.” The Message.
None of this can be proved in a scientific sense of course: ”We live by faith, not by sight. ” The world says, ”Seeing is believing” but the Christian says ”Believing is seeing.” Jesus can so prove Himself to you that ‘you know that you know that you know’ and can say, ”Therefore we are always confident…”
Whether we are in this world or the next, the whole purpose of life is to please Jesus, and we are going to be assessed and held accountable for how we have lived and served (9, 10). So not only does the thought of seeing Jesus provide an encouragement to cheerfully press on through everything we face on earth, it also acts as a moral spur to live straight and clean. This great hope we have is both exciting and sobering.
‘’When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming…Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions.’’ The Message.
Prayer: Thank you risen Lord Jesus for this Easter hope. May it live in my heart every day of the year.