Do you have eternal life? Or will you have eternal life because you believe in and received Jesus as your Lord?
ETERNAL LIFE ~
I grew up with the idea that “eternal life” is something that is promised to us Christians upon death or the return of Jesus. Something that we will have because we believed but not something that we do possess now. And if people believed they actually have it now; they could never presume to expect to experience eternal life in this age!
But, that’s not perspective that Scripture teaches. That misunderstanding can actually cause people to unintentionally view “Death as Savior.” Think about it. If you can’t experience eternal life until you die; then you are essentially “saved by death” from this life. Life is the obstacle to eternal life and death is the way. Yet, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! Not just when we die but, now!
WHAT IT’S NOT ~
Since the word “eternal” is not even Scripturally or literally accurate; I am going to drop it for the sake of this writing. It’s not Scriptural because the Greek word translated “eternal” is “aionios” which literally means “Age-during”, “age-long”, or “of the age”. Also, it cannot be literal because the English word eternal does literally mean “without beginning or end”. Thankfully we do have life without end but who among has had life without beginning?
For the sake of conveying this point, I have chosen to use the Weymouth version’s more accurate translation of this complex, ancient word. The WEY interprets “Age-during life” as “Life of the Ages”. I believe this is a more accurate rendering because the New Covenant that Jesus brought contains fulfillment of all God’s promises in Christ! Not just the promises of the Noahic Covenant (Old Covenant ~ Mostly expressed in Deuteronomy) or Abrahamic (See Gal.3 & 4) but the Noahic (See Gen.8:20- 9:17) and Davidic (WOW. I don’t even know where to start with that one…maybe Psalm 103) It’s not simply about life in Heaven after we die but, life and life abundantly now!
That’s the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus and the Apostles brought and that’s “The Life of the Ages”!
WHAT IT IS! ~
So what did the New Testament writers say about the Life of the Ages?
Consider the Words of the Lord Jesus Himself, plain and simple. I write this so often but, it’s important to note that only “John the Beloved” recorded this revelation given by the Word, Himself. Matthew, Mark and Luke are awesome too but, for some reason Holy Spirit saved this writing for a few decades after they wrote their accounts. John recorded almost 5 extra chapters of Jesus’ most intimate moments and personal words between him and the remaining 11 faithful disciples. That’s one of the many reasons that John 13-17 is one of my favorite sections in all of Scripture!
John 17 has been recognized by many scholars and commentators throughout history as Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” to Father God on our behalf. In it He prayed ~ John 17:”20“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
This was at the end of his prayer that He started in 17:1 and in 17:3, Jesus had defined “The Life of the Ages” this way “And in this consists the Life of the Ages–in knowing Thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”
The word that Jesus used translated “know” is not like the kind of knowing that we get from school. The Western world has been so rooted in informational or scientific knowledge for so long that we need to “unlearn what we have learned”, as Yoda said.
The word used here is of the Greek word “ginosko” which relates to the Hebrew Word “Yada”. It’s the word that Genesis used when “Adam knew his wife.” It is not about learning facts. That is the Greek word “gnosis” and relates to the “Gnostics” that idolized knowledge in the early days of the New Covenant Church. Gnosis is about cold, sterile information. Kind of like the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” or the Law.
But ginosko/yada and “The Life of the Ages” is not about obtaining an education. It’s about intimacy. It’s and encounter or relationship. Jesus said that intimate relationship with God is “The Life of the Ages.
John and Paul also wrote the same thing concerning “intimately knowing God”. Paul articulated it very clearly to Corinth in 1 Corinthians 8. Unfortunately, I have not yet found a version that does these verses proper justice. He used both Greek words in these few verses in contrast and it needs to be restored in translation!
“we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. 2If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; 3but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.” ~ 1 Cor.8:1b-3
The first 2 uses are “gnosis” or “scientific knowledge but the last 3 are “ginosko” or relational knowledge.
He basically said ~ Everybody had informational knowledge. Information puffs people up but love builds up! No one has intimately known God as we really should have relationship with him. But, whoever loves God is intimately known by Him! (Chris Kauffman Nearly Inspired Version)
Seriously though. Imagine God desiring us to have fellowship with him over information. That almost sounds like…The Garden of Eden!
This is what Jesus meant when he said there would be many who prophesied, cast out demons and performed miracles “In His Name” but He would tell them to depart because He “Never intimately knew” him. Because John confirmed what Paul had said that “whoever does not love does not know God. For God is love.” Just like went further 5 chapters later in 1 Cor.13 to say that prophesying, speaking in tongues, faith to move mountains, self-sacrifice all profit nothing if we don’t abide in love! (1 Cor.13:1-4)
Paul goes on in verse 10 to even say that eventually informational knowledge will pass away! I have no idea what that looks like but, it’s going to blow our minds!
This Gospel is really so simple because it ultimately comes down to One thing. This is the way we bear fruit, more fruit and much fruit! (We will do the greater works!)
Simply always John 15:8,9
Jesus said“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.”
The Life of the Ages flows through intimately knowing God’s love for us ~ “7Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” ~ 1 John 4:7
We have not been given a mere theology. Religion has tried to box our relationship with God into a textbook system. We have been given a very real and vibrant relationship, growing in constant intimacy with God! This is the Life of the Ages!