John 3:16: And have everlasting life

Posted: March 24, 2012 in John 3, John 3:16, Lent, Pastoral ministry, Sermons

For the past few days, I’ve been reflecting on the John 3:16.

As a reminder, here’s the verse in the King James Version:  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Today, my thoughts are on the idea of everlasting life.  Strong’s Concordance defines αἰώνιος (aiōnios), the Greek word for everlasting, as “without beginning and end, that which has always been and always will be.”

In light of that definition, I see everlasting life as more than something in the future.  It’s something that’s already started.

And if we believe that we are now living everlasting life, what would it change in the way we approach life?

At the most basic level, it means that things in this world matter.  Our relationships with others are important.  We’re to love others as Christ loves us.  We’re to speak up when we see injustice and to see others through the eyes of God’s grace.

In fact, if we live as if we already have everlasting life, our lives change completely.

Yet, sometimes the conversation on eternity points out to a future event.  It gives the impression that what we are doing now isn’t the real thing, as if it doesn’t matter.  There’s a song I heard on the radio today about how this isn’t our home. It bothered me.  Eternal life is more than a future event — it’s the now AND the not yet.  What we live today is a part of our everlasting life and it matters.

I ran across this on the United Methodist website in the section called, “We are Saved.”  Salvation “happens to us both now and for the future. It’s “eternal life,” that new quality of life in unity with God of which the Gospel of John speak—-a life that begins not at death, but in the present. But how does salvation happen?”

If we lived out what we find in John 3:16 and the rest of the Gospel message, this world would simply be transformed. In one book I’ve read, the author says that with every action we take, with every word we say, we bring Heaven or Hell to earth.  We bring Heaven when we reflect the actions and the life of Jesus.

We all are living eternal lives.  The challenge of John 3:16 is to live a life that reflects that fact.


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