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Eternal Life begins Now!

Jesus stated that one of the reasons He came was so that we could have eternal life:

(Joh 10:10 KJV) … I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

(Joh 6:40 KJV)  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

(Joh 3:16 KJV)  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.

This eternal life (also rendered everlasting life) is life that has no beginning or end; one that continues in perpetuity. But it is not just an endless life, it is the very life that the Father and the Son have: John 5:26; 1:14; 6:54; 2 Tim.1: 1; 1 John 5:10- 12. It is Jesus Christ, the Son: John 5:39; 14:6; and the Father (for the Son is the Father): 1 John 5:20; cf. John 1:1- 3; 1 John 1:1,2.
Accordingly, we can expect that this life is a rich, abundant, overflowing one. Which is why Jesus declared in John 10:10: … I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Glory to God! Eternal life is ours to enjoy now. This rich abundant, overflowing life is ours to enjoy now. It is a present continuous tense possession of the believer. The Scriptures point to this truth:

(Joh 3:15 KJV)  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (“have” there means to keep on having)

(Joh 3:16 KJV)  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.

(Joh 6:54 KJV)  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

(1Jn 5:11 KJV)  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (“hath given” the reference here is to the historic fact of the gift)

(1Jn 5:13 KJV)  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (because having known that believing on the Son of God leads to eternal life, ye might keep believing so that you will have an even greater experience of eternal life. Words in parentheses mine)

However, there are some scriptures that seem to point to eternal life being a promised reward which we shall receive at the end. That is, it is referred to as something which is yet to come: see Mk.10:30; Rom. 2:7; Jude 1:21, etc.

The truth is, these Scriptures as well as the numerous ones that point to us already having eternal life are true. The seeming contradiction between these two positions is readily resolved when one considers that eternal life is a never ending life for it is being like the Son who continues forever: Rom.6:9; Heb.7:3,24. Thus, as has been said, it is something that we have and will keep on having even in the world to come.

This truth becomes even clearer when we consider that, eternal life means sharing in the life of God in Christ through continuous intimate knowledge of the Father and the Son:

(Joh 17:3 KJV)  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (the words, “might know” actually mark a continuous progressive knowledge and understanding, such that it might well be translated, “keep on knowing.”) As such, the more we grow in our knowledge of the Lord, the more of His life we experience.
This personal intimate knowledge of Him (the experience of eternal life) began when we believed on the Lord for it was made accessible through the gospel- 2Ti. 1:10 and will continue (as we keep on believing on Him: note on 1 John 5:13 above) till Jesus comes again for us.

Therefore Paul says,

(1Co 13:12 KJV) “…now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
And again,
(Eph 4:13 KJV)  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
(Eph 4:15 KJV)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Therefore, when the scriptures speak of eternal life as something we are yet to receive, they are not detracting from the truth that we have eternal life now. Rather, they are referring to the experience of a more complete intimate knowledge of the Lord that we will receive (as we keep on believing on Him, see my short note on 1 John 5:13 above) when we see Him again such that we will be like Him in every respect!

In this light, as apostle Peter admonished in 2Pe 3:18 KJV, let us “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” for in doing so, we access and experience all that pertains to life and godliness (2Pe. 1:3); a foretaste of the abundant eternal life that Jesus came to give us.

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