Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Eternal Life, Gift of Salvation

Let’s look at the concept of Eternal Life. Most people have put to memory John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I memorized this verse as a child from the King James Version of the Bible. Instead of saying, “eternal life,” it says, “everlasting life.” It refers to a length of time – life that never ends. This can be misunderstood if people conclude that by becoming a Christian they will never die. Everyone is going to live on beyond this age. People who do not believe Jesus Christ and Him crucified will spend eternity in Hell. So what does “eternal life” mean?

In Acts 13, Saul, who was also called Paul, and Barnabas set out to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ among different people. It is called Paul’s first missionary journey. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly. Paul proclaimed that through Jesus, everyone who believes is set free from every sin; a justification they were not able to obtain under the Law of Moses.

Every place Paul and Barnabas travelled, they first preached this message in the Jewish Synagogue where Jews and Gentiles who worshipped God were present. The people were so moved by their message that they wanted them to continue. It was like an extended revival. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. Many Gentiles showed up to hear this message. The Jews became jealous because of the great crowd. They started talking against Paul and rebuked him. That is when Paul began to minister to the Gentiles and fulfilled prophecy. He did not stop ministering to the Jews though. Every city he went to, he would first preach to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. The Jews rejected him while the Gentiles were very receptive. This broke Paul’s heart. His own people rejecting Jesus.

This message of Eternal Life found in Acts 13:46-48, talked about “life which comes from God” or “true life.” But to look at it from this perspective would only miss the significance of this quality of life that continues through one’s earthly existence and beyond death. We need to encompass the qualitative and the quantitative at the same time. So here it is, the final analysis that will bring full meaning to “eternal life.” It is experiencing real life which never ends. Simple yet profound.

Eternal life is a beginning point of a new life and not something that is to be obtained after death. When a sinner repents of their sins and believes unto Jesus, then eternal life is what is received. They have been justified and salvation is their free gift. In Acts 13 when the Gentiles believed, they took an active role in believing, in committing themselves to Christ. But it was in response to God’s Spirit moving in them, convicting them, and appointing them for life. Salvation is only found by the grace of God. I praise the Lord during this season of Lent that we can celebrate all the intentional acts of God that lead to our salvation. 

In Acts 13:49, it says, “The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.” That is what happens when the Truth of God’s Word is proclaimed. The darkness flees and the light of the Gospel is spread. 

This Sunday we continue our “I AM” series by looking at John 15 where Jesus says, “I AM the Vine…” Invite someone with you this Sunday and let Jesus make an eternal difference in your friend’s life. Be sure and pick up the next ornament in the foyer that goes along with the “Lenten Season” booklet.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

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