Reflections: June 18, 2020
Thursday of the First Week after Trinity
By Alexander Lange
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We know what the Christian's hope and destiny is – eternal life! But what is eternal life? Naturally, we think that eternal life is life without end; it is living forever.
Some people think that eternal life means the body must die and then the soul can live forever in heaven. Others know about the resurrection of all flesh. They think that eternal life means that Jesus will resurrect the body and that our bodies will live forever.
Still, that definition is not quite satisfactory. Jesus tells us that eternal life is not merely living forever, but is the full knowledge of God and Jesus. In other words, we truly live only if we have a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
The psalmist says that his hope is to dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6 and 27:4). Yes, that means living forever, but it also means living in the Lord's presence forever. Indeed, God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden precisely because He didn't want them to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever apart from Him.
If eternal life is knowing God through His Son, then you are experiencing eternal life right now! Once you were dead in your transgressions, separated from God, but now God has made you alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:1-7). Christ has reconciled you to God by dying for you. Christ has brought you, who were once far off, near to God (Ephesians 2:13).
Because of Jesus you have a relationship with God that will last forever. If your God and your Savior will live forever, then you will live forever, too. This life started at the baptismal font and it will never end. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty, everlasting God, Your Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ may increase daily and that we may hold fast to the hope that on the Last Day we shall be raised in glory to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (Prayer for the Hope of Eternal Life in Christ)
– Rev. Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.
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