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  • Writer's pictureTravis Maxey

What is Eternal Life?

If you asked ten different people about eternal life, you would most likely get ten different answers. Even within Christianity, you would find that there is no common understanding of eternal life. What is eternal life? I challenge you to ask your friends this question. Then take these answers and weigh them against the Scriptures.



Perhaps you will get some answers like:

  • Clouds and angles with harps

  • Golf courses and fishing

  • A place without sickness or disease

  • Where our loved ones are

The list of ideas on eternal life is extensive. Some of the answers have some truth to them. Yet, all of them miss the boat entirely. Eternal life isn't a place, or things, or pleasant idea. Eternal life is knowing God.


Jesus says this at the beginning of His high priestly prayer just before He was handed over into the hands of lawless men to be crucified for the sin of the world. He is speaking to the Father, His Father. This is an amazing prayer and it gives incredible insight into the heart of Christ.


Jesus isn't ambiguous here about the nature of eternal life. He is straightforward and clear. Eternal life is growing in the knowledge of God the Father and God the Son. This is accomplished through God the Spirit and the Scriptures. What a very different picture of eternal life this is than what most people believe.


If you believed wrongly before about eternal life it is okay. Repent. Change your mind and believe what is right. Believing that eternal life is what Jesus says it is will dramatically shift your actions in this life.

This is the new life the gospel calls us to. Believe upon the Son who came, died, rose again, and is returning as King. Boldly approach the throne of glory where God is seated through Christ Jesus (Hebrews 7:25).


And stay there.


Dwelling in the presence of God. Just as Joshua did after Moses left the tent of meeting (Exodus 33:11). Joshua knew the presence of the Lord God. He had seen and experienced God speaking to Moses. He had seen the fiery presence of the Lord on Mt. Sinai. He knew God in a way that most Israelites never would know. And he stayed. After Moses left, Joshua wouldn't leave.


He wanted to know the Lord God more. What he had experienced previously of God wasn't enough. He needed more. So he stayed and dwelt in the presence of God. Seeking for God because He is worthy!


O' if this was our response in seeking for God. If only we would spend our time wisely. Not seeking for the glory of men, but the glory of the Lord. At the end of Jesus' prayer in John 17, He prays something o' so wonderful.

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)

Joshua had to wait for the presence of the glory of God to visit Moses in the tent of meeting. However, we who are in Christ are seated with Christ Jesus in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1; John 17:24). Jesus desires that His people would be with Him where He is. So that we would grow in eternal life, knowing the Father and knowing Christ the Son.


What Jesus wants us to know is something very specific, His glory. The glory that He has earned because of His work on earth. Glory when used in the Bible is essentially the weight of the presence of God. It carries a heaviness to it. Christ wants us to know His weighty presence. To be with Him and experience Him. To know Him, His attributes, and works through the Scriptures.


For He says He wants us to know the love that Father had and has for Him. Jesus is the Beloved of God (Ephesians 1:6). When we grow in this understanding of the love shared between the Father and the Son, the glorious gospel sines even brighter. Our devotion to our God gets deeper. As does our obedience.


If these things were that important for Jesus to pray to the Father for should not we be seeking them with great fervor?


God desires to share Himself with us, His creation. The cross of Christ restored this blessed fellowship once again. Eternal life is not a place that is void of God. It is the very presence of God. We who are time-bound experience a portion of this as we see and experience God as in a mirror dimly. But soon we will see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12).


What a glorious day this will be. The weightiness of it. I can't even fathom the emotions that will run through my bones. The weeping, the comfort, the joy, the fear of being in the presence of the Almighty. I have experienced portions of this here on earth, but not nearly enough.


The presence of God and the knowledge of Him through His Word are the greatest treasures to me. I can say with the utmost integrity that seeking God is my greatest desire. But I also know that I don't seek Him as I ought to. This grieve's me deeply.


I want God. But I don't act like it sometimes. I exchange His glory for the lesser things. Shame on me. I have unlimited access to God through the Son. Yet, I don't often act like Joshua. I don't stay and seek God.


I will continue to fight this battle for the mind, seeking for things above where Christ is seated. Will you? Will you grow in eternal life with me? In seeking the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. O' the treasures that are waiting to be found for the one who seeks. For God has promised to reveal Himself to the one who seeks Him (Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13).

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