What is eternal life?

Have you ever heard or ever been asked this question, "If you died tonight, where would you spend eternity?"

Or maybe it was asked in this way, "When you die and stand before God, and He asks you why you should be permitted to enter heaven, what will be your answer?"

Jesus revealed the meaning of eternal life, but when I hear questions such as these I am thoroughly convinced that some don't fully understand what Jesus meant when He spoke the truth about eternal life. In this lack of understanding, there is a tendency to focus only on when one dies, and about whether one will go to heaven or whether one will go to hell.

Don't misunderstand me, it certainly does have to do with what happens to us and where we will spend eternity, when our mortal bodies beat their last heartbeat and breathe their last breaths. But eternal life is not merely about a time in the future or a destination where we will be. It is so, so much more. It's about a relationship, a relationship that is full of life, goodness, blessing and promise in this present moment. It is about blessing far above what we can ever think or imagine when we call Heaven our eternal home.

Let's look at Jesus' words and see how He has so wonderfully and specifically revealed the true meaning of eternal life in John 17: 1-3 (The Amplified version)

"When Jesus had spoken these things, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour has come. Glorify and exalt and honor and magnify Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify and extol and honor and magnify You. Just as You have granted Him power and authority over all flesh, all humankind, now glorify Him so that He may give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. And this is eternal life: it means to know, to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with and understand You, Father, the only true and real God, and likewise to know Him, Jesus as the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, Whom you have sent."

As we learn from Jesus' words, eternal life is about an intimate and ever close relationship with God, our Father, and with Jesus himself, who is our Savior, the Christ, Whom He sent. Jesus was speaking about the most precious and most valuable relationship anyone can ever have, and He calls this "eternal life." Jesus does not speak of eternal life being a destination where one will go at death, but He clearly speaks of a relationship that begins here and now, when one receives salvation through Him. This relationship will undoubtedly continue throughout eternity.

What a sorrowful and sad mistake is made when one thinks that eternal life is just about a place or destination we go when this life here comes to an end. We certainly must be glad as we understand the full and overflowing blessing that we can not only experience eternal life daily, that is, this abundant, full and satisfying relationship with the Father and Jesus His Son, but also that we will have it forever and ever. 

Allow me to ask this question: What really was lost when our spiritual ancestors listened to the enemy's lies and deceptions?

Surely we know that they lost their "perfect home," and Eden and all it's glory became only a memory as they were cast out. 

But the truth is that the most devastating and horrid loss was their relationship with God, their Creator, their Friend, and so much more. He himself made that place and it's magnificent provision so glorious. The enemy did not care about that "place," he wanted to destroy the relationship and the fellowship of hearts and spirits.

It is that relationship of intimacy, fellowship, and sweet communion that Jesus has come to redeem and save through His sacrifice for our sins. He gives us back our place of relationship with God. He gives us His promises and blessings in this mortal life and He seals our destination to be with Him in heaven in all of His glory and magnificent and abundant provision when our mortal bodies are no more. We walk and talk with Him here, and we will do so for eternity on His streets of gold.

How great and awesome is our God!

He truly has a wonderful plan for each of our lives, a plan that begins and ends in Him. Don't let another day, another minute or another second pass by without experiencing the eternal life that He has for you...you can know your heavenly Father and Jesus His Son...you can experience life, relationship, fellowship, intimacy and sweet communion with Him...you can walk with Him as your Savior, Friend and King...you can receive His promises and His blessings everyday...and you can have the confident assurance that when your time on this earth ends, that you will spend eternity with Him.