The Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life Everlasting
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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
Do you believe in everlasting life? If so, when does it begin? Is this something that happens after death? Scripture seems to say that eternal or everlasting life begins when you begin to know God. The Creed masterfully ends in keeping with the way it began. “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.” Everlasting life begins with faith in God. If we can affirm the first claim of the Creed, we have already affirmed the final one.
We must be clear, though, about the concept of believing. On the one hand, believing cannot be reduced to mental assent to propositional assertions. Neither can belief find its moorings in the knowledge of scientific certainty, valuable as it may be. Nor does biblical faith require a turning away from knowledge and scientific inquiry. To believe, in the biblical sense, means to know something beyond the plane of knowledge. Belief is Holy Spirit–empowered inner confidence in the truth of a person. It comes as a gift from God and is given to those who seek it.
Are you waiting on something to happen before you believe? Or are you actively asking, seeking, and knocking in pursuit of the gift of faith? In the world’s eyes, seeing is believing. In the Kingdom of God, believing is seeing. This is why we walk by faith and not by sight. Where do you find yourself in this process?
This eternal life then commences when it pleases the Father to reveal his Son in our hearts; when we first know Christ, being enabled “to call him Lord by the Holy Ghost;” when we can testify, our conscience bearing us witness in the Holy Ghost, “the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” And then it is that happiness begins; happiness real, solid, substantial. Then it is that heaven is opened in the soul, that the proper, heavenly state commences, while the love of God, as loving us, is shed abroad in the heart, instantly producing love to all mankind; general, pure benevolence, together with its genuine fruits, lowliness, meekness, patience, contentedness in every state; an entire, clear, full acquiescence in the whole will of God; enabling us to “rejoice evermore, and in everything to give thanks.”
—From “Sermon #77 on Spiritual Worship”
Express your questions, doubts, curiosities, and conundrums.
Write any fresh affirmation stirring in your heart and mind from today.
Now affirm the Apostles’ Creed aloud:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord . . .
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