Tag Archives: eternity

Bible Term: Eternity

Time without beginning or end; forever.

Consider a timeline that goes an infinite distance into the past and an infinite distance into the future; this is a mathematical picture of eternity.

Followers of Jesus will spend a future eternity with him in heaven. Since God is bound by neither space or time — he exists outside the space-time continuum — eternity with him is not an unrealistic promise.

Bible Term: Eternal Life

Eternal is simply without beginning or end. Eternal life, therefore, is life without end. This does not refer to an endless physical life but instead an endless spiritual life.

Through Jesus we can experience eternal life in heaven.

Without Jesus, there will be eternal death in hell.

Refer to the entry for eternity for an expanded discussion on this.

Is Our Reward For Now or Later?

Some people who follow Jesus have a future focus, greatly anticipating heaven. They endure the present while waiting for what is next.

Other people who follow Jesus have a present perspective, living boldly for today as his ambassadors to the world. The afterlife is almost an afterthought.

Which is it? Is our reward for following Jesus, now or later?

The answer is “Yes!”

Jesus said that his followers will receive a reward in the present and even more in the future; he promises us something for today and something for tomorrow.

The Bible says that what we give up for Jesus now, he will replace multiple times in our present life, with eternal life as a bonus later. When we follow Jesus, we get the best of both.

[Luke 18:29-30]

How Do You Earn Eternal Life?

In the Bible it was common for Jesus to invite people to follow him. That’s simple enough; anyone can do that.

But sometimes Jesus would give a different instruction. For example, he told one very wealthy man to give away all his money and possessions, not ten percent, not half, not even 90%, but all. That’s not so simple or so easy.

Some people assume this means the man was putting his trust in his money and as long as he trusted money, he could never fully trust Jesus.

I get that and agree with that: anything that’s more important to us than Jesus, keeps us from Jesus.

But I wonder if there’s not a different explanation. The man was trying to earn eternal life. We know we can’t earn our salvation; that’s impossible. So to make his point, Jesus gave him a seemingly impossible task: give away everything.

Eternal life is a gift. We can’t earn it. All we need to do is receive it.

[Luke 18:18-29, Romans 6:23]

Is It Fair to Get What We Don’t Earn?

In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon does a lot of whining.

(Don’t get bogged down by his negativity, for he eventually provides some reliable insight in the book’s concluding verses.)

Overall I find it easy to dismiss Solomon’s complaining, but one of his laments does make sense to me. He grumbles about leaving an inheritance to someone who didn’t earn it and doesn’t deserve it.

That’s not fair! And we all want what’s fair, don’t we?

Perhaps not.

Through Jesus, we receive something we didn’t earn and don’t deserve: eternal life.

That’s not fair either, but I’m not complaining.

[Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Ecclesiastes 2:21, Romans 6:23]

What is Eternal Death?

Since eternal life is result of following Jesus, what’s the alternative? Might “eternal death” be the opposite?

If eternal life starts immediately when we begin our journey with Jesus, does eternal death start as soon as someone rejects him?

If eternal life results in heaven, doesn’t eternal death result in hell?

Some opine that eternal death is merely physical death; when the bodies dies, that person is forever gone; their spirit does not live on; it dies too. Death is the end.

However, that’s not my understanding. You can’t have the promise of heaven without the possibility of hell.

For those who follow Jesus, eternal life begins here and now when they align with him. When their body dies, their spirit continues on, enjoying eternal life in heaven.

For those who don’t follow Jesus, eternal death begins here and now when they disregard him. When their body dies, their spirit continues on, suffering eternal death in hell.

[verses about eternal death in the Amplified Bible, the Message, and the New Living Bible]

What is Eternal Life?

The phrase “eternal life” occurs 42 times in the Bible. What exactly then is eternal life?

Some suggest eternal life is synonymous with heaven. If we believe in Jesus, we will go to heaven when we die. That is eternal life.

That’s a good start to our understanding of eternal life, but that’s not all there is to it; there’s more.

As I read the Bible, I see eternal life beginning now, here in this world. We learn this from the apostle John, whose references to eternal life are often present tense.

When we follow Jesus, eternal life begins immediately, right now, today. Eternal life begins here on earth through Jesus and continues into heaven when our physical bodies die.

If you follow Jesus, are you enjoying eternal life today?

[verses about eternal life in the NIV Bible, John 5:24, John 3:14-21, John 5:39-40, John 3:34-36]

Considerations of Good

When a man asks Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life,” he is showing proper respect for Jesus by calling him good.

Jesus, however, is quick to assert that only God is truly good.

If ever anyone deserved the label of “good,” it was Jesus. But instead he offers this accolade up to God his Father as an affirmation of God’s character.

Then Jesus reminds the man of the Ten Commandments.

The man asserts he has kept them all since he was a boy; he is effectively saying, “I’ve been good.” He seems to miss Jesus’ teaching that only God is good.

But merely being good is not enough. Jesus tells him to sell all he has and give away the proceeds. This is easy when we have little, but harder when we have a lot; the man has much. The idea of giving it all away distresses him and he leaves.

Though it might be unwise to turn this story into a rule, for this man, at least, being good is not good enough; being generous is what’s required.

[Luke 18:18-23]