God has given us life in his Son

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1 John 5:11-12 (NIV)

Read: 1 John 5:1-12

Consider: A couple of days ago we looked at this passage from 1 John 5 and considered how John spoke of Jesus’ humanity and divinity.  Today we return to the passage to consider what John means by ‘life in his Son’ (1 John 5:11).

There are a number of aspects of life that are changed when a person turns to God for forgiveness and commits their life to Christ.  Life on earth changes when a person becomes a Christian.  The Apostle Paul says of this new life in Christ: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!  (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Jesus, speaking of this new life said: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10b).  So the life we enter when we become a Christian is a new life, not a revamp of the old.  Additionally, this new life in Christ is ‘to the full’.  What does ‘to the full’ mean?  The new life in Christ affects our relationship with God (upwards), other people (sideways) and changes us (inwards); in other words it affects every aspect of our lives.

While the new life in Christ affects how we live on earth as Christians, it also brings with it the reality of eternal life.  We read in John’s gospel: 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 (John 3:16).  In Paul’s letter to the Romans we read: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).  Can you see that the death being spoken of here is not physical death, but eternal punishment and separation from God.  But what does it mean by ‘eternal life’?  Many people think this just means being with God after our physical death.  While it does mean this, it has a much wider implication.  In John’s gospel we read: Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent (John 17:3).  Eternal life does not begin at physical death, but at the moment we commit our lives to Christ and our spirits are regenerated.  This means that, for the Christian, physical death is purely a stage on the path to being with God for eternity.  Eternal life might seem like it is purely speaking of time, but some commentators say that the Greek word translated as ‘eternal’ carries with it the idea of quality, as well as quantity.  Therefore eternal life should not be viewed purely as endless time in God’s presence, but as endless time getting to know God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) more fully.

Pray: Father, give us a fresh perspective on what the new life in Christ entails.  May we have no fear of physical death, but see that eternal life began in us when we accepted Christ as our Saviour.  We look forward to being with you in eternity.  Amen

Every blessing

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