Q: What hope does everlasting life hold for us?
A: It reminds us that this present fallen world is not all there is; soon we will live with and enjoy God forever in the new city, in the new heaven and the new earth, where we will be fully and forever freed from all sin and will inhabit renewed, resurrection bodies in a renewed, restored creation.
Scripture Reference: Revelation 21:1-4
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (All Scripture references are from ESV)
It’s hard to think about what happens after we die. Many of us have had loved ones who have already experienced that moment everyone is afraid to ponder. Death is both mysterious and scary because we cannot explain what happens after that last breath. No one has ever died past the point of medical resurrection and come back from that mysterious afterlife to tell us about it – no one except Jesus.
Jesus was a man. Jesus was murdered. Jesus was buried. Three days later he was alive, and speaking to people. People didn’t recognize him because he was in a body that looked different somehow from the one he died in. But once he spoke to them, they knew it was him. Jesus was – and IS – alive in a resurrected body uncorrupted by sin and death. Jesus is God.
Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this mean in my relationship with God?
Jesus offers this same “afterlife” for us, but it comes at a cost. The payment is our lives. We must stop relying on ourselves (our own flesh and blood) for whatever is coming, and instead rely on God – on Jesus’s flesh and blood to do what we cannot do… raise ourselves to new life. Only Jesus had the power to give himself life after death, and that is because he is God. We are not. So we must daily submit ourselves to the One who has power over life and death, and stop trying to control everything ourselves.
Romans 8:7-11 “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this mean in my relationship with humanity?
Knowing about an eternal future gives us more than just security in death – it gives us hope. How many people do you know that actually have a hope that transforms their everyday lives? It’s like opening a present at Christmas and knowing without a doubt that you are going to get the present you most want. It’s going to happen. That kind of hope is not swayed… it just IS. And knowing this should cause us to share it with the world, because this world is void of that kind of hope.
Romans 15:1-7 “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
Where does your hope come from? Can you say with confidence that you will raise to new life with Christ after you die? If you can, then there is your hope. Place your thoughts on things that are eternal, not on the things of this world that won’t last. Everything will fail you except Christ, and he has promised that he will never let you go.
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 “In him [Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.