And this is the promise that He has promised us–eternal life. ~ 1 John 2:25, NKJV
Eternal life. Sometimes I think this is an obscure promise—one that is hard to see, hard to comprehend. But I think I’m looking at it wrong when I think that this promised life begins at death. Where does that leave me now?
I love the outdoors and crave adventure. I love the buzz of adrenaline when fear and excitement collide and pulse electrically through my veins. The thrill of challenge sets my heart to a thundering pace lets me know that I’m alive—and not boring. So, I’m sitting here wondering, am I to wait until death to embrace life?
Is the Christian life supposed to resemble that of Rapunzel locked in her tower—waiting for life to begin? Or is there another picture—one that looks to the life after death while embracing the life here and now?
Absolutely! It just takes a different definition of death and life.
Death is separation. Physically, it’s the separation of the soul from the body. Spiritually, it’s the separation of the soul from God. So, there’s four combinations:
Option one: spiritually dead, physically alive. A person can walk around this earth, get a job, have kids, and go snowboarding, all while rejecting Christ. Dead while breathing.
Option two: spiritually alive, physically dead. I went to a funeral recently for a vibrant believer, a man who had accepted Christ’s sacrifice for his sins. His soul was separated from his corpse, but alive with God in heaven.
Option three: both spiritually and physically dead. That’s what happens when a car accident or cancer kills you before you’ve asked accepted Jesus’ gift of forgiveness. If you don’t allow him to take your punishment for your sins, you die physically, still responsible for everything you’ve done wrong. And since sin separates you from God, you don’t get to go to heaven, where God is. You have to go to hell. Terrifying.
Option four: physically and spiritually alive. This is what Jen is talking about. I was physically born, squalling and pink, dead in my sins. But, the moment I gave my life to Christ, the moment I allowed him to take the punishment for my sins through his death on the cross – that was the moment I was ‘born’ as a Christian. That’s the moment both kinds of life were mine.
I’m sitting in my office typing a blog. Check. I’m physically alive. My soul is singing with a victory Christ has recently wrought in my personal life. Check. I’m spiritually alive.