I believe in . . . the life everlasting. Amen.
There are many things – perhaps too many things – that Christians disagree on. But there are also many things that Christians do, or at least should, agree on. One of the most basic statements of faith found in Christian history is known as The Apostles’ Creed. It isn’t called Apostles’ because the Apostles wrote it, but because it is an accurate, brief summary of what the New Testament Apostles taught.
Here, at the end of the Apostles’ Creed, we look at the last line: I believe in . . . the life everlasting. Amen. A Christian believes not only in the resurrection of the body, but also that the resurrected body will enjoy life everlasting. The New Testament brings out two interesting points on this idea.
First, there is a sense in which life everlasting is totally unique to the Christian experience. We understand this from passages like John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The everlasting life Jesus spoke of is not simply the unending life of eternity. It speaks of a quality of life. Some scholars even translate the idea of the words everlasting life into “life from heaven” or “life from above.” It means that we believe God gives His kind of life to us, and that is part of what we mean when we say, I believe in . . . the life everlasting. The wonderful thing about this is that we can start living and enjoying the God-kind of life right now. You don’t have to wait until you die to live the life everlasting. He wants to put that life into right now.
Second, there is a sense in which life everlasting is not unique to the Christian at all. Jesus said in John 5:28-29: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” (Click here for more on John 5) Every one of us will live forever. Just as those who are righteous in Jesus will receive a body specially made for the glories of heaven, so the others will receive a body specially made for the agonies of hell. We deal with serious business on this earth, because what we do here matters in the life everlasting.
This should also make us more sensitive and appreciative of each other. Every day, we come into contact with a few eternal things:
- God Himself is eternal
- God’s Word is eternal
- People are eternal
We must spend more time investing ourselves in eternal things, and less in everything else that will pass away. Every person you meet, everyday, has an eternal destiny in the life everlasting. Can you make a difference for their eternity?