Our corner of the theological universe commonly makes a big deal about eternal life, which is appropriate — eternal life is a big deal.
But we commonly think of eternal life as something we’ll get after we die.
We don’t say that, of course. In fact, when we’re evangelizing we regularly say the opposite. For example, we often quote John 5:24: “He who hears My word and believes on Him who sent Me has everlasting life.” “Has,” we say. “See, it’s right now, already, the moment you believe. Right then, you have everlasting life.”
But we somehow don’t seem to think in those same terms in our daily lives. We think of having eternal life like having a bus pass — it’s something you carry around with you, so that when you get to the door of the bus, they’ll let you on. But you don’t use a bus pass all the time; just when getting on the bus. We think “having — right now — eternal life” is like getting a ticket to heaven right now, so we can stick it in our pockets and use it when the time comes.
But that’s not it at all. The moment you believe the gospel, eternal life begins. That’s what John 5:24 says, and it’s what we’re claiming to believe. If you’ve believed the gospel, your life, today, is part of that eternal life.
So what does that look like?