Eternal Life You Have

1 John 5:13

Isn’t it easy to forget it, that we have eternal life? We often don’t feel like. In fact, we sometimes feel like we’re already in hell. We don’t always look like. We don’t need other people to remind us how far we fall short, if we’re honest, but because we fall short in honesty as well, God does send people to remind us. He sends us preachers. And these preachers remind us we fall short, of course, not to leave us in despair, but to give us true hope, to get to the absolution, to proclaim to us an eternal life that we already have in Christ, to put an end to our striving and searching for it in ways and places God has never promised to give it.

We have eternal life. How do we have it? In the Son of God. In His name: Jesus. He is He who saves. He saves us. He saves you. He saves me. Eternal life isn’t something we’re working towards. Eternal life is ours. Gift. In the Son of God. In His name, put upon us in Baptism.

We like to tire ourselves out, though, don’t we? Rather than finding rest, sabbath, in God’s love, we want to win it, not receive it. We want to flip our spiritual house, woo Him, put on a show. That’s not how God operates, though. Why the incarnation, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and all that, if we could do it, if it were so easy, so cheap that we could string together some glossy deeds, say some magic words, undertake a renovation? No, He sent prophets and apostles to write, and He sends preachers to preach an eternal life we have, through faith, in the name of the Son of God who became Man, who was crucified and rose, who did everything and did it all for us. We have eternal life. It’s not a hope like a hope we might have to win the lottery. We’ve won. He is ours, and, therefore, so is eternal life.

John says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” Know it. Live with it. Live free, robbed of this burden we so naturally and quickly put upon ourselves in our fallen thinking and piety. Take up the cross, which at times may seem heavy, but in truth is your rest, the mark of an eternal life not to be accomplished, but received, an eternal life that is already yours, through the one who bore the cross to make it so.

Wade Johnston

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