Q&A: When Eternal Life Begins

When Eternal Life Begins

When does eternal life begin?

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Answer

Life and eternal life are an important theme in Scripture. Now, of course, as far as existence goes, the Bible teaches that we will exist forever, be it in fellowship with God in heaven and then in the new heavens and the new earth or, for those who have rejected God, in hell separated from God. But when we talk about eternal life, it is a quality of life that is God's own life that he gives to the people who live and trust in obedient fellowship with him. And John's gospel makes it so clear. He calls it receiving this life being born again. And that life then, the imagery is so strong there; that life is preserved by Jesus who is the bread of life and Jesus who gives the water of life, the Holy Spirit. And we're shown how that we have it only in union with him, for instance, in John 15 the parable of the vine and the branches where we are branches, he is the vine, we receive our life only from him. So, this eternal life, this life that God gives, his own life to his people who put their trust in Christ and live in obedient fellowship is eternal life. So, in one sense, I mean, it's always there with God. And this the amazing thing that God promises us, to put his own life within us so that we become, in a way that is beyond our explanation, the children of God and live in fellowship with him. This is the joy It's from this eternal life that and the fellowship with God that the joy and gladness of the Christian life comes.

Answer by Dr. Gareth Cockerill

Dr. Gareth Cockerill is Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Theology at Wesley Biblical Seminary as well as Academic Dean