For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 familiarly sums up the ultimate benefit of the substitutionary death of Christ in two words: eternal life.
For Christians, eternal life was given at the cross and inaugurated at the empty tomb. We rejoice during the Resurrection season for all that Christ’s rising from the dead accomplished for us. We thank Him for taking our sin at the cross and giving us His righteousness in return. We celebrate His resurrection that gives us hope to also rise and to live with Him forever in perfect glory. And while Christ’s resurrection gives us the hope of eternal life in the future, we actually get to enjoy a taste of eternal life right now.
But the extent to which we enjoy eternal life varies. God gave each of us eternal life at salvation. But most of us don’t redeem its full earthly benefits. For example, Jesus said about Himself, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” And God offers the sweet fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, and patience, to name a few, to those who walk in step with the Spirit. God offers life and peace to those who set their minds on the Spirit. These blessings and many other promises are all realities available to every Christian, but enjoyed by only the ones who withdraw these benefits from their heavenly account.
What if you had an unlimited credit card that would never be billed to you? That would be an amazing resource, but it would be useless when it stays in your wallet. You have to swipe it to use it.
In the same way, we have eternal life now! We’ve been given all we need for life and godliness, but won’t enjoy it to its fullest extent unless we use it. How do we access our spiritual benefit package?
Scripture is filled with instruction and wisdom to take hold of what is ours. And Scripture itself is alive! A good place to begin is meditating on Scripture. Our indwelling Spirit will use the gold we mine from the Word of God to smooth our jagged edges of sin and unveil ways we can walk more closely in step with the Spirit.
Of course in our current flesh living in this fallen world, we may feel more like beggars than spiritual billionaires. Galatians 5:17 says this is because, “the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” But He continues by encouraging us that we who belong to Christ Jesus have already “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” So even though our feelings may tell us we can’t enjoy God, obtain victory over sin, or relish the goodness of God, the truth is that we can. And the more we enjoy the slice of eternal life God gives us now, the better reflection we are of our mighty God to a watching world.
So what are you enjoying this Resurrection season? Are you enjoying your gift of eternal life? Christ redeemed you to enjoy Him! And we most enjoy Him when we follow Him in the resurrection power that He has already given us!
We can walk around with a smile on our face, knowing that we hold the secret of the Good News of eternal life that we can barely keep from sharing.