Today’s word comes from my church this morning. The pastor spoke from John 3:16-21 and made several eye-opening points, but I want to focus on a few questions he presented.
He started off with this: “Why are you a Christian?” As in, do you know your motivation or payoff for being a Christian. Why do you bother doing what you do? What do you get out of it? Everyone has a reason even if it’s just because they enjoy feeling like a good person (which, by the way, is not what being a Christian is about).
In verse 16, John says Jesus gives us eternal life; that’s our undeserved, unmerited reward. Eternal life could mean to you a future in heaven, but the popular thing to say in recent years has been that eternal life means life in the present. We have life in the full now. The pastor told us not to discredit this belief just because of its popularity. He believes this is what John meant, and it follows with what Jesus taught. John records Jesus praying, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent” (John 17:3).
This distinction becomes more important when related to how you live. The pastor gave us two more questions: “Will you go to heaven?” and “Will you have full life (eternal life) today?” These do not ask the same thing. If your motivation as a Christian is just heaven, you will ask if you’re headed to heaven when you’re wondering how to live. You might ask, “Can I ignore that dirty man on the street with a cardboard sign and still go to heaven?” God forgives, so you should be fine. Walk by and don’t worry about it. Your future is secure. The same goes with giving into temptations. Lying, over drinking, looking at porn, what do they matter on the grand scheme as long as Christ has you covered?
On the other hand, what if you want life right now the way God intended for you? Jesus says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” Abundant life sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Can you get it living however your sin desires? Will passing the man on the street and getting wasted on the weekends give you a full life? Now there’s a question that comes with a challenge.
If you call yourself a Christian and only have heaven in mind, you’re missing out on real treasure in the meantime. “For God so loved the world He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Don’t be the walking dead. Live seeking eternal life in God right here, right now.