This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. – 1 John 1:2 (NLT)
In my dictionary the definition for eternal is: 1. without beginning or end; everlasting 2. forever the same; unchanging 3. seeming never to stop.
When I look up the definition of life, the first entry reads, 1. that property of plants and animals (ending at death) which makes it possible for them to take in food, get energy from it, grow, etc.
In the Bible these two words are placed together to form the phrase eternal life. If we went by the dictionary definition alone this phrase would appear contradictory, since our secular source claims that life ends at death. Yet, the Word of God clearly states that this is not the case, and life, for those who are Christ followers, continues for an eternity beyond our experience of physical death. Even more amazing, the Bible teaches that eternal life is not a thing to be experienced, but a Person to be worshipped. In other words, eternal life is not an event that will take place, but is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is eternal life, according to John. And when we place our faith in Christ, we experience the eternal life that He both is, and that He has to offer.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, I am so undeserving of You, yet at the same time, so willing to accept what you have to offer me. Thank you for eternal life.
The fundamental problem many of us have in living the Christian life reveals itself in the area of our continual yielding to the darkness that God has already saved us from. God cleanses us from all sin and applies His own holiness to our accounts. But for many of us, there is a desire to keep returning to the broken life that God has graciously made whole.
So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. — 1 John 1:6-7 (NLT)
We need to realize that while God freely grants us His grace, we are responsible to Him to continue living according to the ethical and moral standards that He has revealed to us in His Word. It is a cheap form of grace indeed, that says that God doesn’t care how we live our lives. When we accept God’s gift of holiness we are also committing ourselves to live a life that reflects the holiness that God has imparted to us. It is not a matter of being perfect, but of living by God’s standard. When we do fall short, God will forgive, but the goal is to walk so close to the light that falling short becomes a rare occurrence quickly followed by repentance and a newfound desire to live in the light of God’s presence. May God give us the ability to not only accept His light, but to live in it.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, I want to bask in the light of Your presence. May my life reflect the holiness that You have imparted to me. Make my light Your light.
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. — 1 John 1:5 (NLT)
There are a number of “God is…” statements in the Bible. They are proclamations that help to define God’s character for us in ways that our finite minds can grasp. The descriptive phrase “God is light” brings to mind sunshine, or sitting in a bright, artificially lighted room, or perhaps a bolt of lightning that we see outside of our window in the midst of a storm. In the context used here, it is describing God’s holiness. He is pure, undefiled, without sin, blemish, or fault. Everything about God is pure light.
The good news for us is that God is willing to take His light and apply it to the darkness that we have allowed to shroud our own lives. By accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior we have asked God to apply His holiness to our accounts. In other words, God is our sanctifying source. While we have sinned and embraced the darkness, God desires nothing more than to remove the darkness we have succumbed to and replace it with the light of His holiness. While we were not light when we did not know Christ, we have become light through God’s gift of Himself.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Father, Your light shines so brightly that if it were not for Your open invitation I would not dare to approach You. Yet the light that once blinded me has now embraced me. I accept the gift of Your holiness and commit myself to live as light from this day forward.
We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. — 1 John 1:1 (NLT)
It’s hard not to envy John as we read these words. He begins this letter by identifying himself as one who had experienced an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. It is awe-inspiring to consider what it must have been like to hear, see, and touch the One who has always been. If we use our imaginations, we can perhaps obtain a small glimpse of what John was able to see firsthand so many years ago. How we long to take his place.
But if the truth be told, seeing Jesus with our eyes is not really all that relevant to our Christian walk, even though it would undoubtedly reassure and satisfy us at an emotional level. What is most important is that we recognize and accept Jesus as John describes Him, as, “the Word of life.” This is the same way John started out his Gospel account – In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). This Word John speaks of is the eternal, infallible, sinless, crucified, risen, and returning Son of the living God. And the great news is that today, even as you read these words, the Word wants nothing more than for you to grow in relationship with Him. Are you ready?
PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, I want to know You as intimately as John did. Hear my prayer, and teach me Your ways so that I might become more and more like You.
So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.” – Genesis 35:2-3 (NLT)
Following God’s instruction, Jacob decided to take his family and return to the place where he started on his journey. He was going back to “Beth-el” (literally “the house of God”). And like Abraham and Isaac before him, Jacob built an altar to God, marking the spot set apart for worship. It is interesting to note the preparation that took place; a destruction of idols, physical cleansing, and a change of clothes – all signifying a break with the past and the beginning of a new life.
For some of us, a return to Beth-el is also necessary. Like Jacob, some of us have been wasting our lives, not living in the faith that God has provided for us. And there comes a time when we recognize that God has been with us through that entire period of time, just waiting for us to stop, recognize His presence, and bow down to worship.
Are you prepared for the journey? All that’s necessary is a destruction of that which has taken God’s rightful place in our lives, a willingness to be cleansed through repentance, and a desire to bow down before God in worship. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to take the trip. Is anyone coming with me?
PRAYER THOUGHT: Father, forgive me when I’ve strayed from You. Today, I return to Your house.
God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. – 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NLT)
For those who approach Christianity from a works-based mentality, such a passage causes confusion. They have been trained to think that their relationship with Christ, and indeed, their eternal destiny, is based upon what they do, say, and think. Unfortunately for them, they will always live in the spiritual quagmire of uncertainty when it comes to their status in relationship to God.
Yet all of that is unnecessary. While the Bible teaches us quite clearly that we are responsible to make a decision for Christ and that we are to live in obedience to Christ, our salvation is dependent, not on us, but on Jesus! The Father made our deliverance possible, but the Christ is the one who made us acceptable, pure, and holy, through His sacrifice on the Cross. It is not about what we do, but about what Jesus has already done for us. To depend on self for salvation and spiritual security is to blaspheme the great act of God in the sacrifice of His Son. What we must do is simply accept the salvation God offers us, rather than continually work toward His acceptance of us. God has already accepted us, saved us, and made us whole. When we understand that it isn’t about us, we will begin to live in peace.
Barry L. Davis spent two decades as a pastor and now works full-time writing and ministering to others in Christian ministry as well as to anyone else who is interested in learning and living out the Word of God. Learn more at: http://amazon.com/author/barrydavis