I Believe in the Life Everlasting
The last declaration in the Apostles’ Creed is that Christians look forward to everlasting life. Who of us has not memorized John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes on him should not perish but have eternal life”? What is life everlasting?
So what can we know about this blessing God promises to those who believe on Him?
First, heaven will not be our “final” destination. While those of us who die before Jesus’ second coming will meet Him there and spend some time with Him in “His Father’s House,” God has something special planned for us. Revelation 21:1-4:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, … And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
That’s right. God will dwell with us forever in the newly redeemed world! And part of our “duty” in eternity is to do what Adam and Eve failed to do—to “reign over God’s world and enjoy God forever!”
Does “forever” seem like a terribly long time? Afraid you might get bored? Actually, just the opposite. Alister McGrath explains,
“Eternal life” might seem to suggest little more than life that goes on and on and on. Doesn’t that sound terribly boring? It probably does, if you think of eternal life as an infinite extension of our present lives. But that isn’t really what it meant. The Greek language, … has two words for life. One (bios) means “mere biological existence;” the other (zoe) means “life in all its fullness” What we are being offered is fullness of life (John 10:10), which not even death itself can destroy. We are not being offered an endless extension of life, but rather a transformation of that existence.
Okay, that’s fine for the future, but does eternal life have any meaning for us today? Right now in the midst of the coronavirus, tornadoes, earthquakes, persecution, and all the other things that burden us? Albert Mohler suggests it has very important present implications. He says,
Christians must yearn for the resplendent glories of being in the presence of the Trinity for all eternity, knowing that even after ten thousand centuries of unexplainable felicity, they will not have shaved off one second of their time in heaven. Only through this yearning can the Christian endure persecution, mortify the flesh, wage war against Satan, and press on for the prize of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
I feel compelled to end this article on the blessing of life everlasting with this clever little thought from J.I. Packer:
Christians inherit in fact the destiny that fairy tales envisage in fancy: we (yes, you and I, the silly, saved sinners) live, and live happily, and by God’s endless mercy will live happily ever after.
Christian, God has prepared for you a “happily ever after”!
“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”
(Rev. 21:5-6, emphasis added)
- The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection Even the Skeptics Believe
- How Can You Be Sure You’ll Spend Eternity with God?
 Michael F. Bird, What Christians Ought to Believe (Zondervan Academic, Kindle Edition), p. 218.
 Alister McGrath, I Believe (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997), p. 104.
 J.I. Packer, Affirming the Apostles’ Creed (Crossway, Kindle Edition), p. 147.