Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. – John 17:3
When Fred retired, he thought he had everything in order. His finances were secure. He felt great. He even made plans to pursue hobbies, enjoy travel, and do volunteer work. After the first few weeks of his new life, he regularly commented to his wife, “Now this is living!”
Suddenly everything changed. First there were unexpected emergencies which caused him to dip deeply into his savings. Soon after that Fred’s health began to deteriorate. Fred’s life changed dramatically. Because of the steady stream of challenges he soon started to say, “Is this living?”
Fred offers a valuable insight on life. Too often I measure my life by the standards of this world. I have to be financially secure. I have to have good health. I have to have my life in perfect order. What if I don’t have many or any of these? Would life cease to be enjoyable? Would despair lead me to the same question it led Fred? Is this living?
Jesus provides me with a better standard for life. His words are simple and demonstrative. He says, “Now this is eternal life…” Before I possibly dismiss what Jesus says as unimportant for this life, I need to understand what Jesus means by eternal life.
Eternal life is centered on the knowledge of God and his Son, Jesus. That knowledge assures me I will live with him forever. Just as important, it assures me of a life now blessed by God.
I was dead because of my sins. I was also separated from God because of my disobedience. I should have been abandoned forever. God chose neither to abandon me, nor to give me what I deserved, because of his Son. Not only do I have life through Jesus, I also have the assurance I am forgiven and reconciled to God.
This is really living. It is living because I am free from the devil’s deceptive control. It is living because I am free from the burden of guilt and fear. It is living because I am free from the punishment of eternal death and hell.
Knowing what God has done and declared through Jesus changes me. It also changes my life. Not only can I depend on God’s blessing here and now, I can also look forward to his blessing forever. This is the life to which Jesus calls me and for which he prepares me. Knowing what Jesus has done for me and the life he offers, I can declare with complete confidence – this is living!