Stan opened our time together one morning by saying, “I have something to say to you that I am not sure you will understand. I say that because I am not sure I understand.”
I thought, “Wow, this must be a big one, how could he expect me to understand if he doesn’t?”
“Go ahead, Stan, tell me and I will try to follow.”
He began, “First of all, I think there is a difference between eternal life and life eternal.”
“How so?” I replied.
“I think that life eternal is what you and the rest of us got when we accepted our free ticket to Glory.”
“OK, I can agree with that,” I replied. “What about the eternal life part?”
“That is for this side of eternity,” was his response.
“How do you figure that?” I asked him.
“I do that on the basis of where Jesus defined what is meant by eternal life.”
“John 17:3, where Jesus said, ‘This is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.’”
“Let me see if I understand what you mean,” I responded. “You are saying that eternal life is all about knowing God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. And that that is to occur on this side of eternity before we go to spend eternity with them.”
“Bingo,” was Stan’s response. “That is exactly what I am saying.”
“One more thing I want you to chew on. All of this is a big subject, and we will take it slowly. I want you to pray about it, asking God’s guidance through His Holy Spirit to help you understand. In addition, I want to say something else about the difference between life eternal and eternal life.”
“What’s that,? I asked.
“Consider that Jesus gave us life eternal through His death on the cross — and He gives us eternal life through His resurrection into a new life. Note the difference between ‘gave’ and ‘gives.’ One is permanent and can’t be changed, while the other is an on-going process.”
With that Stan closed our time together and said, “Lots to pray about!”
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ who You have sent. John 17:3.
Prayer: Lord, there is so much to know and to understand about you. Thank you that you want me to know you, and that you have set aside all of my remaining time on this side of eternity to do just that. Please, Lord, lead me in knowing you and please help me to follow where you want to lead. Amen.