“The Life Everlasting”


“Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:8). The Lord’s people sing, “His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 100:5; 106:1; 107:1; 117:2; 118:1-4, 29; 136; 138:8). “The Life Everlasting” isn’t just the unceasing continuation of mere existence. It is divine communion, which is why it endures forever. The duration of eternal life derives from its character, its nature, its essence, which is love: specifically, Triune Love. The Triune Life of God is eternity; the mutual indwelling of the Father and Son in the communion of the Spirit is eternity. Eternity would be nothing at all if not for the Holy Love of God.

This very Life of God is exactly what the Lord has shared with us. Through his power, according to the Gospel, his people have been made “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:3-4). That is, the Triune Love “has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). That is, we know God with God’s own knowledge, with the intimate knowledge that he has sent in the knowledge of his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus prayed to his Father and ours, “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). And this life will never end, because the Triune God lives and loves forever.

So, at the Resurrection, the eternal state in the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21:1) will be consummated in the most wonderful of all celebrations: the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7) who was slain to make us his bride. The Risen King who has been “anointed with the oil of gladness” (Psalm 45:7) has made ready to receive “the all glorious princess” (v. 13), having sanctified her by his gracious word (Ephesians 5:25-27; Psalm 45:2). With joy and gladness we will enter together with our Beloved into his palace (Psalm 45:15), into his chambers (Song of Solomon 1:4), into the very bosom of eternity. In the fullness of his presence and in true union with him we will have the Life of God wholly in us, which will be the final death of all our sin, and the death of death itself. In the New Creation, eternity will be for us, together, what it is for God himself: love. Deep, strong, jubilant, utter love—as the Lord lives!

Does “the Life Everlasting” sound good to you? Are you willing to go public with your profession of it as Gospel? What’s the most interesting part to you? When would it be helpful to meditate on it? What prevents you from believing it? How might this central proclamation of the church be mistaken for escapism, and what’s wrong with that idea? (Is there anything right with the “escape” idea?) Can you imagine the love that is the essence of eternal life? How can you participate even now in the abundance (John 10:10) of God’s Life? What do you do with the tension between the realities of the “already” of communion with God and the “not yet” of the coming consummation?

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