If life is a blessing — then what must eternal life be?
If life on earth is good — then what must life in Heaven be?
To live with God. To live like God. To live, enjoying the closest and most hallowed communion with God. Yet this life may be obtained and enjoyed. It is a free gift, and it is offered to every hearer or reader of the gospel. To this, God witnesses; to this, he bears record, as we read, "This is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." 1 John 5:11.
THE INESTIMABLE GIFT. "Eternal life." It is
inestimable — just look at its opposite. Eternal death is . . .
the most terrible infliction man can suffer,
the most awful doom that can be pronounced upon a sinner,
ever dying — never dead,
ever suffering — never at ease!
Look at what eternal life comprehends. PARDON, or a change of state. No more a criminal — but a justified man; no more under condemnation — but a child of God, beloved and honored.
A new PRINCIPLE, or a change of nature. This new principle produces a change of taste, of appetite, of pursuit, of end. The man is a new man — a new creation — an heir of God, and a joint-heir with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then comes new POSSESSION, or a change of place. We are taken from earth — to Heaven. We rise above all the effects of sin, all the effects of the curse — and shall be forever with the Lord.
ITS BESTOWMENT. Eternal life is not a reward for service done, or wages for a work performed — but a free and generous gift. God promised it before the world began.
God promised it to Jesus for his people, and to us as believers in him.
God revealed it, first in his word, and then by his Son. "Life and immortality," or immortal life, "is brought to light by the gospel."
God presents it to every sinner who hears the gospel.
Jesus is ready to impart it, and complains because sinners will not come and receive it. He says, "you will not come to me — that you might have life."
God confers it — and confers it on every believer. He who believes, has everlasting life, and shall never come into condemnation.
God crowns it. Crowns it with his presence, his glory, and the full enjoyment of his love.
The life that comes from God — leads us to God, and only finds full satisfaction in the glorious presence of God.
ITS DEPOSITORY AND CHANNEL. "This life is in his Son." In him was life originally — all life, as the author of creation. In him is life, all spiritual life — as the head of grace, the mediator between God and man.
It was placed in Jesus for safety. Life in Adam was lost — but life in Jesus is safe and secure.
It is in Jesus to be conveyed to us, and it is received and enjoyed by faith.
Jesus is accessible. He is easy of access, we come to him, and we receive eternal life from him. It is in Jesus that its communication may be certain, nothing can fail, with which Jesus has to do. No one can fail, who goes to Jesus for eternal life.
ITS OBJECTS. "God has given to US eternal life." He has given eternal life to us, who were under sentence of death, and could look for nothing else. He has given eternal life to us sinners; as sinners, as most unworthy sinners, as nothing but sinners. He has given eternal life to us freely, without condition, except that we come to Jesus and receive it without money and without price. Given to whoever will, to anyone, and everyone who is willing to receive it.
Herein is love — free love, wondrous love, that God has given eternal life to sinners — to sinners who were his enemies; and has placed it in Jesus, that they may come and receive it without reluctance, and without fear.
Eternal life then is to be had. No one perishes because he cannot be saved — but because he will not be saved. There is eternal life in Jesus, and that life is for sinners. Those who would have it, must come to Jesus. It is to be had nowhere else, nor in any other way. Jesus is entrusted with eternal life — and Jesus alone. All may come to Jesus who will. All are welcome. All are invited. No man who hears the gospel, can say that he was never to Christ — for the gospel invites all. The minister who does not invite all his hearers to Jesus, does not preach a full, free, and unfettered gospel.
Whoever comes — obtains. No one is cast out. No one is refused. Every one who asks — receives; and he who seeks — finds. He who has not eternal life, has never come to Jesus; for all who have come, have obtained it.
Rejecters of eternal life are ungrateful — ungrateful to a God of love! They are suicidal, they destroy themselves with an everlasting destruction! They are inexcusable, for who can excuse or pity them, who thrust God's free gift from them, and pronounce selves unworthy of everlasting life!