Life, eternal life! Who would not like to have it? Many people hope to attain it once they die and thus do not spend their time here worrying about it. They say: “Everybody has to leave this life one day, and nobody knows what will happen afterwards.” Others console themselves with the fact that the good Lord will sort everything out and thus fail to seek salvation for their souls. Many people do not believe in eternal life at all and think that everything ends with death. Their principle is: live a good and beautiful life, as there is no hereafter and no reunion with loved ones again.
But people do not like to think about death; there is an anxiety in everyone about what will follow. Or do they perhaps even have a secret wish that not everything will be over with death? Dear reader, take a stroll through the cemetery and read the inscriptions on the gravestones. Do they not often speak of a painfully deep, suppressed desire for life? Oh, how attached man is to life! Some people may say: “But if only there were not this terrible uncertainty about it; if only one knew!”
Dear soul, today the thought of death may not yet trouble you so much, but also for you the hour will once arrive where the horror of the night will frighten you and you will not get out of this state. Perhaps you have already stood by the coffin of one of your loved ones. Do you still remember the feelings that went through your heart? Didn’t your soul cry out in deep sorrow: “Goodbye! Goodbye!”? Didn’t you notice at that time how your soul cried out in a special way for life?
Rejoice, dear soul, if you yearn for life. There is a life that never ends. This life is also there for you. God wants you to live (see Ezekiel 33:11). And Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This life is there for you, too. But if you hope to obtain it in death, you will experience the greatest disappointment, for the life that lasts forever does not begin after death but already during this time. It is given to us through faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ, who has taken away the power of death and brought life and immortality to light (see 2 Timothy 1:10). “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life” (John 3:36). Without living faith in Jesus, the soul is in a state of death. If it does not obtain life in this time, this state will last for all eternity. This is the opposite of eternal life; it is eternal death or eternal damnation.
The word “death” means separation. Eternal death is therefore an eternal separation; the soul is eternally separated from God. Jesus is the life, and whoever does not have Him does not have life.
When God created the first human, he was completely one with God. He had life from God and lived in complete, intimate fellowship and harmony with the Creator. Therefore, life is the blissful fellowship of heart with God. Sin, however, separated man from God. It is also what separates you from Him, if you do not yet possess life from God. If you are still living in sin, then you are dead, spiritually dead. Then you are still living in the lusts of the flesh; you are a child of wrath, and you do not have life.
Dear soul, have you already taken hold of this life in God? Are you living in blessed fellowship with God? If so, then there is no more condemning judgment for you, for then the Spirit of God has made you free from sin and death.
Spiritual life has its needs just like natural life. Without proper nourishment, life cannot be sustained. That is why the Lord admonishes us in His Word: “Desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). If you pretend to possess life from God and you have no desire for spiritual food, then it is questionable whether you possess life at all. If you have spiritual life, then it will be a need, not a compulsion, for you to read God’s Word and have fellowship with Him in prayer. Life can only exist if it is nourished with the “Bread of Life.” Jesus says: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (John 6:51). This means accepting Jesus into your heart and life.
This life is revealed in our daily walk. We no longer live for ourselves but for the One who gave us life. Through the power of God, we can then live a life pleasing to Him. This life never has an end. With vigilance, it becomes more and more beautiful and reaches its completion one day in glory.
If you already have this life, then you need not fear death. It is then only the gateway to glory through which you pass from faith to sight. Paul said, “I desire to depart and be with Christ” (Philippians 1:23). If you live this life, then your death is a gain. But without this life, dying is the greatest loss. Dear soul, what will your death be to you? Now is still a good opportunity to gain eternal life. It cannot be received by good works and various penitential exercises but only through Jesus. He wants to give wonderful eternal life to every person who comes to Him.