|Volume 23 Number 8 August 2021
As Christians, we are the servants of the Most High God. What an honor! The service we render ought to flow out of appreciation. Jesus’ sacrifice and our obedience to the Gospel bridges the great divide between our once lost state and our heavenly home. We do not have one ounce of hope without the blood of Christ. Once we commit one sin, we become morally bankrupt. Jesus put it this way. “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34 NKJV). The longer we engage in sinful acts, the more natural that way of life becomes to us (Ephesians 2:3). However, salvation results from changing our mind about sin and obeying the Gospel through faith (2 Corinthians 7:10; Acts 2:38-39) – [an obedient faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26) rather than a dead faith (James 2:17, 20, 26), which leads to baptism for the remission or the forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 22:16). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]. Living by [obedient] faith gains us the victory over sin and death (1 John 5:3-5; Revelation 2:10).
When we consider our past condition and our new hope, grace actually teaches us to live differently. Paul explained it thusly. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). The receipt of grace ought to humble us to the point that we change our very lives. Every ounce of pain and torment that Jesus experienced paid the penalty for our sin. In other words, He suffered on the cross so that we did not have to suffer eternally. He took upon Himself the punishment that was due us.
This newfound life we enjoy should be spent serving our Heavenly Father. Why? “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). Not only should we serve our Heavenly Father, but we should do so with joy and gratefulness. There is no greater work than to help others gain their heavenly home. We should be more than glad to share the Gospel, pray for others, lead others in gaining biblical understanding and encouraging faithfulness. This work brings our Lord glory and honor. Therefore, let us serve our God with joy while we have breath in our lungs!
Eternal Life in John
Cecil May, Jr.
Since “all Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV), God is Scripture’s ultimate Author. One may correctly say, “God said,” introducing a quote from Scripture. However, God allowed each human author to have his own distinct style and vocabulary. In some cases, different authors may use a word or phrase with their own distinct meaning.
“Eternal life” in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and Paul’s epistles refers to life as in heaven (Mark 10:30). John, however, in his Gospel account and epistles, says, “We have eternal life” using “eternal life” as equivalent to forgiveness of sins.
In Scripture, death is often “separation” from God. When our sins are forgiven, we have “life” again. The nature of that life is not physical but eternal – reconciliation to God.