Here are some of the Bible passages that present the ideas found in the series, A Reflection on Our Fear of Death.
What Kind of Eternal Life Does Jesus Offer Us?
Often, people think of eternal life as a state we enter after we die. But Jesus tells us that eternal life is an eternal union with God that begins the instant the Spirit of God comes to dwell in our hearts.
- John 17:1-4: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
He calls it being born of the Spirit.
- John 3:5-6: Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
That miraculous event occurs when we:
- recognize our state of rebellion against God and choose to return wholeheartedly to him to live in his kingdom (the Bible calls this repentance);
- recognize we are separated from him because of our sin;
- receive the perfect cleansing for all our sin won for us by Jesus, thanking him for this incredible gift as a demonstration of our faith;
- and trust him to direct our lives and empower us to obey by sending his Spirit to live in us forever.
Stated simply, we decide to accept his invitation to be reconciled with God and be united to him.
Mark 1:14-15: After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Colossians 1:13-14: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
A Retroactive Union
As soon as Jesus comes to live in us by his Spirit, we become God’s child forever.
John 1.12: Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Romans 8:14-16: For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Our Father sees us as having died for our sins when Jesus died for our sins, as having risen from the dead when Jesus rose from the dead, and as being seated in God’s throne room with Jesus when he ascended to heaven.
Romans 6:3-7: Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Ephesians 2:6: And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
He sees us as blameless, pure, and holy — not because we have lived that way, but because that is what Jesus is like, and we are now identified with him. All guilt and shame are washed away.
Ephesians 1:4-8: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
And because we are eternally united with him through his Spirit, his holy moral perfection becomes our ultimate destiny.
- 1 John 3:1-2: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
A New Perspective on Life and Death
The moment we are united to the resurrected Jesus, our inner self passes from death to eternal life to become a “new self”. But the part of us affected by sin, our “old self”, still holds us back until we die and leave this sinful world. During the rest of our time on earth, we are learning to say “no” to what that “old us” wants us to do and to say “yes” to what our “new us” wants.
1 John 5.11-13: And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Colossians 3:1-10: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
In other words, we are learning to trust God and do what he wants in his strength.
- Philippians 2:13: for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
And that takes time, and basically, a total rethink of who we are, of who God is, and of why we are here on this planet (in case you were wondering why Christians on earth are imperfect). Every time we trust God enough to obey him in his strength, we discover that it is true: his way is far better than Satan's!
- Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
He does give us the power to forgive all who harm us, to love our enemy and do good to those who wish us ill.
- Matthew 5:43-45: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
He does make it possible for us to honour and serve one another with joy.
- Philippians 2.1-4: Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
He does fill our heart with love, joy, peace, and hope!
- Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
And so, the more we obey him in his strength, the more we trust him; the more we trust him, the more we obey him in his strength and reflect his character.
- 2 Corinthians 3:17-18: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
But to fully become who we are in Jesus, we need to be freed from our mortal body and receive a new, eternal, perfect spiritual body at our resurrection. That resurrection has already occurred for Jesus, but it is a future event for his followers.
- 1 Corinthians 15:20-26: But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
The Perfection That Awaits Us
The day is coming when God will rid this world of all evil. Satan — and every being who has chosen to remain allied with him instead of becoming allied with Jesus — will suffer what God calls the second death. They will never again be able to tempt God’s children or harm them in any way whatsoever. All rebellion against God will cease.
- Revelation 20:10-15: And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
(See also Matthew 25:31-46.)
A multitude of humans from every tribe, nation, and language who have become allied with Jesus will remain eternally united to him through his Spirit. They will all be perfectly restored to Jesus' image, delivered from all evil and suffering. And they will reign forever with Jesus in a new heaven and earth where God’s will is perfectly accomplished.
Revelation 7:9: After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.
Revelation 21:3-4: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
And to think that the Creator offers all this to us as a gift!
- Ephesians 2:8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.
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