"And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.'"
Do you want eternal life? It depends on what kind of life it will be. Your life might overflow with goodness, truth, and beauty that gushes from being united with the One who is eternal in every perfect way. Do you want that? Not everyone does. Before this passage, Jesus distinguished between those for him and those against him (12:30).
Eternal life is permeated with the love of the Father, which is eternal in both its duration and its quality. It is a life of teaming with perfect goodness without end. The eternal life of Jesus brings is on of true deliverance or liberation. Liberation not only from guilt but from the dark oppression of present sin. Eternal life, in both duration and quality, begins now. This means that my life right now, who I am, how I live, whether or not I cherish and care for those in need, is tethered to my eternal destiny.
Eternal punishment and eternal life are a result of the kind of person we become. Christ’s liberation is neither private nor passive but involves placing our confidence in Jesus by the empowering activity of God as we take up Jesus's way of life, which always includes loving service to others.
What about those against Jesus wanting nothing to do with him? They receive what they want, eternal life without him. Jesus does not force his eternal life on anyone. Rejecting the liberation of Jesus is to habitually choose to be oppressed by sin. The liberating love of God is as serious as the eternal consequence of who we become. Apart from Jesus, there is no liberation, no deliverance. This is not an arbitrary judgment but the natural outcome for those who would rather have life on their own terms rather than the life of Christ.
Lord, what kind of life do I really want? Who have I chosen to become by how I live? Give me a rich vision of how my confidence in you is tied to caring for those in need?
Art: Megan Kenyon | "Joy in Discovery" | mixed media collage on paper | 2020
Practice: Spring Cleaner
While the idea of spring cleaning may seem like an odd practice to engage in at the tail end of Lent, deep cleaning our physical spaces can have an incredible impact on our emotional and mental well-being. Further, spring cleaning makes way for fresh starts and new beginnings. As we've explored the need to live in such a way that we are demonstrating our love for Jesus by how well we love others, physically cleaning and organizing can jump start the cleaning and organizing within us. Need more proof? Check out this article by CNN (click here) and read The Spruce's "6 Tips for Successful Spring Cleaning (click here)".