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Establishing Believers in the Christian Faith

from the book Why I Love God

19: The Eternal Aspect of Eternal Life

Among the most glorious aspects of eternal life is exactly what the phrase implies: it is eternal. We will be with Jesus Christ in a new creation, with glorified bodies, together with all God’s people, in a peaceful world that has no end. But truly processing eternity requires some contemplation.

In this life; in this fallen world, time often gives occasion for much fear and stress. There are deadlines; there are things that must be completed lest a certain negative consequence result. There is also uncertainty: we don’t know whether the immediate future holds a desirable or undesirable outcome. And this uncertainty extends to many areas. Will we lose our loved one? Will we have to endure certain physical pain? Will all our work be in vain? Indeed, in this fallen world, time often gives occasion for much worry, anxiety, and heartache.

In eternity, however, in the heavenly kingdom which knows no end, all these time related fears and stresses will not even exist. There will be no deadlines that must be completed to avoid a negative consequence, for there are no negative consequences. There will be no anxious uncertainty about the future, for every single scenario is blissful. There will be no relational losses. Everyone we know we will know forever, for there will be no death nor estrangement — not ever. We also will not ever be subject to physical pain. And there will be no concern that our labor will be in vain, for everything we do will have a good, positive result.

In this world we view life through a grid of time markers: there are minutes, days, hours, years, and so on. Events have start times, end times, dates, and durations. We view our lives through these markers, and often reminisce. We look back at certain events with nostalgia, remembering the good times, and wanting to experience those times again in the future.

With the eternal life yet to come; the life on that new earth where Jesus Christ reigns as King, there is never any regret. Time and date designations will not even be necessary or have any significance, at least as respects distinguishing a joyful event from a grievous event. For in eternity the ending of one joyous, fulfilling, awe-inspiring event will be followed by yet another joyous, fulfilling, awe-inspiring event, and another, and another.

In light of this, perhaps a blissful eternity should be conceived of without our current time markers. Rather than conceiving of eternal bliss as enjoying every minute or every hour of every day, perhaps we should conceive of it as enjoying an endless succession of joyful, fulfilling, awe-inspiring moments. In that kingdom, we will enjoy every moment, and every successive moment, eon upon eon, forever and ever. Every single moment we will be in a state and environment of love, joy, peace, fulfillment, awe, and wonder.

If we truly process all that the promise of eternal life entails, we would fall down on our face in worship and in thankfulness to God.

from the book Why I Love God

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