The Gift of God is Eternal Life

by Nancy Vandemark

I grew up believing in God as taught by the teachings and traditions of my family's church. It was not until my senior year in high school that I took a more serious look at those beliefs. A friend was reading a fictional book in which the main character belonged to the same denomination I did. As I answered the various questions my friend had, the questions she asked about hell began to bother me. As I thought about the answers to the various scenarios she gave me, God did not seem as merciful as I had once believed.

I decided at that time that if God was like that, I did not want to believe in him. But at various times in solitude with nature, creation would tug on my heart strings. It seemed to me that there must be a Creator. One time, as I looked around with no other person in sight, I felt how small and insignificant I was on this earth. I wondered, "Man is so insignificant in this universe, why, if there is a God, would he even care." When I later started reading the Bible, I felt a real connection to the verse Psalm 8:4: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"

Several years later, I ran across some literature that taught, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). I started reading the Bible directly and discovered the grace of God was there after all.

"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." John 3:16

Many verses in the Bible do not say if a person does not believe that he will have eternal life, but that he will perish. Eternal life is a gift of God, not something that we already have.

How freeing it is to know that if family or friends reject Jesus, they will not be eternally suffering. They will perish--no longer exist.

God wants us to be with him because he loves us. He wants us to return that love freely. How many of us would want someone to marry us because of a marriage proposal like this: "I love you. I cherish you and want you to be with me the rest of your life. I will be there through good times and bad. I love you. Come be with me. If you do not choose to be with me, you will live a life of torment."

Just as we would want to marry someone who loves us, not just marry to escape something worse, so God wants us to come to him. In the same way as a husband and wife join together because they love each other, so God wants to give us the gift of eternal life to be with him forever.

We are free to give ourselves in love, as Jesus first loved us, not in fear.

“Let us rejoice and be glad
     and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
     and his bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7

Volume 9 Issue 2 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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