Abundant Life or Eternal Life? I’ll have both!

I will make an everlasting covenant with them, never to draw back from doing good to them. Jeremiah 32:40

Having been justified by the grace of Jesus Christ, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:7

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We’ve been talking lately about the term abundant life. It’s part of our mission statement at St. John, which is to make disciples who celebrate, live, and share the abundant life of Jesus. While we understand the term to refer to the more-than-enough life of faith in Jesus that spills over into and throughout eternity, we realize that others may have a different understanding. To many abundant life sounds like diamonds, riches, happiness, and the prosperity gospel. Never mind that Jesus himself used the term; people too easily take it and make it what they will.

We can, unfortunately, do the same with the term eternal life, focusing on only the sweet by and by. We make the Christian faith all about “when I die,” or “when Jesus comes again,” and are too content with little to no application of Jesus’ teaching about daily living. We make a million excuses for failing to love our neighbor, or seeking justice for the poor and oppressed. Yet we make a point of singing praises to God for the hope of heaven.

If we are heirs according to the hope of eternal life, however, we must fix our hope on eternity, even while embracing the day-to-day opportunities to express the love of God who never draws back from doing good to his people. To some degree the term abundant life expresses that idea well. Anchored in eternity, our hope is secure. Anchored in the goodness of God, our faith is sound.

One thing is for certain: abundant, eternal life flows from God who is committed to our eternal good, and centers is Jesus Christ. Our hope is anchored in him.

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