A reflection on eternal life

VIDEO: God has put eternity into our hearts. But is there a difference in how people experience eternal life? Can anything influence how we spend eternity?

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it’s written, “Also He has put eternity in their hearts …” We don’t know exactly what eternal life will bring us, but we know that if we follow Jesus and live in obedience to His commandments, we are promised to spend eternity with Him. In this interview Gary Fenn reflects on how eternity can differ for people, and how we can influence how we spend our eternal life.

Audio transcript: A reflection on eternal life

Are all people eternal?

God has created us as eternal beings. All people have a spirit; all people have a soul. And it’s written that God actually has put eternity into the heart of every man. So there is something eternal in the very depths of us human beings. And it’s very interesting, when you speak to people you also, almost without exception, you also experience that people know deep down inside that their life is going to go on forever. Whether they are believers, whether they believe in Christ or whether they don’t, there is something within mankind because God has placed it there, which says to them, “There’s an eternity, there is something beyond the grave.”

Where we will spend eternity is what differs. Eternal life is promised to those who live for Jesus, who have faith in Jesus Christ and live their life for Him. Jesus said, he who saves his life in this world, so as just to live an earthly life for the time you are here on earth, to live for one’s lusts – to be self-seeking, to live in sin – the one who saves his life in this world, he will lose that for all of eternity. But the one who loses his life in this world – in other words he loses his self-life, his selfish life, his self-seeking life – if he loses that life now in order to live a life that is in accordance with God’s Word, then he will save his life for all of eternity. He is promised eternal life. So, that is the difference. Not whether we will go into eternity or not, for all people will go into eternity, but your destiny in eternity. That’s the difference. And it will be determined by your faith in Jesus Christ.

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How can we fix our attention on eternity instead of on the things here on earth?

We are human beings and we have to live on this earth, and therefore the temporal life, it pulls upon us. It places its demands upon us because we are living here in this world. So, in order to live with eternity in view, then you have to fight against all that is temporal which wants to pull your thoughts and pull your affections down to the earth. We have to fight against those and arm ourselves first and foremost with the Word of God. Because the Word of God is eternal. And when we have the Word filling our hearts and our minds and it’s our goal to fulfill those words, to fulfill God’s Word to the greatest possible extent, then our vision will be lifted toward that which is eternal.  And our pursuit will be in the things which are eternal.

For example, wisdom is going to reign throughout all of eternity. And when you believe that and that grips your heart, that you can gain wisdom, that the Word of God is the fullness of wisdom, that Jesus Christ, all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge took bodily dwelling in Him. And He has promised to share that life with us! Then, for example, wisdom will become so great for you, it will become such a great treasure for you, and in all of life’s situations, your heart and your mind will be open to the possibilities that you have to gain wisdom in life. That wisdom which you will be able to take with you into eternity.

Knowledge for example, the knowledge of this world, knowledge about science, knowledge about mathematics, and things like that, that can benefit you for this life, but you need wisdom if you’re going to be able to rule and reign in the next world, which is the promise to those who will follow Jesus in life. And therefore, when you keep that focus and you have that vision clear before you, then you will see the many, many opportunities that you get in life to be able to partake of God’s wisdom, which is inherent in the Word of God.

Can we influence our own eternity?

Oh, we can influence it tremendously! In fact, the beginning of eternity, or we can say when what we call the time of grace, which God has given for mankind to live on this earth, when the time of grace comes to its close and we enter into the new dispensation, which we can call eternity, among the first things that will happen in that new dispensation is that God will judge the secrets of men by the One whom He has appointed, Jesus Christ. So the time that we have lived here on earth, we can say it in that way, really is a time of testing, and we will be … we will come into the time of judgement over how we lived here in this world when we embark upon eternity. And when we believe in that and we accept the truth of God’s Word, that that is the way it is, then of course every aspect of our life is going to be affected by that faith that we are going to be judged by God for how we lived on this earth, and according to that judgment it’s going to determine my eternity, how I have it for all of eternity.

Jesus, He spoke about the parable about the sower. And that there were three different results from those who received God’s Word as a seed in their life. And some, they received the Word and they were able to bear forth thirty-fold fruit. And others, they obviously took it more serious; eternity gripped their hearts to a deeper degree. Their love for Christ was intensely much greater. Their longing and desire to become like Jesus and to live the life of Jesus was greater, and therefore they were able to partake of sixty-fold fruit. But Jesus said there were some who were so incredibly gripped by the life of Christ, by the Word of God, by eternity, by spending eternity with Jesus, by being as close to Him as they possibly could, as the Scriptures said, by being so close that they attained to this exalted calling of being a bride for Jesus. A bride that will be His equal, a bride that will be with Him forever, a bride that will be able to have fellowship with Him to the very deepest degree. Those who have been so apprehended of the truth, and the life of Jesus. Jesus said in that parable that they will have attained to be partakers of a hundred-fold fruit in their life.

That should be the ultimate goal for every Christian. And when that does become your goal, then of course you don’t live for anything else. All of your thoughts, all of your affections, all of your intentions, all of your zeal, all of your ambition, everything within you is pursuing that one unspeakably great goal: that you can become Jesus’ own equal, the one that He will take with Him into eternity and in that relationship of a bride and a bridegroom, that relationship those ones will have together with the Savior.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.