On a website called Cluster, Melanie and I marvel at the new pictures of our new granddaughters. The longer I live, the more I realize that life is a gift. We didn’t have to be here. Each birth is a miracle – a gift from God. Jesus has so much to say about life. In John’s Gospel we hear his voice saying “Whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And again, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Once more, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die. Whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).
How do we know we are alive? At the end of his first letter John reaffirms these fundamental truths of our faith. God gives eternal life. He gives it in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. We know we are alive because we have Jesus, who embodies life. One of the quotes by Mary Oliver, written on a sticky note on my office wall asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild and precious life?” Good question. How would we answer?
We receive biological life (Greek word bios) at birth. That is not John’s word here. But spiritual life, eternal life (zoe), the life of God comes through rebirth when we place our faith in Christ. I was a preteen when my mom first pointed out I John 5:13. What an amazing testimony of life. This is our security: we who believe already have eternal life. No one can ever take it from us. John wrote this letter so that we may know, not wish or guess or hope, but know we have eternal life.
Imagine this: Today, because we have Jesus, we know we have eternal life. This means more than just that we will live forever with God. It means that the Lord who is God forever, already lives with us. This life is a gift. And as my mom taught me, the right response to a gift is to say, “Thank you!” What will we do with this gift? By all means, gratefully give it back to God every day.