On Thursdays, I have been sharing a little bit about what I have been learning as I read through 1 John.
I have been sharing about a paragraph at a time. Right now, I am in the middle of writing about a section where John talks about the unity of the body and those who are adversaries of Christ. A word that keeps coming up again and again as I read and share about this section is “remain.” The section continues:
“Let the good news, the story you have heard from the beginning of your journey, live in and take hold of you. If that happens and you focus on the good news, then you will always remain in a relationship with the Son and the Father. This is what He promised us: eternal life.” 1 John 2:24-25 the VoiceJohn calls me to let the good news—the life, death and resurrection of Christ—take hold of me. I am to let it change me. I am to keep focused on Christ—my heart and my mind set on Him. This is abiding. This leads to relationship with the Son and the Father. This leads to life—eternal life.
John Ortberg writes, “If you want life, you want God. […] You want God more than you know” (41).
This is true because of what the word for life in the Bible really refers to. The word for life, in Greek, is zoē. Zoē is “life as God has it. That which the Father has in Himself and gave to the Incarnate Son [Jesus] to have in Himself and which the Son manifested to the world.” (VINE’S Expository Dictionary).
This is the life that was lost to man in the garden. This is the life that we long to have course through our bodies now.
I think about John’s telling of the gospel. Abundant is the concept of life in connection with Jesus. In fact, the reason John says he writes is so “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
The life that we long for is available to all, in Christ, when we believe.
Scot McKnight writes that “To believe means more than just mentally agreeing with some truth, even if that truth is that Jesus is Messiah and Lord over all. The entire sweep of the Story of Israel and the Story of Jesus ushers us into a world where God’s people rely on and trust God, and such a trusting relationship generates a life of obedience, holiness and love” (The King Jesus Gospel, 128).
When I believe, I let the gospel “take hold of [me].” The result is that I live in relationship with God. I abide. And when I abide, I am promised eternal life.
When I take a look at the Greek word for eternal—aiōnios—the idea that I would find eternal life in Christ does not seem too surprising. Aiōnios is “used of persons and things which are in their nature endless” (VINE’S Expository Dictionary).
God who is by nature eternal, is full of life that is in its nature endless.
This is the life that is in Christ.
I begin to recognize the wisdom in John Ortberg’s words: “Jesus is the only one with authoritative wisdom about how to live” (The Me I Want To Be, 46).
Jesus tells me the best way to live is to eat of the bread he offers.
John tells me to let this good news live in and take hold of me.
Through this, I remain in Him. Through this, I have eternal life.
I set my focus, once again, on Christ.
I come, ready to abide.
Grace and peace be ours in abundace as we believe the good news and allow it to take hold of us. May we find that abiding in His presence is very good and the life He gives is just what our hearts have been longing for all along.