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John 17: 3

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

You know, when I read this recently it gave me pause. We have a lot of ideas about what eternal life means. I think, though, that some of our ideas are more cultural or religious than they are scriptural. What I mean by that is that we have created a picture of eternal life as sitting around heaven or on a cloud somewhere. Jesus comes along and disrupts our thinking. Eternal life, he tells us, is not about what we do after we leave here. Eternal life in knowing God and knowing Jesus. So, the question we must ask ourselves is, “Do we know God, do we know Jesus?”

This perspective could change our evangelical approach too. Our goal no longer would be to get someone to say “the sinners’ prayer” so that they can punch their ticket to heaven and eternal life. Now our aim must be to introduce them to the person of Jesus and to lead them into knowing both he and the father. This approach would seem to mean that leading them into a relationship with the father and son is the key step. That means that discipleship takes on a new role as well as a first prayer. We must from the beginning teach that the key to eternal life is not a one-time prayer. It is the pursuit of the father and the son. We should teach that having accepted Jesus as one’s lord is the mere beginning. A life lived with Jesus and with the Father in close communion is what the father intended when He sent Jesus to earth. This is not burdensome. This is the delight of Christianity. It is an invitation to enter into a personal relationship with the creator of all.

This is pretty serious stuff. Saying the sinners’ prayer and then sitting on a pew for the rest of one’s life is not going to gain eternal life for any of us. Knowing Yahweh, the only true God and His son Jesus is the only path to attaining eternal life. That revelation may even shake up a few of us. Whom do we know that professes their Christianity, shrouds themselves with the religious trappings but in truth knows neither the father nor son? It is time for us to shake things up and encourage people to move forward in their relationship with the trinity. Otherwise, there may be a great multitude left behind.

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