Eternal Life
Brothers :
The Holy Spirit
and Jesus
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15. Eternal Life

Jesus' Gift

Infinity SignSaint John speaks about the person of Jesus whom he knew for many years as Savior and served until his death at a grand old age as a prisoner on the Isle of Patmos. He writes of Jesus in John 1.4, "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind." Jesus himself bears the key to the fullness of eternal life. The greatly loved verse in John 3.16, also known as the "Gospel in a Nutshell," affirms, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." So eternal life is available to all who believe in and follow Jesus Christ.

The Apostles Creed

Saint John writes about the eternal life that Jesus gives to a Christian who continues life after death. In 1 John 5.11-13, John tells us, "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." The Apostles Creed or the Apostolic Creed is an early statement of Christian belief, sometimes called "The Symbol of the Apostles." The Apostle's Creed repeats the sentiment, "I believe in the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting." A letter in 390 AD from Milan contains the Apostles Creed's first mention, but it is of undoubted earlier origins.

Apostles Contribution

Interestingly, there is a belief that the twelve Apostles each contributed one of the twelve articles to the creed. The Medieval "Credo Apostolorum" dated c1300 gives us the sequence and attribution to each Apostle. The tradition of assigning each article to one of the specific apostles originated in the 6th century AD. This English translation comes from "The Old Roman Symbol" (or Creed) as recorded by Tyrannius Rufinus (c344-411), a historian and theologian. Tyrannius moved to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in 380 AD.

1. Peter - "I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth,"
2. Andrew - "and believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,"
3. James, son of Zebedee - "who was conceived from the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary,"
4. John - "who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried,"
5. Thomas - "descended into hell, rose again from the dead on the third day,"
6. James, son of Alpheus - "ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty,"
7. Philip - "who will come again to judge the living and the dead."
8. Bartholomew - "I believe in the Holy Spirit,"
9. Matthew - "the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints,"
10. Simon the Zealot - "the forgiveness of sins,"
11. Jude Thaddeus - "the resurrection of the body,"
12. Matthias - "and the life everlasting. Amen."

We note that first comes Peter, the solid and impetuous leader, and last is Matthias, who was elected to the group to replace Judas Iscariot after his suicide. The Gospel writer Matthew, a devout Jewish follower before his conversion, added the "holy catholic (meaning worldwide) church and the communion of the saints.

Statement of Faith

The Apostles Creed was an agreed-upon statement of faith by the Apostles of the Early Church written to rebuff certain sects teaching heretical beliefs. It is not intended as a complete statement of faith as there are no references to the Trinity, to the divinity of Jesus, or baptism. These come later in other creedal reports like the Nicean Creed from other Church Councils. Saint John adds by way of encouragement in 1 John 5.14-15, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." Each of us can approach God with confidence and ask for our eternal life! ✞

Jesus Sacrificial Death

CreationJesus' sacrificial death is the route to eternal life, and in our death, there is promotion into eternal life. Saint John, known during his lifetime as "the disciple whom Jesus loved," writes in his Epistle in 1 John 5.16-20, "If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. We know that we are children of God and that the whole world is under the evil one's control. We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." John 1.3 speaks of Jesus, "Through him, God made all things. Without him, nothing appeared."

Physical Body

Bread and WineJesus shows the same emotions and physical needs as any other human being. He eats with his friends in Matthew 26.26, "While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take and eat; this is my body.'" Jesus' physical body and blood are to have spiritual values when sacrificed on the Cross in the same way as the sacrificial lamb in the Temple or Tabernacle in the Old Covenant bear the people's sins. The bread and wine become the physical reminders of the spiritual consequences of Jesus' sacrificial death.

A Physical Man

1 John 1.1-4 contains the disciples' confession that they know Jesus as a man with a physical body. It reads, "That which was from the beginning, we have heard, we have seen with our eyes, we have looked at, and our hands have touched, this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared, we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete."

Fit Active Jesus

Every morning I walk up and down our condominium staircases to get the paper and later in the afternoon to pick up the mail. I get back puffing and blowing, but that's normal. I'm sure that Jesus exerted himself in his carpenter's shop and then had to sit down to rest. Jesus, however, must have been fit. In his ministry, Jesus walked the length and breadth of Palestine. A conservative estimate of the number of miles he may have walked is put at around 21,525 miles, almost the equivalent of walking around the entire world. He probably did this without the aid of a horse or a donkey. None of the Gospels mention a donkey except the donkey borrowed and used to bring Jesus triumphantly through the Golden Gate in Jerusalem. Jesus was no doubt a fit and active thirty-some-year-old man.

"Eternal Life"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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