The “In My Father’s Footsteps” devotions will return in September of 2019. Enjoy this devotion from the archives!
This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.John 17:3
Tempus fugit – Latin for “time flies” is not just a “Yes” song that I like. It is also a, sometimes, sad truth.
Like the first date I had with my then future wife, Nancy. While I can’t remember the day or where we went – she’ll be able to tell you exactly when and where it was – I do remember that it seems like our time together on that date came and went in the blink of an eye.
While my memory is fuzzy, I remember that I didn’t want the time to end – which is why I married her! And we’ve been together 27 years this August!
That’s usually the way it is with time when we are doing something we thoroughly enjoy. It goes too fast.
Remember when you were 10 years old and it was November and December?
Time seemed to craaaaawl by until Christmas morning. Then it was over in the blink of an eye!
That’s tempus fugit. That’s “time flies.”
I was thinking about this last Sunday afternoon. In this life, you and I – Christians, I mean – are always looking ahead to heaven. The “time” when we will go to heaven with Jesus and live there forever.
We call this “eternal life.”
But what will we do there?
As I read through the Bible I catch a glimpse of heaven. There are references to worship, and singing praises, and choirs of angels and saints.
But is that really what heaven is all about?
No offense to church musicians and pastors – but really? Are we looking forward to a never ending worship service for ever and ever?
No. I don’t think we are. While singing and worship and praise of God are clearly a part of our heavenly, eternal life – I think there is more to it than that.
And I know this, as well: there is no time in heaven. No passing of time. No experience of time.
Therefore, there is no boredom in heaven. There is not getting tired in heaven. And if there is no getting tired, then – as much as I love it today – there is no reason for sleep in heaven!
Yes, this is what goes through my mind sometimes. It’s kind of strange, I know. But it does get me to thinking about what I want to say when given the opportunity to preach a sermon!
So, let’s talk about the life everlasting. Let’s explore, for a moment, eternal life.
Eternal life is a present possession.
You have eternal life right now. I realize it doesn’t seem like it. Given what I said earlier – you get tired, you get bored, you still sleep – but still, you have eternal life right now.
There is at least one piece of evidence to the contrary, as well: death. Death has touched us all in some way. It could be the death of a husband or wife. The death of a parent or child. Or the death of a brother or sister, grandparent, grandchild, – you get the picture.
Death touches us all – even Christians, even in the Church.
Be that as it may, I still contend that – as does Scripture and Martin Luther’s Small Catechism – that eternal life is ours right now!
Jesus said, as recorded in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life….” Not “will have” as in future-tense, but “has” as in present-tense.
Jesus gives you eternal life right now by saving you from your sins through His death and resurrection! You have this free gift through the Means of Grace – for most of you in the waters of Holy Baptism. But it can also come through the hearing of God’s Word. And your eternal life of faith is certainly strengthened and reinforced in the Sacrament of Holy Communion!
At the time of death, the soul of a believer is immediately with Christ in heaven.
Still, while eternal life is a present possession of ours, it is also something does happen at the time of death.
When you die your body goes in the ground, sea, crypt or urn.
But you, who believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your soul goes immediately to Christ in heaven.
Here is where science fiction and time-lines that I learned about – of all places – in Mrs. Fish’s Mythology, Fantasy, and Folklore class at Grant High School helps me understand what is going on.
When you die, your physical remains remain on the timeline and in time.
But at death, your soul is pulled off the timeline and out of time in a never-ending now. With Christ. In heaven.
I’ll save the story of how Mrs. Fish’s class taught helped me understand for a future sermon.
At the Last Day the believers, in both body and soul, will begin the full enjoyment of being with Christ forever.
When you die, your physical remains remain on the timeline and in time. But only until time ends. Your body – mortal remains – will “catch up” with your soul eventually.
Our body and soul will then be reunited and transformed – as St. Paul says clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
I don’t know what that will look like. All I know is what John knew, as he wrote in his first epistle – 1 John 3:2 “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him , for we shall see Him as He is.”
O God, Your eternal love is given to us in and through Jesus Christ. I pray that we will live powerfully in that love here and now as we await Your summons to paradise, where we will live with You forever. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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