As christians let us look at our lives in view of who our Lord and Savior is, and the gift of eternal life He gives.
” This is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” —
Not that we shall be exempt from loss disappointment, sickness, human unkindness, embarrassment, vexation, insult, defamation, humiliation; not that we shall have in this world all the displays of providential favor on which we may have calculated; these are not the things promised; the promise that he hath promised us is eternal life. God may have dealt strangely with thee, my soul; but say frankly, has he at all dealt with thee in a way to hinder the fulfillment of the promise made thee?
We are saved by hope. He that believeth hath eternal life; he hath entered upon it; he is living a new life, one that stretches out into eternity; but what he has experienced is only the beginning of it. We know not yet what we shall be; as the infant little knows what is the life it possesses, what its endowments, its susceptibilities, its privileges.
This promise of eternal life is the door opening out from the gloom of this world into the ever-blooming paradise of God. To the common ear of man it is an empty sound. Men care nothing for eternal life, because they know nothing of life. A man must have experience of life before he can hail with rapture the promise that that life shall be eternally his. What is life? Life in God is life. A vital conscious union of the soul with God through Christ; so that the individual is transferred to God; his body, his soul, his understanding, his affections, his desires, his purposes, all under the direction of God; not in such a way as to diminish in the least his individuality, his voluntariness; but to enhance it, refine it, perfect it; this is life. Now with regard to the mere life of the body, hardly any one has it in perfection; death and decay have set their marks on all. Of even the merely corporeal life of paradise, we have but a faint shadow. Similarly, with regard to those who have entered upon eternal life, spiritual life is with them a matter of degree; one has it in one degree, one in another; but who has it in perfection? According to the degree in which we possess it, does the simple promise of eternal life seem to us a sufficient dowry; a talisman under the influence of which deserts are no longer deserts to us, privations no longer privations.
Eternal life and all things essentially conducive to it; such is our portion. Sometimes Satan may creep into our imagination and persuade us that some bright and beautiful phantom, some lovely creation wrought out of the stuff that rainbows are made of, is absolutely necessary to the web of our eternal life, and then we cling to it with something of the tenacity of our love to Christ; Satan laughs, but we awake in spite of him, and notwithstanding the scar at heart, soon satiate ourselves with that better portion, now better understood. God builds the bridge by which we pass into the unclouded region of eternal life, stone by stone, as we step by step advance; every day he lays down the stone on which we are that day to put our foot. Some beholding the far-stretching morass before them and discerning no bridge, refuse to advance; they wait for God; but God has put down a stone for them, and will add no other until they have begun to walk.