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“And this is the promise that he made to us — eternal life” (1 John 2:25).

WHEN GOD ENTERED THIS WORLD AND TOOK UPON HIMSELF HUMAN FORM, A NEVER-BEFORE THING BEGAN TO HAPPEN. The miracle of the Incarnation was not just that God became man but that in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, God brought into this world a new kind of life. This new life is nothing less than the kind of life that God Himself has always had, and based on what Jesus did, God has been offering this life to all who will agree to be delivered from the death of sin and made alive in this new way. “This is the promise that he made to us — eternal life.”

When we obey the gospel of Christ, we receive the forgiveness of our past sins and there is a sense in which we pass, at that point, from death to life. We who “were dead . . . God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” (Colossians 2:13). But there is a greater sense in which obedience to the gospel puts us into a process of growth that will lead to life, the kind of life that, in its fullness and perfection, will only be ours when Christ returns. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:3,4).

Right now, God is working on our character with a hammer and chisel, as it were. The ravages of sin are being chipped away, sometimes painfully. The hearts we were meant to have are being created anew by our Father. What a thrill it is to get a glimpse of the joy that will be ours when the process has finally been completed and we think and act as creatures perfectly alive in every way. No more damage, no more death — just perfect, unending life.

In Christ, therefore, we live in great anticipation. And since we live in anticipation, we also live with focused concentration and resolute patience. Excited, enticed, and intrigued by the foretaste of what real life will be, we can hardly wait. But wait we must. So Peter says, “Preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

“This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going around the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life” (C. S. Lewis).

Gary Henry — +

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