Eternal life comes as a free gift. It is something that we haven’t earned and won’t have to give back.
I’ve recently been taking part in my church’s Life Explored course and one of the questions was ‘What’s the best gift God could give you? ’ God gives so many gifts but one of the greatest is eternal life in Christ Jesus.
In Romans 6:23 it says, ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord‘. The lives of sin we naturally live lead to eternal death. This is the only expectation for a life without God and his Son. But a life following God and Jesus is a new, eternal life free from the penalty of sin and this comes as a free gift. This part of the verse signifies that the gift is something that we haven’t earned and won’t have to give back. Therefore we have gone from slavery to sin which leads to death, to a life where we’re led by the Holy Spirit
He saved us because of his mercy, not because of any good things that we have done. (Titus 3:5-7) But then it falls to us to do with our new life the things that are right for it. We need to continually let the Holy Spirit renew our hearts so that we can do this, and turn away from the desires of this world which pull us away from what God desires. (Romans 8:5). Our sins died with Christ, so we are no longer condemned; this is a call to live out the eternal life we have been given.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 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. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.Colossians 3:1-5
Why do we fight so hard in life for earthly things, like money, our career, and relationships? We fear for things we don’t know and let those things control our lives. Instead, if we consider the valuable things in our lives to be safely ‘hidden’ in Christ, then no-one can take them from us, and we have an unshakable hope. Not based on the temporary things of this life, but full of things of eternal perfection. We also know that nothing will separate us from Christ, and ultimately these truths will crush all earthly disappointment.
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT
Rowan Adams, The Church of God in Birmingham