Nothing brings more joy to the hearts of the followers of Christ than the thought of spending eternity in the presence of the One who died that we might enjoy a never-ending future. God’s word gives us unbridled hope in that regard.
One example of that hope is given in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power” (1 Corinthians 6:14). This is just one of many texts that states firmly and positively the assurance of a never-ending future for God’s faithful people. However, reading this verse in context makes it clear that this assurance is only for those who glorify God in body and in spirit. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God” (verse 9)? Only through the righteousness of Christ, inherited by faith, can we hope to glorify God as we must.
There is a surprising number of texts that promise everlasting life to the faithful through the same experience of being raised from the dead just as Christ was.
“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him” (Romans 6:4–9).
Resurrection from the grave freed Christ from the dominion of death. That same deathless future awaits those who “walk in newness of life” and are united together “in the likeness of His resurrection,” symbolized through the act of baptism.
Paul gave further assurance to the Corinthians in his second letter to them: “knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you” (2 Corinthians 4:14).
It is clear that Paul understood the never-ending future that awaits those who fulfill the conditions of God’s promises.
As reassuring as Paul’s statements are, even greater assurance is found in the words of Christ Himself.
Following the healing of the paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda, when the Jews were seeking to kill Him, Jesus gave a lengthy discourse in which He explained His relationship with the Father in fairly explicit detail, no doubt angering the self-righteous Jews even more. In that discourse, He spoke words that, had the eyes of their understanding not been blinded by the enemy of souls, should have given them either unbridled joy or left them quaking in fear, depending on whether or not they chose to accept Him as the Son of God.
“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:26–29).
The day after the feeding of the five thousand, when the multitude were seeking Him for the loaves and the fishes, Christ explained that “the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33). In response to their demand to “give us this bread always” (verse 34), Christ asserted that “I am the bread of life” (verse 35). Then He spoke words that further inflamed His opponents but gives us further assurance of a never-ending future:
“This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:39, 40).
Christ again gives assurance of a never-ending future to the faithful just prior to the resurrection of Lazarus. After Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died,” Jesus assured her “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:21, 23). Martha, in an expression of her clear understanding of Jesus’ teaching, said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (verse 24).
Jesus then provided yet another promise of everlasting life when He stated, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (See John 11:21–26.)
It is critical to note in this promise the condition necessary for its fulfillment. It is exactly the same as that given to Nicodemus near the beginning of his ministry when Christ told him, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Clearly a never-ending future awaits those who truly believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and who have chosen to manifest that belief in their daily lives by taking up their cross daily and following the Lamb whithersoever He leadeth. That never-ending future can begin today if you choose to commit your life to Him who is “the bread of life.”
John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at: email@example.com.