This declaration, which we believe “in the everlasting life,” is the last confession of faith in the Apostles’ Creed, and at the same it is our highest and greatest hope.
There are some people who say that the world is such a miserable place that they would be better off the sooner they die. But such is merely a complaint what is quite far from their real mind. Most people do not want to die, and even though this world is indeed full of troubles, they would still like to live a long life. Why is this so? Because as Ecclesiastics 3:11 says, God “has put eternity in their hearts.”
Everyone has the desire to eat. And to satisfy this desire, there are all kinds of food available to them. People also do not want to live alone, but they instinctively long for the opposite sex. This is why there are men and women. Like this, the reason why people have the instinct to seek after eternity is because there is eternal afterlife.
It seems as though while people believe in the immortality of their souls, only a few believes in the immortality of their flesh. But with the advancements in science, we have come to discover the law of constancy of mass, that is, while materials may change in their forms, in their substance they do not change.
Water, for instance, remain in its liquid form in room temperature, but when the temperature drops, it solidifies into ice, and if heated, it vaporizes into gas. But this does not mean that the water itself disappeared, but only that it had changed in its form.
Like this, when our bodies of the flesh die, they turn into ashes if cremated, and they decompose if buried under the ground. But these are only chemical changes. In other words, after death our bodies do not disappear completely, but they only change in form, and their composing elements still remains intact.
In particular, for the flesh and spirits of Christians, simultaneous to their passing away, their souls are completely sanctified and ascend to Heaven, while their bodies remain without senses until the day of the Lord’s return. When the Lord comes back, the dead are resurrected, the resurrected are transformed, and they then live forever, with their souls and bodies reunited, in the Kingdom of the Father. Jesus therefore said in John 11:25-26, “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.” Like this, the everlasting life of human beings is never a dream, but it is real and true. Those who have become sinless by believing in Jesus will indeed live forever.
God is the God of love and justice. He therefore blesses the good and punishes the evil. But in this world, the rewarding of the good and the punishment of the evil are not actualized properly. Why? Because human beings have not been made to live only in this world and then cease to exist with death, but they have been made to live forever in the next world.
This is why Jeremiah, a servant of God, asked Him, “Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?” (Jeremiah 12:1) Jeremiah then followed his questions by saying, “Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, And prepare them for the day of slaughter.” He believed, in other words, in the afterlife judgment, and answering his own questions.
As Jesus said in Matthew 25:46, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life,” there is no mistake that human beings live not only in this world, but also forever in their afterlife.
What Is It Meant by Souls Receiving Eternal Life?
This means to live with God forever. Only the sole living God of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who have been and will be forever, has eternal life. The true meaning of eternal life is to take part in God’s life.
That’s right! What makes Heaven a paradise for us is the fact that God, the root of all blessings, will be with us. It is a place where only those who have received the remission of sin by believing in the baptism and blood given by Jesus will be living. Revelation 21:3-4 therefore state, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’” That’s right! If there is such a thing as eternal life without God, it can only be the everlasting suffering of hell. There is no greater blessing than the fact that God is with us forever. We sing the old hymn, “Jesus, the very thought of Thee; With sweetness fills my breast; But sweeter far Thy face to see. And in Thy presence rest.”
It means a life of happiness that lives forever. Christ now has restored the everlasting life that we had lost because of the failure of Adam, our forefather, to keep his covenant and his inability to eat the fruits of the tree of life, and He has given us eternal life. In Revelation 22:1-2, John testifies, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month.”
“Living on the shore, I’m living on the shore, I’m living where the healing waters flow; Living on the shore, I’m living on the shore, I’m living where the healing waters flow.”
It means eternal life without any sin. Because of the religious corruption that has led to the persecution of Christians by idolaters and their oppression by atheists, because of the political corruption that has led to the tyranny of the powerful and unbridled slander and backstabbing, and because of the moral corruption that has led to the endless flow of obscenity, fraud, theft, robbery, violence, and murder, this world remains constantly volatile.
But the everlasting life in the next realm of Heaven is lived in a domain where such evils are all eliminated, and which is filled with only peace and righteousness. Hence, 2 Peter 3:13 states, “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Because God will eliminate not only the evils of this world but also our remaining corruption, we will all live in the happiness of eternal life in the Heaven of peace, where sin will no longer trouble us.
Only those who have been born again of water and the Spirit can enjoy such eternal life. Words cannot describe the sheer beauty and glory of Heaven, and so the Bible only describes them to us symbolically. Revelation 21:2 describes Heaven as “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” and verse 11 tells us that it has “the glory of God,” whose “light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” Verse 18 says that “the construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass,” and verse 21 states that “the twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl.” The bride’s adornment, precious stones, pure gold, and pearls—all these things describe the best in earthly terms, for there is no other way to describe Heaven better.
Let’s say that one of your acquaintances climbed a famous mountain. When you ask him how the experience was, he might say, “I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful it was! It was so amazing that no word can ever describe it!” When words fail us to describe even a mountain, how could they ever describe the eternal glory of Heaven?
It means eternal life having fellowship with God in perfect intellectual faculty. As 1 Corinthians 13:12 states, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” We will know and have perfect fellowship with not only those whom we had been personally acquainted with while on this earth, but also with those who had come before us and those who would come after us, without even being introduced to them. This fact is proven by the passage in Matthew 17:1-8, where Peter, seeing Moses and Elijah appearing when Jesus was transfigured, said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:4). This shows us that Peter was able to immediately recognize Moses and Elijah, each of whom had lived over 1,500 years and 800 years before Peter’s own time.
Do we have parents, husbands, wives, brothers, sons and daughters who had lived in faith and went to God before us? When this time comes, we will meet them again in joy, and there will be no more separation. Believers do not exist only ephemerally and then disappear. Those who have received eternal life by believing in Jesus will have both their souls and bodies saved, and they will live with the Lord forever.
It can only be a great blessing that we are able to confess our faith with the Apostles’ Creed, the same Creed in which the saints before us had believed in and confessed. Why? Because those affirm and confess the Apostles’ Creed as their own faith and follow it with an “Amen” are the blessed ones who will live forever in the beautiful Kingdom of Heaven.
In conclusion, Jesus spoke of knowing and believing by integrating them together. He said some very difficult and mysterious Word: “You must eat My flesh and drink My blood. Only then can you receive eternal life.” How important is this Word? It tells us of the relationship between our souls and the life of Christ, like the flesh needing to eat and drink. This is the Word that tells us to believe in the fact that Jesus, through the baptism that He received from John, took all the sins of the world upon His own body. And it is telling us to believe that He died on the Cross, and that He rose from the dead again in three days.
The promise of God is a gift. It is not something that we can receive with our own works or penance. Therefore, we must believe in the Word of Christ, obey it and be faithful to it. There is the Word of life that follows us. Because we know about eternal life, we must embark on the narrow path. We must keep on following the will of God, no matter how lonely it would be. We must walk on the narrow way even though we lose everything for that.
This is the way of those who receive eternal life. This eternal life can be attained through our voluntary death, as it is written, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). And its beginning is none other than this very moment, right now. The beginning of eternal life is not after our death, but now. We must realize this. Today, when we live with Christ, marks the beginning of eternal life. A life that overcomes death, that triumphs over sin, and that is faithful to Christ—this in itself is the everlasting life.
We will live in eternal life. We will live forever. The water of life taught by the Bible is all found in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit also believe in the everlasting life. Hallelujah! I praise our Lord! You, too, must believe in the Lord who has come to us of the water and the blood.
The Holy Spirit rebukes people of their sins. He makes them realize that all human beings are under sin as the descendants of Adam and Eve, and that they are evil beings who cannot avoid but face their death because of the sins that they commit everyday. But when people believe in the baptism and blood of Jesus, the Holy Spirit also guarantees that they are saved.
Moreover, the Holy Spirit also bears witness to the righteousness of God. He condemns as sinners, rebukes, and punishes those who do not believe in the gospel of the remission of the sins of mankind that Jesus has fulfilled—that is, in the baptism and blood of Jesus as their remission of sin.
The Works of the Holy Spirit in Those Who Have Been Born Again
He makes the saints to keep their holiness.
He teaches and leads the saints and the servants of God.
He comforts and helps them. In our lives, sadness and suffering approach us endlessly. Coming to us who have been hurt, the Holy Spirit heals us and comforts us. Not only this, but He also helps us in our weaknesses and strengthens us.
Romans 8:26 states, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
Like this, the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of the saints. For both the Apostles and us, we all have one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Ephesians 4:5). Hallelujah!
I praise the Lord forever for giving us the faith of the Apostles.