7/12/14 Shane about 40
While explaining the way of salvation to a man named Shane, whom I found surfing the web at a McDonald’s, I found that while I was glad to explain the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross, my real joy was in proclaiming the resurrection. I tend to separate the two in my mind, with Jesus’ sacrificial suffering and death making heaven possible, and His resurrection giving us assurance and a victorious relationship with Him here on earth. I told Shane “Jesus rose from the dead, which means He is alive today, and we can know the blessings of living in a relationship with Him now, in this life.” But does a focus on the blessings of life now in Christ diminish the significance of our future in heaven? Are the two really separate? Does “eternal life” start only after we die physically or does it already begin in this life after we die to sin through faith in Christ? Volumes of books have been written unpacking this subject, but I think my joy came more in sharing the resurrection today because, while ultimately I was glad to share with Shane the way to heaven, I was also sharing the way to the eternal life that can begin today! Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17) My particular joy with Shane today may have been due to being able to speak specifically to his need. After talking with him for a while, I could see that he has faith for salvation, but has not been experiencing the joy of life in Christ. While in a sense it might seem impossible, there is so much more to our faith than just assurance for the future, and there is joy in sharing our life in Christ, our whole life, with others. But we can’t have one without the other, as Paul explained: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” We can know the “power of his resurrection” here and now, even as we look forward to our own resurrection in eternity!