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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

The Gift of Christmas … We Have Eternal Life

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Eternal life began in the Garden ladies. See for yourself: The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). Talk about lush and beautiful and available to eat, except for that one tree: “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Presumably Adam and Eve were picking and eating the fruit from the tree of life from day one.

It should have been easy, with all that bounty to enjoy. If only! But free will eventually gave in to temptation. Would you have resisted? Neither would I, especially if it were a slice of dark chocolate cake.   

Free will still exists, as do temptations, but I shall not perish. I have eternal life.  

Jesus defines eternal life in the present tense: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). It begins when we confess, Jesus is Lord! (Romans 10:9). It increases as we appropriate the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). It produces fruit as we live by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). It blossoms into glory as we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). 

Yes, we wait for the time when “the dwelling of God (will be) with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3). But for now, it is our aim to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

The gift of Christmas is inside you. As you shop and celebrate and worship, don’t let the hustle and bustle destroy your joy nor your message: God loved and God gave; we believe and we have eternal life. Pretty simple.    

Nancy P

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