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Thoughts From Jack Hayford

Dear Friends.

I trust you enjoyed your Christmas observance yesterday! I do so enjoy the Christmas holiday and the annual opportunity it provides for worship, contemplation, and joyous (though busy) family gatherings! Today’s “thought” does not directly relate to Christmas, although as C. S. Lewis pointed out, everything spoken of in the Gospel’s hinges on the “great miracle” of His birth: The birth of Emmanuel, God come to be with us and secure our salvation for us. This thought comes to you from Jack Hayford, and is taken from his devotional, “Glorious Morning!” Though written for the Lenten season, it really covers many New Testament themes, this one dealing with: “Your First Day of Forever.” Enjoy.

“Whoever hears my words, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life… he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

"My father died in 1985, and some would say that was his first day of forever. But it isn’t so. Yes, on that day in August, my dad went to be with the Lord. On that day he left us for heaven, going to the place Jesus had prepared for him. But it wasn’t his first day of eternal life. My father’s well-thumbed Bible rests on the desk of my study at home. If you were to open it to the first page, you would see these words penned in blue ink:

“Jack William Hayford, Sr.
On October 27, 1935, I received eternal life.”

It was in an evening service in a little church in Long Beach, California. The pastor preached on a text from the book of Revelation: “And the Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let him that heareth say, ‘Come.’ And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17, KJV). He and my mother took God at His Word. Both of them came to Jesus that night. And some time that night, before he had gone to bed, Dad recorded the date and wrote down what had happened to him. THAT was my father’s first day of forever. And my own first day of forever came about 10 years after that.

Eternal life, you see, is more than duration of life, or length of time. It’s more than some ghostly, ethereal experience that happens to you, ‘after you die.’ It’s more than going to heaven and experiencing eternal utopia. It’s more than that part of me that continues even after I’m gone. These notions sound good, but when you bring them down into the push and pull of daily living, they really don’t cut it. And when you hold them up to the Word of God, they fade in the blazing light of a greater truth.

The only absolute authority on the subject, Jesus Christ, has the final word: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). What is life eternal? It is meeting, knowing, and joining ourselves in relationship to God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is experiencing the power of His resurrection life – not just in the sweet-by-and-by, but in the nasty now-and-now.

Scripture says that He brought life and immortality at His first coming. ‘…our Savior Jesus Christ, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel’ (II Timothy 1:10). Immortality has to do with our forever future. Life is what is happening here and now! It is a quality of life never before possible for the children of Adam and Eve. It is life of the highest potential, possibility, and expectancy. It hints at a nobility and beauty beyond the reach of normal human experience. That is the life introduced to us through Jesus Christ and made possible by His resurrection.

Paul expressed it in these stunning words: “I have been crucified with Christ and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20, TLB). Christ lives in me! This IS eternal life! And what is the quality of that life?

His love without measure.
His forgiveness beyond comprehension.
His healing touch like no other.
His shattering victory over death and Satan.

Eternal life begins the moment you acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord. It’s too big to wait until forever!”

Mr. Hayford is right. Eternal life begins the moment we are born again by the Holy Spirit, who is (as J.I. Packer rightly stated), “the presence of the Father and the presence of the Son is mediated into the life of the believer.” Sinclair Ferguson points out the same truth: “When the Holy Spirit comes to us, He comes primarily to mediate the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ” – who is “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).

Our God is indivisibly ONE (THREE in person, ONE in essence), so when His Spirit comes into us, we receive GOD – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The believer, then, does not wait until death to inherit eternal life; he or she receives it the moment they receive the Spirit of God – the Living and Eternal One.

With Prayers that you May Experience (in this life) the Fullness of Eternal Life Which You Already Possess if You have Christ, Pastor Jeff


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