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Humans want to know others and be known. So much that even if we had everything else but lacked this love and fellowship, life would be dry. But things get in the way of that; character flaws, miscommunication, hurt, time, distance and finally, death. This last one really threatens us the most. At least with all the other issues, that person you love is still reachable. Your separation does not have to be forever. But death, death threatens “I’m going to wipe the one you love out of existence. I’m going to take you from the ones you care about. All your joy and happiness has a limit.”
Think of how frightening it is to imagine, the person you love, the friends you care about, all ceasing to exist. That they have not simply gone somewhere far, but have just stopped being. That is the threat of death. What we really desire is to love and be loved and to be such forever. Even those who claim to not want this eternal life only do so because of fear that it would grow dull. A dullness which would itself be a separation from the other. Once again dropping you back into despair except forever. Eternal death. Once again, death, which is separation threatens us.
But what if death was not a threat? What if death had been defeated? Not only that eternal union and life is possible, but what if there was no limit to the happiness of love, of life? What if it was infinite? It is. All of those things. The answer to this deep yearning, this longing? Jesus Christ.
Jesus, God’s eternal Son, in loving union with His Father and Holy Spirit, came down from heaven in order to save us from death. We were created for perfect love. And we were created for eternal love. And we created for a love that was infinitely good. Perfect so our joy could be complete, eternal so it would never end, and infinite so our joy would always remain. This love, which is the very life of God’s eternal Trinitarian existence, is the very same love and life we were created to have. And by love I don’t just mean sentiment, because every single good thing is an expression of the divine love they have for each other. And that goodness is infinite. Jesus Christ came to earth to rescue us from this dying condition. By uniting himself to humanity, experiencing life as we do, dying on the Cross and conquering the grave, he has rescued us from death in all its forms.
His resurrection gives a loud and decisive: NO! To death in all its forms. “NO! Your loved one will not be wiped from existence. NO! You will not be taken from them. NO! Goodness does not have a limit which can be dulled. You were made for me, by me and I will rescue you.”
Because Jesus is the source of life and existence, by becoming on us he guaranteed our future resurrection and safety from being wiped out. The threat of non-existence has been slain. Death has died in the death of Jesus Christ.
Because Jesus the source of perfect love, he can accept us in our failings, forgive us and transform us to be like Himself. So that we can enjoy a perfect relationship with God and others. With nothing in ourselves or other people to ruin that joy. The threat of our flawed tendencies away from life has been slain. Death has died in the death of Jesus Christ.
Because Jesus brings us into the life of the Trinity, the infinite source of all goodness, we will never cease to delight them. Nor cease to delight in the unique ways that everyone will reflect this life and make it their own. The threat that our joy can end has been slain. Death has died in the death of Jesus Christ.
This is why it’s important to come to Christ while there is still time. True, everyone will live forever because we are all united to Christ. If we do not seek forgiveness from Him, how could we be reconciled to enjoy His love? If we do not seek to be changed that perfect image of love, how could love others as we should and enjoy being loved by them as we should? With our characters unchanged, we would always get in the way of our own happiness. With such a person, heaven would be hell. And if we without this reconciliation and complete union with others, we are left with only a dull and isolated eternal existence, frustrated by our desires are left unmet and a conscience that never rests, how is that not hell? And once God’s full blazing, bright and firey glory fills inescapably fills all creation, but rather than bring us joy as it was meant to, is torment because we have not prepared ourselves to receive it, how is that not hell? None of this is what God had in mind for us. As Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).”
But love has to be free. And no relationship can be forced. This eternal life of love which exists in the Trinity, is a relationship as Jesus also said “this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent (John 17:3).” If you will come to Him, He promises never to turn you away. But if you turn your back on Him then how can you be saved? We cannot enjoy the divine life without being fully united to God and all who love Him. If we are unwilling to work with God and have him change us into the perfect image of His, love then we will be left to ourselves. We will miss the mark of what we were created to be, bearers of the divine glory.
That is what sin means, literally “to miss the mark.” Holiness then, being the opposite of sin is the only surety of ultimate happiness. Whilst is sin the guarantee of utter despair. And since true love must be free, these two paths of eternal consequence are open for all of us to chose. But Jesus Christ died to save us from our sins. He rose again to make us like Himself. So that we could know Him and enjoy all that He is and has for us, in that perfect relationship with the Father and Holy Spirit, and all the multitudes of Angels and redeemed humanity forever, and ever for all ages. Amen.
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).”