Have you ever wondered how different the God you worship is, from every person who has everlasting life?
He shares so much of Himself with His children as He grows them into the image of Jesus Christ! First, through His amazing grace He calls us into His family, where we enjoy freedom from guilt and shame because He has forgiven us. He commands us to pass that forgiveness on to others (Matthew 6:14), since Jesus is our example of the attitude we need when we feel abused, or rejected, or persecuted. Words are not enough; God looks at our hearts and deeds, to see if we are genuine (Matthew 6:15).
So, everlasting life begins with forgiveness (Matthew 6:12) which gives us the privilege of calling God our Father. But what do we know about this God who is the source of life? We are created beings who can be transformed by the power of His Spirit, sanctifying our spirits. Will we ever be eternal? The Bible tells us we will live forever in heaven in the presence of God, but it also tells us He is eternal. What is the difference?
For people who know nothing other than the limitations of time and space it is hard for us, sometimes, to look forward into eternity. Everything here on earth comes to an end, eventually, Our physical life will cease, unless some of us live to see Jesus return. What will endless life look like? However, God can do something we cannot do – as He looks back into eons of time, then He remembers we are but dust. We are created beings. We had a beginning; God does not.
This is what sets us apart from the God who gives us the spirit of eternal love. He gives us the privilege of reflecting His great love, but we can never pass on to another human being a love that is eternal. God’s love has no beginning, and no end; our love has a beginning. He is what we will never be; He is eternal. Why is this important? There are some religious philosophies that teach we will become gods in eternity. There is no indication in the Bible that we should expect that. Logically it is impossible to have no beginning, since we were actually made by the hands of God, designed in His heart to accomplish His purposes, in a certain period of time and space.
Satan fell from a very exalted position in heaven because he desired to be like God; it seems he actually thought he could compete. Does he forget this simple truth? A created being, such as he is, and we are, does have a beginning and an end. God does not. Until we get that fact established in our minds, there will be something lacking in our worship of the one true God! It is pretty obvious today that there are people who think they are spiritual enough to make decisions without consulting God for wisdom and direction.
Yahweh* is the sacred name for the self-existent God who revealed Himself as the God of Israel, when He called to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). Who are you? Moses wanted to know. “I AM WHO I AM” was God’s reply. In other words “I exist”. This was hugely important for Moses to understand, since he was called to confront the Egyptian Pharoah who had made himself out to be a god. In a pagan society that worshiped multiple gods, it was not difficult to add one more. God’s dynamic, eternal self-existence mattered then, as it does now.
Ryrie comments that the name Yahweh is “the most significant name for God in the Old Testament…meaning: the active, self-existent One….and is especially associated with God’s holiness (Leviticus 11:44-45), His hatred of sin (Genesis 6:3-7) and His gracious provision of redemption” (Isaiah 53:1, 5, 6, 10). When Jesus claimed to be “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) it was only possible on the basis of His eternal disposition! From Him, our eternal God, we receive everlasting life.
*Yahweh appears 6,823 times in the Old testament
by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)