What will eternal life be like? ().
We really know very, very little, just the few statements that are made here.
Eternal life will be eternal.
John sees the river of the water of life flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, right through the middle of the street of the city.
(By the way, here's more evidence that the city is not a literal city; it's described as a cube 1,400 miles on a side, and yet the river of life flows down the middle of THE street. If we need a literal city in which to live, then we also need more than one street.)
There is also the tree of life, which we first see in when God first places Adam in the garden. This tree bears twelve kinds of fruit, and bears its fruit every month. It is a constant source of life and provision. also talks about the tree which bears the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil; that tree is nowhere to be found. It will no longer exist. The tree of life is there for the healing of the nations, for the ongoing eternal life of the city.
So, the eternal life of the people of God will be eternal. It is not simply life which begins and doesn't end; it is life which is constantly renewed and provided. Everything God provides for us, represented by the river of life and the tree of life, brings newness of life.
Eternal life will also be life.
The nations will live by the light of God, and the glory of the kings of the earth will be joined together. The gates of the city will never be closed. And nothing unclean, nothing detestable or false, nothing sinful or evil or wicked will ever enter it. Sin – rebellion against God – and the consequence of sin – separation from God and man – will never be allowed inside.
The Church will be in perfect communion with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Lord will be our light and our temple, our life and our joy, our peace and our contentment. We will know Him as He knows us. We will worship Him, serve Him, delight in Him, honor Him, and receive His love, His provision, His delight in us, and His glory poured out upon us.
And the saints will be in perfect community with one another. No fighting, no jealousy, no bitterness, no bigotry, no critical spirits, no competition, no backbiting, no unforgiveness and nothing to forgive in the first place, no disquiet, no scheming, no fear, no anger, no resentment, no contempt, no pride. If I can put it this way, the Church will be an orchard where the fruit of the Spirit, which is the character of Jesus Christ, will be produced by each one for the blessing of all the rest: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
The Call to Respond ().
As we've seen before in Revelation, there is a pause to the vision while John speaks of what the Church is in the world today, and gives another warning against disregarding the Word of God.
Jesus told His disciples,
14 “You are the light of the world."
Jesus commissioned His disciples, and all the church, to proclaim the Gospel to the entire world. This proclamation is opposed by the world itself, as we know, and is opposed by the devil as well. Evangelism is truly spiritual warfare:
the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ
The light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been proclaimed for almost 2,000 years, and the nations of the world have been tremendously impacted by the Gospel. In fact, some of the nations that are most opposed to the Gospel now were once the headquarters for the church: Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya.
The gates of the church are never shut, but nothing unclean will ever be allowed into the church. There are only redeemed sinners in the church, but there are no unredeemed sinners in the church; there never have been, and there never will be. The church is not a human organization of like-minded people who believe in Jesus Christ, but the spiritually transformed, born-again community of those for whom Jesus died.
The purity of the Church throughout eternity is emphasized – nothing unclean or detestable or false will ever be allowed to pollute the Church in its eternal state. But the warning is for today as well: there is no such thing as an unredeemed Christian, a not-born-again Christian, a spiritually dead Christian.
Do we continue to sin? Yes, we do. But no true Christian takes sin lightly or disregards it. No true Christian says "My sins don't matter, and they don't bother me." It's not just a matter of being rightly taught. It's also a matter of having a new nature which is alive to God and hates wickedness. Genuine Christians do sin, of course, and can even be trapped in sin, but they know that they are living contrary to the Father's will, and they never rejoice in their sin.