Eternity in My Heart: Tastes of Life in a World of Death
We live in a dying world, don’t we?
Signs of death are all around us—in the decay of once-flourishing plants; in the gradual deterioration of once-powerful civilizations; and especially, in the decline and eventual death of once-vibrant, once-healthy people.
Signs of death are in us, too—in our bodies, growing old; in our minds, losing focus; and especially, in our hearts, clinging to sin.
For the wages of sin is death . . . Romans 6:23
Our world is sin-filled and sin-cursed—a dead and dying world.
But life is also in this world, not just death.
Life is in this world because its Creator is a God of life. And when he formed the earth, he infused it with beauty and life. Even though sin mars his creation, we still taste life in the beauty of budding flowers, the peace of flowing streams, and the joy of gathering with loved ones.
When God created mankind, he infused us with life, too. And even though our sin has filled us with death, we still taste life in ourselves. We taste it because it’s not there, because we sense its loss and know that something is missing.
You see, God created us to live forever and to have a relationship with him. He put eternity in our hearts—and that eternity can only be filled by a life-giving relationship with our life-giving Creator. The gaping hole in us caused by sin leaves us always looking and longing for life.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
Life is also in this world because Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came to this world. He lived the righteous life that we should have, but couldn’t, live. And he died the death that we should have, but now don’t have to, die. He bore the entirety of God’s wrath for our sin in himself on the cross, and when he rose from the dead he broke the power of death for all time. Jesus now freely offers life in himself to all who simply believe in him.
. . . but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
That gaping hole in us? That eternal place in us that was meant for life? Jesus fills it with himself. Knowing our Creator, the God of life, and knowing Jesus, life incarnate, is in fact the very definition of eternal life.
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3
Life is in this world because our Creator made us for life and because our Savior provides the path to life.
But even those of us who are alive in Christ still live in a dying world—and it’s so easy to despair over all the death, isn’t it? We mourn the death we see around us, and we mourn the residual sin still in us, the echoes of death. Even though we have been filled with the life of Christ, we still find ourselves drifting through dead places. We love and pursue dead things, rather than pursuing Christ.
And this is where our final taste of life comes in: the living Word of God.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of the soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
As Christians, every day we are engaged in a battle of life and death. It’s the battle for a renewed mind, the battle for holiness, the battle for fellowship with God.
On one side of this battle is our flesh, deceiving us and flirting with death.
And on the other side is the Holy Spirit, guiding us to walk in newness of life and leading us back to truth, back to the Word. Through the Word, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our death-giving sin and comforts us in our struggles, completing and equipping us.
It’s still a battle though, isn’t it? But there truly is freedom and life to be found in a growing relationship with God through his Word.
My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! Psalm 119:25
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. Psalm 119:37
Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life! Psalm 119:40
The God who put eternity in our hearts—that deep longing for true and lasting life in him—also gives us tastes of that life even though we still live in a world of death.
But these tastes of life are not the end. There is more yet to come—the fulfillment of the promise, the revealing of the hope: an eternity of life in the presence of the living God.
What a precious gift; what a good God; what a faithful Savior! What a future he has prepared for those who love him.
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of Yahweh; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Psalm 84:2