Growing up in church, I always heard eternal life referred to as something we attain after death. You know, believe in Jesus today, and gain eternal life in Heaven when you die, or reject Jesus today, and gain eternal life in hell after you die. The other day, I came across a passage of scripture that I know I have read many times, but this time it came to life for me. In John 17:3 Jesus says,
" This is eternal life, that they know you the only God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."
So if I take my old understanding of what eternal life means, then I would have to admit that I can't really know God until I enter Heaven. However, according to Jesus' definition, knowing God and himself is eternal life. I talked with a friend of mine via email this morning, trying to flesh this out, and here is how he defined eternal life, and I find it very helpful and very biblical:
"Eternal life is to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he sent, and to experience His manifest presence of the Holy Spirit in one's life"
I don't know about you, but I want to know God hear and now. I find that if I can't know Him now, how can I be looking forward to seeing Him one in Heaven. Just a thought.