Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The other day I was working on a small project at home and I grabbed two tools for the job.  One was a framing hammer and the other was a hacksaw.  I was taking something apart and planned to use the hammer first.  If that failed then the hacksaw would get the job done.  As I was working on the project I had some thoughts floating in my head that I thought I could turn into a reflection, something along the lines of the right tools for the job.  My ideas turned out to be half-baked, at best, and nothing came together. 

Yesterday I got going on something else altogether.  I began working on the suggested memorization verse for my Bible study.  I participate in the Community Bible Study (CBS) class in my city and this year we are studying the Gospel of John.  During the course of the study, roughly every other week, we are given a verse to memorize.  My participation in memorization has been sporadic over the 8 years that I’ve been in CBS, but I know that memorizing scripture has always been good for me and my spiritual life, so I was going to get started now on the verse for next week.

And the verse is this: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.  He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24 ESV.

The context of that verse is that Jesus has returned to Jerusalem and done some healing, after which he is doing some teaching.  As I worked on memorizing the verse, breaking it down into small pieces and slowly speaking them aloud, I found that Jesus was not only teaching in the past, in history, but that he is also teaching me in the present. 

In that one verse Jesus brings out nearly all that is essential about the Good News to be found only in Christ.  We who hear the words of Jesus, and by faith believe in God the Father who sent him into the world, have eternal life.  We don’t have a promise of eternal life sometime in the future, but we have it right now, in this very moment. We will not face God’s judgment for our sin but we have already passed over from being dead in sin to new life in Christ. 

This passage in John does not point to salvation as something whose benefit’s the believer will experience in the future but instead clearly states what the believer already possesses – eternal life with God is a reality right now.  And eternal life is in the sense that eternity that isn’t in the far-off future but it is present right now. The life that we know in God today will never end.  Our understanding of it may change, our love for God may grow deeper, but God and this most precious of his gifts, his very presence for eternity, will never change. 

And so a tool did provide me with something for reflection, although it was not a tool made by human hands and for human work, but the tool of God’s Word, provided by him, to strengthen and encourage us to serve him, to love him and to glorify him, now and forever.

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