This past Wednesday we had a new record at our Thabong Bible Study. There were 12 boys and 1 girl. And unfortunately, it was quite cold, with a biting wind. Most houses here are not equipped to handle a group of that size, and because of time constraints there was no way to bring them to The Pines and take them back afterward. So we improvised and just held Bible Study in the van, making things a tight fit. It brought to mind the time that Jesus had to improvise and teach the crowds on the seashore from a boat.
Back when the Lakeside team was here, several of the Bible Study boys attended one of the days of Bible Club. On that day the kids had a journal question that asked, “What does faith mean to me?” One of the boys wrote the following response to that question: “Faith is to believe that Jesus died on the cross, and whoever believes in Him shall be saved and have internal life.”
You will notice that he wrote internal life. I’m sure that he intended to write eternal life, but as I read and thought about that, I think it’s a very interesting concept. So often, when sharing the good news of salvation from sin, the carrot that is dangled out in front is the hope of eternal life. From our human standpoint, eternal life is usually considered the largest reward of salvation. I believe JT’s typo is actually not a typo but a very accurate theological statement, and something of which we as Christians would do well to take notice.
Consider the words of Jesus Christ in John 10:10 “…I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Are we really living an abundant life? I don’t mean to sound like a TV preacher, selling health, wealth and prosperity. What I’m asking is this: If you understand that Jesus Christ died for your sins, and that peace with God is found through Him (Rom. 5:1), and you have absolute assurance of eternal life, are you living in such a way that a world without hope sees the results of that in your life? Would someone looking at your life want what you claim to have?
You see, eternal life and internal life are two closely related concepts. You cannot separate one from the other. Again, consider the words of the Savior in John 17:3 “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Real eternal life doesn’t start in Heaven. It starts the minute you understand that your sins have been paid for by Jesus Christ, and that the only way to Heaven is through Him (John 14:6). At that minute, God becomes your father. You now have an intimate relationship with the Almighty Creator. In fact, you become fellow heirs with Jesus Christ.
Do you know God, and His son Jesus Christ? If so, I encourage you to live in such a way that you are enjoying the internal life provided by that relationship. If you are not enjoying it, ask yourself why. God hasn’t moved, you have.
JT went on to write in his journal, “Now I know that Jesus died on the cross and paid for my sins. I know how to praise and pray to God. I know what I should do to do the right things for God. I have changed from cheating, I have changed from stealing. I still want to change from lying and stop being angry with others. I try to read my Bible every day.” Here is a young man, a leader among his friends, who is beginning to experience true life. It is impacting everything and everyone around him.
We started Bible Study with 5 boys in February. All 5 have made professions of salvation, and all 5 are showing fruits of growth. Since that time we have been joined consistently by 4 more boys, 2 of which have also come to know Jesus. In all, we have had over 20 different young men and women at our study at times. This is because they see the excitement and the changes taking place for these guys. I have been approached by teachers and even by the principal of the school asking “What has gotten into those boys? They are so excited every day to talk about God.” The only response we can give is that the Holy Spirit has gotten into them. This is nothing that we have done. This is abundant life.