home > Pastor’s Desk > 2022 > APRIL 29th > ETERNAL LIFE IS NOT MERELY A MATTER OF TIME

Caleb was baptised a couple of weeks ago. Whenever we baptise a new believer we always ask them to share their testimony, and while each of our baptism candidates on the day Caleb was baptised gave inspirational testimonies, many people considered Caleb’s testimony one of the best they had ever heard.

Caleb is 11-years-old. He shared his story of being raised by a mum and dad who taught him the truth of God’s Word and to love God. He then shared that his testimony could be summed up by his favourite bible verse, John 3:16 — which is probably also the most favourite verse of most Christians today. In the years ahead, Caleb will come to increasingly understand more about the depth of his favourite verse—in deeper and richer ways. Of course, the beauty of John 3:16 is that it is plain and simple enough for even a young person to have their life changed by it. A child can well understand that in John 3:16 God is inviting all people to turn to His Son as their Saviour by simply trusting in Him and that this qualifies a person to avoid hell and to enjoy heaven for eternity

What Caleb will one day come to appreciate about John 3:16, is that when it refers to eternal life it is not just speaking about where a person goes after they die, or even for how long they will be there. Caleb will come to appreciate that eternal life is a part of the dimension where God dwells; it is where Christ ultimately dealt with all human sin, and that eternal life reflects each of God’s attributes.

The opening four words of this verse tell us something profound about God. It does not say, For the gods so loved. At the time John 3:16 was written, the Greco-Romans had already developed many mythical gods (some of which we find referred to in Acts 14:12-13). These man-made gods were selfish, capricious, vengeful, sexually immoral, and indifferent to the plight of humans. But the One and True God so loved. A few years after John had written John 3:16, he wrote to the Ephesian churches an echo of John 3:16 when he described this love of God and what it involved:

In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
that God sent His only Son into the world,
so that we might live through Him. In this is love,
not that we have loved God but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
First John 4:9-10

While God is the subject of John 3:16, the world is the object of it. The pagan gods of the Greco-Roman world were largely territorial. But the God of John 3:16 is the God of the whole world. He alone is worthy and glory and the credit for creating everything. Unlike the territorial gods of the Apostle John’s gentile world, the True God actually cared for people—but just with mere sympathy—but with an unconditional practical love for all people: the world. While the pagan gods could be cajoled into assisting a human if the right sacrifice or ceremony was offered, the love that the True God has for everyone around the world (including those not yet born) even extends to those who despise Him and wilfully disobey Him!

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person
—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:7-8 

The false gods of the Greco-Roman world were not givers. They were takers. They demanded things of people. But the True God is a giver. The God of John 3:16 is not a minimalist giver. He is a generous, lavish, giver. All that anyone could rightly give Him is their thanks.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17

It was claimed that the Greco-Roman gods sired earthly children after having sex with human women. Allegedly, Caesar Augustus was sired by Zeus. This is why, just above Caesarea-Philippi, near the beginning of the assent up Mount Hermon, there was a temple to Caesar Augustus where he was worshiped as the son of Zeus. But the True Son of God was not sired as the result of fornication or lustful misadventure by a wayward deity. He took on the form of a physical human (“a zygote”) with the genetic material of Mary’s ovum. She was a virgin when she miraculously conceived Him, and importantly, she was also a descendant of King David.

¶ Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:18-21

Significantly, it was not this event which made God a father. John 3:16 states that God sent His Son –  that is, God the Father was eternally the Father and therefore must have always had an eternal Son. He was sending His Son, not someone who would become His Son. Early in the fourth century there was a monk, by the name of Arius, who taught that Jesus was a created being and was formally Michael the Archangel. The Church called its second ecumenical council to discuss whether this was a heresy (a false and dangerous teaching). Eventually, it a young north African bishop’s assistant, Athanasius, who convinced the council meeting at Nicaea that Arius was wrong and this doctrine (which “Jehovah’s Witnesses” today perpetuate) was heresy. His arguments for demonstrating this included pointing out that if God is the Eternal Father, He must have had an Eternal (uncreated, always existed, self-sufficient) Son. The result of the council’s decision was the Nicene Creed.  The fact that God the Father had always been in relationship with His Son, and that together they had also share am eternal relationship with the Holy Spirit 

Do you say of Him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world,
‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
John 10:36

John 3:16 announces a remarkable offer. Whosoever may approach the throne of God and seek mercy, pardon, and forgiveness for their sins! It doesn’t matter what anyone has done, how many times they have done it, who knows what they’ve done, or how many they have hurt, they can still come humbly before God and accept that the punishment they deserve has been paid for by Christ. As a result, they will live beyond the grave when Christ raises from dead all those who have turned to Him for pardon. 

For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son
and believes in Him should have eternal life,
and I will raise Him up on the last day.”
John 6:40

To believe in is to put trust in. For a Hebrew trust resulted in action. All anyone has to do to become a follower of Christ is believe in Him. The action this produces is confession of guilt and a request for pardon. This was assurance that Jesus gave the penitent thief on the cross beside Him. This thief clearly did not have any opportunity to do anything particularly religious to deserve God’s pardon in his final hours of life.

The consequence of rejecting God’s offer of eternal pardon is to eternally perish. C.S. Lewis described this rejection of God’s offer of salvation as being eternally confined to perpetual loneliness surrounded by others who were also eternally isolated from others in the doom of eternal loneliness and abandonment. But this need not be the case. But it is the risk that anyone takes in rejecting God’s offer of eternal pardon which can only be accepted in this life.

And these will go away into eternal punishment,
but the righteous into eternal life.”
Matthew 25:46

The kind of new life that a forgiven, pardoned, adopted, newly-identified, follower of Christ receives is described as eternal life. It is the kind of life that God enjoys. It is a life of perfect contentment, perfect fulfilment, perfect happiness, perfect peace, and perfect bliss. It brings a child of God into the full expression of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) for eternity. It is not about time or place –  but relationship with God. It is a dimension that only God and those He authorises can move into and out of (which explains how some heavenly creatures can be sent from God’s presence into this dimension of time and space). It also explains how Christ’s death on the Cross meant that He could eternally atone for the sins of mankind (even those yet to be committed) because He could present His life as an atonement for sin in the eternal dimension and then return into His lifeless-body on Resurrection Sunday in this dimension all those years ago. Yes Caleb, there will be much more that you will come to appreciate about your favourite bible verse over the coming years.

The beauty of John 3:16 is that it is so simple it can be understood even by a child; and yet, as a believer’s knowledge of God and His Word grows, he or she will come to discover that there is a wealth of spiritually-satisfying treasure to be mined! In its simplest form, Jesus died so that all those who turn to Him in trust will go to heaven after leaving this life. Dig a little deeper though, and you also discover that the eternal life on offer is not merely about a location (‘heaven’) or a duration of time—but a quality of life and status of existence that elevates the believer into a glorified state with God Himself (Rom. 8:17; 1John 3:2). Our lives are now the training ground for our status as co-regents and co-rulers with Christ over all of His redeemed creation (1Cor. 6:2-3)! 

But, as it is written,“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him”
First Corinthians 2:9

Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

1 Comment

  1. LYDIA

    It was the response to the last question, before Caleb was submerged into the baptismal water that touched my heart. A matter of fact expression of faith. You couldn’t have it shorter and you couldn’t have it sweeter.
    There is another little boy who I have met, a few years younger than Caleb, who loves Jesus so much too. He draws pictures of Him always. Not pictures of trucks but just Jesus and His life. He tells his classmates at school about Him too although he was surprised and shocked that none of them knew this Jesus when he first started school. I met him again a few months back and he is still at it, drawing pictures of the Jesus he loves totally. There is progression in the maturity, yet the love is still as real.
    To teach or not to teach about Jesus. Parents can do one thing or another but only one leads to life eternal.


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Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.


How can we determine whether a claim is true or false? Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-
 Truth corresponds to reality.
 Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).
We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).


Parents, Kids Church leaders, and Christian school teachers should be intentional about shaping children to be fully devoted followers of Christ who have reasons for believing Christianity is true – which shapes them into virtuous contributors to society and to find their role in God’s Kingdom. This will be one of the necessary and indispensable means for the Church to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ.


We live in a fast paced world. We expect things to happen quickly. None of us like to be kept waiting. Even when we order something online we expect it delivered straight away. Some of us having to work two or even three jobs just to be able to pay the bills. We describe ourselves as time-poor. Yet, we all get twenty-four-hours in a day. Sixty-minutes in an hour. And sixty-seconds in a minute. Most of us need to adjust how we see, understand, and treat our time. This will involve, what will be for some, adopting a foreign and largely unaccustomed view of time that involves worship, sabbath, and deepening relationships. From this biblical perspective we will come to see time as a gift from God, not a curse, or source of frustration. Within this gift of time God teaches us how to worship in those times when it is difficult to do so. Rather than thinking this divine gift of time is ours to do with what ever we want, God uses this gift to teach us that we should gift it back to Him beginning with (but not limited to) treating Sunday as a sabbath to come together to recommit our hearts, voices, minds, and presence with God’s people, back to God. God gives us passing time to learn to deepen relationships – especially with our kin, and our friends. Time is meant for relationship building. 


One of the greatest lies that the would-be enemy of all our souls attempts to perpetuate is that we are what we are and we can never change. This lie is whispered into the ears of many people’s invisible ears so imperceptibly that they actually think it originated with them. “You were born this way – and you can never change”, “This is who you really are – and you can never change”, “There’s no hope of anything ever changing for better – so you might as well just kill yourself” and so on. But these sly alien voices inside the heads of the vulnerable are lies. People can change. People do change. Some circumstances were always going to be temporary and were always going to change. I know this is true because I am living proof. I am who I am but I am not who I used to be and I am not yet who I will be.


It may well still be the best-selling book of all time – and continues year-by-year to be so – but certainly is not the best-read of our current times! If there was ever any doubt about this, the events this week in Hobart, at St. Mary’s (Catholic) College Girl’s School, should remove all doubt! A furore erupted over the news that the prescribed Scripture reading for the year-end graduation celebration, which incorporated a Mass, was “Wives submit to your husbands” taken from Ephesians. Callers into ABC radio’s breakfast program decried this assault against women – especially young, vulnerable girls. One caller, responding to the news that the text being used was a citation from Ephesians, denounced Ephesians and apparently demanded, “Just who does this Ephesians bloke think he is?!” Another caller stated, “Why are they quoting ancient Roman philosophers in the twenty-first century?!” And yet another caller somehow linked all religious wars to passages like this one in the Bible! He remarked, “I’m an atheist. All wars are started by those who are religious! No war was ever started by atheists!” (Perhaps he had never heard of Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Vladimir Putin, who were collectively responsible for the deaths of over 20,000,000?) This furore led to the Archbishop conceding that the Ephesians passage did not have to be used at the graduation ceremony. But this furore has highlighted just how unaware many Tasmanians are about what the Bible is, what is actually says, and why it says it. And I am now about to correct this deficiency.  


Of the many tributes paid to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was the often noted reflection that during her reign the world underwent a series of rapid changes that were dramatic and unprecedented in human history. There were technological inventions that revolutionised the way people could access international travel options enabling them to be virtually anywhere in the world within a matter of hours. New forms of communication emerged with the development of a global satellite communications network enabling people to watch Neil Armstrong take his one giant leap Live on their black-and-white TV screens (as I did in the corridors of Corio Primary School in 1969). Space exploration, the stuff previously just in the realm of science fiction writers, became a reality with manned and unmanned voyages to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. But the past one hundred years have also been a time of great upheaval with empires crumbling, governments toppled, wars waged, genocides committed, pandemics raging, nations birthed, rulers assassinated, and massive refugee movements from oppressive Islamic and Communist regimes. Added to this has been the demise of professional journalism and the rise of internet-citizen-journalism where it is now common for TV News reports to feature footage taken from someone’s cell-phone which was posted on social media rather than the more expensive option of sending their own film crew there. And while we’re mentioning the internet, let’s not forget to mention – the internet. This alone has possibly been the most monumental change in the way people communicate, work, learn, and shop. But while it was noted that the Queen had witnessed all of these many changes, it was also noted that the Queen herself was an unchanging constant during all these upheavals who brought about a sense of stability, peace and reassurance. To millions of people around the world, she was their rock in a world of turmoil and change. Yet this was only possible because she herself had an immovable, dependable rock upon which she had built her life.


home > Pastor's Desk > 2022 > October 7th > Who Builds A City On A HillFor those who don’t know, I was born in Geelong, and have always been fan of the Geelong Football Club. But I’m not just a fan, I’m a paid-up member of the Club. In fact, I’m a student...


This is not for everyone. If you are already a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my other more abstract Pastor’s Desk articles. If you are not a parent and have no intention of ever being a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my more weighty articles on FindingTruthMatters.org. If you are not yet a parent and one day hope to become a parent, this is for you. Find a quiet place, take the next six minutes thirteen seconds and use the reading of this article as an investment into your future parenting strategies. I did not invent these guidelines. Like many parents who have also discovered the value of these guidelines, once discovered, they seem obvious. These successful parents probably grew up with own parents who inculcated these guidelines almost intuitively. However, my suspicion is that this is becoming increasingly rarer. As with all true guidelines they are adaptable, flexible, and are not a guarantee of parental success — but if ignored they become the point in the mathematical problem solving where you can see you made an error in your working out. In other words, while these guidelines may not guarantee success, if ignored their neglect almost certainly leads to frustration and disappointment. Here are five indispensable guidelines for every prospective new parent.


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