should not perish but have everlasting life.
I think that it's amazing that God planned for us to be focused on eternal life, in our studies just before we celebrate Christmas! Jesus told us "I came that they might have life, and that they might have it abundantly." (John 10:10) Eternal life was (and is) the aim of God's plan for all of us.
Everlasting life is not something we have by nature. If we get it, it is as a gift from God. It comes to us through the Word of Christ. Peter said to Jesus in John 6:68, "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." When He was here on the earth, He spoke the words of life. He taught the disciples to go out and teach in the same way that He taught. And He told them that others would come to believe on Him through those words.
When we hear those words of life, and yield to the drawing power of God, and then believe in Jesus, we receive Him into our lives. With Him we receive eternal life:
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)By believing in Him, we are united to Him just as a branch is united to a vine; His eternal life flows into us and we have everlasting life. This is life that we have now, not just in the future.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." (John 5:24)And this is life which is a personal relationship with God. Jesus defined it that way when He prayed in John 17. It's a personal, intimate knowledge of God; it's a conscious experience so we can relate to Him. How can this happen? Remember in John 1:4? "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." Before we have eternal life, we don't see things too clearly. But in faith, in our new birth and new life, the "lights go on" and we can know Him and fellowship with Him.
This eternal life will not be interrupted at death. Jesus said "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25-26)
This is the present that I referenced in the title of this post. This is the gift of God. Our infinite, all-knowing, all-powerful God loves the world so much, that He gave His Son . . . to us, the sinful, undeserving inhabitants of this earth. To rescue us from the peril we face; we don't have to perish. We don't have to be separated from God. We can accept His plan, His gift, and claim eternal life in Him!
This is the message of Christmas. This is why He came. And I hope that we will praise Him with grateful hearts for His love!