Hope is a tangible reality rather than an intangible desire
Many see hope as something one musters up akin to positive thinking towards the desired goal. However, when Scripture speaks of hope, it speaks of something that is tangibly within the nature of Jesus. Likewise, when the Scriptures speak of having the hope of eternal life, this is not in the context of hoping we attain it, but in resting in its attained reality. We are to live in that reality versus wishing we might one day attain it.
Eternal life needs to be understood as existing within Someone rather than being a state of existence afar off. I John 5:11 tells us that “this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” Notice carefully that 1 John 1:2 states clearly that “the life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.” John says they proclaim that “the eternal life . . . has appeared to us.” This is not speaking of a day in the future when we go to heaven, but it is speaking of the person of Christ Jesus. Jesus is eternal life.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life
When John 3:36 says “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life” this is because eternal life is in the Son. It is not something he gives out, but something He is which requires our physical connection to His being.
To put it another way, believing is not a matter of knowing and accepting true facts about Jesus, but knowing Him experientially as one would a brother or a friend. John illustrates this so clearly when he wrote in chapter 17, verse 3, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus, whom you have sent.” Jesus said, “you diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40). His point was that Scriptures point to Him, but knowing all about Him is not enough, for coming to Him is the only way one gains life. Thus, eternal life is not something given to those who believe facts about Jesus, but those who have tangible experiential belief in Jesus for it is not about the intellect, but the heart. When our spirit is connected to His Spirit we are in eternal life and nothing else can provide that to us, but Him who is Christ, the hope of glory.
Eternal Life is in Christ
This hope of eternal life found in Christ is something that is a transforming power in the life of the believer. According to II Corinthians 5: 21 we have been set free from our sinful nature to now be the righteousness of God in Christ. God sees us, in Him, as righteous, fully having eternal life. Our struggle is between not conforming any longer to the sinful nature by which we have been set free and conforming to what is now true of us being slaves to righteousness. We are now bondservants of Christ and people who are learning to apprehend that new true reality and bring it into our present life. We need not wait until heaven to taste eternal life, for the Scriptures are clear that we have it now, for it isn’t just a place, but a superior reality now made readily available to all who are in Christ. Let us then run this race with victory for victory has already been won when He who was without sin said it is finished.