“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” John 10:10.
Jesus Christ does not give only life, He also gives abundance of it. There is a difference between having life and having it abundantly or more of it. In human terms, to have life is to be alive and not physically dead . Yes, being alive is life, but one can be alive but still on the hospital bed.
That is not how that person wants to live his/her life. So the sick person is not having the abundance of life he/she desires. He wants to wake up strong and healthy, able to walk without any assistance, able to eat without any difficulty, able to go about his daily activities without any health hindrance. Such is life. When a person is unable to experience that, he gets bothered and worried.
With this analogy in mind, let us come to the spiritual life. Christ is able to give life and then give it abundantly by way of multiplying that same and one life he gives at the point of gospel hearing and faith in Christ.
He first gives life as a possession and then He makes a provision through which that same and one life can multiply in the believer during the his lifetime on earth.
This life in its possession and as gift from God is called eternal life. It is meant to multiply and it does multiply as the believer (the one who already possesses the gift) uses other free provisions to enable the gift multiply.
The gift multiplies in an experience such as patience. This is how God is able to course you to have a certain patience that you did not necessarily decide on, but was a workout patience from the Lord. This patience is piped out from those provisions that came with the eternal life.
As God’s word (one of the provisions) is mixed with reliance upon the Holy Spirit (another provision), it brings out a spiritual product such as patience. How did you get that patience? Well, it was from that life (eternal life) that you first received at the moment you believed in Christ. It (the patience) did not suddenly appear or manifest from the eternal life gift, though it was potential.
But it manifested as eternal life was fed with the necessary provisions through which all the abundant life is able to manifest.
Your joy, contentment, patience, love, kindness, ability to endure emotional pains, and being forgiving are all that abundant life is about.
You can believe in Christ and still not enjoy this kind of life not because you did not “really” believe as some theological camp would have you think, but because you failed to use those additional provisions like access to God’s written word and the reliance upon the Holy Spirit.
Eternal life is real and its manifestation is also real. But let us first understand that its possession is different from its manifestations; And that “how” we first receive eternal life is different from “how” we enjoy it while here on earth.
To possess it, you must first believe that Jesus Christ came to die for your sins. But to enjoy it, or have it manifested, or have abundance of it, you must believe and apply the Christian doctrines (which are quite different from the saving gospel message, which is the dead, burial and resurrection of Christ). This order must not be mixed up. Shalom!