“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” -Romans 8:6
For Paul, carnal-mindedness does not just lead to death–it is death. And spiritual-mindedness does not just lead to eternal life–it is life.
So when Jesus says in John 3:16 that whoever believes in him will have eternal life, he doesn’t just mean that believers will live forever in time. He also means that whoever believes in him will be spiritually minded now.
Jesus’ first message illustrates this further: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)
Jesus gives a spiritual reality: heaven is near. One of his first goals was for people to focus on heaven. They would need to in order to achieve his second goal: repentance.
After focusing on heaven, Jesus brings that vision to present-day reality with the word “repent,” which, as I’ve written before, describes a total change of thinking. It describes a change from carnal-mindedness to spiritual-mindedness.
From Jesus’ first message until his death, his overarching theme was giving life: eternal life, and life as spiritual-mindedness; life in the future, and life now; life in heaven, and life in light of heaven. He wants you to think differently, because heaven is really, really, close.
In other words, Jesus wants you to live.