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What is Eternal Life?

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

If you are like me, from time to time, you may have this “nagging” feeling that makes you ask, what happens after we die? The fact that at any time, illness could affect us, or an accident could happen, or even we could be victims of violence during this difficult times in our nation, and for some, old age will proclaim the youth that they once had, are some of the factors that make us think about eternal life. Perhaps you have gone to bookstores searching for answers, only to find out that many have different opinions on this subject. For the most part, in the books that I have read, only some people “hope” that they will receive eternal life after their death, but nothing for certain.[1] That was not satisfactory to me. So, I kept searching. Luckily for me, I have found “one” book, that speaks of this subject with certainty. The Bible!

But the Bible is a big book that covers many subjects, right? Well, luckily for you, I have narrowed the search to one book, and one verse, so that I can show you what it says about eternal life. The book that I am referring to is found in the New Testament, and it is the first letter of John, chapter five, verse thirteen (1 John 5:13).[2] This verse caught my attention, since it speaks of “assurance,” as it relates to eternal life, like no other book that I have read. The author of this book was the apostle John, which was the disciple of Jesus that lived the longest. How ironic! So, let see what John has to say about this subject. This is what he wrote, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” Did you catch all that? Not to worry if you did not, I will explain this verse for you, so that you can fully see what a gift we have been promised.

I must give you some background information, so that you can fully understand why John would write with such authority. You see, John spend three years of his adult life with a person known as Jesus of Nazareth. Have you heard of Him? This Jesus went around in His times and according to scriptures in the Old Testament, He was the promised “Messiah,” that the people of God have been waiting for (Isaiah 9:6-7). This Jesus was known to them as the Son of God, and that is whom John is talking about. So, according to John, those who “believe” in the name of the Son of God, that is, those who believe in “Jesus” know that they have eternal life. That is called assurance my friend! No other book in history can claim such a bold assertion, but there is a catch, did you see it? You must believe in Jesus.

The apostle John writes that we, “who believe,” know we “have” eternal life. Notice he did not say will have, or should have, or may have, but, have. The reason for that is that John used this Greek verb ἔχετε (echete), fancy I know, which means to have, to hold, to possess, not in the future, but in the present time. For John, this certainty was based on God’s promise that God has given us eternal life through His Son, the person of Jesus Christ. Not complicated at all. In a world full of uncertainties, we who believe in Jesus, have the assurance of eternal life, wow! When John speaks of “these things,” he is indicating what he has written to them, the entire letter, and his Gospel, (John 3:16), as he wrote this first letter so that those who believe would know that they are saved.[3] This assurance however, is only for those who “believe in the name of the Son of God.”

Perhaps you have noticed that I have included, from time to time, some brackets and numbers. This is so that you can check my sources for the writing of this blog post. I want you to be sure that the information that I obtain was not just gather from Google or social media, but it has been thoroughly studied and researched; although you could Google it, I suppose! It is amazing to me that, even in this time of information because of the internet, people are still unaware of the promises of eternal life that they can have, if they just believe in the one who made it possible for all to have it (Revelation 3:5). By now you can see that, eternal life involves having a “relationship” with the person of Jesus Christ, knowing who Jesus is and having the Son, as indicated by the previous verses (cf.1 John 5:11-12). This eternal life is only found in His Son, and the contrast of not having Jesus is not having eternal life (1 John 5:12).

By now, there should be no questions in your mind as to how to obtain eternal life, and what eternal life is. This was the principle message of this apostle of Jesus for all to see. John also wrote in his Gospel, the word of Jesus to all of us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6). So, it is clear, or at least I hope it is, that the only way to have eternal life is through Jesus. In this verse, and through his writings, the apostle John wanted to emphasize to those “who believe,” and you can see some parallels to this in (John 1:12). In a world of uncertainty, relativism (which means that truth exist in relation to culture, society or historical context), and deception (which can be seen in relationships, politics and other areas), the Bible is the only source that proclaims absolute truth. It reveals to us, the truth about many things, including but not limited to the creation of the universe, right and wrong, the behavior of people, and many more.

Because of uncertainty, many put their hopes in material things, jobs, or relationship that at the end, do not produce the same results that John speaks of in the selected passage (1 John 5:13). Many purchase insurance (which is a good thing by the way), work more hours or select more people to be part of a group, but all this things are only temporary; only a relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior can bring the assurance that no other thing in the world can compare. As you can imagine, the most profound uncertainty in most people is this nagging question about eternal life. Since, a lot of people put their hopes in false religions, or false gods, none of them can give anyone any assurance; only Jesus can. By now you may be asking, how do you know about this assurance that you speak about? I know because of the faith that I have in the Son of God, from whom I have received this gift (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Notice I called it a gift. I did not have to work for it, I did not earn it, and I can never lose it. In fact, this eternal life is a guaranteed (Romans 6:23). But, people who do not Jesus as their savior, or have rejected the Gospel, are people without hope (Ephesians 2:12). The sad part is, that a person, who does not have Jesus as Lord, will not have eternal life in heaven but will spend eternity in a place called hell. That would be another subject for another blog, but the main reason for this one is so that you too can know that in Jesus, there is eternal life. This eternal life is living forever with God in heaven (Matthew 25:46; Mark 10:30), and it is knowing Jesus Christ (John 17:3), who Himself is eternal life (1 John 5:20). This is the great news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the promise of salvation and the inheritance of eternal life. I hope that with this blog, I have explained the basic definitions of eternal life, and how to obtain it. If you do not the assurance that the children of God have in relation to eternal life, you can always email me and we can share more information with you. Also, please subscribe to the channel so that you can receive more post as they are posted on our site. Please remember that ImPerfect Ministries is a non-profit organization, and your donations are used totally for the kingdom of God. May you be blessed, and will see you next time.

[1] Dara Horn, Eternal Life: A Novel. (New York, NY: Norton & Company, 2016), 32.

[2] Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the English Standard Version (Wheaton: Crossway 2001).

[3] John MacArthur, 1-3 John. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2004), 202.

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