John 17:1-3 These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou has given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou have sent.
These words that Jesus spoke, refers to all of John 13:32-16:33. Then the Lord prayed His longest recorded prayer, which may be divided into four sections: verses 1-5 for Himself; 9-19 for His disciples; 20-24 for all disciples and 25-26 for His disciples again.
‘Power’ the Greek word exousia meaning the authority, delegated power and the right to give eternal life to all whom God gives to Him. As He died for all, He has the power to give eternal life (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17).
Man was given power over all creation and had he remained master of all things he would have continued to live forever. Satan, evil spirits, and sin got the mastery over him and he had to die (Gen. 2:17; Heb. 2:14; 1Jn. 3:8). Christ came to bring man complete mastery over these powers so he can again live forever in union with God. Eternal correspondence and relationship with the eternal God bring eternal life.
When man passes beyond the finite and the material realm where his life does not depend upon these things he enters into the infinite, spiritual, and eternal. Because of partaking of the nature of the eternal and having perfect correspondence with the spiritual and the eternal he can live forever (John 17:3; 2Cor. 4:18; 2Pet. 1:4). Such a life in the spiritual world possesses the elements of eternity, provided that this life, correspondence, environment, and union with the eternal is not broken off by sin and rebellion thereby incurring the death penalty (Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 1:29-32; 6:16-23; 8:12-13; 1Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21).
To know God eternally is eternal life. To know Him for a time like Adam is temporary life (Gen. 2:17). Eternal life is not prolonged existence or eternal continuance of being, for all the wicked have this and will be punished in conscious existence forever (Isa. 66:22-24; Matt. 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-49; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10-15; 21:8). It is not merely eternal existence, but eternal knowledge of God in eternal and perfect correspondence and perfect, eternal, and infinite environment. This life is only in God’s Son (1Jn. 5:11-12). Thus everlasting life is not merely an everlasting existence.
This scientific proof of the possibility of eternal life through eternal correspondence with God also proves the possibility of the opposite – eternal death or separation from God because of the lack of correspondence with God. If eternal life is only in God’s Son, then all who are not in Christ do not have eternal life, even though they will continue to exist forever. Furthermore, those who do not continue abiding in Christ lose true eternal life.
Just as anything in nature lives to the extent and as long as it continues in the environment producing its life or keeping it from dying, so the believer lives according to his knowledge. Like all things in nature die when they cease to have correspondence with and utilize the environment which keeps them alive, so the believer dies and is separated from God when he ceases to live in God and appropriate by faith the benefits provided him on the grounds of obedience to the gospel (John 6:27; 10:1-28; 15:1-8). Nothing in nature is given unqualified and unconditional life in itself, and nothing in nature is ever blessed with any degree of life without meeting the conditions upon which that life is given and maintained. The believer also must meet the conditions of maintaining life in God and in Christ, according to Scripture, if he is to live forever.
‘Know thee’ Knowing God is eternal life. This is why knowledge is stressed in Scripture. The words know, knowledge, known, etc. are found 1,401 times in the Bible. All Scripture centres around the idea of knowing God and conforming to His eternal will. Ignorance of Him and refusal to know and believe in Him are condemned many times. This is what will damn the soul.