Eternal Life

1John 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us) 

These are the facts given by John of eternal life: People can have it by believing on Christ and God (John 3:15-16, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 47). It becomes a well springing up in the soul (John 4:14). People must gather fruit unto life eternal (John 4:36). It comes through searching the Scriptures (John 5:39). People must labour for it (John 6:27). It comes by drinking of (i.e., partaking of) the benefits of the blood of Jesus Christ by faith (John 6:54). Christ has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). Christ gives eternal life to His own who meet the conditions (John 6:27, 10:27-29). God commands people to get it (John 12:50). God sent Jesus to give it to all who come to Him through Christ (John 17:2). To know or to experience God and Christ is eternal life (John 17:2-3). Jesus Christ is that eternal life (1:1-3). This eternal life has actually been seen, heard, and handled (1:1-3). People must not only meet the conditions of eternal life of John 6:27, but they must let (permit) it to remain in them after they get it (2:24). If people do permit (let) it to remain in them, then they will continue in the Son and in the Father (2:24). Eternal life is promised to all (2:25), but it is given only to those who meet the conditions of receiving and keeping it (John 6:27). No one who hates his brother has it (3:15). It comes from God (5:11) and it is only in God’s Son (5:11). All people may know they have it (5:13, 20; John 3:16; 5:24; 17:2-3).

We get eternal life now and keep it forever if we meet the following conditions: Come to Christ (John 6:37, 44, 45, 65); know God and Christ (John 17:2-3); cause no offense (Matt. 18:8-9); forsake all (Matt. 19:27-29; Mark 10:28-30); overcome sin (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21); live free from sin (Rom. 5:21; 6:16-23; 8:1-13; Tit. 2:11-14); fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on it (1Tim. 6:12, 19); be sober and hope to the end for it (Tit. 1:2; 3:7; 1Pet. 1:5, 9, 13); endure temptations (Jas. 1:12); love everybody (1Jn. 3:14-15); keep yourself in the love of God, looking for eternal life (Jude 1:20-24); be faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10; Heb. 12:14-15); believe and obey the gospel (John 3:15-19, 36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40, 47, 54; 2Cor. 5:17; Rom. 1:5); be born again, hear Christ, and follow Him (John 3:1-36; 10:27-29).

BUT eternal life does not become an unforfeitable eternal possession until we enter into it (Matt. 7:13; 18:8-9; 19:17; Rom. 6:22); receive it (Rom. 6:23; Jas. 1:12; 1Pet. 1:13; Rev. 2:10); reap it (Gal. 6:7-8); and inherit it in the world to come (Matt. 19:27-29; Mark 10:28-30; Luke 18:28-30), and at the end of this life (Rom. 6:22).

Jesus Prayed: Life Eternal

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.

I am the Light of the World

John 8:12-20 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follow me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bear record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but you cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. You judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bear witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, You neither know me, nor my Father: if you had known me, you should have known my Father also. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come. 

‘Then spake Jesus again unto them’ this statement proves that Jesus had been speaking to the Jews but was interrupted by the scribes and Pharisees who brought the woman to Him. ‘I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life’ The Jews added a ninth day to the feast on which they lit a lamp, putting it in the chest instead of the sacred books to illustrate Proverbs 6:23 and Psalm 119:105. Christ could have alluded to this, as well as to scriptures referring to the Messiah as a light from Isaiah 9:2; 49:6 and 60:1.

The Pharisees accused Jesus of testifying of Himself and made Him off as a liar. Jesus answered them by saying that He did bear record of Himself and that it was the truth because He knew where He came from and where He was going. He accused them of judging after the flesh; but that He didn’t and when He did judge, His judgement was true because He was not the only judge, but also the Father who has sent Him (Acts 17:32; Rom. 2:16).

It is also written in the Law (also called the Pentateuch or five books of Moses) that the testimony of two men is true. See Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15 and 2 Corinthians 13:1. Jesus counted Himself as one witness and His Father as another.

‘Where is thy Father?’ If they truly knew Jesus, they would have known His Father. They really did not know Him as they claimed. A person cannot know one or the other without knowing both, for no man can come to Christ unless he is drawn by the Father (John 6:37, 39, 44). Eternal life is to know both (John 17:2-3; 1Jn. 5:20).

Jesus taught in the treasury many times (Mark 12:41; Luke 21:1; John 8:20). It was in the court of women. It had 13 chests, the 13th one for the women to put their offerings in. The other 12, which had the names of the 12 sons of Jacob on them, were for the men’s offerings.

‘For his hour was not yet come’ – they laid no hands on Him because they were powerless to arrest Him, not being permitted by God.

The Words of Eternal Life

John 6:60-63, 65 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Does this offend you? What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quicken; the flesh profit nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 

‘This is an hard saying; who can hear it?’ The Jews found Jesus’ message hard and they found it intolerable and impractical for they could not digest such a doctrine as this. People just want to hear of God’s grace and love and not of their role in the relationship. He must keep on giving and doing and they only want to receive (see 1Cor. 15:19).

Jesus knew by the gift of discernment and knowledge (Isa. 11:2; 1Cor. 12:4-11) that this time it was some disciples that were offended and that they murmured against Him.

He asked them that if the eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood offends them, what if He told them an even harder doctrine? Suppose you saw the Son of Man ascend up to heaven where He was before? This is the 18th New Testament prophecy that was fulfilled with the ascension (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:11; Eph. 4:8-10).

‘It is the spirit that quicken; the flesh profit nothing’ – Quickeneth must be understood figuratively of the benefits of His sacrifice. He will give this bread, which symbolizes His body given in death to save the world (1Pet. 2:24; Col. 1:20; 2:14-17). If they could literally eat His flesh and drink His blood, it would not save their souls. The words He spoke unto them were spirit, and are life – He spoke of spiritual and eternal life, not fleshly life (2Cor. 3:6; Heb. 4:12).

I Am the Bread of Life

John 6:30-35 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 

The Jews questioned Christ and asked Him to give them a sign to prove that He is the Messiah and the Son of God. To them, His multiplying of bread didn’t prove it, because Moses gave Israel bread for 40 years and He did not claim to be the Messiah or the Son of God.

Jesus answers them that Moses did not give them the true bread that feeds the soul and sustains eternal life, but mere temporal bread that feeds the body only (Exo. 16:15; Psa. 78:24). They still understood Him as speaking of temporal food.

John 6:35 is the twelfth New Testament prophecy in John that is being fulfilled. Jesus is described as seven typologies in John: “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35-51); “I am the Light of the World” (John 8:12; 9:5); “I am the Door of the Sheep” (John 10:7-9) “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11-14); “I am the Resurrection and Life” (John 11:25); “I am the Way, Truth, and Life” (John 14:6); “I am the True Vine” (John 15:1-6).

Will never thirst because he can have “rivers of living water” flowing out of his innermost being (John 7:37-39). The abundant fullness of the Holy Spirit will meet every need and solve every problem (Matt. 17:20; 21:22; John 14:12-17, 26; 15:7, 16, 26; 16:7-15; Acts 1:4-8; 8:26).

The Harvest

John 4:35-39 Say not you, There are yet four months, and then come harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reap receive wages, and gather fruit unto life eternal: that both he that sow and he that reap may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One sow, and another reap. I sent you to reap that whereon you bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and you are entered into their labours. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 

The harvest began after the Passover in April, so the four months before this would be in December. ‘Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.’ This refers to the Samaritans that were coming out of the city to hear Him. The harvest of souls was already at hand, produced in one day. The lesson is that we are not to sit and wait four months for spiritual harvests; we can have an immediate harvest of the seed sown by living out God’s love to us indeed (by our example) and not through our words (1 Jn. 3:18) in our daily dealings with others.

Christ had sown the seed in the woman and had already received wages of gratification of saving souls. He had sown and gathered fruit unto life eternal the same day, so the sower and the reaper, who here were one and the same person, rejoiced over the harvest of that day (comp. 1Cor. 3:6-9).

Verse 38 simply states that Christ had sent the disciples out to reap benefits of the labours and to carry on the work of the prophets and others before them, including Himself and John the Baptist. They had already baptized many and had preached and healed many (Matt. 10:1-42; Luke 9:1-62; 10:1-42; John 4:2). ‘Believed on him’ – This brings the new birth and eternal life (John 3:15-18; 1Jn. 5:1).

There is no proof that the woman was a prostitute. Her five husbands could have died, or they could have legally divorced her, for divorce then was easy to get. Men divorced for “every cause” (Matt. 19:1-12). It was not always that Deuteronomy 24:1 applied: “and it comes to pass that she find no favour in his eyes because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement.” Rabbis now ignored this, giving divorces for minor causes. Whether the Samaritan allowed divorce or repeated widowhood is not known. The one “whom thou now hast” may have only been under contract to her and they had not yet come together as man and wife (John 4:18).

The Gift of God

John 4:10-15  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knew the gift of God, and who it is that say to thee, Give me to drink; thou would have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman say unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drink of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman say unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 

‘The gift of God’ according to the Word is Christ (2Cor. 9:15; Heb. 6:4; Rom. 8:32); the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39; 8:20; 10:45; 11:17); Spiritual gifts (Rom. 1:11; 11:29; 12:6; Eph. 3:7; 4:7); Salvation (Rom. 5:15-21; Acts 4:12; Eph.2:8-9); Eternal life (Rom. 6:23; John 10:27-29); Divine call (1Cor. 7:7; Rom. 12:3-6; Eph. 3:7; 4:7); Good gifts (Jas. 1:17; Mat. 7:11); Ministers (Eph. 4:8-11).

‘The living water’ – ten gifts of this Gospel: Grace and truth (John 1:17); the Living Water (John 4:10); the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39; 14:16); a perfect example (John 13:15); God’s Word (John 13:34; 17:8, 14); the glory of God (John 17:22); the true bread (John 6:32); Eternal life (John 6:33; 10:27-29); Peace (John 14:27); and answers to prayer (John 15:16; 16:23). The woman did request for this gift of God that was here the living water that Christ offered to her.

Eastern travellers frequently carry a leather bucket with which to draw water from public wells. This well was about 32 metres deep, 2.7m in diameter and had 4.5m of water. It was cut out of solid rock and showed the engineering skill of ancient times.

Lay Apart

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls

So many warnings are written in the Word of what we should not be guilty of or partake in, but so many excuses contradicting God’s Word are still used for those who chose to remain in sin (Rom. 6; 1Jn. 3; 5:18).

We MUST lay apart all moral filthiness and wickedness, impure and unholy affections, baseness, vileness and depravity. Only then can we receive the engrafted Word. It is by the Word of Truth inborn and implanted in the soul that one is saved and begotten (Jas. 1:18; Eph. 5:26). The Word is called seed (1Pet. 1:23; 1Jn. 3:9). When it is implanted in the soul it germinates and springs forth into eternal life. Only the seed that fails to be sown on properly prepared soil and cared for, will fail to bring forth fruit (Matt. 13:3-30).