What is Eternal Life?

“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John‬ ‭17:3‬)

Recently during our church’s Wednesday evening Bible study, my pastor spoke briefly about eternal life. What he said was so insightful that it made me want to write about it.

What is eternal life? What comes to our minds when we ponder the glories of the eternal, the splendor of forever, the marvelousness of never-ending bliss?

Though we cannot feasibly get our minds around it, when we think of eternal life we are contemplating the infinitude of it. We get loss in the eternality of Heaven and cannot fathom what that will be like. To be sure, this is all well and good. And thinking on this has massive practical implications, as I’ve always believed thinking on the glories of Heaven is a major way to decrease sin in our lives. How can we think about sin when we’re thinking on glory?

With that said, I believe we are missing something crucial when thinking of eternal life. And what is that? At the most fundamental level, eternal life is knowing God—the one true God—and knowing His Son, Jesus Christ.

Eternal life consists of two parts (so to speak): (1) knowing the one true God and (2) Jesus Christ. If you don’t believe in the one true God—the God of Holy Scripture—you do not have eternal life. Additionally, if you do not know Jesus, you don’t have eternal life. Though eternal life is about being in heaven forever, it’s far more about knowing. If you know the one true God and Jesus Christ, His Son, then you have everlasting life.

So in a very real sense, eternal life begins the moment you place your faith in Jesus, the moment you believe, the moment you repent of your sins. Though you still reside in your sinful flesh, your eternal life starts now. How wonderful is that?

Let’s not compromise this message of eternal life, of everlasting joy, of endless peace. Though the world turns its back on the gospel, let us who know the only true God and Jesus Christ proclaim this gospel to the masses. It is truly their only hope at eternal life.

If I want the words of eternal life, there’s only one place I can go to get them—to the One who gave his life that we might live.

R.C. Sproul

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