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From John’s gospel we read,
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3 – NKJV)
Just what is “eternal life?” Maybe to some, it seems easy to define, “Why it’s life that never ends, that’s all.” But according to the words of Christ, as He prays in what I call the actual Lord’s Prayer, “eternal life” is more than just some long term existence that goes on and on and on. According to Christ, it is much more than that.
As Jesus prays note that He says to the Father,
“as You have given Him (the Son) authority over all flesh, that He (the Son) should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.” (John 17:2 – NKJV)
The “Son” (17:1) Jesus prays, has been “given . . . authority” to “give eternal life.” Jesus has “authority over all flesh,” and He is able to bestow on “as many as” the Father has “given Him” a “life” that is “eternal.” And He goes on to say in His prayer that this “eternal life” has a particular distinctness to it . . .
“. . . that they may know You (the Father), the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You (the Father) have sent”
There is a quality to this “eternal life” that Jesus prays about, a most wonderful quality. All souls are “eternal” but not all souls experience the “eternal life” that Jesus is describing. This is a particular type of “life” and it is marked by being enabled to “know” God, “the only true God,” and to “know” Jesus Christ,” the divine One that the Father has “sent.”
I am of the mind that in our text the word “know” is a key word to understand here. It is the Greek word, ginosko. Vine writes regarding this word that the knowing comes from “an active relation between the one who knows and the person or the thing known.” As one writer has noted regarding this word, “effectively coming to know, or the entering into knowing through firsthand or personal interaction; knowledge usually gained through personal acquaintance or some relationship of intimacy or connection.”
Ah yes! There is in the “eternal life” Jesus speaks of, a “relation between the one who knows and the person . . . known.” There is now, through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit in the “many” of them, a “personal acquaintance,” a “relationship of intimacy” between the “true God” and the Son, “Jesus Christ.” This “eternal life” is a quality of life, one that I believe starts the moment that we believe (John 5:24) and will, by God’s own definition, never end . . . it is “eternal.”
Just what is “eternal life?” We were at one time separated from “knowing” God, without Him in this world, we were, as the Bible says, far off. But now, by coming to salvation through the work of Christ Jesus, the Father’s Son, we have been born again from above, enabled to perceive with our mind the things of God, understand them. We have been restored to a right relationship with “the true God,” brought near by the blood of Christ, enabled to partake of a quality of “life,” a “life” lived in an intimate “personal interaction” between the created and the Creator (Read: Ephesians 2:11-13).
And brethren, this “eternal life” is not something to come . . . it began the moment you trusted in Christ as Lord and Savior. And it is ongoing, it is growing, maturing . . . quality “life” as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our God through His written Word. And as we become more and more like Christ we experience what the Father and the Son already “know.” A personal, intimate relationship, one that was originally intended between God and man, ruined by sin, restored to the “many” who God has “given” to the Son.
Just what is “eternal life?” It is a quality of “life” lived in an intimate, personal relationship with God that will only become of a greater and greater quality, for it is “eternal.”
Have a good day brethren . . . and if you are not already doing it start to do it . . . set your heart to seek His and strive to know Him as He knows you (Psalm 139), and thus partake of eternal life.
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