1 John 2:25 states, “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” Eternal life is a promise God has made to us as Christians. Like all His other promises, it’s something that we can count on, rely upon, and trust in. Later in 1 John 5:13 it states, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”. Everyone who believes has this promise of eternal life, and we can know that we have it. This promise should further call us to believe God concerning it.
How do we obtain eternal life? This is a question that was asked of Jesus many times. This makes sense, because after all, where we’re going to spend eternity is a pretty big deal. When a lawyer asked Jesus this question in Luke 10, He answered it with another question asking the lawyer what the law said to do. When the lawyer stated that it said to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love his neighbor, Jesus told Him that that was correct, and that if he did this, he would live. This answer didn’t satisfy the lawyer, however, and he responded by asking Jesus who exactly his neighbor is. It was at this moment that Jesus told the famous parable of the good Samaritan.
This story tells of a Samaritan who showed incredible selfless love to another, showing the incredible standard the law requires us to meet. If the law could be kept by us, we would inherit eternal life, but as it says in Galatians 3:21-22, “…for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” As humans, we can’t obtain this promise of eternal life by law, and so God has given it to us by faith. It is those who believe who possess this promise of eternal life, as it says in 1 John.
What is eternal life? At first, this may sound like a question not worth asking. Isn’t it just, “life that never ends”? Before making our own assumptions about what eternal life is, it’s best to turn to Scripture first. Jesus tells us exactly what eternal life is in John 17:3 when he says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”.
Eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ. It’s not just something we possess in the future; it’s something we possess now. Our relationship with God and Christ is what eternal life is all about. It’s not just life that doesn’t end; it’s life that’s defined by an eternal relationship with the God who made us. God’s promise to us is that as He has made us one with Christ on this earth, so will it be for all eternity.