Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expound the Apostle John's inspired communication on eternal life through Christ.
[Message] We’re continuing our series of studies in the theology of John, desiring to supplement the exposition of the Gospel, which we are giving on Sunday mornings, and our subject tonight as we continue to deal with Johannine soteriology is “Eternal Life.” In Pauline theology, it is clear that one of the controlling, if not the controlling theme of Paul’s theology, is the term “salvation.” We remember that the apostle, when he begins Romans chapter 1, and gives us the theme of that epistle that one of the significant things that he states is that salvation is at the center of his thought. He says.
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, both to the Jew first, and to the Greek, for a righteousness of God is revealed in it from faith to faith. As it stands written, the just shall live by faith.”
Now, you notice from this text that the apostle speaks about the Gospel being the power of God unto salvation, and then explains that the reason that it is the power of God unto salvation is that there is a righteousness of God revealed in it. It’s probably safe to say that one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of the emphases of Pauline teaching gathers around the term “salvation.”
I always remember that rather amusing story of Bishop Westcott and the Salvation Army lassie. He stopped to listen to the singing of the music, the playing of the instruments, and it was the custom in those days for the Salvation Army and their street meetings following the music and following the brief message to break up and then each one of the members of the Army would go out into the audience and seek to lead someone to the Lord through personal witnessing. And one of the young ladies, who was part of the Army, seeing a man standing back in clerical garb thought naturally, “Well, here is a man who is a prime subject for salvation.” And so she went up to him, unfortunately, of course, Bishop Westcott was a strong evangelical, and even though he was dressed in clerical garb, he was a person who really knew the Lord. But anyway, she went up to him, and she said, “Sir, are you saved?” And he said, “Well, do you mean esothen, sotsimias, sesosmi, or sofasomi?” And, of course, she had never heard these words and then he went on to explain that in the New Testament, the New Testament speaks about having been saved in the past time, of being saved at a particular point of time, of being saved yet in the future, and also of being saved in the present time, and explained to her that salvation was at least a three-fold process. When we believe in Christ, we are saved, and then when we continue in the Christian life, we are constantly being saved, and we look forward to the day when we shall be saved. Of course, we are saved from the penalty of sin when we believe in Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit in our daily life is to save us from the power of sin, and that’s a continual thing, never completed, as long as we’re in the flesh. And then we look forward to the future salvation when we shall be delivered from the body in which dwells the sin principle.
Well, salvation is one of Paul’s key themes. I rather think that almost all of Paul’s teaching can be gathered around the word “salvation.” But “salvation” is a negative term primarily, and for John the essential nature of the New Testament soteriology is positive. He’s not so much interested in what a man is saved from, as in what he is saved to. Thus, for John, the key term it would seem is “eternal life.” So when we think of Johannine teaching, we think of the term “life.” Now, this is supported by the linguistic data, for the idea of life in its various forms, is found in Johannine literature over seventy times. So when John thinks about the work of Jesus Christ and the benefits that we have from it, he thinks in the terms of “life.” For example, the term zoai which is the Greek term for “life” that occurs thirty-six times in the Gospel of John. The verb “to live” is a term that occurs sixteen times, and the compound verb, “to cause to live” or “to quicken” occurs also several times in the Gospel of John. And the term “eternal life” itself occurs seventeen times in the Gospel of John. The term “eternal” does not have of itself a qualitative significance. Its primary meaning is temporal. It is derived from the words “always” and then the word for “living;” so that “eternal,” “always living.” Now, it does not of itself have a qualitative significance, but we shall see before long that “eternal life” does also have that significance.
Well, let’s take a look now at the things that we find when we consider the term “eternal life.” And I want to look first, very briefly, at eternal life in the Old Testament. As is the case of so many of the great eschatological terms of the New Testament, the term “eternal life” is traceable to the Book of Daniel. The phrase “eternal life” itself is first found in the Greek translation of the Book of Daniel, chapter 12 in verse 2. Now, if you know or you’ve heard anybody say anything about the Greek translation of the Old Testament, there were several Greek translations of the Old Testament, and one is called the “Septuagint” because it was traditionally supposed to have been made by seventy people. But another of the Greek translations of the Old Testament was Theodocian’s version. Both of these versions in Daniel chapter 12, have the expression, “eternal life,” in Daniel chapter 12 in verse 2. Now, I’ll just read these verses. If you want to you can look it up in your Bible, but this is what Daniel writes in chapter 12 in verse 2, and this is the occasion in which this term is used for the first time.
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, or eternal life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
Now, in the light of the statement in chapter 7, verse 14 of the Book of Daniel; namely that the kingdom of God is to be eternal, we probably should understand this expression “eternal life” in chapter 12 in verse 2, in the sense of “endless life in the messianic kingdom.” So in its first occurrence, to have eternal life is to have endless existence in the messianic kingdom; endless life in the messianic kingdom; the kingdom of God upon the earth.
This simple term “life” is found often in the Old Testament, and there are many references to it. Perhaps we should find the messianic connotations in the New Testament use of the term “life” then, so that when we open the New Testament and begin to read about life or eternal life, it’s likely that we are to think of these terms in the light of their use in the Old Testament, for no word of explanation is given us in the New Testament to say to us that when we read the New Testament, we are not reading the same sense that we have in the Old Testament. So the important thing for you to remember is that this term occurs first in Daniel chapter 12. It evidently is a reference to life in the messianic kingdom; the kingdom of God upon the earth, and, therefore, in the New Testament when we read of life, we should think of it also in terms of life in the messianic kingdom on the earth which, of course, is also life that continues on into the eternal state. For the kingdom of God upon the earth is ultimately merged into the eternal kingdom.
Now let’s go on and look at eternal life in the synoptics for a few moments before we turn to John itself. There is an intimate connection between the use of the term in the synoptics and the use of the term in John. One of the leading students of New Testament theology is George Eldon Ladd. Professor Ladd has been Professor of New Testament for many years at Fuller Theological Seminary in southern California, and he has written a book on New Testament theology among eight or ten other books that he has written. Professor Ladd says, “It is noteworthy that in John, eternal life is first mentioned after the only references in the Gospel to the kingdom of God. Both in the synoptics and in John eternal life is the life of the eschatological age to come. In the synoptics, this life is also the life of the kingdom of God which belongs to the age to come.” Now that is the statement that Professor Ladd makes. “So both eternal life, and the kingdom of God express the realization of salvation. The former indicating the blessing of the individual; that is, in the kingdom of God, he has eternal life, and the latter, the blessing of the community, because it is the kingdom of God, and, thus, those who enter it form a community of the people of God, and share in the blessing of that time.”
Now, I want you to turn with me to John chapter 3, and we’ll just see the thing that Professor Ladd is talking about when he says, “It’s noteworthy that in John, eternal life is first mentioned after the only references in the Gospel to the kingdom of God.” Now, what he’s trying to show is that the term “eternal life” is related to the kingdom of God. Now, in John chapter 3 in verse 3, remember, this is the passage that we looked at Sunday morning in the exposition of the word at 8:30 and 11:00. Jesus replied to Nicodemus’ implicit question, “Verily, verily, I say to thee; except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Now notice the expression, “the kingdom of God.” That’s the first time that term occurs in the Gospel of John. Then in the 5th verse he says, “Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say to thee, except a man be born of water and Spirit.’” This is one of the texts we’ll look at Sunday, this coming Sunday. “Born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Now notice again the term, “kingdom of God.” But then in this context, we go on down and we read in verse 14, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up. That everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Now, it’s not “enter into the kingdom of God” or “see the kingdom of God,” it is “have eternal life.” And he goes on to say, “For so did God love the world that he gave his only begotten Son that everyone who believes in him shall not perish, but have not “entrance into the kingdom” or “see the kingdom, but have everlasting life.” So the term then the term “everlasting life” is related to the kingdom of God. To enter the kingdom is to possess eternal life. To possess eternal life means that we are qualified to enter the kingdom.
Now, in connection with this, it’s most interesting, I think, to take a look at one other passage. It’s in Matthew chapter 19 in verse 16 and 17, and then verse 23 and verse 25. Matthew chapter 19, verse 16 and 17, and then verse 23 and verse 25. Now, you know it’s the story of the rich, young ruler; most interesting story, is it not? “Behold, one having come to him said, ‘Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?’” Notice the statement, “obtain eternal life.” “And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me concerning that which is good? One is good, but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’” Isn’t it striking? Here is a rich, young ruler. It’s a very difficult passage in some ways because our Lord says, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” And some have thought that what Jesus is really teaching here is that a man can get to heaven by virtue of his good works.
Alva McLain, who was for many years the president of Grace Theological Seminary, an evangelical seminary in which I occasionally teach in the summer time in their summer school. Professor McLain, who was also the founder of that school, was an outstanding theologian, and he’s now with the Lord. He said one time in an exposition of this, at which I was present, “I used to hurry past this passage as one does past a graveyard.” And what he meant by that was that it was a difficult passage to understand because it seemed as if our Lord was saying, “If you want to have eternal life, keep the Mosaic Law.”
G. Campbell Morgan said, “This passage contains three surprises. First of all that there could be a man who lacked only one thing as this passage suggests, and then he said as he read it, he was surprised that this fellow lacked anything, and then, finally, he was surprised that he was ever surprised after he had studied the passage.”
Well, here is a rich, young, and prominent man; a clean, keen, and reverent man, and he asks the Lord, “What good thing shall he do that he may obtain eternal life?” Now, of course, he is on the path of gaining eternal life by the things that he does and our Lord simply says, “If you’re trying to obtain eternal life by the things that you do, then you’ll have to keep the commandments of Moses, but you’ll have to keep them perfectly. You’ll have to keep them perfectly from the time you draw your first breath ‘til the time you draw your last breath.” He was trying, incidentally, to show this man that he could not possibly keep the Mosaic Law and, thus, he would use the Law in its rightful office of convicting a man of his sin. So he hoped, speaking humanly, only that this man would look at himself and say, “I cannot keep the Law.” Then he would say, “Salvation is through faith in me.”
Now, I’m not so much interested in expounding this passage, as to note the use of the term “life” and then the use of the term “kingdom.” Now notice, this rich, young ruler came and said, “What good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” Verse 16, “And then the Lord says, ‘If you wish to enter into life.’” Notice the expression, “enter into life.” That’s the same expression that is used of entering the kingdom, so to “enter into life” is to enter into the life of the kingdom and only those who are born again, our Lord has said in John chapter 3, will enter into the kingdom and, thus, the life of the kingdom. But now in verse 23, in the same context we read, “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Verily, verily, I say to you that with difficulty a rich man shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens.’” Now notice, now it’s not “enter into life” but “enter into the kingdom of the heavens.” “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” So to enter into the kingdom of God is to enter into life. To enter into life is to enter into the kingdom of God. Now, they’re not the same thing, but if one has eternal life, he will enter into the kingdom. If he enters into the kingdom, he must possess eternal life to do it. Furthermore, he will say in the 25th verse, Matthew is writing, “And the disciples when they heard, were exceedingly amazed saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’” Notice the use now of the term “saved.” So to be saved is to possess eternal life. To possess eternal life, is to be saved. To be saved, qualifies one for entrance into the kingdom. To possess life, qualifies one for entrance into the kingdom. The salvation life that we have is the life that qualifies us for entrance into the messianic kingdom. So we can see then that eternal life in the synoptics is a term that is very closely related to the terms “salvation” and the term “the kingdom of God.” The eschatological nature of the term “kingdom of God” is confirmed by the use of the term in the apocalypse as well; the other Johannine writing, well I shouldn’t say the other, one of the other of the Johannine writings.
Well, let’s turn to the eternal life in John now, and first of all, discuss for a few moments the time factor in eternal life. And there are two time factors in eternal life in the thinking of John. First of all, the eschatological or future sense of the term “eternal life.” It’s clear from the Gospel of John that the term “eternal life” or simply “life” retains its eschatological meaning; that is, its future sense. Let’s read just a few verses from the Gospel. John chapter 5 in verse 39. I’m reading, by the way, from the Greek text, so if my translation is not quite the same as yours, you will understand why. In verse 39, the Lord Jesus says, “You search the Scriptures, for you think that in them you have eternal life, and they are they which testify concerning me.” Now, look back at chapter 3 in verse 36. Chapter 3, verse 36, he says, “The one who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and the one who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him.” Notice, “shall not see life.” So here there is an anticipation that the possession of life involves a future entrance or a future enjoyment of it. “Shall not see life.”
Let’s turn over to chapter 12 in verse 25. Chapter 12 in verse 25, which is in some ways, one of the climactic chapters of the Gospel of John. It’s the chapter in which John tells us the results of our Lord’s ministry. He says, “The one who loves his life loses it, and the one who hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” So again, “life eternal” is something that has to do with the future. This last text has a form which obviously alludes to the Jewish antithesis of the two ages; this age, and the age to come. “The one who drinks of the living water will have life in the age to come,” chapter 4, verse 14. And notice how similar the statement is to the statement is in chapter 5, verse 29, here to that in Daniel chapter 12. John chapter 5, I should say John chapter 5, verse 29. I’m jumping a little too fast for you, I know, but our Lord says there, “And they shall go forth; those who have done good, into the resurrection of life, and they who have practiced worthless things into the resurrection of judgment.” So again, the resurrection of life, eternal life, these are things with a future connotation.
When we say that we have eternal life, we mean not only that we enjoy life now, but we look forward to the full entrance into, and enjoyment of, what is known in Scripture as “eternal life.” Now, it also has a realized or a present sense, that is, when we speak of eternal life, we can say, “We have it now.” The peculiar emphasis of John, however, is to stress the fact that eternal life may be a present experience. Let’s look at John chapter 10 in verse 10. Now, I think, in one sense, this is probably John’s most significant emphasis. He says, “The thief does not come, except that he may steal, and slay, and destroy. I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it abundantly.” So our Lord has said that he has come, and that he has come in order that we might have life abundantly. That is a present experience. When we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have eternal life now. This life is resident in the Son, and he who has the Son, has that life we have read. So to have him is to have the life that issues in the eschatological eternal life of the kingdom; a life that continues on into the ages of eternity. He says, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and he that liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” In that text, you have both of those thoughts; the fact that we may have life in Christ now, and also we look forward to the full enjoyment of it in the age to come.
This is not something that is only Johannine but the Apostle Paul speaks of life in this sense too. I guess the great emphasis of Paul is that we have life now, but he also says that, “We are to lay hold on eternal life.” So we have then, both eternal life now, but we also have eternal life in the future in the fullest sense. You can speak of it as eschatological life; that is, life that we enjoy in the future or you can speak of it in its realized sense. We have the essence of it now.
Capital B: The Nature of Eternal Life. Eternal life in John is not simply life in endless duration. It’s life of which time is not a measure. It’s life that is life indeed, as Paul himself describes it in 1 Timothy chapter 6:19. The Johannine conception of life is not, therefore, drawn from Greek sources where eternal life is regarded as belonging, by right to the natural man, but it’s something that’s given by God and it’s something that involves a certain relationship. There are three texts that expound the character of the life, and so let’s take a look at them. 1 John, chapter 5 in verse 11. 1 John chapter 5 in verse 11. 1 John chapter 5 in verse 11 says, “And this is the witness; that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” In other words, the seat and source of the life that we are given is in Christ. Now, what does that really mean? Life is in Christ, and he has given us this life. How is it that we have the life that is in Christ? Well, ultimately, this will go back to the fact that the Lord Jesus is our federal head; our covenantal head. He’s the one who has gone into death, burial, and resurrection for us, and we are regarded as God by God, as having had the same experience that he has had, since he acted for us. That means that he bore our judgment as our federal head. Therefore, we don’t have to bear it. He has borne it to the full. Heaven can bring no further charge against those who are regarded as being in Christ. The Apostle Paul expounds this in great clarity when he says, “Because one died, therefore or because one died for all, therefore, all died. Because one died for all, therefore, all died.” So the ones for whom Christ died are the ones who died when he died, and they’re the only ones who died when he died.
So the identity of our Lord with the people whom he represents is complete and full. Consequently, the experiences that our Lord experienced are our experiences; legally, forensically. He stands as our representative, our substitute, our covenantal head. Therefore, this life is in the Son, but we who have been united to Jesus Christ in this covenantal relationship; we share the life that Jesus Christ has. This life is in his Son, but that life has been given to us, so we possess the life that is in Christ. That’s why, since we possess the life that is in Christ, death holds no terror for us, because we possess the life that has overcome death. “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” If you don’t have the life that Jesus Christ has, then death should be a terror to you, because the only life that has ever overcome death is the life of Jesus Christ. But we do in grace possess it, because our representative has identified himself with us; entered into death, burial, and resurrection for us, and we have that life that is life indeed. So “the seat and source of the life is in Christ,” 1 John 5:11 says.
Now, let’s notice verse 20, in this same chapter. 1 John chapter 5 in verse 20, says, “Now we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding that we might know the genuine one, and we are in the genuine one in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the genuine God, and life eternal.” “This is the genuine God, and eternal life.” That statement, that last statement, “This is the genuine God, and eternal life” is not an easy statement to interpret. In fact, commentators down through the centuries really have differed over the precise force of that little pronoun “this.” This demonstrative pronoun may refer to either the Father as the true God or to the Son Jesus Christ, and there are those who have interpreted it both ways. Some have said, “This is the genuine God, and eternal life” refers to Jesus Christ because he’s the subject last mentioned in the preceding statement, “in his Son Jesus Christ.” So “This,” that is, Jesus Christ “is the genuine God and life eternal.”
Secondly, the Father having been twice called the “true one” in the previous verse to go on to say of him again “this is the true God” is to say something tautological; unnecessary, but it would add something to say that Jesus Christ is also “the genuine God, and eternal life.” And, furthermore, it is said it is Christ who, both in this epistle and in the Gospel of John, is called “the life” so they argue that way. Athanasius, who lived in the fourth century and was one of the outstanding Christian men of that time, three times in his orations against the Aryans in which he argued for the deity of Christ, referred to this text and said, “This is a reference to Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” Of course, Athanasius would like to have a text like this because he wanted to prove to the Aryans that Jesus Christ was truly God. They said, “He’s the Son of God.” They even said they didn’t mind a person speaking about him as God, but what they didn’t want to say about him was that he didn’t have a beginning; that he was the eternally generated Son that they balked at. But Athanasius three times refers to this text, and does not indicate in his writings that there was ever any dispute about it at that time as a reference to Jesus Christ.
So it’s possible that this text is a reference to Christ. “This is the genuine God and eternal life.” On the other hand, there are some things that can be said for relating it to the Father. In the first place, the Father is the leading subject of all that follows the word “understanding” in the preceding context. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding that we might know the genuine one and we are in the genuine one.” And so since the Father is mentioned first there, then they have argued, who hold that view that the Father is the leading subject and, therefore, we’re to think of, “This is the genuine God” as a reference to the Father. Furthermore, to repeat what has been already stated and add to it, some have said it exactly Saint John’s style. That’s what he does. He likes to repeat and so to say, “This is the genuine God” as a reference to the Father after he’s just said it, well that’s like his style. Further, it’s the Father who’s the source of that life which the Son has and is, for John 5:26 says, “The Father has given me to have life in myself.”
Well, you can see that there are things that can be said on both sides, and fortunately for us, it’s not too significant whether we decide that this is a reference to the Father or a reference to the Son. We do know that the knowledge of God is eternal life, and, I think, that’s what John is trying to say. He’s saying, “If the Father is the meaning, or the Son, the Father or the Son is the life, and the life is known by believers.”
Now, let’s turn back to John chapter 17 in verse 3, for our third text. John chapter 17 in verse 3. This is a passage that I’m sure you’ve seen many times in your study of the word of God. John 17:3, and the Lord Jesus is in his high priestly prayer and he says, “This is eternal life that they might know Thee, the only genuine God, and the one whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.” “This is life eternal that they might know Thee, the only genuine God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” What is eternal life from this text? Well, eternal life is the knowledge of God the Father and the knowledge of his Son Jesus Christ. Now, you can see that eternal life then is not simply quantitative. It’s not simply life forever. In fact, every one of us shall live forever. There may be, if there are some in this audience who have not yet believed in Christ, well, you don’t have eternal life as the Scriptures speak of eternal life because it’s not the knowledge of the Father and the Son in the biblical sense, but you shall live forever. You have eternal existence. All have eternal existence, but some have eternal life, and eternal life is the knowledge of the Father and the knowledge of the Son. And, ultimately, involved in that is the knowledge of the Father as the one who’s given the Son as the sacrifice for sinners; the one through whom we may have life.
So eternal life is not only quantitative, it’s qualitative, and it’s experiential too. Notice again this text. “This is life eternal that they might know Thee, the only genuine God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” To know Jesus Christ, and to know the Father is to have eternal life, but the word for “knowledge” is the word that means “to know,” usually “some experiential force.” To know him, not simply that he exists or that they exist, but to know them as individuals; to know them by experience. So eternal life then, is qualitative. It’s experiential. This statement reveals that the knowledge of God also cannot be separate from the knowledge of Jesus Christ. To know God is to know God and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. To know God and not know Jesus Christ who he has sent or to deny Jesus Christ whom he has sent is not to know the true God. So when we use the term “God,” we must define our terms.
Mormons do not believe in the same God that we believe in. They do not believe in a triune God. The Jewish people do not believe in the same God that Christians believe in. They do not believe in a triune God. The Muslim do not believe is the same God that we believe in. They do not believe in a triune God. The Unitarians do not believe in the same God that we believe in. They do not believe in the triune God. Many Baptists, many Presbyterians, many Episcopalians, many Roman Catholics do not believe in the same God, even though their denominations or churches may have an official position of believing in the triune God. To believe in the triune God is to acknowledge that God is one God who subsists in three persons; Father, Son, and Spirit. That’s the only true God.
So to possess eternal life is to know the Father, and the Son, whom the Father has sent. That is very important when people say, “I believe in God.” Don’t lose the opportunity. Say to them, “What God do you believe in?” Ask them because definition is important. “This is eternal life that they might believe.” Well he says, “That they might know Thee, the only genuine God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” Notice he says, “The only genuine God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” And thus, he roots the whole thing in the historical person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, finally, the means of obtaining eternal life. Some men have suggested that John 17:3 does not define eternal life, but simply states the means by which we obtain it. But most commentators have not followed that. If all this is saying is the means by which we obtain it, then we would lay stress on the “know.” “This is life eternal that they know Thee.” In other words, this is the way we enter into eternal life; by knowing the Father, and knowing the Son. It’s more helpful, I think, to regard that as something of a description and definition of eternal life.
But how do we obtain it? Well, let’s look at it two ways. First, objectively. How do we obtain eternal life objectively? What is the basis of the eternal life which we would like to have? Well, objectively, life comes by virtue of the sacrificial death of the Son of God. It is he, who in his death has made it possible for men to have life. So objectively, our eternal life rests upon what Christ did in history over nineteen hundred years ago. Subjectively, however, this life comes to us through the instrumentality of faith. Now, this faith is something that is secured for us by what Jesus did when he died for us. He not only died to secure our salvation, but to secure the faith by which we appropriate it. So the faith, therefore, becomes the gift of God, as the New Testament teaches, and it too is a product of the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ. So our salvation’s totally of the Lord; what he did in dying for us. And then out of that flows not only the life, but the means by which we obtain the life, and that means is the instrumentality of faith. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him may have everlasting life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Believing is the means by which we receive the gift of God, but it comes from God. “No man can come to me in faith, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” as we saw last week.
Well, that’s the conclusion of our study of eternal life. Remember, we will not meet next Tuesday in this class, but rather, the Believers Bible Institute classes will begin at seven thirty. It’s a great thing to possess eternal life, isn’t it? Not simply endless existence but eternal life; the knowledge of the Father, the knowledge of the Son. You know, we don’t really realize how blessed we are to know the Father and to know the Son. And when I look out at you, I’m amazed that God would give you such blessing. I won’t ask you to say what you’re thinking when you look at me. It’s all of grace.
Let’s close in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are thankful to Thee for eternal life. We praise Thee for the extent of which we know Thee, and the Lord Jesus, and we pray that our knowledge may deepen and grow. O God, cause us to study the word of God; to spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ as he is revealed in the Scriptures, and as he reveals Thee in the Scriptures that we might know Thee better. Draw us to that end.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.