Eternal Life: What’s That?

I love it when the Bible defines its terms. It helps clear the air or lift the fog and increase our biblical literacy. So much of the Bible’s vocabulary can seem like jargon. It’s like trying to enter a conversation about art, cars, computers, music or any sport when you’re sort of a newbie. The Scriptures throw things at us that we have either never heard of before, or can easily misunderstand for lack of a biblical definition.

The phrase eternal life is one such expression. Everlasting life is another way to say it. At first glance it seems obvious; it must be life that lasts forever – plain and simple. Now that’s correct as far as it goes, but it’s incomplete. There’s more to it than that and Jesus adds to our understanding in one of His prayers. In the Gospel of John He is speaking to His Father and, in passing, says the following:

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)

So this “life” is more than existence that goes on and on without stopping. It is life that is bound up in the relationship that we have with the Father and the Son – so much so that Jesus matter-of-factly says that it is that relationship. That is one compelling reason to deepen our connection with God. The very connection itself is eternal life. And that is a relationship that we will have all eternity to explore.

Bible Trivia: This is the only recorded spot in the Bible where our Lord refers to Himself as “Jesus Christ”.

2 thoughts on “Eternal Life: What’s That?

  1. I enjoyed this post.

    John 17:3 is so important because it teaches us that eternal life is a quality of life and not just a quantity of life.

    Quality is what is important in spiritual things, rather than quantity. This is vital to remember when we read our Bibles. We can so easily get trapped into thinking about these great truths in terms of quantities and not qualities. An example of this is the propitiation of Christ at Calvary. His death is more than a quantity (“How many sins…?”). It is a quality (“It pleased the Lord…”).

    Likewise in John 17. Rather than think of the quantity of eternal life (“How long will it be?”), we ought to be taken up with its quality (“How wonderful it will be!”).


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