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.( John 3:16)
The discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3, was about the need and the Divine basis for a new birth. The New Birth is a work of the Holy Spirit of God, man cannot make it happen.
Being “born from above” would be the fulfillment of the promise given to Israel that God would give them a “new heart” having taken out of them the “heart of stone”, and putting his Spirit within them as individuals.
How could a Righteous and Holy God could do this for such sinners,(as Israel and all of humanity)?
He would send His “only begotten Son” to die as an offering for our sins.This is the basis for the new birth. We don’t have to perish, that is, to be ruined forever. The gift of God is nothing less than a divine impartation of Eternal Life.
This heavenly gift, which speaks to our deepest need , is much misunderstood even by many Christians. Salvation is a multi-faceted subject, for the fall of man from God has ruined us on every level.
Our deepest need is for life from God, for our problem is that in our sins, we are dead to God. We were created to worship Him, to lovingly respond to his will, to feed off of his Word, to enjoy God and walk with Him through life.
But we are all “dead in trespasses and sins…”,
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Ephesians 4:17-19)
Eternal Life is God’s answer to man’s spiritual death. In Jesus, the dead live again, we come alive to God, the lost capacity to know Him, worship and love Him, to respond to Him is restored to the believer in Jesus. A christian conversion is nothing less than a resurrection from the dead. Jesus alone can call the dead from their graves and grant them eternal life;
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.(John 5:24-25)
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.(Romans 6:23)
What is eternal Life?
* Eternal Life is a quality of life – The point of the term “Eternal Life” is not that we live forever,for all of humanity will be around forever; conscious, self-aware, with memory, whether saint or sinner. Jesus tells us that at His command, there will be both a resurrection unto Life and a resurrection of damnation.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.(John 5:28-29)
The point of the phrase “eternal Life” is that the life comes from eternity, it is a reference to quality of Life, not a quantity. This is the Life of God, given to us through the Son of God. We become “partakers of the Divine nature” through the knowledge of Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
* Eternal Life starts now – I have met people whose hope is that when they die they will receive eternal life. But if you wait until then, it will be too late! Eternal life begins the moment one is born again by accepting Jesus, (John 1:12-13), Believing in His name, that is the things He is and stands for and has accomplished,
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name(John 20:31)
* Eternal Life is dependant Life – The analogy Jesus used to describe the believer’s reception of eternal life as the gift of God, comes from the vineyard. He is the “true Vine” and we who believe are the branches. Eternal life is communicated unto us as we “abide in Jesus”, the source of eternal Life.
Eternal Life is knowing “the only true God and Jesus Christ“.(John 17:3) whom He sent. It is not a separate and static gift, but an ongoing reliance on and steady communion with Jesus.
If any man remain in me he shall bring forth much fruit….
* We can know that we have eternal Life – The first epistle of John was written that we might know that we have eternal Life…(I John 5:13). But 1 John 5:13 is not just a proof text, He speaks of “these things” by which we can have assurance.
The things he speaks of in the letter are the tests of eternal life, based on three propositional statements about the nature of the God who gives us a share in his life.
“God is Light…” (I John 1:5) – The test here is, that since God is light, then those who have received the life of God are willing to live in the light, they confess their sin, in fact they are at war with indwelling sin, for they hate sin.
He that doesn’t hate sin, doesn’t have eternal life.
God is love…(I John 4:8) because God is love, those who have the life of God love one another. “We know we have passed from death to life because we love one another”(I John 3:14)
Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.(I John 3:15)
“Jesus Christ has come in the flesh..”( I John 4:2) He that has eternal life, is going to believe the truth about Jesus, his incarnation, his deity, the full doctrine of Christ. Eternal life will always lead you to the true Jesus.
Those who have not eternal life, evidence it by straying away from the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9), they have not been born “of the truth” therefore they have no inward affinity to it.
This is threefold test of eternal life, an ethical test, a test of love, and a test of truth, by which we might know that we have the Son and the life.