And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
What is eternal life?
Eternal life is being in a permanent living relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, begun in this life and consummated at the resurrection of believers (Dictionary of Bible Themes). Eternal life was given to us by God as a gift. Therefore, we cannot earn it. But why did God give us such a gift? Because He loves us.
God created us for a relationship with Him and for His glorify (Isaiah 43:7 NIV). However, that relationship became broken when Adam and Eve sinned. But because God loves us, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins and to make reconciliation possible. John 3:16 NIV says it perfectly: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
When sin entered the world, it meant death for humanity (Romans 6:23 NIV), but God does not want us to die—He wants us to live, to have eternal life. But notice, according to John 3:16, the requirement for receiving this gift is belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to have the Son of God?
The first part of I John 5:1 reads, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…” which means, if you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, then you are born again. What does it mean to be born again? To be born again means to become a new person, to be transformed into the image of Christ. It means you no longer live for the world, but you live for Jesus.
After the Fall (Genesis 3), God told the serpent that an enemy would crush his head. While he, the serpent, would strike the enemy’s heel. Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfilled this prophecy. Jesus took our place, in that, he died for us (Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV). But Jesus overcame death with His resurrection, and with His resurrection, we are now made right with God (Romans 4:25 NLT). Therefore, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we become right with God and no longer condemned. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” (Romans 8:1 NLT).
Beware of false teachings
When John wrote this epistle, false teachers arose in the Christian community to which he ministered. These heretics opposed the teaching that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. They believed that since a spirit cannot die, the cross of Christ had no saving significance, and salvation came only through secret knowledge imparted by the Christ Spirit. Some members left the church over this false teaching, leaving the faith of those who remained shaken. The faithful were uncertain as to the real truth. John therefore wrote to the church to refute the false teachings and assure the believers that their relationship with God was intact. He also encouraged them to remain firm in their belief that Jesus Christ is God.
Those who left the community were guilty of apostasy, in that they once believed Jesus as the Christ but then renounced this belief. John refers to “a sin that leads to death” (I John 5:16) which some scholars attribute to the defectors. But whether the defectors were guilty of this sin is beyond the scope of this blog post. What is certain is that anyone who refutes Jesus as the Christ becomes spiritually dead.
Life is Challenging
Let’s face it life, is challenging. The world is in a tailspin with unpredictable weather, a virus that keeps evolving, and unwavering hostility. Included in this are our own dilemmas. For instance, a tragic incident occurred here, where a prison officer got shot in front of his six-year-old daughter.
The viral video showed the little girl running around hysterical after the shooting. As I watched the video, tears filled my eyes as my heart went out to that poor child. I remember thinking at the time, “I hope someone shoots those killers.” Not Christ like thinking, I know, but it angered me that someone could be so heartless to commit murder in front of a child. All I could think of was justice for the senseless killing. Later that night, apart from praying for the little girl and her family, I prayed for Jesus to return as he promised so “there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.” (Revelation 21:4 NIV).
Embrace Eternal Life
Nevertheless, despite the challenges of life, there is always hope. You see, Jesus overcame the world (John 16:33 NIV), and this means that once we believe and have faith in Him, we too will overcome. Eternal life begins from the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and if we remain in Him, we can conquer anything life throws at us. So, as we begin this New Year, let’s embrace eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your unconditional love. It is because of you I can have eternal life. It is your love that gives me abundant life. Lord, I ask you to help me share this love with others and help me strengthen my faith to draw closer to you. Amen.
A Radiant Life By MelAnn of Grace and Rapture
Living a More Connected Life By Amy Cobb
Pursuing Life By Jessica Weaver
Parenting Advice for a Better Life By Ashley Olivine
Living a Life Well Worth Living By Lori Shoaf
1% Living Every Single Day By Dianne Vielhuber
Used with permission from Lisa Marcelina Granger.