Jesus came to redeem us from the consequences of the fall – Part 23
Eternal Life As Experience In The Present: This term in John has important implications. The one trusting in the Son has eternal life; the one disobeying the Son has the wrath of God abiding on him (John 3:36). Trusting and obeying go together; they leave no room for neutrality. The one who hears Christ’s message and believes or trusts in the Father Who sent Him has eternal life. This person does not come into condemnation but has passed out of death into life (John 5:24). The perfect tense—one who has passed and remained in the state of having passed from death into life—emphasises eternal life as a permanent, present reality. But no presumption is possible here. Eternal life is a present reality for the one hearing and trusting (John 5:24).
The bold metaphors of eating and drinking point to active involvement with Christ. “Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life,” (John 6:54a). Verse 57 explains that “the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” Since Christ is our life, we must make that life part of us by “sharing in Christ,” by actively coming to Him and drawing life-giving strength from Him.
Eternal life is defined in Jesus’ high priestly prayer: “This is eternal life: that they may know
You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). The present tense of the verb “to know” indicates that this knowledge is by experience—not from intellectual facts. Genuine knowledge of God by experience brings eternal life. Such experience transforms life.
Eternal Life As Experienced In The Present And Future: John compared the lifting up of the serpent in the wilderness to the lifting up of the Son of Man on the cross and His exaltation to heaven. People who respond to Christ by the constant trust have eternal life’ (John 3:15). They have healed from something more deadly than snakebite—the destructive effects of sin. Here, eternal life involves present healing, a present reality. But John 3:16 refers both to the present and the future.
Christ defined His true sheep as those who hear or listen to His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). To such disciples, He gives eternal life, and they will not perish (John 10:28). Again, no presumption is possible. Those are secure who persistently listen, hearken, and follow. For such people, eternal life is both a present and a future reality.
Eternal Life As A Future Experience: “What must I do to inherit eternal life,” the rich young ruler asked. (Mark 10:17; cp. Matt 19:16; Luke 18:18). He saw eternal life as a final inheritance. His earnestness moved to Jesus, and Jesus loved this young man (Mark 10:21). But he had to make a decision: Would he follow Jesus without his possessions? (Mark 10:22). His action said, “No.” He could not part with his possessions first and then follow Jesus.
In Matt. 19:27, Peter asked Jesus, “What will there be for us?” The disciples had left their dear ones and their possessions to follow Jesus. Jesus promised them loved ones and lands (possessions) with persecutions. Then He added: “And eternal life in the age to come” (Mark 10:30). Eternal life here refers to an unending future reality.
John 12:20-26 tells of some Greeks who wanted to see Jesus. We do not know how Jesus interacted with these Greeks. We do know He spoke about His death and what it meant to be a disciple.
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