The only way the question what is eternal life can be accurately answered is to consult the Bible. If we do that, we learn the following about eternal life:
- Jesus is eternal life (1 John 1:2)
- It (eternal life or everlasting life) comes instantly to any person (this side of the grave) who comes to saving faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 6:47; etc.) because of having Jesus Christ (1 John 5:12). That means one has the possession of eternal life B-E-F-O-R-E physical death and only Bible-defined Christians have eternal life. That makes the way to life narrow (Mt. 7:13,14) with Jesus alone being “the way” (John 14:6).
- It is a gift for those in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:23), but that doesn’t mean that gift comes easily or automatically to all just because Jesus died for everyone (1 John 2:2). Jesus taught:
In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)
The Possession of Eternal Life Can Be Lost
There are various ways to get out of Christ (John 15:1-6; 1 John 2:24-26; etc.) and therefore lose the possession of eternal life. 1 Cor. 6:9,10; Eph. 5:5-7 and Rev. 21:8 have listings of sins which describe the spiritually dead. IF you commit such sins after salvation, therefore, you have lost your possession of it. [Eternal security is candy coated soul poison!] Though the possession of eternal life may change, that doesn’t mean eternal life itself changes. It doesn’t. It will always be life, which is eternal. Other ways of losing the possession of salvation also include disowning Jesus before man (Mt. 10:33; 2 Tim. 2:12), being discharged from (spued out from) the body of Christ by the Lord Jesus himself for being lukewarm (Rev. 3:16), being severed from Christ (the true Vine) by the Father for being unfruitful (Jn. 15:1-6), etc. Hence, we are told to hold on (1 Cor. 15:2; Rev. 3:11; etc.), keep our lamps burning (Lk. 12:35; etc.), keep ourselves pure (1 Tim. 5:22), etc. There is no once in the Son always in the Son, which is the same as the damnable heresy of once saved always saved. Remaining in the Son and the Father is conditional:
See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us–even eternal life. (1 John 2:24,25)
An aspect of eternal life has not been given yet and that won’t be until a future age to come (Mk. 10:30). The recipients of it, in the age to come, will be all who overcome to the point of death (Rev. 2:10,11). To reap eternal life, the Christian must now sow to please the Spirit and not give up.
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:8,9)
If one has spiritual life, he also has eternal life and salvation. The person (Christian) who has eternal life is also holy and righteous because of his obedient faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:16; 6:22; 8:10; Phil 3:9; etc.). That righteous standing can change through certain sins, which can bring about spiritual death. There is sin unto death (1 Jn. 5:16,17). Preaching and/or believing a false gospel will also cause loss of salvation (Gal. 1:8,9; 1 Jn. 2:24,25).
Those who endure to the end will be saved (Mt. 10:22; Heb. 3:14). Those same pure in heart people also have eternal life and will go to a Paradise environment in God’s holy presence, IF they continue in the faith. On the other hand, the wicked (or the sinners) go to a fiery place of torment, after their death. They do not have eternal life even though the Lord Jesus died for them, and they will exist forever in torment – never being annihilated. Eternal life, therefore, is not related to merely existing forever. Instead, it is having spiritual life because of Jesus Christ, being in the family of God and dwelling in God’s loving and holy presence after death.
Bible Verses About Eternal Life Reveal It Is NOT:
- taking in knowledge as Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught
- going to church, as many religious people think
- merely praying, reading the bible and/or listening to a sermon.
Jesus died on the cross for our sins and that is related to the salvation of the soul (1 Pet. 1:9). The soul of man is his most valuable possession (Mk. 8:36). Jesus has the words of eternal life (Jn. 6:68) and his teachings pointing people to himself for eternal life (Jn. 5:39,40)! Eternal life is not related to reincarnation or physical life forever. Jesus’ earthly mother Mary has no role in getting or keeping eternal life for us, and she is NOT the mediatrix and dispenser of grace, as Catholicism declares. Mary is NOT our “life, sweetness and hope,” as declared in the rosary. Jesus Christ is that and much more. Do you know Jesus NOW? If not, you don’t have spiritual life now. Do you really have saving faith or just the faith of demons? If you have never been set free from your sin addictions, you have never been saved (Rom. 6:22) and do not have eternal life.