What is eternal life and what is its relationship with other gifts from God?
On one occasion, Jesus was asked by a Jewish religious leader how he could be born a second time. Jesus answered by telling him that he could have eternal life if he would only believe in Him.
. . . that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (NASB) John 3:15-16
And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. (NASB) 1 John 2:25
The Jewish leader did not understand this odd response.
How Long Do We live?
What is eternal life? This can be confusing, since the phrase itself seems to imply that we either live forever or else we die at death. It appears that we either live eternally or die and cease to exist. But God teaches that every person will live forever when He says that.
. . . these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (NASB) Matt. 25:46
Every man and woman who has been or and will be born will live forever. Jesus said that there are only two choices – eternal punishment or eternal life. Both of them are eternal. We either go to suffer forever or we live forever in peace and joy with God.
Eternal life does not refer to how long we live but to where we will live and the kind of life we will have. Those who have eternal life will get to know God the Father and God the Son – Jesus Christ.
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. (NASB) John 17:3
Those who honestly and sincerely believe that Jesus died for their sins, and believe that Jesus is God will have their sins forgiven and receive eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NASB) Rom. 6:23
Jesus died for our sins so that He could forgive our sins, and the benefit of having your sins forgiven is eternal life. Eternal life begins the moment an individual starts trusting Jesus to forgive his/her sins. This requires an individual to believe in Him.
Eternal life is different from God’s other gifts which are called spiritual gifts. God the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts only to those who already have eternal life. Without a trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of one’s sins, there is no eternal life and no spiritual gift.
Every man and woman will live forever. The only question is where will you spend eternity?
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