How We Get Eternal Life

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
We may now see how it is obtained. It is the Spirit working by the Word. We are born of the Spirit, and “of His own will begat He us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:1818Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)). Hence John 5:2424Verily, 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. (John 5:24): “He that heareth My words, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into [judgment], but is passed from death unto life.” The form or character of this is resurrection. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:1,3-41If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)
3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3‑4)
). So Ephesians 2:4-5: “God  .  .  . when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” This passage shows it is the same power which raised up Christ — not of works, but in resurrection. It has its groundwork as to faith (for, being by the Word, it is by faith) in the knowledge of the Father, and Jesus whom He has sent, for that was the revelation of God, as acting in grace, and to give life. So Christ gives eternal life to His sheep (John 10).
Life by Faith in the Son
This life-receiving faith in its present object is unfolded in John 6: “Every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” “He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” First, He is received as incarnate, the bread come down from heaven. But this is particularized: He gives His flesh “for the life of the world,” and this in His death, so that if one does not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, he has no life in himself at all. Whoso does has eternal life. In order to do this, therefore, He, as standing for sinful man, must die and be in death the witness of the Father’s love who sent Him, for it was love to sinners. This is John 3:15-1615That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16For 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 3:15‑16). At the close of that chapter it is confirmed: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” The power of it is in the Spirit, Jesus’ divine gift. It “is a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4). The Spirit is life if Christ be in us (Rom. 8). He was to give eternal life to as many as the Father had given Him (John 17).
A Great General Principle
There is another aspect in which eternal life is viewed, namely, its full accomplishment in glory, according to the full purpose of God. The “hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:22In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (Titus 1:2)). In this view we are, of course, not said to have it, but to follow after it. Thus Romans 6: “Ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” So Paul to Timothy: “Lay hold on eternal life.” That is present energy, but it is the earnest faith of the saint, not simply the gift of God. So Romans 5: “Grace reign[s] through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” So they that lose their life “shall keep it unto life eternal.” This is put as a great general principle in Romans 2. “To them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory and honor and incorruptibility, eternal life.” This does not throw any obscurity on this great truth; it is simply — what is universal in the New Testament — the energy of faith in the wilderness journey through grace which goes onwards to the full result for which God has redeemed us. We have to travel the road in order to arrive, but we have sure grace and the keeping of God to travel it.
J. N. Darby