Eternal Life Is “This” Not “That”

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Please turn with me in your Bibles to John chapter 17. Jesus is getting ready to go to the Cross, making payment for our sins. In the Old Testament the Jews made payment for their sins by taking an animal without spot or blemish (Exodus 12:5; 29:1; Leviticus 3:1, 6; Leviticus 5:15-18) to the High Priest. The Priest would tie the animal to the four corners (horns) of the altar, and killing it, would take its blood and sprinkle it on the people. “Apart from the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin” (Hebrews 9:22). God does not forgive sin that has not been paid for. The animal temporarily paid for the sins of those it was sacrificed for.


Only Jesus Has Authority To Completely Forgive Sin

But God had a better way. God sent His Only Begotten Son into this world. Jesus Christ – eternal God Who, “In the beginning was with God, and was God” (John 1:1-3), took upon Himself humanity. God lowered Himself to be like us – with one distinct difference. Jesus Christ is without sin. He is – like the Old Testament sacrifices – without spot or blemish. Jesus came to this earth – not to make another animal sacrifice for our sins – but to BECOME the perfect Sacrifice for our sins. The Bible says:

1 Peter 1:18-20 (ESV) …. you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you

When Jesus came to this earth as Perfect Man and Eternal God, He came to offer HIMSELF for our sins. Jesus came to “lay down His life for His sheep, for those who follow Him” (John 10:17-18). Jesus said, “No one takes My life, but I lay it down of my own accord”. It is not a High Priest that makes sacrifice for our sins, but only Jesus. It is not an animal that is sacrificed for our sins, but only Jesus. Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest.

Are you at John 17? John 17 is the last prayer Jesus will pray before being nailed to the Cross for us. Many have called John 17 the “High Priestly Prayer of Jesus”. Our High Priest has committed Himself to giving His life for us. Let’s look at this wonderful prayer.

John 17:1-3 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

God Is Triune: Jesus does not address God as “God” nor “Lord”, but Father. One of the mysteries of the Godhead is that God is ONE, but THREE. Israel was taught to consider God as But One. One of the greatest declarations found in Scripture is:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is ONE” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Only One God created all things. In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). But God – this wonderful God we love and follow – is in THREE PERSONS. The Bible says that Jesus Christ was in the beginning with God (John 1:1), and that:

Colossians 1:16-17 (ESV) … by {Jesus} all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through {Jesus} and for {Jesus}. 17 And {Jesus} is before all things, and in {Jesus} all things hold together…

God is Father. But God is also Son. But God is also SPIRIT, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit moved on the face of the waters at creation (Genesis 1:2). The Holy Spirit is called God in Acts 5:3-4. When we as Christians baptize believers in water, we follow the formula our Lord Jesus gave us:

in the NAME {ὄνομα ónoma, [pronounced on’-om-ah]} of the Father AND of the Son AND of the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19-20

Three Persons, but One Name. God is One, but Three. We do not understand this, but we receive this by faith.

C.H. Spurgeon noted, “I would not worship a God that I could fully understand. I do not know how I would feel devout over a faith which I perfectly comprehended. If I could put my religion in my pocket, like a box of lozenges, I would sooner suck it all away. .. I find it a blessed thing in life, when troubled with all these difficult problems … to fall back upon the fact – ‘There is a God Who will overrule it all and, from the seeming evil, will produce a good: and from that good something better, to His own praise and glory!’”.

Jesus Christ, Who is One with God, speaks to God the Father. Jesus Christ, Who was born of a Virgin through the operation of God the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35), prepares to God to the Cross as the Lamb of God that “taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Earlier as Jesus surveyed the Cross, and dwelt on the sacrifice He must make, He prayed:

Christ’s Earlier Prayer: John 12:27-28 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28 FATHER, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

Jesus prayed to the Father – and the Father answered the Son. Jesus came to this earth from the Godhead for a wonderful reason. Jesus Christ was born into this life to die for us. Jesus Christ was born to cover our sins with His Blood. Now the time has come. Jesus prays:

John 17:1-2 … Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him POWER over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Word Study: Jesus and Jesus alone has POWER over all flesh. God the Father gives God the Son POWER over all flesh. The word translated POWER is the Greek ἐξουσία exousía, {pronounced ex-oo-see’-ah}, which means “authority, the ability to rule over, jurisdiction over”.

God the Father gives Jesus Christ exclusive authority to forgive sin. Sin is an offense against the Eternal God Who made all things. Sin is a rejection of God’s authority and design. Sin says, like Lucifer, “I am my own god”, and is a terrible offense to God Himself.

Only Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, has “the POWER” (exousía), the AUTHORITY to forgive sins on this earth (Matthew 9:6)

Jesus told us:

Matthew 28:18 … All POWER (exousía) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

ALL POWER”. No one has power to forgive sins on this earth but Jesus. No one has the authority to cover our imperfections before Almighty God. No preacher, no priest, no pope, no one can do what Jesus does. Jesus has power – AUTHORITY – on earth top forgive sins (Mark 2:10). Because Jesus has the Sole Authority to cover and forgive sin, Jesus has the sole ability to give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Eternal Life Is “This”, Not “That”

When we hear the words “Eternal Life”, we think it means to live forever somewhere else. Today we sang:

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun;

Let us talk of all his wondrous love and care.

Then when all of life is over and our work on earth is done,

And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there”


When we all get to Heaven,

What a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus,

We’ll sing and shout the victory!”

When we think of “eternal life”, we think it means to live forever and ever, to never die. Yet that’s not what Jesus means by “eternal life”.

Jesus does not call eternal life THAT but THIS.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

When we think of eternal life, we think THAT is eternal life. THAT. THAT over YONDER. When the Roll is called UP YONDER. THAT IS ETERNAL LIFE. The other side of this life is eternal life. That’s not what Jesus said. What did our Lord say? Not THAT over yonder, but THIS, right now. Eternal Life begins when you come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Eternal Life begins when you give your temporal and fallen life to the Lord Who loves you, and believe on Him for salvation. The Bible says:

Romans 14:17 … the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The world thinks of “Heaven” as something over yonder, a “that”. But the kingdom of God belongs to those who belong to Jesus. That’s what Jesus said. He told the Father:

John 17:2 … Thou {O Father} hast given Him {Jesus} power over all flesh, that He {Jesus} should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

If you have been “given” to Jesus by faith, then you have eternal life NOW. THIS is ETERNAL LIFE. You have entered eternal life. OK, I can see some of you aren’t following me, so I’ll go another route.

The Devil Doesn’t Want You To Know That

Everyone lives forever.

Hitler is still in existence.
Stalin is still animate.
Molesters of children and murderers executed are still conscious.
Serial killers who died in prison are in agony right now.
The soul of every human is indestructible and eternal.

Everybody lives forever because EVERYONE
is made “in the image of God”.

When God made the animals, He spoke them into existence. But when God made humanity, He made us special. Every human has something that no animal has. The Bible says:

Genesis 1:27 (ESV) God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Humans are made in the “image of God”. The Bible says that we were formed from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7), and God breathed into man the breath of life. Humans are made – by creation – to live forever. Oh, our bodies break down, but our souls continue on. In Luke chapter 16 our Lord Jesus told us this story:

Luke 16:19-21 (ESV) There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.

We have two people here. One, and unnamed rich man, had all the best of everything. He had all the food he needed, all the housing and clothing that anyone could want. Every day when he came into his home, this rich man stepped over the body of a poor man named Lazarus. Lazarus was made in the image of God, just as the rich man is made in the image of God. Yet the rich man treated Lazarus like a dog.

When people treat other people like dogs (like the rich man did Lazarus) they are FAR FROM GOD. If you look at a black person and can only think the “N” word, you are FAR FROM GOD. If you look at a white person and can only think “He must be racist”, you are FAR FROM GOD. People are precious.

Luke 16:22-23 (ESV) The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

There came a time when poor Lazarus’ life ended on this earth. But Lazarus is STILL CONSCIOUS. He still is Lazarus. Though he is unclothed of flesh, his soul goes to be with Abraham, the father of faith. And what of the rich man? The rich man ends up in HELL, in HADES. He is in a place of TORMENT. He is conscious of suffering, of agony without hope of relief. Jesus said that the rich man cried out:

Luke 16:24 (ESV) … ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.

The rich man is not burning up. He is in anguish in this flame. He is suffering. The rich man was made immortal, in God’s image. God says in another place:

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

God made us ALL immortal. We were made to walk with God – not just in Heaven, but RIGHT NOW. We were made to be part of God’s family. We are made in His image, and in His likeness. We are not animals, but are something much. Much greater. The proper place for an immortal soul to go is to be with the God Who made that person. But you cannot go and be with God if your sins are not covered. You cannot go and be with God if God is not your Father NOW. If you leave this life estranged from God, your immortal soul will live forever apart from God. Forever. I am told there are “over 162 references in the New Testament alone which warns of hell. And over 70 of these references were uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ!”. When Jesus taught of eternal punishment, Jesus called it a …

Matthew 13:42 (ESV) … fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus spoke of those who rejected Him as Messiah, and said that He will tell them:

Matthew 25:41-46 ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Those who treat others like dogs, who are hateful to God’s creation, who reject Christ as Lord and Savior, are cast into eternal punishment. Jesus told us all:

Mark 9:43-48 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Jesus said that their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. When the rich man cried out to Abraham for relief, Abraham told him:

Luke 16:25-26 (ESV) ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.

Hell is a place where those who reject Jesus Christ as God’s Son go when they leave this life. The Bible tells us that – though the rich man – and every rejector of Jesus Christ will still live on – their souls will be eternally separated from God. Why? Because they have rejected the only One Who has the power to save them. They have rejected Jesus Christ.

When You Know Jesus And Jesus Knows You
You Have Eternal Life With The Godhead

John 17:3 And THIS is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

To have eternal life we must KNOW Jesus. We must KNOW Him as Lord and Savior. We must come to HIM and HIM alone for life, confessing ourselves to be far from God, unable to save ourselves.

Some say, “I’m going to Heaven because I do so many good things”. Yet the Bible says that – as fallen creatures – our own goodness falls far short of that which impresses God the Father. The Prophet wrote:

Isaiah 64:6 … we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

The Pharisees and Scribes who followed Jesus around criticizing the Lord thought that they were going to Heaven one day. But Jesus warned us:

Matthew 5:20 … except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The scribes and Pharisees had memorized vast portions of Scripture. They never committed sexual sin, never sought out to violate the Law of God. And yet Jesus said to these scribes and Pharisees:

John 5:39-40 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Salvation is to come to Jesus with empty hands, and plead His healing on us. Salvation is the blind asking the Master for eyes. Salvation is the cripple asking Jesus for feet. Salvation is the leper begging the Savior for cleansing. Salvation is entirely a gift from God, given by Jesus Christ to those who come to Him. The Bible says:

Romans 10:9-13 (ESV) … if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Once You Are Saved By Calling On Jesus,
God Works In You To Make You More Like Jesus

When Jesus came into the world, He was incarnate through the operation of God the Holy Spirit. When you come to Jesus to be saved, God the Holy Spirit comes to you. He changes your heart. You go from rich man to Lazarus. You begin to love others as Jesus loves others. The Bible says:

1 John 2:1-6 (ESV) My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

We are not saved by our works, but once saved, our hearts are changed. We begin to learn more of Jesus. We grow to be more like Jesus. We learn to love as Jesus loves. We walk in the same way which Jesus walked. We do this because we are no longer lost, separated from God by our sin, but we have our sins covered. The word propitiation that you see in our text is the Greek ἱλασμός hilasmos which means “the covering or atonement for sin”. Because the believer receives Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the High Priest, the Sacrifice for our sins, our sins are covered. We are members of God’s family, covered by the Blood of Christ. We know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true, and that we are oin Him that is true, even in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the True God, and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20).

How does the Christian KNOW he or she is saved? Because we KNOW Jesus as He is. There are some who profess to know Jesus, to be Christian, but they live in the same darkened state that all unbelievers live in. The Bible says:

Titus 1:15-16 (ESV) To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

If you profess to know God, then your lives will reflect this profession. Saved by faith, God will move into the framework of your life. The question is, do you KNOW Jesus? The Prophet said:

Jeremiah 9:24 … let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

Do you know Jesus? Does Jesus know you? Again the Prophet said:

Isaiah 53:11 … by his knowledge shall My Righteous Servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Jesus came to this earth to do the Father’s will. He prayed, I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). Do you know Jesus? Does Jesus know you? Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:14). If you do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, I beg you to come to His embrace today. Trust in Him. Come to Him with empty hands, and commit your life unto Him. Jesus died and rose again so that we might all have eternal life.

Closing Illustration: We’re all going to live forever. Make sure you choose to live your life with Jesus. In 1980, a man named Harry Randall Truman had a sportsman’s lodge on Mount Saint Helens. When Truman was told the mountain was about to blow, he said “If this place is going to go, I want to go with it”. On May 18, 1980 Mount Saint Helens blew its top. This was the most powerful volcanic blast in U.S. History – and Truman’s body is lost under tons of hardened volcanic rock. But his soul lives on. Where did he “lift up his eyes”. As Jesus headed toward the Cross, He “lifted up His eyes to Heaven” (John 17:1). He came from Heaven to earth to bring us life. When you leave this life, will you lift up your eyes to Heaven, or in Hell? The choice is entirely yours. May God lead you to call upon the Name of the Lord today. For His glory we pray. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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