If it’s living, then it reproduces its kind. We can easily see this truth as we observe God’s creation. Nothing inanimate reproduces, and contrary to the false ideology of godless science, there is no evidence that something that lives reproduces a different species than itself. According to God’s Word, all of life comes from God, the Life-giver. He has life, and He gives life. To put it another way, all of life is created and sustained by the Life, Jesus Christ, the son of the living God.
The Scriptures reveal that Jesus Christ is the life-giver and sustainer. He Himself, stated, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) and “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). We read in the intro to John’s gospel, “In Him (Jesus) was life and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
But not only is Jesus the source of all natural life, He is also the source or giver of eternal life, His own kind and quality of life – one with no beginning and end, which is the life of God. Even as I think and type these words, I’m in awe of the greatness of these thoughts. To know Jesus is to know the Life-giver! I invite you to humble yourself in the presence of the Lord as you read the following Scriptures.
“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:26).
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes” (John 5:21).
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).
“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal” (John 6:27).
“For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world” (John 6:33).
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28).
“Even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life” (John 17:2).
Jesus, the Living Bread
Jesus is the living bread given by God so we might have life. This was the message Jesus gave to his followers that is recorded in John 6. Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst…I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
Why the bread metaphor? Bread in His day was the daily staple of their diet. Everyone regarded bread as a sustaining necessity. In the same way, having the life of God revealed in Jesus Christ is a sustaining necessity. Without Him, we die. With His life, we live forever.
Who has eternal life?
We see in the Scriptures above that eternal life is given as a gift by God through Jesus Christ. Can we identify who has eternal life? Yes, we can. Jesus also made it clear who has received eternal life.
- Faith is evidence of eternal life. Anyone who believes Jesus is the bread of life from heaven given by God. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life” (John 6:47). It is important to notice that faith is evidence rather than something a person does to earn eternal life. If someone believes Jesus is the bread of life given by God, then they have eternal life. Here’s another way to understand it. When eternal life is given by God to someone, that quality of life produces faith. This makes sense when you realize eternal life is the life of Jesus Christ, Himself. God gives us the life or Spirit of His Son to dwell in us, and the Spirit gives life. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63).
- Abiding in Christ is evidence of eternal life. Jesus said to His followers, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:53-56). “Eat My flesh and drinks My blood” were strange words to his followers and might be strange to us as well. Of course, He was speaking figuratively, and thankfully, He explained what He meant by the analogy. To eat His flesh and drink His blood is to abide in Him and for His life to dwell in you. The outstanding quality of eternal life is that those who have it experience the life of the Father and the Son in their daily lives. Jesus gave more insight into how one experiences eternal life.
What Does Living Eternal Life Look Like?
Remember what I said in my introduction? Life reproduces life of the same kind. The Christian lives the same way Jesus lived. Here’s how Jesus explained it. “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me [abides in Me], he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:57-58). The idea Jesus conveyed was that those who have eternal life will live the same way He did. He lived each day by the life of the Father in Him. He abided (dwelled, lived, remained) in His Father and His Father lived His life through His Son. In the same way, those who have eternal life will abide (dwell, live, remain) in Jesus Christ, and He will live His life through them as He abides (dwells, lives, remains) in them.
Jesus surrendered His life to the presence, will, and desires of His Father. Jesus told Philip and His disciples, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves” (John 14:10-11). Previously He had told them that He and the Father were one (John 10:30).
In the same way, those who believe in Jesus surrender their lives to the presence, will, and desires of the Lord Jesus. It is what Major Ian Thomas called the exchanged life. Believers look to Jesus for life by giving their lives to Him in love, and Jesus gives His life to them in love. Here’s how the Apostle Paul described what eternal life looks like.“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in [of] the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20). I put the word of in brackets to indicate what I think Paul meant. In the Greek construct as well as in the context, the idea is that the life he was living is the life of Christ in him. Everything Paul had that was spiritual life was of Him, even his faith. That understanding of faith is consistent with the idea that faith is evidence of eternal life as mentioned by Jesus in John 6 when He said, “Everyone who believes in me has eternal life.”
What does living eternal life look like? It looks like the life of Christ! The life of God dwells in me with all of its love, peace, joy, power, and glory. Meditate on that until it sinks in and your life will be transformed. God isn’t asking you to live for Him so you can have eternal life. He promises to live for you. His death for your sin. His faith supplies your standing before God and connection with Him. His righteousness is your righteousness. His blood cleanses your conscience and washes you. His love pours through your life. His compassion ministers to those hurting around you. As you experience His life abiding in you, you get to know, first hand, God, the Father, and Jesus, His Son. And that is exactly how Jesus described eternal life. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
A puppet or glove provides a simple demonstration of the exchanged life – Christ living His life in me. Just as a puppet or glove does not move on its own, believers should also not move on their own (in their own strength). In the same way the hand animates the puppet or glove, the life of Christ animates His people. We are His hands, feet, and mouth in this world. You might choose some of the verses above to illustrate how important it is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. A puppet or glove by itself clearly illustrates John 6:53. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” You might then put your hand in the puppet or glove and hold a book. Then ask, “Who is holding the book?” The answer again is clear. It could be said that the puppet or glove is holding the book or that you are holding the book. They are one in the same. From another perspective one might say that it isn’t the glove, but you who is holding the book. That also would be a good illustration of Gal. 2:20. “Not I, but Christ living in me.” So it should be for those who have eternal life.
He Who Has the Son Has the Life
I guess you noticed almost all of the Scriptures I’ve used have come from the Apostle John. His understanding of Jesus as central to life is undeniable. In his closing statements of his first epistle, John gave what I think is a fitting summary of this foundational truth that Jesus is the Life-giver. “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:11-12).
Do you have the Son? Do you see His life in you? Have you surrendered your life to Him because you believe He is the eternal life given by God? May God give you eternal life through His Son, for His glory in the last day, when according to His promise, He will raise you up and you will LIVE FOREVER.