Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.
Last weekend, my husband and I were praying aloud while walking on the beach. As he recited a Rosary prayer with the word’s “eternal life,” I suddenly proclaimed, “I just got a ding.” All except my most loyal readers are unfamiliar with this “scholarly,” “theological” term that I first explained in Vol. 22. “Ding” is the moment when I receive and “feel called” to write about that specific topic or verse for this Bible Study. I consider “dings” a Divine blessing since readers tell me how these studies impact their faith. My husband is also blessed because he frequently “rings the ding” during prayer or in the course of daily conversation.
Now you know why we are studying “eternal life” today and pray that the “Almighty Bell Ringer” is my co-writer.
For believers in Jesus Christ, the phrase “eternal life” is often heard and referenced in the New Testament, but also specifically appears in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Yet, passages allude to an afterlife with God. For example, in Isaiah:
But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise - let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy - your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead (Isaiah 26:19).
And in Job:
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes-I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27).
For further study about the afterlife/eternal life in the Old Testament, you can start here.
However, in the New Testament, eternal life is THE dominant concept and central to the “earthly” ministry and divinity of Jesus Christ.
To live forever in Heaven embraced by the love of Christ is a gift that motivates believers to abide by His teachings. Moreover, upon his Resurrection, Jesus “conquered death” so that believers will live with the hope of eternal life.
While researching this study, I found an explanation that resonated with me, written by Colin Smith, a pastor, and author from UnlockingTheBible.org. First, Smith quoted this verse written by the Apostle Paul:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Second, Smith wrote: “Life, as we know it, is always lived with death and judgment before us. But Jesus speaks here about eternal life, which is life with death and judgment behind us!”
I ask that you pray about the positive impact and implications of that concept on your life if you are not “in Christ Jesus.”
After that “warmup,” you are ready for Jesus’ most famous verse about eternal life. Let’s say it all together in 3, 2, 1…
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Congratulations! You have just said the world's most popular and best known Bible verse. Due to all the “John 3:16” pop culture references, even people who have no clue what the verse means are likely to have seen it displayed or watched a major sporting event where someone was holding the proverbial “John 3:16” sign.
In 2009, the verse had a blockbuster breakthrough when college football star Tim Tebow had “John 3:16” etched under his eyes during a championship game.
Tebow tells his miraculous “John 3:16” story in this six-minute video. A “must watch,” with a BIG payoff at the end.
There are numerous Bible verses about eternal life either spoken by Jesus or New Testament writers explaining what He said or what it means. I cannot list all the verses due to space considerations, but here are a few favorites starting with another of the most popular and click for more.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36).
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son (1 John 5:11).
"Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).
Raymond asks that we consider some facts about eternal life. I only provide the list, but he succinctly explains them.
“is found exclusively in Jesus.”
“is received by believing in Jesus.”
“is the only satisfying option for the hungry and thirsty soul.”
“is a gift of God’s grace.”
“is something that we can know that we have now.”
All of the above gives us hope, encouragement, and optimism to guide us through life’s struggles.
I will close this study with another world-famous verse. These words, spoken by Jesus, are considered to be “politically incorrect” by non-believers because they are absolute, with no wiggle room, and firmly state what hundreds of millions throughout the world, and I, believe is “The Truth”:
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).