What is Eternal Life
by Fred Rapp | December 5, 2017What is eternal life?
Jesus said in John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” The Greek word for “know” is ginosko which means knowledge gained through experience. It is more than just mere head knowledge. This has always been the plan of God for man. God is love, and He created man with the ability to experience Him and come to know Him through those experiences.
In 1 John 4:8 “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” This is what I call a double not scripture. The first not is hypothetical the second not is absolute. If you aren’t doing the first thing then you can’t do the second. The Greek words for “love” is agape in verb and noun form not phileo. Agape is who God is as to His nature. Phileo is our love that comes from within us. Agape is the fruit of the spirit, Galatians 5:22. What John is saying here is if you don’t agape you don’t know (through experience) God. There is a reality that mere head knowledge can not produce. God wants us to know Him experientially and on His level.
There are two commandments that without agape are impossible to keep. In Matt 22:37-40 Jesus answered the question asked Him as to what is the greatest commandment.
37 And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'
38 "This is the great and foremost commandment.
39 "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'
40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
The Greek words for love is agape in both places. Fulfilling the two greatest commandments has nothing to do with our love. To love God, the way He needs to be loved we must experience His love. He wants to draw us into a love relationship with Him on His level.
So how do we obtain this love? The answer is in John 15:9, Jesus said, "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love." The Greek in all three cases is agape. Jesus is not talking about human love. Jesus is the source of divine love. Jesus refers to Himself as the vine and us, the branches in this chapter. If we want to be able to agape God, then we need to abide in the vine for the branch can not produce fruit of itself. This is what Paul is referring to in 1 Tim 2:5 when he writes, there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Jesus said in verse 5 of this chapter, “I am the vine you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” No Jesus no agape no agape no fruit.
In John 17:3 Jesus included himself in the process of knowing God. As we abide in the vine we will come to know Jesus as well. Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:19, “and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” As we experience the agape of Christ we experience being filled unto all the fullness of God. Paul also wrote in Ephesians 4:13, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” The Greek word for knowledge is epignosis meaning a full knowledge through experience. Ephesians 4:13 describes the much fruit that will be produced by abiding in the vine. Through Jesus loving us we will be able to live a life agaping God in all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is the life that will cause the world to know that we are Christ disciples.