Lesson Three – Truth About Eternal Life

The Truth About Eternal Life

Lesson Aim.  To relate the truth about God to the truth about man and thereby define life.


Christians sometime use Biblical words they cannot explain.  The word “life” is one of them.  We are quite sure we have, not only life, but eternal life, yet some of us find it difficult to explain what we claim.  The Greek words zoe and psuche are most often translated “life” in the New Testament.  In John 10:10, 11 we find both words.  Jesus said, “I came that they might have life (ZOE).”  And, “The good shepherd lays down His life (psuche) for the sheep.”  W. E. Vine makes the following observation in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:  “…speaking generally, psuche is the individual life, the living being; whereas, ZOE is the life of that being.  Compare Psa. 66:9, ‘God…which holdeth our soul (psuche) in life (zoe).’”  Vine said, zoe also means “…of life as a principle, life in the absolute sense, life as God has it; whereas, psuche generally means the natural life as in Matt. 2:20.”  In context, these two words do not always have these meanings; however, they usually do.

Eternal is translated from the Greek word AIONIOS in I John 1:2.  It means age-lasting, that is, it outlasts this age (AION) and each successive age.  According to Jesus, life (zoe) is to know God and to have fellowship with Him and the Son (John 17:3; I John 1:3).   Consequently, eternal life means to know God now, continue to enjoy His fellowship past this age and inherit this condition (Titus 3:7).


Life (ZOE) was revealed to mankind in the person of Jesus Christ as a living soul (psuche).  His life is the light of life revealed so we might know the true God and therefore have life (John 1:4, 8; I John 1:2; 5:11, 12, 20).  Both the Father and Son have life (John 5:26).  Our Savior, Jesus Christ, abolished death; consequently, life and immortality have been revealed through the gospel (II Tim. 1:10).

The apostles and others had a personal relation with life (zoe) in their walk with Jesus on earth.  They have proclaimed this life to us in the word (I John 1:3; John 6:63).  An angel of the Lord told the disciples of Jesus to preach this life.

Go your way, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.  Acts 5:20

Jesus is the prince and author of life (Acts 3:15).  Jesus is our life (Col. 3:4).  Jesus presented the commandments of God as life everlasting (John 12:50).  The principles of life were lived and taught by Him.  Jesus said:

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.  John 5:24 

Ignorance about life and the sin of the hardening of the heart alienates mankind from God (Eph. 4:18).  God is holy and will not fellowship a sinner; therefore, sin brings death to mankind.  Spiritual death means separation from God but it also describes the low quality of life because of this alienation (Eph. 2:1-3).  The blood of Jesus removes our sins in baptism and gives us access to life in Christ Jesus by a new birth (Rom. 6:3, 4).  Life is maintained for faithful Christians in this grace by the doctrine of justification by faith (Rom. 3:21-26; 5:1, 2).  The blood of Jesus keeps us clean as we walk in the light by faith (I John 1:6, 7; Gal. 3:21, 22).

In Christ, Christians are able to understand God and develop His nature.  We have fellowship with God as Father and son.  We know this because the Holy Spirit is with us (I John 3:24).  The Holy Spirit leads us by or through the word.  The fruit of the Spirit in our lives (PSUCHE) gives us life (ZOE).  See  II Cor. 3:6; Gal. 6:8.  When these conditions become a Christian’s reality we have life; however, it is still a justified life (Rom. 5:18).

It is while Christians enjoy justification of life, we are able to put off death principles and put on characteristics of life.  Please read Colossians 3:12-17 and Ephesians 4:20-28 for a Biblical format of this putting off and putting on process.  This is sanctification and without it we do not have life (Heb. 12:14).  It is during this time of spiritual growth, we conform to the image of God and Christ in our character and personality.  This continues until physical death.  In our resurrection Paul said, “…that which is mortal is swallowed up by life.”  II Cor. 5:4.  Eternal life will not be inherited by Christians until the flesh returns to the dust, or until Jesus comes.  The resurrection and judgment will be the final phase of God’s life-giving plan through Christ for faithful Christians.  We will then inherit eternal life (Matt. 19:29).

The eternal aspect of life can best be summed up with the words of Jesus in Luke 20:36, where He said, “Neither can they die anymore.”  This is the life and immortality Jesus brought to light.  It is revealed in the word; however, eternal life is much more than “not dying anymore.”  Jesus continued, “For they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”  The activities of heaven will be enjoyed by those who have life as sons of God.

Now let us summarize the truth about God, mankind and eternal life as we have presented it in Part One of this series of lessons on the Kingdom of God.  The truth about God is that He is almighty.  He is sovereign in all fields of power.  He is also a person because He has attributes of personality.  God is absolute in His nature; He is not in the process of change (James 1:17).  He is what He is and in Him is life.  Jesus Christ revealed His nature.  The nature of Christ is manifested in the Bible for us.

Man is not absolute.  In him is not life except by the grace of God.  Those mature people who live outside the kingdom of God are dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-3).

The Christian’s life (ZOE) is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).  Jesus said, “Those who are of truth hear My voice.”  Christian’s hear His voice as our king.  We are citizens of God’s kingdom (John 18:36-38).  Truth must be understood before we can be “of truth.”  The truth about God’s purpose for creating mankind is that we should conform to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).  Christ is the son of God and sonship is the representative role of His life for us.  Since our life is hidden with Christ in God, and Christ has life as a son, we have life as a son.  Christ’s nature is the law of life for sons of God (I John 2:6).  We are not “of the world.”

The kingdom of God on earth is God’s household (Eph. 2:19).  The children are “of truth;” that is, we have found our God and His purpose for ourselves.  We have found His way for us to satisfy the way He put us together.  We have satisfaction for some drives and a hope of satisfaction for others.  We have life (ZOE).  We are imitators of God, as beloved children (Eph. 5:1).  God is love; consequently, we walk in love just as Christ walked (Eph. 5:2).  We will inherit the kingdom of Christ and God (Eph. 5:5).  We are happy.

The truth about eternal life for mankind is framed in our hope.  Our hope is that faithful Christians will inherit the kingdom of God and the life thereof; that is, we will have, for our own, life with God as sons eternally (I Pet. 5:10, 11).  We know God as our Father.  Since God is divine, we become partakers of divine nature (II Pet. 1:4).  Christians know God as a friend knows a friend.  If we do not know God in this manner we cannot say we have eternal life.  Consider Jesus’ statement in the following scripture:

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

Life (ZOE) is the cultural norm of God’s heavenly kingdom.  The phenomenon of this life is described by the law of life (Rom. 8:2, 7).  These principles are revealed in the Bible in a very unique way.  In many instances they are revealed to us in the way Jesus conducted Himself.  Other laws were taught by Him or His disciples who were guided by the Holy Spirit.  This life becomes a reality to us after we are born again.  It only happens “in Christ.”

Question for Discussion

  1. What are the two Greek words most often translated life in the Bible?
  2. Why is it important to know the difference in the meaning these two words?
  3. What does eternal mean?
  4. How is Jesus’ life the light of men?
  5. How does God reveal life to us today?
  6. How is Jesus the prince or author of life according to Acts 3:15?
  7. Explain how eternal life is more than freedom from sin.
  8. Explain the phrase, “That which is mortal is swallowed up by life.”  II Cor. 5:4.
  9. Explain how Jesus Christ is Christians’ life as it is stated in Col. 3:3.
  10. Define eternal life.
  11. What is the truth about God?
  12. What is the truth about man?

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