(John 3:16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
All of us are familiar with this portion of the scriptures. Having discussed the other parts of this scriptures earlier on; let us understand ‘eternal life’. A preacher once said “If you are born twice, you die once, but if you are born once, you die twice” and it would be good to examine ‘eternal life’ from the perspective of this saying. Every human being is going to live eternally – such a statement certainly raises up eyebrows!
You are born physically and then when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you are born again; thus you are born twice. And so, you will die once. Jesus said to her “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). Further, the Bible speaking of the first resurrection where the dead in Christ are raised and reign with Him for a millennium says, “but the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Rev 20:5-6).If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, then you will not have a second death
After the millennium, all the rest of the dead are raised and all stand before God for judgment (Rev 20:12-13). Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire(Rev 20:14-15). As we examine these verses, it bears out that second death is being cast into the lake of fire. Thus, those who have not been born again i.e. those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, will have a second death – they will be cast into the lake of fire where they will be eternally. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Rev 21:8).The phrase ‘second death’ refers to the eternal separation from God who loves, the Giver of Life!
Thus, every human being will live eternally – either in heaven with Christ Jesus or in hell – the lake that burns with fire and brimstone! Eternal life in John 3:16 refers to life with Jesus Christ i.e. in heaven!
Jesus says in John 14:4 “And where I go you know, and the way you know”. Thomas (Jn 14:5)assumes that i) there is a destination and ii) there is a way or a road to that destination. Jesus’s answer (Jn 14:6)seems to be out of context but, not so. The destination is not a place but a Person – the Person of God the Father and the way is not a road but again, a Person, the Person of God the Son – Jesus. J B Phillips brings clarity with his translation of the verse as: “I am the true and living way, no one comes to the Father except through Me” by using two adjectives and a noun instead of three nouns. We are to be comforted that our eternal life will be with Jesus rather than get drawn into a debate where that is going to be – in the heavenlies or here on earth as some scholars suggest because of the mention of the coming down of the “New Jerusalem” (Rev 21).
“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Saviour(Philippians 3:20). A citizen is a person who legally belongs to a country and has the rights and protection of that country. Citizens adopt the culture and practices of the nation or kingdom to which they belong. Do we who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, realize that we are citizens of heaven? The people of old understood this and considered themselves to be pilgrims here on earth. They did not seek to return to the country where they came from but looked forward to the heavenly homeland, the city that God has prepared for them! (Hebrews 11: 13-16)
We who have been born twice will die once – and live eternally with Christ Jesus. Our time here on earth is short and our lives must bear testimony to our Lord Jesus. When we fall, we need just to get up, dust ourselves and continue looking forward to going home – to have an eternal life with Christ Jesus.