What is eternal life?
Dr Colin Kruse describes it this way as seen in John’s Gospel:
The nature of eternal life is defined in John 17:3 “now this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”. Eternal life is knowing God but this is not simply knowing information about God, it is having a relationship with him involving responding to him, obeying him and having fellowship with him.
John’s gospel uses three main metaphors for eternal life:
Birth: that is experiencing eternal life by being born of the Spirit (John 3). This is an unpredictable, invisible process, like the wind blowing, but still very real.
Water: eternal life is like water which quenches our spiritual thirst (John 4:14)
Bread: eternal life is like bread which satisfies our spiritual hunger (John 6).
Eternal life is also life of the age to come. This is something that may be experienced in part in the present age (John 5:24) and it will be consummated or completed at the resurrection when the life of heaven (the new age) begins for those who believe in Jesus.
The mission of Jesus is that he has come “that we may have eternal life and have it to the full” (10:10) but this mission of giving us eternal life required Jesus to lay down his own life for us. (6:51 and 10:11)