The most popular verse in the Bible, whose message is powerful and life giving, is John 3:16. It says,“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Eternal life is also known as everlasting life. In this sense, the word everlasting is literal. It means without end or ceaseless. This is God’s promise to those who accept the sacrifice of Christ, which has been made a fundamental need of the human race by the fall of Adam. God has promised eternal life to those who love Him and who have accepted the only means through which fallen man can reach Him—Jesus Christ.
What is eternal life? How is it possible?
Many people doubt the possibility of eternal life because they are misled on how it will be sustained. Many think of eternal life as simply hocus pocus. In their false imagination, they think God will simply say, “May Ossie live forever” as we sometimes fool our kings, and it just happens like that. However we can learn more about this by reading the unquestionable authority—the word of God.
When Adam was created he was under probation. Before being sealed eternally secure, he was to prove himself faithful. Not faithful once,but always faithful. However, this system was hacked when Adam yielded to the heresies of the devil and lost his fidelity to God. Immediately Adam fell, access to the tree of life was cut, and cherubim were set up to guard the tree of life, so that no sinner may access it. Devil, seemingly, wanted the sinful men to eat the tree of life so that God can go through the headache of having immortal sinners, but God cannot give such privileges, the sure word says, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27). We have freedom of choice, but we lack the freedom of choosing the consequences of our choices. We can choose to sin, but we cannot choose the consequences of our sins. We are only free till we sin, after that, the principle of course and effect takes over!
Through sin, Adam lost a lot of things. However, his greatest loss was the loss of access to the tree of life. If Adam lost it on the grounds of disobedience, we can only regain it through obedience. And obedience in this respect is only accepted if it is perfect and perpetual. Most of us are very nice people. They don’t do anything that is against the law of the land, and we cannot pin them down on the law of God because they are a fine specimen of humanity. Statisticians can round them off to the nearest perfection. Nevertheless, God does not work like that. 99.9 % obedience is not good enough to be trusted with access to the tree of life. Maybe, Ellen White puts it better in her book, Faith and Works:
“If you would gather together everything that is good and holy and noble and lovely in man and then present the subject to the angels of God as acting a part in the salvation of the human soul or in merit, the proposition would be rejected as treason.”–Faith and Works, P. 24
The fact that our best is not good enough, because we have been marred by transgression, means that we can only gain perfection through Christ. We need Him everyday and every hour.
Eternal life is, therefore, a dependent condition. In the new world, eternity will be preserved by regaining access to the tree of life. Eternal life is a life dependent on God. God has appointed the tree of life as an agency of preserving life. In the meantime we can do so by reading God’s word and obeying it.
Eternal life is not a mere theory conjecture to palliate the saints; it is a reality and a very sensible concept that should even the most to the scientific community. The life we have now is simply a probation granted us to prove ourselves faithful. The great end we should have in mind is the divine marking point—can you be trusted with a re access to the tree of life.
Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, proved themselves faithful and they have been trusted with the tree of life. We can do it too through Christ who strengthens us.