It seems pretty easy to understand but it hit me today – eternal life, what I have heard talked about my entire Christian life and know is a promised gift of life from God – does not come by just accepting the cross, the blood and the resurrection – it comes because I know God. That is life, eternal life.
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. – John 17:3 ESV
While the cross, the blood and the resurrection may very well be doctrinal knowledge, life is a living interaction with the Father, His Son and His Spirit. It is walking in the trinitarian presence, in fellowship with one another, that is eternal life. This is the kingdom of God on earth and I can make my life a part of God’s life. What was Jesus’ gospel – the availability of life in the kingdom of God, now.
John 17 is a prayer, a family prayer one might say as His disciples were His family. Whenever I read this chapter, I come away with a sense of awe and reverence. It reveals the basic relationship He had with His Father and it reveals that this is the relationship I can have with God too. There is a sense that this is the prayer I can pray.
Let me leave you with this quote that speaks directly to what I have taken away from my devotions today about knowing God:
Two points must be kept in view while we endeavour to understand the words:—(1) The force of ‘that;’ this word sets before us the ‘knowing’ as a goal towards which we are to strain our efforts. (2) That the word ‘know’ does not mean to know fully or to recognise, but to learn to know: it expresses not perfect, but inceptive and ever – growing knowledge. Those, then, who receive ‘eternal life’ enter into a condition in which they learn to know the Father and the Son as They really are,—learn to know Them in Their love and saving mercy,—and are thus enabled to ‘glorify’ Them. The knowledge of the Father and the Son is neither the condition of the ‘life,’ nor the same thing as the ‘life.’ It is rather that far-off goal which is constantly before us, and to which we come ever nearer, in proportion as we enter more deeply into the life which Christ bestows. The ‘life,’ on the other hand, is that state in which we are introduced to the knowledge of the Father and the Son, the state in which we learn to know Them with constantly-increasing clearness and fullness, and finally the state in which, when life is perfected in us, we come to know Them as They are, to ‘see’ Them, and to ‘be like’ Them (comp. 1 John 3:2). Strictly speaking, the knowledge is thus dependent on the life, rather than the life on the knowledge. But, in truth, the interdependence is mutual; neither can exist without the other; there is no life which does not lead to knowledge; there is no knowledge without life. The ‘eternal life’ is thus also a present thing, stretching indeed into the endless future, but begun now. – Schaff’s Popular Commentary on the New Testament