Everlasting life can be better understood by ‘life after death.’ That is to say, we continue living after we have quit this earthly existence. Human beings were supposed to govern this earth and live in it forever. When God created Adam and breathed into his nostrils, he gave him the God-kind of life, which is everlasting in nature. Adam and Eve were created never to die - like God. However, because they broke God’s law by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, Adam and his wife Eve died – spiritually not physically though. So because of the disobedience of one man Adam, all of us have to die. God had warned: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Because of the fault of one person, our great, great, great ancestor Adam, all of us will have to suffer the same fate. “Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin and in this way death came to all men, because all have sinned ... Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.” (Romans 5:12-14)
If Adam and Eve had not listened to the serpent we would have all lived forever.
Though created in God’s image, after man sinned, he fell from grace to grass. He needed to be restored. Now God had to figure out a solution to this problem. He had to look for a way to bring humankind back to his original status – the one he enjoyed in the Garden. To this end, he would send his Son to reconcile God and man and be a model of how to live. The thing is that Christ would die in our stead as an expression of his love.
The Bible teaches that a remedy was found in God’s Son. He who had never sinned had to bear the sins of the world so that the whole of humanity will be set free. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) All of this is wrapped up as a gift. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) God gave!
Eternal life is a free gift from God that is accessible to all who are ready to receive it. It cannot be earned, that is, that no one can work hard to get it. Besides, none of us deserves it. God by the manifestation of his grace has decided to give it freely. All we need to do is to accept it. God’s move is dictated by grace, so that no one can boast.
Those who are working for the kingdom, and have turned their backs on this wicked world are entitled to everlasting life. Jesus said to his disciples:”I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:28-29)
The one who sacrifices self for humanity will have eternal life. “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25) A rich young ruler walks up to Jesus and asked this question: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18) His concern is about what he could do. There is nothing anyone has to do really. Jesus looked at him and observing his self-centredness, responded: “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.” (Luke 18:22) He got it all wrong. Eternal life is not a function of who you are and what you can do. He left saddened by the Lord’s response.It is a matter of believing. So, believe and you also shall have everlasting life.
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14)