“And this is the promise that He has promised us–eternal life.”
And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life
This verse closely connects to the immediate context. John introduces the idea of eternal life to expose the antichrists of the preceding section. They did not possess eternal life. They tried to introduce a system of salvation and spirituality by works.
Yet, the issue is not salvation for John’s readers. They settled that issue long ago. They have eternal security. God donates eternal life freely as a gift. Their issue was not salvation but false teachers who tried to impose a false system of spirituality on them.
Fellowship with the Son and the Father (v. 24) is an eternal relationship. The hope of eternal life is certain. Fellowship in time is a foretaste of fellowship in eternity. Every believer possesses God’s pledge of eternal life.
The One who makes the promise here is Jesus. Those who possess eternal life give evidence of their relationship with the Father and the Son by fellowshipping with them. This starkly contrasts the one who truly possesses eternal life and the one who merely professes that he has the life of God.
The New Testament uses the word “promise” to emphasize God’s guarantee for the future. God’s promises will find fulfillment because He is true to His Word. The word “promise” is a legal term denoting a summons. The eternal life that God gives He maintains.
Jn 10:28-29, 28 “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
We realize the promise of eternal life by abiding.
Our eternal keeping does not rest on the uncertainty of merit or works; it rests solely on the finished work of Christ on the cross. We link to the finished work of Christ by believing in God’s promise. We hold Him to His promise. The guarantee of eternal life rests completely on the believability of God.
2 Co 1:20, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”
We do not have to worry about God making good on his promises. When God gives testimony to something, He will deliver on it.
We cannot put our confidence in men. They break national treaties and personal promises all the time. God never goes back on His Word.
Nu 23:19, “God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?”
Ro 4:20-21, 20 “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.”
Ti 1:2, “…in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…”
Whenever we doubt the promises of God, we know that the Devil is at work in our lives. Any time we put a question mark on God’s Word, Satan is busy at work on us.
Ro 3:3-4, 3 “For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:
‘That You may be justified in Your words,
And may overcome when You are judged.’”