It is through believing in Christ that we receive eternal life. It cannot be earned, simply because we never can earn it.
A young man came to Jesus one day and asked Him what he must do to inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:16-26). He thought Jesus was only a good man, and Jesus had to begin by showing him that He must be called either Good God or bad man. You cannot talk about an honest thief! Then Jesus began to answer his question about life. The great mistake of the young man was to think that life could be received by doing. So Jesus answered him, first, by telling him that he had to keep all the commandments, and when the young man said that he had done this, Jesus showed the young man that he had not kept them at all.
If you had a boat tied to the shore by a chain of ten links, which one of the links would you have to cut to cause the boat to go adrift? Any one of the links, you answer. So man was tied to God by the law. Some people break one or two commandments, and think that they keep the rest, but their boat is as much adrift as that of the man who takes a blowtorch and burns out all of the ten links. There is no such thing as a "good sinner” in the sight of God. God has even said that "Whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10).
If anyone could keep the commandments perfectly, he could receive eternal life through doing so. But no one can. "All have sinned,” God says. How then, can we have this wonderful gift of eternal life? Is there no hope for us?
Yes there is. John 3:16 gives the answer. It is through believing in Christ that we receive eternal life. It cannot be earned, simply because we never can earn it. We cannot do enough good works to earn Gods favor, because we are sinners. All that we can earn is the wages of sin. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Eternal life can only be received as a gift.
Suppose that God said that in order to have eternal life, you must have seven billion dollars. It would be foolish for you to start to save your pennies, hoping to earn that much, for you could never do it. But if a rich friend came along and gave you seven billion dollars, then eternal life would be yours. Now God says that we have to keep the commandments perfectly to have eternal life. That is even more impossible than saving seven billion dollars. But the Lord Jesus kept all the commandments perfectly, and if we believe in Him, He gives us His perfect righteousness, and we can have eternal life as a gift. Believe in Him as your own Saviour, and the gift is yours.
When you were born the first time, you received physical life. You began to breathe. You were living. When you are born again, you receive eternal life. Then you begin to live spiritually. Your soul is then alive, not dead in trespasses and sins, as it once was. If you believe that Jesus is the Saviour, you are born again (1 John 5:1).
Anyone who believes will receive this gift of eternal life. It is for whosoever will believe. John 3:14-16 uses this word whosoever.
* Why are we not able to keep the Law?
* If the law is unable to save us, what is the law for?
* How does one recieve that eternal gift?
* Can we lose that gift of eternal life?