Jesus, The Way To Eternal Life
We have considered how Jesus is truly The Way to many good things: He is the way...
To A Better Life (by correcting misconceptions and teaching us to seek new goals)
To Forgiveness Of Sins (by offering Himself as a propitiation, or sacrifice, for our sins)
To God (by helping us first to comprehend God, then to be able to approach Him in a close, personal relationship)
Out Of Religious Confusion (through His own example, and by guiding us through His apostles' doctrine)
In this study, we shall see why we can also say "Jesus is the way To Eternal Life".
Please Note: In this study we shall be considering those passages which use the expression "eternal life" as a future hope, which will be realized after this life. In the writings of John, the expression "eternal life" is often used differently, referring to that "abundant life" which stresses a new relationship with God and Jesus, and is a present possession of those who have come to "know" them (cf. John 17:3; 1 John 5:13,20)
WHY JESUS IS THE WAY TO ETERNAL LIFE
There are several reasons why Jesus is the way to eternal life. First, He is the One who has prepared a place for us. As He told His disciples the night before His crucifixion:
"In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)
Also, He is the One who will come and receive us to Himself. As Jesus continued to say to His disciples:
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:3)
The apostle Paul also spoke of this wonderful event, in which Jesus will come for His disciples:
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Perhaps a more sobering reason why Jesus is the way to eternal life is this one: He is the One Who will judge as to who will enter in life eternal! In describing the future judgment scene to His disciples, we find Jesus saying:
"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:" (Matthew 25:31-34)
"Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:'" (Matthew 25:41)
"And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:46)
Paul wrote of the role Jesus would perform as the Judge who determines our fate:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
How essential, then, that we be found acceptable in His sight!
In a more positive vein, Jesus is the way to eternal life because: together with God, He is what makes eternal life so wonderful! As the "beloved disciple" (John) wrote in the revelation given to him:
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4)
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. (Revelation 21:22-23)
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)
Did you notice what was said about Jesus in these passages? He is described as:
The "light" (or lamp)
The source of "the water of life"
Yes, it is Jesus who will make eternal life what it is! This may help us to appreciate the aspirations of the apostle Paul:
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)
For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. (Philippians 1:23)
When we understand all this, would there be eternal life without Jesus? Not according to the Bible! Jesus is truly The Way To Eternal Life!
Since Jesus IS the way to eternal life, should we not also consider what Jesus has to say about it?
WHAT JESUS TEACHES ABOUT ETERNAL LIFE
First, eternal life is "a prepared place for prepared people". People are not going to stumble into it by "accident". In His sermon on the mount, Jesus warned His disciples:
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:14)
The way to life is such that few find it, and lack of preparation is the reason! Jesus taught several parables to stress this point, including the parable of "The Wedding Feast":
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son," (Matthew 22:1-2)
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:11-14)
Another parable, "The Ten Virgins" (Matthew 25:1-13), teaches the same point: one must be prepared to enter eternal life. In fact, Jesus said later in His sermon on the mount that being a religious person in of itself does not assure one of eternal life:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
Doing the Father's will is how we make preparation to enter into the wonderful life eternal that Jesus has prepared for us! And this requires "diligence" on our part. As the apostle Peter said in his second epistle:
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)
Jesus also taught something else about eternal life: the only alternative is eternal condemnation! In other words, the only alternative is Hell, which Jesus describes as "a prepared place for unprepared people":
"Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:" (Matthew 25:41)
"And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:46)
This terrible place of everlasting condemnation is vividly described by Jesus in the revelation He gave to His servant John:
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:10-15)
"But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)
And note carefully, this is the only place that people will stumble into accidentally! As we saw earlier:
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. (Matthew 7:13)
"Many" go in to the way that leads to destruction, because they simply follow the crowd. Making no effort to come to know God and obey the gospel of Christ, they face a terrible fate when Jesus comes again:
And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
"Punished with everlasting destruction", what a terrible alternative to the eternal life Jesus offers!
But though God and Jesus have prepared such a fate for those who "know not God" and "obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ", They certainly do not want people to experience this! As Paul wrote to the young evangelist Timothy:
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2:3-6)
In order that "eternal life", and not "everlasting destruction", might be the destiny of all men, God has provided the most precious thing to Him as the mediator between sinful man and Holy God: Jesus - His Beloved Son, and The Way to all that is good, both in this life and the one to come!
But if what one does not accept Jesus as The Way? Then he or she is destined to:
life with no real direction here on earth!
die in their sins!
be forever separated from God!
go through life in religious confusion!
go through eternity in eternal condemnation!
How much better to come to Jesus, and let Him be Your Way to:
a better life!
forgiveness of sins!
a loving and close relationship with God!
out of religious confusion!
eternal life, with all its prepared glory!
If you haven't, obey the Lord Jesus and His gospel, and commit to following Him as The Way today!