John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
A Christian who lacks joy is an odd creature. The reason it is so odd is because by definition a Christian has joy. A Christian is a possessor of eternal life and that entails joy. How can someone who was dead now be alive and not have joy over a new life? Understandably, it seems odd and out of place. How can a person know they have eternal life? The answer could be simply stated: Do you know the Gospel and believe it? Even in that answer there are implications. In this post I want us to consider a few those as referenced in John 17:3:
First the Gospel tells us of a life that is eternal.
Secondly, the Gospel tells us to know the only God who is true.
Thirdly, the Gospel tells us to know Jesus who was sent.
Life teaches us quickly that it is temporary and fading, but the Christian faith speaks of a life that lasts forever and never fades. A life that is eternal. It is a life described as the way things were meant to be. It is a life with no pain, tears, or sorrow. This life is found in the true source of life – God. When we have God we have true life, eternal life. And as we mature in our faith in Christ, we are living and growing in that eternal life. This is one the reasons we read of Jesus telling us that he has come to give us life in abundance, because eternity is a long time. (John 10:10) Life in this world is lived in parallel with our eternal life, and as the first will come to an end, the second will not. This temporal life therefore, is interpreted through the lens of our eternal life.
Secondly, the Gospel calls us to know God. It isn’t simply a knowledge but an intimate familiarity. This happens through the Word of God, through which the Spirit opens our eyes and minds to understand the truth about us and God. We are shown the deception in our rebellion to God. Through the Word of God we continually grow deeper in our knowledge and understanding of who God is.
Thirdly, the Gospel tells us of Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God who has come into the world to make his father known. John Calvin said, “There is no other way in which God is known but in the face of Jesus Christ, who is the bright and lively image of him.” (Commentary on John 2:166) The only way we can have life is to have God, and only through Jesus can we have God. Jesus comes to make his father known by showing the love that God has for his people. In Jesus we learn of a love that exchanges the glories of heaven for the cursed life of humanity.
The content of the Gospel therefore is Jesus. In Jesus we have eternal life. This verse from John beautifully summarizes the Gospel for us. Therefore we who have eternal life are truly alive and have reason to celebrate and praise regardless of the season of life.