Holding to Truth

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What is eternal life?

What is eternal life?

What is the eternal life revealed in the Bible?

Eternal life is no ordinary life. It’s not just a continuation of your human life forever. It’s not even the blissful enjoyment of heaven.

Eternal life is the divine, uncreated life of God.  It’s the life that  the Apostle Paul referred to as, “that which is really life (1 Tim. 6:19).

In this post we’ll consider what is this eternal life and what makes it different from every other kind of life. Then we’ll find out how we can experience this eternal life today.

Three kinds of life in the Bible—bios, psuche and zoe

In the Bible there are three kinds of life—the physical life, the psychological life, and the eternal life. These three kinds of life are designated by three Greek words—bios, psuche, and zoe.

  • Bios refers to the biological or physical life and is the root from which we get the word biology.
  • Psuche refers to the life of man’s soul (our mind, emotion, and will) and is the root from which we get the word psychology. Both our bios and psuche are a kind temporary, mortal life. They cannot be considered “that which is really life.”
  • Zoe is the third and highest life revealed in the Bible. This mysterious “zoe-life” is “that which is really life.” It is such a life that is the focus of this post.

Some people may think that such a life refers to a life for the hereafter—a life they hope to enjoy when they die. The common thought of “everlasting life” may lead many to consider that they will just continue living forever in a better place sharing in the bliss of heaven. They may feel comforted that if they believe in Jesus as the Savior they will not perish but share the hope of such a life in eternity. These concepts fall short of the complete revelation of “eternal life” in the Scriptures.

Then what is the eternal life revealed in the Bible?

Eternal life is the Triune God Himself.

First, life is God.

Ephesians 4:18 speaks of the “life of God;” so “that which is really life” is the life of God; it is God’s own uncreated, divine life. 

Second, life is Christ.

In John 11:25, the Lord Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” So that which is “really life” is Christ Himself , who is the embodiment of God (Col. 2:9). Colossians 3:4 speaks of, “Christ our life…”

Third, life is the Spirit.

In Romans 8:2, Paul speaks of “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” And this Spirit is not just one-third of God. He is the consummation of the entire Triune God. As I mentioned in another post on “the Spirit as our Bountiful Supply,” this Spirit today is a compound including the entire Triune God with all that Christ is and has accomplished. So when we get the Spirit we get the entire Triune God as our life.

Eternal life is in God’s Son.

Where can we find this life? It is only in God’s Son, Christ. The apostle John said, “And this is the testimony, that God gave to us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life. (1 John 5:11-12). So when we believe into Christ, we have eternal life (John 3:15).

Eternal life reaches us as the Spirit of reality.

This real life is God in Christ—who has passed through all the processes of incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection to become the consummated Spirit to be our life so that we may live Him out. John 14:17, speaks of the Spirit of reality being in the believers. Then verse 19 says, “because I live, you will live also.” Because in Christ’s resurrection this consummated Spirit has come into us as life, we live because of Christ. We live out this processed Triune God.

This life is Christ coming into us to be our life and to live with us.

John 3:15-16 tell us that everyone who believes into Christ, God’s Son, has this eternal life. When we believe into Him, we receive Him into us as our life and are begotten of God to become the children of God (John 1:12-13). Then it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us. As those who have received such a One as our life, we have Him living and moving with us (Gal. 2:20).

May such an awesome revelation of the eternal  life deeply impress us so that we may appreciate that the life that we have received is not just the continuation of our life after we die, but the Triune God, in Christ, as the Spirit entering into us, to live with us a life that expressed this processed Triune God even in our living today.

“Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to be our life. Thank you, for passing through your processes to become the Spirit of reality in us as to be our life. Because we have You, we have this real, eternal life. Lord, we do believe into You and receive You. Thank you, that now as the Spirit, You’re living in us such a real life that expresses the Triune God and fulfills His purpose.”

This post was inspired by Week 1 – Day 4 of the Holy Word for Morning Revival on the Crucial Elements of the Bible by Witness Lee. For a further development of the topic of this post, “What is life?” you may want to read the first chapter of  Witness Lee’s classic book, The Knowledge of Life. You can read the full text online at ministrybooks.org or download a free copy of the eBook at Bibles for America.




About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

12 Replies

  1. what is the diffrence between eternal life and ordinary life

    1. Tom Smith

      Johhson, There are three kinds of life referred to in the Bible–the physical life (Greek, bios), the psychological life or soul-life (Greek, psuche), and the divine life (Greek, zoe). The eternal life we receive at the moment we believe in the Lord Jesus is this third kind of life. Ordinary life as we know it is made up of the first two kinds of life. For more on this matter, please read my post on this topic.

      1. philgons

        if we turn to the spirit we have a eternal life otherwise we have a ordinary life

        1. Tom Smith

          Yes, when we turn our spirit, indwelt by the Spirit of life we enjoy the imparting or dispensing of the divine, eternal life spreading from our spirit, into our soul and even to our body (Rom. 8:2, 10, 6, 11. If we don’t turn to our spirit, we are practically living in the old man of the old creation. In such a condition, we live the ordinary life of a fallen descendant of sinful Adam, a life of vanity.

  2. Sandra

    What a different concept I had of what eternal life means….It is the triune God and it is now in us.hallelujah for Christ living in our spirit.

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