Does Eternal Life Depend on Commandment-Keeping?

The Bible speaks of eternal life as both a present and a future reality for Christians. Jude 21 speaks to the future life. John 3:36 and 1John 5:11 speak of those who believe on the Son as having eternal life.

Eternal life is a free gift Rom.6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” John 17 :2-3 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. Jesus gives eternal life, we do not earn it. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”( John 10 :27-28)

The notion that one must be obedient to commandments so that we can enter eternal life suggests that one can attain eternal life by commandment-keeping (works). That runs counter to the facts of the Scriptures. One of the fundamental ways Christianity differ from other religions is that our inheritance is given freely by grace through faith. All the other religions have works as the basis for their inheritance. Not so with Christianity. Eternal life is a gift. Eph. 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.”


Eternal life found in Jesus not comandment keeping

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 5:39-40 “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. John 6:40 “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” verse47
“Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.” Jn.:13-14 “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jn.11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Jn. 6:54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. Eternal life is not the end result of people keeping the commandments, it comes through faith in Jesus Christ and by the grace of God.

The role of obedience

Jesus said, If you love me keep my commandments JN.14:15 When a person comes to Jesus, he becomes a new creature. God gives him the Holy Spirit to give him power to obey and abide in Christ. A person who has the Holy Spirit wants to obey Christ but he still has the flesh, the world and Satan trying to pull him downwards. 2Pet.1:3 God has given us everything we need for life and godliness, so the Christian is equiped to persevere and overcome as he cooperates with the Holy Spirit working in his life. As he abides in Christ and remain attached to the Vine(Jn.15) God will produce the fruits of the spirit in his life. Abiding in Christ includes obedience to the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, praying, studying the word, meditating on the word, loving the Lord and the brothers, doing good, seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Obedience to God proves that we are one of His because the unregenerate person cannot please God and really has no inclination to do so. 1Jn.2:3-4 ”We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.” Keeping His commands is evidence that we know him and not evidence that eternal life is tethered to obedience. We abide in the love of Jesius by keeping his commands Jn.15:10 . You are my friends if you keep my commandments Jn.15:14. There is no I will give you eternal life if you keep my commandments.

So after coming to Jesus for forgiveness of sins do we need commandment-keeping to bring us to eternal life? Let Paul answer. “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Gal.3:3). Human effort of any sort is rejected as a means of salvation and eternal life. Jesus Christ is all we need (Col. 2:9-10). “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen( Jude 1:24-25). We love Jesus and obey his commands because he first loved us and gave himself as an atoning sacrifice for us. The eternal life given to us by Christ as been purchased by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and not by anything that we could do.

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About veldaville

A retired special education teacher with a Masters Degree in Education from Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Was raised in an evangelical church but at age 20 joined Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God. After spending over 30 years in that cult, God opened my eyes to his truth and brought me back to the things I had learned when I was a youth. I believe that I was a Christian all along but because I was young and unlearned in the Scriptures, I fell prey to a religious cult. My ambition is, therefore, to proclaim Jesus Christ to all and especially to those who have been deceived by false teachers. My hope is that they may see the light and be saved from those who prey on their souls.
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