JOHN CHAPTER 17
I) [Jn 17:1]:
(v. 1) "After Jesus said this, He looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You."
[The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Walvoord & Zuck, Eds, Victor Books, USA, 1981, p. 332]:
"Jesus could approach God in prayer because of Their Father-Son relationship. He began His prayer with the word Father (cf. Matt. 6:9) and used that word three other times in this prayer (John 17:5, 21, 24) as well as 'Holy Father' (v. 11) and 'Righteous Father' (v. 25). The Time, Jesus said, has come. The divine plan of redemption was at God's appointment. Several times before this Jesus' time had not come (2:4; 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20). But now it had arrived (cf. 12:23; 13:1).
Jesus then prayed, Glorify Your Son (cf. 17:5). This request for glorification included sustaining Jesus in suffering, accepting His sacrifice, resurrecting Him, and restoring Him to His pristine glory. The purpose of the request was that the Father would be glorifed by the Son, that God's wisdom, power, and love might be known through Jesus. Believers too are to glorify God (v. 10); in fact, this is the chief end of man (Rom 11:36; 16:27; 1 Cor 10:31; Eph 1:6, 12, 14; cf. Westiminster Larger Cathechism, Question 1)."
II) [Jn 17:2]:
(v. 2) "For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him."
"The words, You granted Him authority over all people, indicate that Jesus' prayer request was in accordance with the Father's plan. The Father has ordained the rule of the Son over the earth (cf. Ps 2). So the Son has the authority to judge (John 5:27), to take up His life (10:18), and to give eternal life to all those whom the Father gave Him. Five times in this prayer Jesus referred to His own as those the Father gave Him (17:2, 6 (twice), 9, 24)."
III) [Jn 17:2-3]:
(v. 2) "For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him.
(v. 3) Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent."
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent." =
['they' = those God has given to Jesus Christ (v. 2), who God "might give eternal life", (v. 2)]
A) ONE WHO KNOWS (BELIEVES IN) THE ONLY TRUE GOD AND WHO KNOWS (BELIEVES IN) THE ONE WHOM HE HAS SENT - NOW THIS IS ETERNAL LIFE
"That they may know ..........You" =
"hina ginOskOsin ................se
..........V_PAS3P str. # 1097
Notice that the verb form "ginOskOsin" = "may know" is present tense, subjunctive mood, portraying those that meet the condition of being given eternal life, (satisfying the subjunctive mood of objective possibility) in a present tense moment know the one true God and the One Whom He sent, Jesus Christ.
Since John often used "know" and believe" synonymously, (cf. 8:31; 10:38; 17:8 and 6:69),
and since a moment of believing in the Son results in the reception of eternal life, (Jn 3:16),
then we can say that Jn 17:3 provides a picture of eternal life such that the one who knows the only true God, is the one who believes in Him and the one who knows the One Whom He has sent, is the one who believes in the Son unto eternal life.
1) [Compare Jn 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."
Notice that the one who possesses eternal life in a present tense moment is the one who believes that God gave His One and only Son for one this implies a knowledge/belief in the One true God and in the One Whom He sent, Jesus Christ, (to pay for the sins of the whole world).
B) THE INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS BEEN GIVEN ETERNAL LIFE IS PORTRAYED AS THE ONE WHO KNOWS THE TRUE GOD AND IN THE ONE WHOM HE SENT IN A PRESENT MOMENT OF TIME
The verb "ginOskOsin" is in an unmodified present tense. It emphasizes understanding rather than sensory perception. The unmodified present tense in Jn 17:3 portrays knowledge of the only true God and the One Whom He sent, Jesus Christ in a present moment of time when one has been given eternal life.
It is not an opinion, rather it is a knowledge by objective observation.
It is also not continuous in action which would necessitate an adverb such as 'diapantos' = 'continuously', (Heb 13:15), or 'adialeiptOs' = unceasingly, (1 Thes 2:13).
Keep in mind that the apostle John often used "know" and "believe" synonymously, (cf. 8:31; 10:38; 17:8 and 6:69).
Dozens of passages stipulate that a present moment of believing in/knowing Jesus Christ results in present possession of eternal life; which life is unending from that moment on by definition. This implies ginOskO knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son Whom He sent to the world to provide eternal life, (cf. Jn 3:15-18).
Since Jn 17:3 stipulates that eternal life is knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent, and since believing in the Son of God to have paid for the sins of the whole world results in eternal life, then believing and knowing are synonymous relative to the reception of eternal life.
"Eternal life, as defined here by Jesus, involves the experience of knowing the only true God through His Son (cf. Matt. 11:27).... The word know (ginOskOsin) here in the present tense, is often used in the Septuagint and sometimes in the Greek New Testament to describe the intimacy of a sexual relationship (e.g., Gen 4:1, 'lay'; Matt. 1:25, 'had... union'). Thus a person who knows God has an intimate personal relationship with Him...[as presented in Jn 17:3 in a present moment in time]"
C) THE INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS BEEN GIVEN ETERNAL LIFE IS PORTRAYED AS HAVING AN INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD IN A PRESENT MOMENT IN TIME WHEN HE HAS BEEN GIVEN POSSESSION OF ETERNAL LIFE
"ginOskOsin" is in the present tense without modifiers stipulating action that occurs in a present moment of time when one has been given eternal life.
1) [Compare Jn 3:13-16]:
(v. 13) "No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man.
(v. 14) Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, [on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world, cf 1 Jn 2:2)
(v. 15) that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
(v. 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.
Notice that it is directly implied in Jn 3:13-16 that the one who believes in the Son and has (present tense) eternal life, has at that present moment a "ginOskO" knowledge of God the Father Who gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ to pay for the sins of the whole world.
Secondly, there is implied a "ginOskO" knowledge of Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God in Whom one believes to pay the penalty for ones sins resulting in a state of never perishing but having (present tense at the moment of believing) everlasting life.
D) THERE IS NO STIPULATION THAT GINOSKOSIN KNOWLEDGE OF GOD MUST BE CONTINUOUS IN ORDER FOR THE POSSESSION OF ETERNAL LIFE TO BECOME OR REMAIN A POSSESSION
Contrary to advocates of conditional security (which is no security at all because there is no guarantee one will always fulfill 'their' self-imposed unscriptural conditions), the present tense does not portray continuous action in Jn 17:3 because there are no qualifiers such as an adverb such as 'diapantos' which is rendered 'continuously'
Jn 3:16 and dozens of passages stipulate that in a present moment in time that one has been given possession of eternal life via a moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing else, the individual knows God the Father and Jesus Christ, the One Whom He has sent, (been given - Jn 3:16) in the sense of God being one's eternal Father and Jesus Christ being ones eternal Savior.
There is no stipulation in Scripture that this action of knowing/believing is to be continuous in order for the possession of eternal life to be received and/or remain a possession.
E) ENGLISH AND FIRST CENTURY GREEK REQUIRES SPECIAL CONTEXT OR ADDITIONAL QUALIFYING WORDS TO MAKE PRESENT TENSE ACTION CONTINUOUS THROUGHOUT THE PRESENT
Present tense signifies action in present time for the duration of whatever the context indicates. The Greek present tense by itself does not automatically convey continuous action - nor does the English equivalent. It may or may not be continuous - depending upon the context and/or the presence of qualifying words. Present tense action in the absence of qualifiers demands a singular action in the present moment without requiring that it be continuous throughout the present. No first century Greek reader or hearer was likely to get a meaning such as 'continue to believe' without the necessary additional qualifiers to the present tense.
1) [Compare Hebrews 13:15]:
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name."
"anapherOmen ..thusian .aineseOs diapantos"
"we should offer sacrifice of praise continually"
Notice that "anapherOmen" = "we should offer" is present tense. Yet in order to emphasize continual action the word "diapantos" = "continually" must be inserted.
2) [Compare 1 Thes 2:13]:
"And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. "
"hEmeis eucharistoumen tO theO .....adialeiptOs" =
"we .......give thanks .............to God ..unceasingly"
Notice that "eucharistoumen" = "give thanks" is present tense, indicative mood. Yet in order to emphasize unceasing activity the word "adialeiptOs" = "unceasingly" must be inserted to picture unceasing action.
3) [Compare 1 Thes 5:16-18]:
(v. 16) "Be joyful always;
(v. 17) pray unceasingly;
(v. 18) give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
"adialeiptOs proseuchesthe" = "unceasingly pray"
Notice that "proseuchesthe" = "pray" is present tense, imperative mood. Yet in order to emphasize unceasing activity the word "adialeiptOs" = "unceasingly" must be inserted to picture unceasing action.
4) [Compare Jn 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."
"whoever believes in Him" = "pas ho pisteuon" = lit, whoever [is] the believer, nominative participle, i.e., a noun
"should have eternal life" =
"all echE zOEn aiOnion" = present tense verb (echE).
If the present tense were the verb in the original Greek text of John 3:16, "whoever believes" - and it is not, it is the noun, 'pas ho pisteuon' = whoever [is] the believer', then a special context and/or additional words such as "diapantos" = continually and the future tense 'will have eternal life' instead of present tense 'have eternal life', must be inserted into the text in order to convey the idea of continuous believing in order to eventually secure eternal life. If possession of eternal life is secured in the present moment of believing, (and it is), then it is secured forever, being eternal by definition.
Consider the individuals who are found guilty of various offenses before a magistrate in a court in the times of the ancient Roman Empire - New Testament times. The magistrate declares before the group of guilty people in koine Greek, the language of the New Testament, in a statement that directly parallels the second half of Jn 3:16, 'Whoever pays his fine shall not perish in jail, but have freedom to go, with his life.'
Does the present tense of 'Whoever pays' demand continuous - uninterrupted payment of the fine in order for an individual to "have freedom to go, with his life?"
The answer is obvious, the present tense does not always demand continuous uninterrupted action in the present. Just as the payment of the Magistrate's fine was done once in present time such that it results in freedom - the payment not having to be continuous; so the believing in Christ as Savior, when it begins in present time, immediately results in the aorist completed action of never perishing and the present tense reception of eternal life such that the believing need not continue in order to keep the result of never perishing and possession of eternal life continuous because the never perishing is a completed action and the eternal life by its very nature once received is continuously eternal.
F) A CONTINUOUS STATE OF BELIEVING IN OR KNOWING CHRIST IS NOT POSSIBLE WITH MORTAL MAN
According to Scripture, a continuous and perfect state of believing in or knowing Christ is not possible with man which would necessitate sinless perfection. For any sin a believer commits reflects a degree of unbelief and no one can claim to be without sin, nor maintain a perfect state of continuous faith:
1) [Compare 1 Jn 1:8, 10]:
(v. 8) "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(v. 10) If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."
No believer can claim to maintain a perfect, uninterrupted record of faith in or knowledge of Christ as he is bound to commit acts of unbelief throughout his life.
2) [Compare 1 Jn 4:7-12]:
(v. 7) "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
(v. 8) Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
[Notice that "whoever does not love does not know God" in the sense of being out of fellowship with Him for the moment, acting as one who does not know God, an unbeliever. Since sin is an act of not loving, and since all believers sin, then at those moments they do sin, they do 'not know God', i.e., their faith in Him is imperfect]
Can an individual express saving faith in or knowledge of Christ as Savior continuously - without any interruption all his life even during moments when he is asleep - completely in unconscious sleep? Suppose while in a deep sleep with your active mind unconscious, you no longer are continuously maintaining faith in or knowledge of Christ as Savior, you die in your sleep and then because of this unconscious lapse, wake up in Hell - after a long life of faithful service to God!!!!
Can an individual maintain perfect, uninterrupted saving faith in or knowledge of Christ as Savior throughout his waking day? Consider an accountant who is in deep concentration, keying in figures on a spread sheet making sure of his accuracy. Can he also be maintaining a deep concentration on trusting in Christ as Savior without interruption? Have you ever lost your salvation during the moment when you are considering what to have for lunch instead of continuing to believe in Christ to save you - as your thoughts are not for the moment on Jesus Christ but on the Tuna Melt sandwich on the menu? What do you then need to do to get it back? Is it really eternal life if you keep losing it every time your mind wanders to some other subject? Wouldn't it be better to call it 'For the Moment Life' rather than eternal life? And how do you get eternal life back after your momentary lapse?
G) ETERNAL LIFE ONCE RECEIVED IS FOREVER
1) "ETERNAL LIFE" = "ZOEN AIONION" = LIT. LIFE FOREVER When an individual expresses a moment of belief in the Son being given for him he receives "zoen aionion" = possession of life with God forever, (Jn 3:16). Since eternal life has a unique characteristic about it of being everlasting in duration; then such a life will not cease once it has begun to be the possession of the individual at the beginning moment of faith when he became "ho pisteuon eis auton" = the believer in the Son of God being given up for him. Otherwise "zoen aionion" = eternal life would not be called eternal life, it would be called 10 year life or 10 minute life as the case may be. So if the believer does not maintain a continuous state of believing in the Son after that first moment of faith, the duration of the believing will not have an effect on the duration of the eternal life since the latter has begun to be the forever possession of the believer.
H) ETERNAL LIFE ONCE RECEIVED IS AN INTRINSIC PART OF AN INDIVIDUAL WHICH CAN NEVER BE LOST
1) LIFE IS AN INTRINSIC PART OF AN INDIVIDUAL
[Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary [G & C Merriam Co., Springfield, Mass, 1980]:
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines life as "a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings; an animating and shaping force or principle." Hence, this principle is inherent in the individual, an intrinsic part that animates every part of ones being.
I) OTHER PASSAGES STIPULATE A MOMENT OF FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE FOREVER IN VERB FORMS THAT CORROBORATE A MOMENT OF FAITH IN JN 3:16
1) [Mk 16:16]:
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
"believes" = "ho pistEusas" = the one believing, nom, sg, m. aor. active participle. "whoever does not believe" = "ho de apistEsas" = nom, singular, masculine, aorist active participle
Notice the aorist tense signifying an instantaneous - punctilear moment of faith in order to be saved.
2) [Jn 3:18]:
"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
"Whoever believes" = "ho pistEuOn" = nom. sing. m. pres. act. part.
"But whoever does not believe" = "ho de me pistEuOn" = nom. sing. m. pres. act. part. "because he has not believed" = "oti me pepistEuken" = perfect tense, active, indicative, 3rd, sing.
Notice that the perfect tense signifies a completed action moment of faith with ongoing results in the present in order to secure avoidance of condemnation forever. Thus the present participle, "whoever believes" = "ho pistueon" is paralleled to "because he has not believed", signifying that only a moment of faith is sufficient to secure eternal life.
3) [Acts 16:29-31]:
(v. 29) '''The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.
(v. 30) He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
(v. 31) They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." '''
[ETERNAL LIFE, By John W. White http://www.gracebiblechurch.us/tracts/eternal.html]:
'''In Acts 16:30, 31 is the only place in the Bible where saved is in the question and saved is in the answer. "... Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
Paul used the aorist tense of the verb 'believe' and not the present tense. The aorist tense is graphed by using a dot..., an event. The present tense is graphed by using a line..., which expresses continuous action. You believe one time and you are saved and you do not have to continue to believe to stay saved...'''