1 John 5:12 says, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” The Bible clearly says that those who have the Son (believed in Jesus) have life, speaking of spiritual and eternal life. John 5:24 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Christ said that the one who hears and believes what He said has eternal life. He will not face condemnation and eternal punishment, but he now has life. That is his present and current condition. He does not wait until heaven to receive eternal life. If someone has believed in Christ, then he currently has eternal life.
Ephesians 2 uses the idea of death and life to describe our condition before and after we believe on Christ. Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” God has quickened, or made alive, those who were dead in sins. Ephesians 2:5 explains how and when this happens when it says, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).” When we were spiritually dead in sins, God made us alive with Christ when we were saved by His grace. When we place our faith in His grace and what Christ has done for us, trusting in Christ alone to save us (Ephesians 2:8-9), then God moves us from death to life. If we have done this, then we were spiritually dead, but now we are spiritually alive. This is eternal life.
So before we were saved, we were spiritually dead. After we get saved, we are spiritually alive. We currently have “eternal life,” a phrase which obviously implies that the life we now have will last for eternity. So what happens when we sin after we get saved? Can we lose our salvation? Even apart from our sin, is there any way that we can lose our salvation? The clear Biblical answer is no, we cannot lose our salvation. There are many ways that the Bible teaches this, including the fact of God’s grace. But one way to understand the security of our salvation is to consider the meaning of “eternal life.” 1 John 5:12, Ephesians 2:1-10, and other passages very clearly teach that if we are saved, then we have life. But if we are not saved, then we do not have life. We receive spiritual life at the point of salvation. So if we could lose our salvation, then we would no longer be spiritually alive. We would return to our state of being spiritually dead and separated from God (Isaiah 59:2). If that were the case, then we would no longer have “eternal life.” But a life that could be so easily lost can hardly be called “eternal.” If we could lose our salvation and our spiritual life because of our sin or because someone took it from us in some way, then the spiritual life we have is not eternal. It would be a temporary, I-really-hope-I-hang-onto-this life. But that is not how God describes it. God describes it as eternal life, because once we have it, we have it for eternity. When God gives us eternal life, that gift is irrevocable; it is truly eternal. Once we have spiritual life and are connected to God, we will remain in that condition for all of eternity. That life can never be taken from us. God has promised to give us life. The security of our life does not depend on ourselves or what anyone else does. The security of eternal life depends on the God who promised and who never breaks His word. God called this life “eternal life.” Let us take Him at His word.