My family and I recently traveled to France for vacation. Among our stops were the beaches of Normandy, on which the allied invasion of France began on June 4, 1944 (D-day), and the American Cemetery.
These sites held particular significance for me, as my father was among the soldiers who fought in the Normandy campaign. He and my mother were able to visit Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-day about a month before we were there.
The American Cemetery tells the stories of many of the brave soldiers who fought and died to liberate Europe from the grip of tyranny. There is also a chapel at the Cemetery. The chapel contains an altar that tells the story of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice to save mankind. The altar has an inscription that reads: “I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH”.
This brief inscription, which quotes Jesus, is extremely well-chosen. Its eleven words affirm many Biblical truths that are central to the gospel,including the following:
Jesus is God. The Bible says that God grants eternal life. So, if Jesus gives eternal life, it follows that He is God.
John 1:14: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Belief in the Deity of Christ is essential to believing in Him as Savior.
John 8:24: I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Eternal life is a gift. The Bible calls eternal life a gift – unmerited favor.
Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Faith” is not the gift of God, as Calvinism mistakenly teaches. The gift of God is eternal life. Jesus is not only necessary for eternal life. He is enough. Believing in Jesus as Savior means believing that our good intentions or good works have nothing to do with receiving eternal life. Neither does their presence or absence prove whether or not we possess eternal life. We must trust in Christ alone as Savior in order to receive eternal life. Faith and works do not mix for receiving, or retaining, eternal life.
Romans 11:6: And if by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise, work is no more work.
Eternal life is available to everyone. Who is the “them” to whom Christ gives eternal life? The Bible says that anyone who will believe in Christ as Savior will receive eternal life.
John 20:31: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The God of the Bible did not choose some to receive eternal life while consigning others to hell. The Bible says that God desires that everyone be saved.
1 Timothy 2:4: Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Eternal life is eternal. The doctrine of eternal security of Christians is taught throughout scripture. Eternal security is a necessary conclusion of grace. We cannot work our way into eternal life, and we cannot work our way out of eternal life.
Ephesians 1:13-14: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Every one of the soldiers who has defended our freedom on the battlefield deserves our gratitude. Jesus Christ died for our sins. He was buried, and He rose from the dead. He gives us eternal life. How infinitely more He deserves our love and gratitude.
If you want to know more about how to receive eternal life, please click this link: Eternal Life