And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12 NIV)
What is eternal life? It is tempting to think of it as eternal existence in heaven in contrast to a finite lifespan here on earth. But while eternal life does contain the idea of infinite duration, it is much more than that. Eternal life is primarily concerned with a relationship. In John 17:3, Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the true God and Jesus, the one he had sent. Knowing God is more than just intellectual knowledge about him. It involves personal experience. Eternal life is being in a relationship with God as his dearly loved child.
This passage affirms that eternal life is something that God has given to us. It is a gift he freely gives to all who believe in Jesus, the Son. There is nothing I can do to earn or deserve it.
This passage also tells us that this eternal life is in Jesus, the Son of God. If I have the Son, then I have eternal life. If I do not have the Son, I do not have eternal life. It is only those who are in Christ who experience eternal life.
And this eternal life is not just something to look forward to. Instead, it is something we experience even now. If we are in Christ, we have eternal life. And we can enjoy being in a living and loving relationship with our creator, even while in this life. How great is that!