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Verse 3. This is life eternal. This is the source of eternal life; or it is in this manner that it is to be obtained. The knowledge of God and of his Son Jesus Christ is itself a source of unspeakable and eternal joy. Comp. Joh 11:25; 6:63; 12:50.


Might know thee. The word know here, as in other places, expresses more than a mere speculative acquaintance with the character and perfections of God. It includes all the impressions on the mind and life which a just view of God and of the Saviour is fitted to produce. It includes, of course, love, reverence, obedience, honour, gratitude, supreme affection. To know God as he is is to know and regard him as a lawgiver, a sovereign, a parent, a friend. It is to yield the whole soul to him, and strive to obey his law.

The only true God. The only God, in opposition to all false gods. What is said here is in opposition to idols, not to Jesus himself, who, in 1 Jo 5:20, is called "the true God and eternal life."

And Jesus Christ. To know Jesus Christ is to have a practical impression of him as he is that is, to suffer his character and work to make their due impression on the heart and life. Simply to have heard that there is a Saviour is not to know it. To have been taught in childhood and trained up in the belief of it is not to know it. To know him is to have a just, practical view of him in all his perfections—as God and man; as a mediator; as a prophet, a priest, and a king. It is to feel our need of such a Saviour, to see that we are sinners, and to yield the whole soul to him, knowing that he is a Saviour fitted to our wants, and that in his hands our souls are safe. Comp. Eph 3:19; Tit 1:16; Php 3:10; 1 Jo 5:20.

In this verse is contained the sum and essence of the Christian religion, as it is distinguished from all the schemes of idolatry and philosophy, and all the false plans on which men have sought to obtain eternal life. The Gentiles worshipped many gods; the Christian worships one —the living and the true God; the Jew, the Deist, the Mohammedan, the Socinian, profess to acknowledge one God, without any atoning sacrifice and Mediator; the true Christian approaches him through the great Mediator, equal with the Father, who for us became incarnate, and died that he might reconcile us to God.

{c} "this is life eternal" 1 Jo 5:11 {d} "know thee" Jer 9:23,24 {e} "the only true God" 1 Th 1:9

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