Here is stated the fundamental condition of receiving eternal life.
Men must know God and Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
Jesus’ third person reference to himself in this compound title is the basis of all kinds of wild speculations to the effect that these are John’s words, not those of our Lord; but without doubt these are the true words of Jesus (see under John 17:2).
From what other source could the almost universal use of “Jesus Christ” have derived?
Christ would declare himself “Christ” that very night (Mark 14:62), a title purposely avoided until then. What better way was there of instructing the apostles than in this prayer uttered in the third person (partially), and in which the expression “Jesus Christ” was used for the first time on Earth was referring to himself in the third person, as being, along with the Father, the object of that knowledge which is eternal life.
We adhere, therefore, to the view that this is the language of Christ himself.
That they know thee, the only true God.
In this solemn hour, it is by no means inconceivable that he should have applied to himself, once for all, the great compound name, which the apostles were to use so often.
The saving knowledge of God includes also the knowledge of Jesus Christ as God’s revelation to men and is a far different thing from merely believing that there is a creator.
Jesus was referring to himself in the third person, as being, along with the Father, the object of that knowledge which is eternal life.
I sometimes wince at the careless way the question is asked, “Do you know Jesus?”
Let us use a great word greatly and settle with ourselves that this word “know” is marvelously deep, and no man has ever touched bottom.
WHAT IT MEANS TO KNOW GOD
- “HE THAT SAITH I KNOW HIM, AND KEEPETH NOT HIS COMMANDMENTS, IS A LIAR, AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN HIM” (1 John 2:4).
- Thus, without obedience, one may have a few ideas about God; but he does not know God.
- “HE THAT LOVETH NOT, KNOWETH NOT GOD; FOR GOD IS LOVE” (1 John 4:8).
- Without love one cannot know either the Father or the Son. It would be as reasonable to suppose that a mole can see the stars as to think that one who does not love knows God.
- TO KNOW GOD IS TO BE “IN CHRIST.”
- “God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:12). No one can know God except by knowing him “in Christ.” This means to be united with Christ, to bear his name, to confess him as Lord, and to accept all the obligations entailed by being baptized “into Christ.”
- KNOWING GOD MEANS RECEIVING GOD’S SPIRIT.
- Until that Spirit is known and received as an earnest of the soul’s inheritance, there can be no saving knowledge of God and Christ (Romans 8:9).
- “Hereby we know that we abide in him and he in us because he hath given us his Spirit” (1 John 4:13).