Eternal life is given based on what we do. This is not to say that salvation is earned, but the “faith alone” doctrine is killing the church because people think they don’t have to do anything (Jas. 2:14,17,14,16). Saying that eternal life is given based on what we do goes against those who believe that God saves the unrepentant. Jesus said, “unless you repent, you will likewise perish.” Without repentance, which is a real change and turning from sin, we cannot have eternal life.
John wrote, “This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.” (1 John 2:25). God promises eternal life. But He doesn’t give it to all, even though He is not a “respecter of persons” (Rom. 2:11) and though He desires that everyone be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). His gift has conditions otherwise everyone would get it. Those who choose the narrow way, receive eternal life.
God decides that those with obedient faith get eternal life Paul says to the Romans that his ministry was to “bring about the obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5; 16:26). Saving faith isn’t without works, not from the first hearing to a person’s last breath. Later in the Romans letter, Paul writes, “For He says to Moses, ‘I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.'”, (Romans 9:15).
It’s Biblical that God gives His saving grace on the basis of deeds. God judges the deeds of man, whether they are righteous or not. God is going to hold us all accountable for what we have done in the flesh. Paul said in Titus that Grace instructs us “to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,” (Titus 2:12). When we hear about God’s Grace, it immediately confronts us with our sinfulness and our need to turn to Him. The obedient person doesn’t think he has earned or deserves salvation. It’s a gift and God gets the glory.
Eternal life is given to those that love God. That’s why John says not to love the world.
“15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
We either love God or we love the world and things in the world. If we loved the world, if that’s the direction we are turned to, we won’t get eternal life. When we love God and seek Him, we turn away from the world and we receive the gift of eternal life. This turning includes leaving sin behind, confessing Jesus, and being buried with Jesus in baptism. “Now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16). Believing in God and following the world won’t get me to heaven.
Eternal life is granted to those who do the will of God. John also said, “the one who does the will of God abides forever.” And Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 7:21). The promise for eternal life is therefore based on what we do, whether we obey or disobey God. Because of His nature being a righteous God, He saves those who with broken and contrite heart do turn from sin to Him.
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19)