“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3
The new life that God has called Christians to walk in is an eternal life, which consists of knowing God. We cannot know God without knowing Christ. It is by faith in Jesus Christ, faith in the Gospel, i.e., the message that “…Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5) that we begin to know God and that we begin to walk in newness of life. It is through faith in Christ that we are saved from the wrath of God, restored to a right relationship with Him, and given the ability to know God. (Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:8; Colossians 1:19-22). Without Christ, we cannot know God, and as you can see from the verse above (John 17:3), knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, is eternal life.
When I say that we cannot know God without knowing Christ, I mean that we must believe in Christ, and in believing, confess Him as Lord if we are to know God. Romans 10: 9-10 says, “…If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” When we confess Jesus as Lord, we confess Him as He is- our master, our ruler, our God. When we confess Him as our Lord we are acknowledging that Jesus Christ has absolute ownership rights over our lives. In His grace and kindness, He has chosen to give us new life in Himself. This salvific (saving) confession is not a magic incantation that saves our souls. It is a public declaration which is an outward manifestation of an internal belief about who Jesus Christ is. We confess with our mouths that which we know to be true- that Jesus is God the Son incarnate (in the flesh), crucified for our sins, buried, and raised on the third day by the power of God, and as such, He is Lord of our lives.
During His earthly life, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). No one who rejects the Lordship of Jesus Christ knows God. It does not matter how spiritual sounding or outwardly pious they might seem. The Bible teaches us, “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:23). Jesus Christ is the measure of all true religion. Any religion which claims to have the way to God, and yet denies the deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ is a false religion, a pathway that leads to further condemnation and alienation from God. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life… …Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18). Jesus also said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Therefore, it is impossible to believe in God and at the same time reject Jesus. To reject the Person of Jesus Christ is to reject God. If someone says that they believe in God, but do not believe that God sent Jesus into the world to reveal Himself to man-kind, and to die for the sins of His people, they do not truly believe in God.
You see to believe in Jesus is to believe in God. Jesus is God. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the pure self-revelation of God. Hebrews 1:3-5a teaches us that, “…in these last days he [God] has spoken to us by his Son… …He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power…”. And, in another place we are told, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).” So, in short, walking in newness of life begins with knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. As Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”