The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleJohn 17:3
And this is life eternal…
That is, the beginning and
pledge of it, the way unto it, and means of it, and what will
certainly issue in it:
that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom
thou hast sent.
The knowledge of God here spoken of, is not the
knowledge of him by the light of nature, and works of creation; for
a man may know God in this sense, and not know him in Christ, nor
anything of Christ; yea, may know God and profess him in words, and
in works deny him, as the Heathens did; nor is eternal life known
hereby, nor connected with it: nor is it such a knowledge of God as
is to be obtained by the law of Moses, in which God is represented
as a righteous and incensed Being; nor is there in it any discovery
of God, as a God of love, grace, and mercy in Christ; nor any
revelation of a Mediator, Saviour and Redeemer; nor can it either
show, or give to persons eternal life; and yet what is here said of
the knowledge of God and Christ, the Jews say of the law F4,
``one man said to his friend, let us dash them against that
wall and kill them, because they have left (abh Mlwe yyx) ,
"eternal life"; (the gloss upon it is, (hrwt) , "the law";)
and employ themselves in a temporary life, the gloss says
of this world, which is merchandise.''
More truly does Philo the Jew say F5, that
``fleeing to the Divine Being, "is eternal life"; and
running front him is death.''
But this is to be understood of an evangelic knowledge of God, as
the God and Father of Christ, as the God of all grace, pardoning
iniquity, transgression and sin, and of Christ Mediator; not a
general, notional, and speculative knowledge; but a practical and
experimental one; a knowledge of approbation and appropriation; a
fiducial one, whereby a soul believes in Christ, and trusts in his
blood, righteousness, and sacrifice for salvation; and which, though
imperfect, is progressive. The Arians and Unitarians urge this text,
against the true and proper deity of our Lord Jesus, and his
equality with the Father, but without success; since the Father is
called the only true God, in opposition to the many false gods of
the Heathens, but not to the exclusion of the Son or Spirit; for
Christ is also styled the one Lord, and only Lord God, but not to
the exclusion of the Father; yea the true God and eternal life; was
he not, he would never, as here, join himself with the only true
God; and besides, eternal life is made to depend as much upon the
knowledge of him, as of the Father. The reason of this different
mode of expression, is owing to the character of Christ as Mediator,
who is said to be sent by the only true God, about the business of
man's salvation. Nor is it of any moment what the Jew F6 objects,
that Jesus here confesses, that the true God is only one God; nor
does he call himself God, only the Messiah sent by God; and that the
Apostle Paul also asserts the unity of God, (1 Timothy 1:17) ; and therefore
Jesus cannot be God: for Christ and his Father, the only true God,
are one; and that he is the one true God with his Father, he tacitly
suggests here by joining himself with him; and what the Apostle Paul
says of the one and only wise God, may as well be understood of
Christ, the Son of God, as of the Father; since all the characters
in the text agree with him, and of him he had been speaking in the
F4 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 21. 1.
F5 De profugis, p. 461.
F6 R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 55. p. 445.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 17:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=joh&chapter=017&verse=003>. 1999.