GES emphasizes the fact that a person receives eternal life by faith alone in Christ alone. This life, by definition, cannot be lost. We know we have it because of the promise of Christ Himself. It is right that we emphasize such things.
However, when we believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life we also receive many other benefits. Oftentimes people look at these other benefits and conclude that they are the same thing as receiving eternal life. But they are not. We receive them at the same time we receive eternal life, but they are different things. When we look at these things we get a clearer picture of just how great our salvation from hell is.
Recently, I was looking at Galatians 3:10-14. After studying it for awhile, I saw some of these other benefits. In verse 11, Paul mentions justification. Justification is impossible through the Law, or by works. Justification is not the same thing as being eternally saved. It is an added benefit. It means to be declared righteous by God. This allows the new believer to have a relationship with God and be at peace with Him. Prior to justification, prior to believing in Jesus for eternal life, a person is at enmity with God.
In the same verse, Paul says that the one who is justified “shall live.” The fact that “life” comes with justification includes the idea of eternal life. But life includes more. As Paul makes clear in the book of Galatians, the believer can also experience that eternal life abundantly. The believer can experience the life of Christ as He lives through the believer. We think immediately of the words of the Lord when He said that not only did He come to give life, but He came to give it abundantly (John 10:10).
But the benefits of receiving eternal life keep coming! In verse 13, Paul says that Christ has redeemed us. Once again, redemption is not the same thing as receiving eternal life. Specifically, Christ has redeemed the believer from the “curse of the Law.” Here, we see that the believer has been released from the condemnation of the Law because we cannot keep it. Christ paid the price to set us free from that life and given us the freedom to live by the Spirit.
And that is how Paul concludes this section. The believer also receives the Holy Spirit (v. 14). When we receive eternal life, God Himself comes to live in us through His Spirit. This is what makes the abundant life possible. This is what makes it possible to live by the power of the Spirit instead of being under the Law. What we cannot do, the Spirit in us can.
With the mention of the Holy Spirit in verse 14, Paul also says that this is something for Gentiles as well. I think he has in mind that fact that the believer is baptized into the Church, the Body of Christ, at the moment of faith. Both Jews and Gentiles are baptized in the same Body by the same Spirit, and it comes with many benefits such as the privilege of serving the Body with whatever spiritual gift the Spirit gives.
Not surprisingly, all of these benefits are received by faith alone. Paul mentions the word “faith” three times in these few verses and contrasts them with works. Our eternal salvation, and many other benefits, are received as free gifts through faith alone.
One of the things I try to do, and would encourage others to do as well, is to look carefully when we read verses of the Bible. Many times we might miss the fact that as great as receiving eternal life is, often the writers of the New Testament are telling us truths that are even greater than we think as they talk about the other blessings we receive at the moment of faith.