We must never think of the possession of eternal life unless we have first of all considered the forgiveness of sins.
While Christian salvation does not end at forgiveness, it does start there; there is no short cut to eternal life except via grace, repentance, justification, and acceptance in the sight of God. Eternal life is not the same as justification, it is based upon it. Justification is the preliminary cleansing of the ground.
You cannot possess eternal life from God, until the ruins caused by sin have been dealt with, and these can only be dealt with by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross. We need to be reconciled to God before we can receive life from God. We must be justified from our sin and guilt in the sight of God before he will give us this blessing. It is in this way that we establish the relationship between the two. If you begin by seeking this life from God without forgiveness, that is the false way of mysticism. But on the other hand, you must not stop at justification, it is the basis on which we are entitled to ask God for this divine life, which is the essence of Christianity.
Lloyd-Jones, David Martyn, The Assurance of Our Salvation: Exploring the Depth of Jesus’ Prayer for His Own: Studies in John 17 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2000), p. 129-130