Saturday, June 11, 2011

John 5:17ff : VII

Continuing with the second Truly, truly statement of John Chapter Five:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and
believes Him who sent Me,
            has eternal life, and
           does not come into judgment, but
                 has passed out of death
                                                into life.
John 3:18: He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already…

Romans 8:1: Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

(Please read these verses in context).

Those who have believed in Jesus Christ, believed in the Biblical sense of trusting in Him, surrendering to Him, giving their hearts and minds to Him – the facets of faith and belief can be expressed in a number of terms just as the process and facets of marriage can be described a number of ways – do not come into judgment; end of story with respect to being grouped in the judgment of those who have rejected God in Christ, who have rejected God’s revelation of Himself. 

The failure of Christians to believe these words of Jesus, and the failure of many pastors to preach this word of Jesus, leads to debilitated and insecure Christians; never certain of their relationship with God, never sure of their eternal future, and therefore of necessity self-focused, and consequently not having the abandon to give their lives to others. The failure to believe these words of Jesus leads to legalism, for men are ever trying to attain security with God via their own works rather than the word and work of Jesus Christ. 

Some accuse those who hold to the surety of the word and work of Christ of teaching that a person can do anything he pleases; this is rubbish. A fair reading of the New Testament shows that much that was written was written to hold Christians accountable; and specific passages such as 1 Corinthians 3:10 – 23 demonstrate that as excruciating as standing before the judgment seat of Christ may be (see 2 Corinthians 5:10) that we can trust the word of Jesus Christ that we have not come into judgment but have passed out of death into life. 

The “life” that Jesus speaks of is no less than Himself. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life…”John 14:6. “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life n Himself;” John 5:26. “I am that bread of life…” John 6:48.

Passing into “life” is passing into Jesus Christ, hence Paul’s much-used phrase, in Christ. We are in Christ; we live in Christ, we breathe in Christ, we think in Christ, we feel in Christ, our will functions in Christ. We pass from the sphere of death into the biosphere of Christ. 

To view eternal life as something separate from Christ misses the mark, eternal life is the life of Christ given to the person who hears His word and believes in Him. Eternal life is not a “force” nor a commodity or a spiritual plane nor a stage of enlightenment; eternal life is Jesus Christ. Jesus says in John Chapter 11, “I am the resurrection and the life…”

This is about God in Christ. It is about the God of Sinai being born in Bethlehem, growing to manhood, and proclaiming Himself to us, revealing Himself to us, in order that we might hear and believe in Him. God says to us,"He who believes Me, he who comes to Me; the man or woman, girl or boy, who trusts in Me passes from death into Me, and hence into life – and does not come into judgment."

God says, “Look around you and see death, see sickness, see sorrow, see pain. But also see hope and joy and love and compassion. Where do the good and hopeful things come from? They come from Me. But you cannot escape sin and you cannot escape the death that comes through sin – except you come to Me – and I will bring you out of death and into life, into Myself – that is why I’ve come…to bring you home to Me.”

John the Gospel writer tells us what we ought to do once we’ve come to know Jesus; in 1:35 – 51, the last movement of his first chapter, John lays the framework for our lives, for in this passage we see one person after another finding another person and pointing the person to Jesus, always to Jesus. John the Baptist points others to Jesus, Andrew brings Peter to Jesus, Philip brings Nathanael to Jesus – and John the Apostle wrote the Gospel to bring us to Jesus. 

When we realize that God of very God proclaims that “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life,” perhaps we’ll realize how great our salvation is and how great the Good News is that we have to share with others.

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