And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. – 1 John 5:11-12 ESV
1 John 5:6-12
Jesus came in order that we might have life. He boldly claimed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 ESV). On another occasion He stated, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV). Paul wrote, “just as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4 ESV). John picks up on this theme by stressing that God gave us eternal life through His Son. It is the same message he conveyed in his gospel. It was what he had heard Jesus talk about so often during His time on this earth. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV). But this life is not just a future expectation. It is a present reality for the one who has believed and continues to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This life in Christ is far more than a guaranteed pass into eternity. It is our key to living abundantly, joyfully, confidently and powerfully right here, right now.
The life John speaks of is inseparable from Jesus Christ. It is directly tied to belief in Him as the Son of God and in God’s testimony regarding Him as the Savior of the world. John makes the point, that to have the Son is to have life. To possess Jesus is to have taken possession of the abundant life He offers. Life and Jesus are synonymous. To reject Jesus as Savior is to reject life, not just eternal life to come, but abundant life here and now. It is to remain in death, condemned because of the penalty of sin. The apostle Paul would have us remember, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV). But the good news is that God showed mercy, and “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5-6 ESV). By believing in Jesus, we receive new life. John the Baptist said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36 ESV). Those who refuse Jesus as Savior find themselves still under God’s wrath. Not only do they face a future, eternal separation from God, but they are in the unenviable position of being under His wrath and incapable of enjoying His peace and presence at this very moment. If they don’t know Jesus as Savior, they don’t know God. They are without life. In essence, they are the living dead. But God has offered life through His Son. And those who accept the gift of His Son’s substitutionary death in their place, receive that life. They move from death to life. “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14 ESV). Jesus promised us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24 ESV). Believing in Jesus as the Son of God and our Savior from sin and death, brings life. Yes, eternal life, but not just at some future point in time. We receive new life immediately. No more separation. No more condemnation. No more judgment. No more fear. No more death. Jesus described eternal life this way: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV). Knowing Jesus as Savior provides us with an intimate knowledge of God Himself. It creates a relationship with God and His Son – that is the essence of eternal life. We have been restored to a right relationship with God. We have been reconciled. And that relationship is as true today as it will be in the future. We are His children right now as much as we will be in heaven. We are as right with God as we will ever be. We have life. What an incredible reality. So let us live life to the full. Right here. Right now.