“He that believes on the Son has life eternal” (John 3:36).
With all its assuring blessedness, this truth is made known in the Word of God for faith to rejoice in. It is beyond mere human understanding, nevertheless the Holy Spirit, who is the Comforter, has made it known. It is a great and unchanging fact that “He that has the Son has life (1 John 5:12). The Son, who ever dwelt with the Father, and delighted in and responded to His ineffable love, came forth from the Father and brought eternal life for us; something we could not discover or define but which He could give. We write for those who have been baptised to “the Name,”—“to the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” to the revealed Name of the ever blessed triune God; and who have been by this committed to the faith of the Name of the glorious Trinity, the one God.
“No one has seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son who IS in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” To Him we delight to sing:
“Son of His bosom come from heaven above,
We see in Thee incarnate ‘God is love.’”
And so great was that love that God gave His Son that we might have eternal life! There was no other way! If life eternal was to be ours, the Son of God must be given! And a God of love has not withholden this stupendous gift! Blessed be His holy Name!
Moreover, the Spirit of Truth, the eternal Spirit, has made known to us what we could never have found out, this “life eternal” was promised “before the ages of time” (Titus 1:2); but according to the commandment of our Saviour God, the proclamation of which has been told out as glad tidings in its own due time. The Jews rejected the salvation brought by Jesus, and refused the glad tidings through Paul, judging themselves “unworthy of eternal life” (Acts 13:46), but those of the Gentiles who “were ordained to eternal life, believed” (v. 48).
Those who are saved now by this over-abounding grace, are taught, and may we all learn the great truth that, as sin had reigned unto death, so grace reigns through righteousness right on to eternal life in its fullness, through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 5:21). It is God’s gift! There was no other way sinners like ourselves could obtain this priceless possession! The wages of sin is death; but God’s free favour has given us life eternal in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is sovereignly given; not loaned to us on certain conditions. Its full and actual realization however the apostle Paul presents as future—“in hope of eternal life” as he says. It is already given; but grace reigns “unto eternal life.” Then the promise made before the ages, and given to believers now, will be fully known in the coming glory, in hope of which we rejoice.
But it is a present possession and in John’s writings the Holy Spirit has shown this. John had learned of the deep, deep love of Jesus. He leaned on His bosom at supper time. He wrote of Him after—who “IS in the bosom of the Father “who made known that Father’s Name—that the love wherewith the Son was loved “before the foundation of the world” might be ours—and that we might rejoice in that eternal love and eternal life even now. These eternal verities are shown to be vitally connected with the Father and the Son. We are warned that there would be those who would “lead astray” the objects of the Father’s love and tender solicitude, therefore 1 John 2:24-25 says, “If what ye have heard from the beginning abide in you, ye also shall abide in the Son and in the Father.” And this is THE PROMISE which He promised us, LIFE ETERNAL.” The Son is here named before the Father because He is the Revealer of the Father, and the bringer and giver of life eternal. He has brought life to us in a world of death! He has brought the abiding and eternal to us In the passing scenes of time! Everlasting praise be His. How cheering and comforting are the words of the Spirit, “He that has the Son has life.”
Seen here as Man and for man, He said, “Even as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son also to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is Son of Man” (John 5:26). He knew what was in the Father’s mind before the ages of time. He knew His will and His promise of life, and said, “This is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes on Him, should have life eternal”; also, “He that believes on THE SON has life eternal” (3:36).
John 1 significantly introduces Him as “THE WORD” in whom “was life.” He was in the beginning with God, and was God. Through Him all things received being. Life was in Him; and when He was here “the life was the light of men,” though not apprehended apart from faith. Indeed, men preferred a life-taker, and they slew “the Originator (or Author) of life” (Acts 3:15).
We are told in 1 Corinthians 2:8, they “crucified the Lord of glory.” They knew not the Son who brought life eternal for men. They knew not the Word in whom was life. None of the world’s leaders knew “the Wisdom of God” we are told in verse 8. That “hidden Wisdom” was “predetermined before the ages of time” for the joy and glory of those who believe on Him. Long ago (Prov. 8:35) “WISDOM” had said, “Whoso finds Me FINDS LIFE, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.” The Son of God has come, and “He that has the Son has life.”