By Earl E. Robertson
John wrote, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:11,12). This “record” is God’s witness or testimony, and it is abundant – especially noted in the gospel of John. This fact is affirmatively stated. Only those who have the Son have life; John testifies that life is in the Son of God. To those in the Son at Colosse Paul wrote, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:3,4). There is life in the Son – only in the Son.
The nature of this life is eternal. Since only those who have the Son have life it is obvious that this life is conditional. All do not have this life, but the Lord wants all to have it (2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:3,4). If all do not have it and the Lord wishes all to have it we must conclude that it is conditional. The Christian has this life as he has the Christ and must understand its conditionality. He has it in promise declared the Lord and His apostles (Mark 10:29,30). Here Jesus says “in the world to come eternal life.” The apostle Paul lived in hope of eternal life (Tit. 1:2). He informed the Romans that hope realized is not hope (Rom. 8:24,25). John says, “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life” (1 John 2:25). Inasmuch as this life is conditional on man’s part, it can be forfeited in sin and rebellion. As a believer ceases to believe he ceases to have Him who gives the life. Paul wrote Timothy concerning younger widows, saying, “Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith” (1 Tim. 5:12). Rather than having salvation they have damnation.
John says God “gives” this life. This life is not earned or merited by the sinner. Paul says salvation from God is a gift (Eph. 2:8). The gift of life must, however, be received by the sinner. Does God force salvation upon the sinner? Does God save when one does not want to be saved? God never saves against the will of the -sinner! He saves only those who “obey him” (Heb. 5:8,9). He does not grant entrance into the kingdom to any save the ones who do the will of God (Matt. 7:21). He gives life to those who believe and are baptized (Mark 16:15,16).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 7, p. 206
April 5, 1984