Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 5:25-27 (Holman) AI assure you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. And He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man.@
In verse 24, we saw spiritual death is a terrible thing. However, it is not hopeless. Jesus came to resurrect people from spiritual death. Jesus has been given the authority by God the Father to give spiritual life (v. 21).
Spiritual life is given to anyone Jesus wills to give it to. He wills it shall be given only to those who believe in Him. Not every person receives spiritual life. It is given only to those who hear and believe in Jesus.
If we would pass from death unto life, we must hear the Lord Jesus, pay attention to Him, and believe, that is, trust and commit. Certain conditions must be met, but they are simple, easy to accomplish.
God never meant for it to be complicated for us to be saved. Much about God we do not fully understand. The mysteries of Jesus= divinity and power are deep, but the way to receive spiritual life from Him is plain and easy to understand.
Many doctrines remain a deep mystery. But God has spoken very clearly on this issue of salvation. If we trust Jesus, we shall live; if not, we remain dead.
At this point an important question has to be raised: AHow can a dead person do anything, including believing?@ If one is dead, he can do nothing, right? Wrong!
There is one thing every dead body will eventually do. They have been so made that eventually they will all awaken at the voice of Jesus. ADo not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out B those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of judgment@ (John 5:28-29).
If we are in spiritual death, the only thing we can do spiritually unto God is what our dead body will do someday B respond to the call of God. We have been made in such a way that we can do this one thing. Dead spirits and dead bodies can respond to the voice of God.
God calls the lost to respond to Him. This process is called conviction. The Holy Spirit comes to warn a sinner of his actual condition.
The first sin of which the Holy Spirit convicts is unbelief, spiritual death. AWhen He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in Me@ (John 16:8-9).
Conviction of sin is merely a sinner seeing himself as he is, and as God has seen him all along. When the Spirit alters a sinner=s good opinion of his or her own self, the Spirit then alters their bad opinions of God.
The sinner sees himself as undone and then flees to God for help. Once this is done, there is spiritual life and all of God=s blessing is imparted through that life.
A person then, and only then, lives unto God, breathes unto God, and moves toward God. Only after conversion happens can a person understand Jesus= claim about our passing from death unto life.
The life Jesus gives is not reserved for the distant future, but is meant to be a present possession. AAn hour is coming, and is now here@ (v. 25). Spiritual life will be nobler, grander, fuller, larger, and more blessed in the future, but belongs to us now.
Life in Heaven is not different in kind from the Christian life here. The difference is degree, circumstance, and location. Limitations of sin and hindrances of earthliness shall be removed.
What we have within us here and now shall break forth in Heaven unfettered and free, expanding into perpetual delight. The life of Heaven can be ours now if we will respond to God=s call.
The lost will be judged by the very One who alone can save them. Since Jesus is the only hope for salvation, once He announces their everlasting ruin, their condition is remediless. Better never to be born than never to be born again.