Judgment and Salvation
© 2023 C. O. Bishop
44Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.
46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
This is a powerful passage: It identifies and equates
- Jesus with the Father, (he that seeth me seeth him that sent me) and
- His Word with the Father’s Word, (even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.) and
- His Father’s Word with Eternal Life. (His commandment is life everlasting.)
In terms of logical order, and in light of the fact that He has already been identified as the Living Word, He has just made the claim that He is Eternal Life. Later, we will see that this is a pretty close approximation of what He was getting at.
Identifying with the Father:
Jesus will increasingly identify Himself as “being One with the Father” and make statements to the effect that “If you have seen Jesus, then you have seen the Father.” He had already claimed to be deity, using God’s personal name to identify Himself, in John 8:57, when He said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” The Jews correctly understood that claim and sought to kill Him for blasphemy.
But we have observed before, that if someone makes such a claim, and there is no question that this is really what they said, then there are only three real possibilities:
- They are a liar and a blasphemer, because they knowingly and falsely claimed to be God. (This is what the Jews assumed about Jesus, and they sought to kill Him.) Or…
- They are mentally disabled, in some way, so as not to be accountable for what they say. (No, they are not God, but they also cannot be blamed for their words, as they are not in their right mind. They are rather to be pitied.) Or…
- They really are God, in which case they should be prepared to prove it. And Jesus spent three years proving it over and over! So we have to respond accordingly. We have to make a choice!
Identifying His Word With the Word of the Father
“Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.”
We sing about this, every Christmas: “Word of the Father, now in Flesh appearing!” (O Come let us Adore Him!)
When we read John 1:14, where it says, “And the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His Glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of Grace and Truth!”, we meditate on something almost unimaginable.
God’s Spoken Word
We tend to find the idea just too much to grasp that God’s spoken Word, who, in verse one, already had been identified as being God, could take upon Himself physical life. I try to understand the fact that God’s Spoken Word became a human child, growing up as a human man, and becoming our sacrifice forever. We struggle with these concepts, unless, by faith, we also accept the truth that , “In the Beginning, God created….” You see, in Hebrews 11:3, we read that God spoke the world into existence (including every form of life, whether spiritual or biological.)
If His spoken word can cause an entire universe, and everything in it, to spring into being, then it seems a very simple thing that His Spoken Word could be, itself, made to take on physical, biological life. (“In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of Men…”)
When Jesus Spoke, the people were hearing the Voice of the Father… He is the voice of the Father…the first and final communication of God!
God Spoke To Us!
Hebrews 1:1, 2 says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds.”
Yes, He spoke through a variety of prophets over the millennia; but now, His final communication has been revealed! God the Son, the Living Word, has been manifested to the world, and we all have choices to make regarding that revelation.
Jesus assured His audience that He only spoke exactly what God told Him to speak. They were literally hearing the “Word of the Father, now in Flesh appearing!” So, if they believed Him, they believed God the Father. Genesis 15:6 says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as Righteousness.”
And that is how people have always gained a relationship with God, down through the ages! When we choose to believe God, rather than believing the World, rather, even, than believing our own corrupt thought-patterns and self-deceit, we embrace Him as our only Hope. And, just as He promised the thief on the Cross, we can expect to be with Him in eternity.
Romans 10:17 says that “Faith cometh by hearing, and Hearing by the Word of God.” We each had to hear His message before we could believe it. And that is what we owe to the people of the world around us, as well. That is why Paul said, in Romans 1:14, “I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise.”
Identifying His Father’s Word with Eternal Life
“Jesus said, in John 12:50, “And I know that His commandment is life everlasting…” But, this is not the only place where He makes such comments.
In John 17:3, Jesus said, “And this is Eternal Life, that they may know Thee, the One true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” The word translated as “know,” here, is the Greek word, “ginosko.” It means a personal, experiential knowledge…not just “knowing a fact.”
We gain that relational, experiential knowledge of God, initially, through believing Him, so as to receive Him as our Savior. But faith leads to more faith, and we grow in that experiential knowledge, as we learn more of His Word, and as we believe and Obey Him through His Word. And, in that way, we get to experience eternal life in the here and now.
One Promise, Two Conditions, Three Clauses
In John 5:24 Jesus said, “He that heareth my Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath eternal life and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto Life.”
Do you see how precious that promise is? He said, if you Hear Him and Believe Him (those are the only two conditions,) then you have eternal life now! You do not have to “wait until you die, to find out for sure.” (There are many people who insist that “you cannot know for sure that you have eternal life;” but we see that not only Jesus says that you can know, God says He wants you to know!
1st John 5:11-13 says “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. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life; and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”)
Further, He promised that, if you hear Him and believe Him, you will never again be condemned by God! That is a great source of assurance for broken, damaged, and wounded spirits like ours, who have been hammered by condemnation from human disapproval, spiritual onslaughts, and self-doubt. God says, (Ephesians 1:6) that once you have entered into this relationship by faith, you are “Accepted in the Beloved!” In Ephesians 1:7, He says you have redemption, and the forgiveness of sins! All of this is present tense! In Romans 8:1, He says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!” And Jesus said there never will be again! (…and shall not come into condemnation….)
God says, once you belong to Him, He is eternally on your side, and you are permanently connected to Him. He will never let you go! (Hebrews 13:5 says, “…He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor will I ever forsake thee.”)
And Jesus says that you have permanently crossed over from death into life. Jesus confirmed this in John 10:27, 28, when He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish!”
(That’s a pretty amazing Promise!)
Equating Jesus’s Words with Eternal Life
In John 6:63, (among other things,) Jesus said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
In that specific context, the people had been arguing with Jesus about the teaching He had just given regarding the bread of Life. They were especially upset after He told them that “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life.” I can understand why they were confused and arguing: people today are still confused and arguing about that verse. Some teachers claim that it means that you gain eternal life by taking Communion. At one time, C. S. Lewis actually taught this, in his book, “Mere Christianity.” (I hope he later changed his mind.)
But the answer becomes pretty clear, when we read verse 63, where Jesus said,“It is the Spirit that quickeneth (that means, “gives life”); The flesh (anything “you can do” with your body) profiteth nothing: the Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life!”
Jesus then went on to say, “But there are some of you that believe not.” (John comments, saying, “Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him.”)
The WORD Is Spirit and The WORD is Life!
Can you see the connection, here? Jesus said His words were Spirit and His Words were Life. And he concluded that there were some who had failed to believe…showing that their disbelief (failing to receive His Word) was what barred them from receiving the Eternal life He was offering to them.
He is the Word! Back in John 1:12, it says, “But, as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” God chose this way for sinners to approach him. One great thing about this God-ordained path to approach Him, is that it cannot be forced by anyone else, and it also cannot be prevented by anyone else. No government (well-meaning or not) can establish a state religion and force people to believe. And no Government (or any other authority) can prevent people from believing.
What is Our Part in the Plan?
The only thing they can try to control is the spreading of the Gospel: the preaching of that message of Eternal Life. And sharing that message is our God-assigned task. That is our part in the Plan of God for the salvation of a lost world. So long as we are here on earth, we are called to be His witnesses, and His Ambassadors. We only have this one life in which to join Jesus in the work of reaching the World He died to save.
Lord Jesus, fix in our minds the urgency of telling people how they can have eternal life. Raise us up as your witnesses, and ambassadors, offering the Word, the Bread of Life, to the lost souls around us. Don’t allow us to continue in complacency.