And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:11-12)
What Do You Have?
John is very clear about where salvation comes from. Eternal life has been given to all men by the grace of God and His love to redeem sinful man. The testimony of the first-century church was that no other name under heaven could bring peace to the troubled souls of those who wrestled with the conflicts of the spirit of man. Whether a person believes in God or not the reality of the need for peace is experienced by all men. Sin brings its consequences to bear upon every human being and the struggle of life is trying to find a place to find shelter from the pains of guilt, shame, remorse and regret that continually plague the hearts of men. Sadly most try to find their answers in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride of life. This is the ploy of the great deceiver who convinces men to follow his path of pleasure to their own destruction. The testimony of God is that life is not about the here and now but something difficult for the human mind to comprehend: eternity. Trying to find the answers to life knows the certainty that death is but a bridge that takes the existence of man from the shadow of life to the reality of life without end. Understanding the nature of what is beyond the vale of death is believing that God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice and promise to allow those who would believe on His Son to live with eternal life. This will be a place where there is no guilt, no shame, no remorse, and no regret. A place where there is no pain and no sorrow. The testimony is the eternal promise from God who cannot lie. There has never been a time that God has promised something and His word was not validated by His promise coming true. The gift of eternal life is given by God, not taken by a man. Grace is the only measure of salvation in eternal life.
Man does not deserve the grace of God nor His favor. There is nothing in man that appealed to the Creator as a redeeming factor since the evil nature of man killed His perfect, sinless Son. The unmerited favor of God chose to save man giving him life in the death of the Son. Life is in the Son of God but this life could not come without the death of the Son of God. Jesus knew He would suffer and die a most horrible manner. The crucifixion was the cruelest form of sacrifice known to man and Jesus bore the cross to declare the cruel nature of sin. He was scourged, beaten and nailed to a tree so that men could enjoy the grace of a loving God. Suffering through the abuse of men who railed against Him, bitterly accused Him, blasphemed Him and hated Him with passion the Son of God asked the Father to forgive them and yielded up His spirit allowing these same men to find redemption through His blood. Life came from death. Joy came from sorrow. Peace came through conflict. God gave eternal life and that life is in His Son Jesus Christ. There is salvation in no other name because there is no other man who lived a perfect life like Jesus. The deaths of great men pale in comparison to the death of God’s Son. Finding the empty tomb is what separates the death of Jesus from every person born on the face of the earth. Peter argued at Pentecost the tomb of David was still known and if men desired could find his bones entombed. This would not be the case when Jesus was buried. Life is in the Son of God because His tomb was found empty.
God has given eternal life and this life is found in His Son. There is nothing more the Father will do or can do to show man His eternal love to save Him. Grace is defined by the testimony that God has given all men eternal life and the place to find this eternal life is in Jesus Christ. Now comes the hard and challenging part: men have to accept the life of Jesus and embrace the saving grace of God. One who has the Son has life but those who do not have the Son of God will not find eternal life. Obedience to the word has always been the deciding factor for men. Belief alone has never saved the soul as many have believed in Jesus but refused to accept His will. Having Jesus is more than a theological acceptance of Jesus but a willingness to keep His commandments. Jesus had said during His ministry that if a man loved Him he would follow His commandments. Life is in the Son of God but man must accept the grace of God and then follow His will. Faith without works is dead and a man is justified by works, not by faith only. Either the heart has Christ as Lord or the heart does not. The deciding factor of salvation is not that God has given eternal life or that life is in the Son of God. What makes a difference in eternal life for the individual is whether they have Christ or not and they are following His will. The love of God is found in keeping His commandments and as John noted earlier, His commandments are not burdensome. God has given man His Son as a sacrifice to redeem man. Now the decision is where a man finds himself. What do you have? Do you have Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son does not have eternal life.