ATP Blog Gospel of John
What do we mean by the word ‘life’? Better yet, what does God mean by that word in His Word? Often people get described as ‘the life of the party’, or ‘that person really lived’. So, really we mean more than just the blood pumping through the veins, including purpose and excitement within the span of the physical lives we live. To really live, then, is to have health and meaning both physically, and emotionally. God takes it a step further, describing true life, and we see this in our passage today.
Life of God “The Father has life in Himself.” (v26a) Scripture’s original language (NT) is Greek, and in that vocabulary, the word for ‘life’ is ZOE, which is defined as “active and vigorous vitality in the physical, emotional, and spiritual realms.” (from Thayer’s Greek Dictionary) Therefore, we see that genuine life in all three realms begins in, and emanates from God the Father. As with so many good things (like love, and justice), life doesn’t just come from God, God is life … so, life without God isn’t really life!
Life of Jesus “He has granted the Son to have life in Himself.” (26b) This point should be self-evident if you believe that Jesus Christ (the Son of God) is God (part of the Trinity), yet Jesus is describing how, even in His physical manifestation, God is life. This is what makes it possible for the rest of us humans to have life given to us.
Life of You “[God] has given [Jesus Christ] authority to execute judgment.” What is this judgment, and what does it have to do with life? Following the conversation so far, we have seen that true life comes from God, and now through the passing of authority, is comes through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thus, the judgment Jesus Christ is to make, discerns who this life gets passed on to. You then, can become a recipient of true life if the Son chooses to give it to you. How does Christ make this judgment? We understand it from two perspectives: according to the ‘will of the Father’ (v30b), and the choice of the human to believe in Christ (John 3:16); one does not happen without the other—they are simultaneous. This is the interaction of human free will, and the principle of Divine Election (a topic for another day).
Life of Eternity “The resurrection of life …” or “the resurrection of condemnation.” In that judgment, which Christ makes, there are two consequences … both involve resurrection. Since our souls are eternal, but our current bodies are not, and our souls need to be in a physical body, there must be a resurrection. Those who choose Christ are resurrected to true life, which is eternity with true vitality and purpose in a new eternal body. Those who choose to reject Christ, are resurrected to condemnation, which is eternity with no vitality or purpose, the opposite of true life, in Hell.
Life of Choice So, what do you choose? Live for Christ, submitted to the will of the Father, and receive true life, or live for yourself, and receive short-term pleasures, followed by condemnation. The choice is simple, yet profound, and with very serious, eternal, consequences. Make the choice while you have physical life, because after that, your choice is set for eternity!