He that heareth my word - To “hear,” in this place, evidently denotes not the outward act of hearing, but to receive in a proper manner; to suffer it to make its proper impression on the mind; to obey. The word “hear” is often used in this sense, Matthew 11:15; John 8:47; Acts 3:23. Many persons outwardly hear the gospel who neither understand nor obey it.
My word - My doctrine, my teaching. All that Jesus taught about Himself, as well as about the Father.
On him that sent me - On the Father, who, in the plan of redemption, is represented as “sending” his Son to save men. See John 3:17. Faith in God, who sent his Son, is here represented as being connected with everlasting life; but there can be no faith in him who “sent” his Son, without faith also in him who is “sent.” The belief of one of the true doctrines of religion is connected with, and will lead to, the belief of all.
Hath everlasting life - The state of man by nature is represented as death in sin, Ephesians 2:1. Religion is the opposite of this, or is “life.” The “dead” regard not anything. They are unaffected by the cares, pleasures, amusements of the world. They hear neither the voice of merriment nor the tread of the living over their graves. So with sinners. They are unmoved with the, things of religion. They hear not the voice of God; they see not his loveliness; they care not for his threatenings. But religion is “life.” The Christian lives with God, and feels and acts as if there was a God. Religion, and its blessings here and hereafter, are one and the same. The happiness of heaven is living for God - being sensible of his presence, and glory, and power - and rejoicing in that. There shall be no more “death” there, Revelation 21:4. This “life,” or this religion, whether on earth or in heaven, is the same - the same joys extended and expanded forever. Hence, when a man is converted, it is said that he “has” everlasting life; not merely shall have but is already in possession of that life or happiness which shall be everlasting. It is life begun, expanded, ripening for the skies. He has already entered on his inheritance - that inheritance which is everlasting.
Shall not come into condemnation - He was by nature under condemnation. See John 3:18. Here it is declared that he shall not return to that state, or he will not be again condemned. This promise is sure; it is made by the Son of God, and there is no one that can pluck them out of his hand, John 10:28. Compare the notes at Romans 8:1.
But is passed from death unto life - Has “passed over” from a state of spiritual death to the life of the Christian. The word translated “is passed” would be better expressed by “has passed.” It implies that he has done it voluntarily; that none compelled him; and that the passage is made unto “everlasting” life. Because Christ is the author of this life in the soul, he is called the “Life” John 1:4; and as he has “always” existed, and is the Source of “all life,” he is called the “eternal life,” 1 John 5:20.
He that heareth my word - My doctrine - and believeth on him that sent me - he who credits my Divine mission, that I am come to give light and life to the world by my doctrine and death - hath eternal life - the seed of this life is sown in his heart the moment he believes - and shall not come into condemnation, εις κρισιν, into judgment - that which will speedily come on this unbelieving race; and that which shall overwhelm the wicked in the great day.
But is passed from death unto life - Μεταβεβηκεν, Has changed his country, or place of abode. Death is the country where every Christless soul lives. The man who knows not God lives a dying life, or a living death; but he who believes in the Son of God passes over from the empire of death, to the empire of life. Reader! thou wast born in death: hast thou yet changed the place of thy natural residence? Remember that to live in sin is to live in death; and those who live and die thus shall die eternally.
The word of God is the seed. Every seed has in itself a germinating principle. In it the life of the plant is enfolded. So there is life in God's word. Christ says, “The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life.” John 5:24. In every command and in every promise of the word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized. He who by faith receives the word is receiving the very life and character of God. COL 38.1
Every seed brings forth fruit after its kind. Sow the seed under right conditions, and it will develop its own life in the plant. Receive into the soul by faith the incorruptible seed of the word, and it will bring forth a character and a life after the similitude of the character and the life of God. COL 38.2
The teachers of Israel were not sowing the seed of the word of God. Christ's work as a teacher of truth was in marked contrast to that of the rabbis of His time. They dwelt upon traditions, upon human theories and speculations. Often that which man had taught and written about the word, they put in place of the word itself. Their teaching had no power to quicken the soul. The subject of Christ's teaching and preaching was the word of God. He met questioners with a plain, “It is written.” “What saith the Scriptures?” “How readest thou?” At every opportunity, when an interest was awakened by either friend or foe, He sowed the seed of the word. He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Himself the living Word, points to the Scriptures, saying, “They are they which testify of Me.” And “beginning at Moses and all the prophets,” He opened to His disciples “in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” John 5:39; Luke 24:27. COL 38.3Read in context »
Bidding His hearers marvel not, Christ opened before them, in still wider view, the mystery of the future. “The hour cometh,” He said, “in which all that are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done ill, unto the resurrection of judgment.” John 5:28, 29, R. V. DA 211.1
This assurance of the future life was that for which Israel had so long waited, and which they had hoped to receive at the Messiah's advent. The only light that can lighten the gloom of the grave was shining upon them. But self-will is blind. Jesus had violated the traditions of the rabbis, and disregarded their authority, and they would not believe. DA 211.2
The time, the place, the occasion, the intensity of feeling that pervaded the assembly, all combined to make the words of Jesus before the Sanhedrin the more impressive. The highest religious authorities of the nation were seeking the life of Him who declared Himself the restorer of Israel. The Lord of the Sabbath was arraigned before an earthly tribunal to answer the charge of breaking the Sabbath law. When He so fearlessly declared His mission, His judges looked upon Him with astonishment and rage; but His words were unanswerable. They could not condemn Him. He denied the right of the priests and rabbis to question Him, or to interfere with His work. They were invested with no such authority. Their claims were based upon their own pride and arrogance. He refused to plead guilty of their charges, or to be catechized by them. DA 211.3
Instead of apologizing for the act of which they complained, or explaining His purpose in doing it, Jesus turned upon the rulers, and the accused became the accuser. He rebuked them for the hardness of their hearts, and their ignorance of the Scriptures. He declared that they had rejected the word of God, inasmuch as they had rejected Him whom God had sent. “Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me.” John 5:39, R. V. DA 211.4
In every page, whether history, or precept, or prophecy, the Old Testament Scriptures are irradiated with the glory of the Son of God. So far as it was of divine institution, the entire system of Judaism was a compacted prophecy of the gospel. To Christ “give all the prophets witness.” Acts 10:43. From the promise given to Adam, down through the patriarchal line and the legal economy, heaven's glorious light made plain the footsteps of the Redeemer. Seers beheld the Star of Bethlehem, the Shiloh to come, as future things swept before them in mysterious procession. In every sacrifice Christ's death was shown. In every cloud of incense His righteousness ascended. By every jubilee trumpet His name was sounded. In the awful mystery of the holy of holies His glory dwelt. DA 211.5Read in context »
It is God that circumcises the heart. The whole work is the Lord's from the beginning to the end. The perishing sinner may say: “I am a lost sinner; but Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. He says, ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (Mark 2:17). I am a sinner, and He died upon Calvary's cross to save me. I need not remain a moment longer unsaved. He died and rose again for my justification, and He will save me now. I accept the forgiveness He has promised.” 1SM 392.1
Christ is a risen Saviour; for, though He was dead, He has risen again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us. We are to believe with the heart unto righteousness, and with the mouth make confession unto salvation. Those who are justified by faith will make confession of Christ. “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). The great work that is wrought for the sinner who is spotted and stained by evil is the work of justification. By Him who speaketh truth he is declared righteous. The Lord imputes unto the believer the righteousness of Christ and pronounces him righteous before the universe. He transfers his sins to Jesus, the sinner's representative, substitute, and surety. Upon Christ He lays the iniquity of every soul that believeth. “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 1SM 392.2
Christ made satisfaction for the guilt of the whole world, and all who will come to God in faith, will receive the righteousness of Christ, “who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Our sin has been expiated, put away, cast into the depths of the sea. Through repentance and faith we are rid of sin, and look unto the Lord our righteousness. Jesus suffered, the just for the unjust. 1SM 392.3Read in context »
Many who profess to be Christ's followers are unwilling to closely examine their own hearts, to see whether they have passed from death unto life. Some lean upon an old experience, seeming to think a mere profession of the truth will save them; but God's Word reveals the terrible fact that all such are cherishing a false hope.... OHC 162.4Read in context »