By Dr. Robert R. Seyda


CHAPTER FIVE (Lesson LXXIII) 02/22/23

5:12 Whoever has the Son has life, but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

With all the Apostle John’s words in mind, John Wesley (1703-1791) says that the fact that holiness and happiness are united and sometimes fashioned in the inspired writings as “the kingdom of God,” or “the kingdom of heaven.” It is termed “the kingdom of God” because it is the immediate fruit of God’s reigning in the soul. He uses His mighty power to set up His throne in our hearts; they are instantly filled with “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” It is also called “the kingdom of heaven” because heaven is open to receive and reward their soul with eternal life.

Whoever they are that experience this, can declare before angels and mankind, “Everlasting life is won, Glory on earth has begun!” According to the constant tenor of Scripture bears record that God “Has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. They who have the Son” (reigning in their heart) “have life, even life everlasting.”[1] For “this is life eternal, to know the only true God, and Jesus the Anointed One whom You sent.”[2] And those to whom this is given may confidently address God as their heavenly Father. [3]

With scholarly meditation, James Macknight (1721-1800) notes that as the word “have” (KJV) is used in verse twelve in the sense of acknowledging,[4] the scope of the passage directs us to take it in that sense here. For notwithstanding “have” in the last clause of this verse is used in its ordinary signification, it is not uncommon in Scripture to find the same word used in different senses in the same passage.[5]

More concerned with the Church than its sacraments, William Jones of Nyland (1726-1800) points out that in the text, the Apostle John expresses several vital thoughts: First, our unique relationship to the Lord Jesus the Anointed One by saying. “He that has the Son.” What are we to understand by these words? What is involved in them? (1) In His existence as Savior, not only in His historical reality but in His present existence. (2) In His perfection. It will profit nothing to believe in Jesus as an ordinary Man, having our human nature’s imperfections, weaknesses, and sinful tendencies. Faith in such a being would not result in any accession of strength. Instead, we must consider our faith in Him as “holy, sinless, and righteous.” Thus, we are motivated to trust in His Divinity as Jesus God’s Son, by believing in Him. (3) In His unfailing interest in us.

Faith in His existence and perfection and Divinity will not benefit us unless we believe He cares for us and desires to bless and save us. Now, we need what I have called a realizing faith in Him. Such faith requires a far greater and more profound thing than intellectual assent. As Canon Liddon says, “When the soul in very truth responds to the message of God, the complete responsive act of faith is threefold ‒ simultaneous acceptance from the intelligence, from the heart, and the will.[6]

More concerned with the Church than its sacraments, William Jones of Nyland (1726-1800) points out that those who hold this relationship are possessors of the highest life. “Those that have the Son have life.” In verse twelve, what are we to understand by “the life” in the Greek text? (1) It is not mere physical life. The most wicked have this. Fallen angels have existed for thousands of years.[7] Therefore, to argue for the infinite or finite of existence from the Apostle John’s teaching concerning “the life” is a gross perversion of his teaching. (2) Not mere intellectual life. Such people as Voltaire, Byron, et al. possessed this to a high degree, but who would affirm that they had “the Son” and “the life”? (3) Not mere emotional life. Many with sympathy are abundant and active, who sincerely pity the wretched, who have often been moved to tears as they contemplated the woes of the Man of sorrows, who yet have neither “the Son” nor “the life.”

The life which John writes about is “the new life of God in humanity.” This new life may be viewed as a new governing affection. By faith in the Anointed One, a person is regenerated, and their ruling love is changed. Their deepest and strongest fondness is no longer earthly, selfish, or sinful but heavenly, humble, and holy; they love God supremely. They are brought into a vital and blessed relationship with God. Divine love is life. “The mind of the Spirit is life.”[8] He who has the Son has this life. He has it now, not in its most glorious development, but really and increasingly.[9] Under this supreme love for God, all the faculties of the spiritual nature advance toward perfection in blessed harmony with His holy will.[10]

We see here one of many illustrations of the divine perfections of the Word of God, says Cameron. Jesus came by water and blood, but He went by blood and water to God. The order in which God gave the command for the Tabernacle directed that the ark of the covenant should be made first before the brass altar. Jesus was in the bosom of the Father before His death on the cross. So also, the arrangement of the vessels of the Tabernacle shows the same order as symbols of truth. Coming out from the Most Holy Place, the priest must pass by the basin of water before reaching the blood of the altar, but in returning, the blood came first and afterward the water.

The reality of what we learn in these types was fulfilled when Jesus came from God and returned to God. In the power of Life, as set forth by the water, He came from God, the Holy One, bearing our sins in His body to the altar of the cross. Here sins were cleansed by His blood, and then He returned to God in the victory of the same spotless life He brought with Him. The living One came from God to die but returned to God, alive forevermore. “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!”[11] [12]

For example, a man with a heartfelt friendship with hymn writerJohn Newton,[13] Thomas Scott (1747-1821) finds that the Scriptures are indeed a message from God to us concerning the person and salvation of the Anointed One. “This is the record that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Therefore, those that have the Son have life, and those that do not have the Son of God have no life.”[14] This is the center of revelation, in which all the lines meet from every part of its circumference. The everlasting mercy of God in purposing salvation for sinners; His infinite wisdom, forming the grand design of glorifying His justice and holiness, even in pardoning and blessing those who deserve punishment; His unfathomable love, in giving His only-begotten Son to be the Savior of the world; the great mystery of godliness, God “manifest in the flesh,” Emmanuel purchasing the church with His blood; the love of the Anointed One in His obedience to dying for us on the cross; His glorious resurrection, ascension, and mediatorial exaltation; all constitute the central and most essential part of God’s message to the world. “This,” He says, by a voice from heaven, “is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear what He has to say.”[15] [16]

We must endeavor to explain this language and show its appropriateness and energy. The Apostle Paul says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through,” or “Jesus our Lord the Anointed One.”[17] Then John says, “This is the record, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son: he that has the Son has life, and he that does not have the Son of God does not have not life.”[18] The salvation of the Anointed One is completed, as far as His mediatory work is concerned: but who are they that will eventually be  “saved from eternal punishment through Him?”[19] To this question, the Scripture answers with the most decided precision; “those that receive Him,”[20]they that believe in Him,”[21] and “they that are found in Him.”[22]  Union with the Anointed One is necessary to commune with Him: He saves all those, and those only, related to Him. True faith forms this union and relation and makes the sinner a partaker of the Anointed One and His salvation.[23]

In another place, the atoning sacrifices of the Mosaic law, which typified the redemption of the Anointed One, were offered upon Mount Zion. Then King David inquired, “Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?[24] It draws a character that entirely accords with a true believer in the Final Covenant. Thus we see which of the professors of true religion will stand accepted on the day of judgment, but this has nothing to do with open neglect or opposition to revealed truth or refusal of the Gospel salvation plan. On the contrary, in perfect harmony with these Scriptures, our Lord describes His true disciples, “whoever does my heavenly Father’s will, the same is my brother, my sister, and my mother.” “Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it.”[25] [26]

As a potential young theologian, Joseph Benson (1749-1821), at the age of fifteen, preached in cottage prayer meetings, notes that this is a message testified to by the six witnesses ‒ three in heaven and three on earth. It tells us “That God sincerely and freely offered to humanity and conferred on true believers in particular; eternal life.”Namely, giving them title to it in their justification and adoption,[27] the fitness for it, in their new creation or sanctification,[28] and a foretaste or token of it by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in their hearts,[29] allowing them to enjoy communion with the Father and the Son;[30] and through that, as it were, “to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,[31]and have their “conversation in heaven.[32] And this life is in His Son whose doctrine has revealed it;[33] whose merits have procured it; whose Spirit has imparted the beginning of it; and whose example will conduct us to the complete possession of it. In other words, by whom it was purchased, and in whom it is treasured; so that they have all the springs, and the fulness of it, in themselves, to communicate to His body, the Church, first in grace and then in glory.

Benson continues by saying that although the Apostle John has spoken mainly of the three in heaven and of the three on earth, who bear witness continually, he deferred mentioning, till now, what it is they are witnessing. Therefore, introducing it last, and after so much preparation, might make a stronger impression on the minds of his readers. They possess saving knowledge communicated by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation by having Him.[34]

Having a living faith in Him, working by love,[35] leads to a genuine interest in Him, as a wife has in her husband;[36] and vital union with Him, such as a branch has with the tree in which it grows;[37] or such as a member of the human body has with the head.[38] A consequence of that interest and union with Him brings conformity to having the same mind as the Anointed One and living as He lived.[39] The Anointed One becomes wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption to them.[40] A believer having the Son has spiritual life here and is entitled to eternal life hereafter. But those who do not have the Son have no interest in the benefits that union with Him through the Spirit, says Benson, that conformity, more or less, to His image. The Anointed One has not enlightened them as to His wisdom, justified as His righteousness, renewed as His sanctification. Therefore, whatever they may profess, whatever orthodoxy of sentiment, regularity of conduct, or form of godliness, are alienated from the life of God[41] and have neither spiritual life now nor eternal life hereafter. In other words, they have part of Him.[42]

[1] 1 John 5:11, 12

[2] John 17:3

[3] Wesley, John, The Works of: First Series of Sermons, Sermon 7, p. 142

[4] 1 John 2:23

[5] Macknight, James: Apostolic Epistles with Commentary, Vol. VI, p. 115

[6] Jones, William, The Pulpit Commentary Vol. 22, The First Epistle of John, p. 162-163

[7] 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6

[8] Romans 8:6

[9] Galatians 2:20

[10] Jones, William: The Pulpit Commentary, op. cit., Vol. 22, p. 163

[11] Romans 5:10

[12] Cameron, Robert: The First Epistle of John, or, God Revealed in Life, Light, and Love, op. cit., Logos

[13] Newton, John: Composer of “Amazing Grace

[14] 1 John 5:11-12

[15] Matthew 3:17; 17:5

[16] Scott, Thomas: Sermons, Sermon I, The Truth and Importance of Scripture Revelation, pp. 340-341

[17] Romans 6:23

[18] 1 John 5:11-12

[19] Romans 5:9

[20] John 1:12

[21] Ibid. 12:44

[22] Philippians 3:9

[23] Scott, Thomas: Sermons, Sermon VI, On Regeneration, p. 384

[24] Psalm 15:1

[25] Matthew 12:49-50; Luke 11:28

[26] Scott, Thomas: Sermons, Sermon IX, Final Retribution of Believers and Unbelievers, p. 413

[27] Titus 3:7; Romans 8:17

[28] Colossians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:22, 24

[29] Ephesians 1:14

[30] 1 John 1:3

[31] Ephesians 2:6

[32] Philippians 3:20

[33] 1 John 5:11

[34] Ephesians 1:17; Matthew 11:27

[35] Galatians 2:20; 5:6

[36] Romans 7:4

[37] John 15:4

[38] 1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 12:5

[39] Philippians 2:5

[40] 1 Corinthians 1:30

[41] Ephesians 4:18

[42] Benson, Joseph: Commentary of the Old and New Testaments, op. cit, p. 347

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s