THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE
The previous verse which was considered last month, introduces this chapter with the opening words of address made by the Lord Jesus to His Father:
"Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son; that Thy Son may also glorify Thee."
This second verse brings before us in connection with the glory of the Father and the Son two things:
· The Magisterial glory of the Father as seen in what He gives to His Son – "power over all flesh" AV; "authority" NKJV.
· The Mediatorial glory of the Son as seen in what He gives to sinners –
There are clearly hints and inferences to the following:
· Eternal Life is inseparable from the decree of government. It is associated with a grant, a sovereign decree to exercise "authority over all mankind."
· Eternal Life is inseparable from the display of grace. Eternal life is not owed to us, but is bestowed upon us. "That he should give eternal life." We have no 'right' to eternal life. We have no 'birthright' to heaven.
· Eternal Life is inseparable from the dispensing of good. Sinners become the beneficiaries of all that is good. 'Eternal life' is about the essence of life, not merely the extension of life.
If we were to look for a common link that unites the thoughts expressed in this text, it might be found in the word 'give'/'given', a term used in reference to:
· Power – As Thou hast given him power/authority.
· Provision – That he should give eternal life
· People – 'To as many as Thou hast given him'.
It should be observed that the universal sphere over which power is exercised – "all mankind/all flesh; does not imply universal salvation which is the gift of the One who gives "eternal life to as many as Thou hast given him." See John 17.6,9,24; 6.37,39,44,65; 10.27-29; Heb 10.13.
The text is not intended to be a compendium of theology. It is not written to answer your questions about the will of God/the will of man; divine sovereignty/human responsibility; the eternal decree/human decision; election/evangelism. It doesn’t actually mention election, however, what your concern ought to be about is not whether you are elect, but whether you have eternal life. And those who have eternal life are characterized by that humility of mind and manner which relinquishes all hope in man and places all its hope in:
1. GOD. Eternal life is a grant that is permitted and provided solely on the basis of the exclusive authority of God. You cannot demand eternal life, you do not deserve eternal life, you are unable to make deals for eternal life. Man has no authority to purchase for himself, or promise to others eternal life. Only One gives eternal life, and that is God, and that authority to do so is essential to the Father and executed by the Son. There is harmony within the Godhead respecting the end envisaged as well as the means to that end.
2. GUARANTEES. The Father promise a people to the Son. There is a donation and a grant to the One who secures legally the right to offer eternal life to undeserving sinners. "He will see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied." See Isa 49.4-9. Your salvation does not rest upon your resolutions and promises, but is founded upon the agreed terms of success promised by the Father as a reward for the sufferings endured by the Son.
3.GRACE. Your greatest need is eternal life. The plan to provide eternal life engaged the mind and energy of the Godhead, culminating in the Cross of Christ. The free offer of the gospel grounded in the delegated authority of the Son of God – Mt 28.18ff, is issued to all sinners, Jew and Gentile, and it is imperative for your eternal safety that you should press your claim for mercy, not because you are among the deserving, but among the damned, and they are such whom Christ came to save.
I do not know who is chosen unto salvation, but I do know the class which Christ came to save – SINNERS. 1 Tim 1.15. If you know yourself to be a sinner, then I know of a Saviour who offers to you eternal life, and all that come unto him he will in nowise turn away.
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord.