“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11)
Our text for today contains truths which provide great power and comfort for Christians. Let us reflect on some of them.
The word “record” needs amplification. In noun form, it means “the evidence given,” and in verb form it means “testify,” or “witness.” The apostle John used it nine times in verses 7 through 11. Study of our text and its context shows that the record mentioned is none other than the great truth that Christ Jesus was God’s only Son, and that He died as a perfect and fully sufficient sacrifice to provide us life eternal.
In our text, we see that this work of bestowing eternal life is God’s work. It is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). This eternal life is our present possession, for He “hath given” it to us (i.e., in the past). This gift is to individuals—to “us”—not to a nation or even the church, but to those who have believed. Furthermore, this “eternal life” is eternal! It will last for eternity and cannot be taken away. It is inconceivable for an omnipotent God to give “eternal life” temporarily. We are alive in Him, having been born (again) into His family. This is a permanent situation.
The tense shifts to the present in the last phrase of the text. Our “life is in his Son.” We are “in him. . . . This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Our life finds its vitality in living union with the Son. His death and resurrection made life possible, and now His present life is ours. His Spirit, resident within us, provides this vitality, and since the Spirit of God is eternal, our life is eternal. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (v. 13). JDM