Eternal Life

John 1-6
(As taught in John 1.-6)
No doctrine is divinely learnt that is not learnt in its connection with our blessed Lord and His love and glory. No knowledge of truth that is held by the believer is sanctifying, unless it is the means of exalting, and glorifying, and endearing the Savior to the heart. Every truth in Scripture is revealed in its connection with the one and blessed center of all God's purposes—the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit in the prophets is the Spirit of Christ, as Peter teaches us; and Jesus appeals to God's written word as His great witness, saying to the Jews, "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me." These truths press themselves upon one in searching the early chapters of John's gospel as to the blessed truth of eternal life. The gospel opens' by showing the believer the One in whom this life is. The reader is at once in the presence of his divine Savior. There, before the world was, is the Word of God, the divine and eternal One, who as God made all things, and was before all things which He made. "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." No cold doctrine of a believer's security, but a living and divine person, who is the source of the life which afterwards He gives us as man. And here we learn, that when He made man He made him a being capable of relationship with this life; so that the life is the light of men, a life suited to man according to eternal counsels.
In the third chapter we have passed from eternity to time, and from the glories of the Word of God, Creator of all things, to the Son of man on earth, who has come down from the glory to die a Substitute for men. "The Son of man," says the blessed Lord to Nicodemus, "must be lifted up." He has come down to open heaven for men, and for sinners; and having told Nicodemus what must be, as regards fallen man, if any see God's kingdom—they must be born anew—He now speaks of what must be if He is to give His life to the sinner—He must take man's death, and all its consequences, upon Him to give men eternal life. For' though by creation this life was the light of men, sin had brought man under the penalty of death eternal, and he must perish unless the Son of man should become the Substitute by being lifted up in the sinner's stead. Oh how willingly did He, who alone could stand in such a breach as this, give Himself up to meet all God's holy and righteous claims as to sin, that whosoever "believeth in aim should not perish, but have everlasting life. But Jesus leads us to the love of God, and presents Himself as the gift of God's love, that we might know the blessed truth, that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We are in the presence of the Savior in this third chapter; and in His gift of eternal life to us who believe are secured the abiding favor of God, and the deliverance from all penalty. "He that believeth on Him is not judged" (as the word should be), and the wrath of God does not abide on him. He is, in the favor of God, accepted in Christ, and possesses the life to which no judgment is attached.
In John 4 the teaching goes further. There we read of the gift of the Holy Spirit—Jesus' gift to poor thirsty souls—a well of living and thirst-quenching water, which is in the believer springing up unto eternal life. Here we are entering into the joys of our reconciliation; we are empowered of God to delight in Him, and to rise to the fount whence our blessings flow down; our communion is in eternal life, and we can thus worship the Father, with whom was that eternal life which has been manifested to us, so that our joy should be full; and thus, as our Lord says, "He that drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.”
In the fifth chapter we have another aspect of this glorious truth. We are here in the presence of the Son of God, who works in grace beyond the narrow limits of ordinances. He gives life to dead souls, to those who, besides lying under the sentence of death, as in the third chapter, ready to perish, and the wrath of God abiding on them, are even now spiritually dead and alienated from the life of God. Here the glory of God's dear Son shines out in carrying out His Father's grace, who had wrought in all the Old Testament saints, from Abel downwards. He, the Father's Son, gives life, and quickens the dead. Thus are we now possessors of a life that has called us out from among our fellows, who are under death and judgment. In hearing Jesus' word, and believing on Him that sent Him, we have everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but have passed from the region of death unto life. Here we stand on resurrection ground, and only wait to hear His voice, which shall quicken or change our mortal bodies, to introduce us into the full fruition of life in the resurrection of life.
Let us turn now to the sixth chapter, and we shall see Jesus, the humbled Son of man, whose body was broken, and whose blood was shed, that we might have through Him the daily and hourly food of our newborn souls until that day when, as He says, there “I will raise him up at the last day." What more can our souls need? what more could He say to endear Himself to our souls? In eternity we see Him God over all, blessed forever, the possessor of life, which is our light. In our sins, under God's wrath, ready to perish, we see Him become a man lifted up, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, to give us life and salvation, and further separating us to His own divine joys, making us capable by the Spirit of rising to the sphere of that eternal life in the Father's presence, and putting us in the place of life, leaving forever behind death and judgment; and then, till our bodies share this fullness of life, victorious over sin and death, He becomes our meat and our drink, and we dwell in Him and He in us, who has not only died for us, but who has ascended for us as man, where He was before as God, that He may raise us up to be with Him at the last day, even at His ever-nearing advent. Oh, by His free and changeless love to yield ourselves to Him, that we who live should no more live unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us and arose again