Monday, February 11, 2008

Doctrines of Grace in the Gospel of John - Part 3

The section of John that I would like to highlight in this post is Chapter 5. In this chapter Jesus heals the lame man at the pool at Bethesda. The religious leaders questioned the man who had been healed because he had obeyed Jesus and was carrying his pallet on the Sabbath. And according to the rules they had created it was unlawful for someone to carry a pallet on the Sabbath. So when the man told them that it was Jesus who had healed him, they turned their venom on him. So when they began persecuting Jesus he said to them: "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." (John 5:17)

It is in this context that John informs us that this statement by Jesus, was well understood by the religious Jews, to be a claim of deity by Jesus. And Jesus' response to this persecution is the main point of this post. Jesus enhances and deepens his explanation of the relationship between the Father and the Son. The text of John continues...

19Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
20"For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.
21"For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.

These are some incredible words of the relationship of Father and Son in the Godhead, and I want to focus on verse 21. Jesus states that He has the ability to give life to whom He wishes. Keep in mind that John's purpose is to demonstrate the deity of Jesus. What could be a more powerful demonstration of the true nature of Jesus than he has the ability to give life to whom He wishes! Now the question is what kind of life are we talking about? Physical life? Spiritual life? In fact Jesus did give physical life to Lazarus as well as Jairus' daughter, but the greater truth here is that Jesus gives spiritual life to whom He wishes!

This section of John 5 continues with the following verses...

24"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

In this verse we see a continuation of the words in verse 21. Now lets put these to verses (21 and 24) together. The correct way to do this is to keep the order of presentation of these truths. The primary truth stated in this section is that Jesus has the ability to give life and the basis of that life giving is the sovereign choice of the God-Man Jesus. Following this truth is the supporting truth of the means of obtaining this spiritual life has been determined by Jesus to be through faith.

In summary then, Jesus has the power to give life to whom He wishes, and the means Jesus prescribed to obtain this life He chose for us to have is through faith in the person and words of the Son, who is God.

What ability could be attributed to Jesus that would have been a stronger indication of who He is? He gives physical life, and more importantly spiritual life to whom He wishes! Praise the Lord!

Thank God for this wonderful truth.

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