He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life…
There are three kinds of death.
1. Temporal: the separation of soul from body, the approach of which is usually marked by failure of mental energy and increasing bodily debility.
2. Spiritual: the separation of both body and soul from the Divine favour in this life — the symptoms of which are ignorance of God, neglect of His Word, worldliness, and carelessness about salvation.
3. Eternal: the separation of the whole man from the Divine presence and glory in the world to come — the ills of which will be hope destroyed, despair, the awakening and disappointment of insatiable desire, tormenting sensibility of sin and irremediable woe. This state of things induced by the Fall, Christ has come to remedy. Note —
I. THE HAPPY CONSEQUENCE OF BELIEVING ON THE SON OF GOD. He that believeth on the Son hath —
1. Life in his Redeemer. God gave us life in Adam, which, with its attendant happiness, we lost, This is restored not directly to us, but in His Son.
2. Life in himself. Once he was unconcerned about spiritual things, buried in the cares, business, and pleasures of the world. Now the Spirit of life having breathed upon him, he is alive from the dead, and the life he now lives in the flesh he lives by the faith of the Son of God. He is a fruit-bearing branch of the living Vine, a lively stone of a living Temple. This life derived from Christ is maintained by communion with Him.
3. Life in promise. The "exceeding great and precious promises" bear upon this, and support the Christian amidst his conflicts and weakness.
4. Life in prospect. He shall dwell in a paradise fairer than Eden for ever, without care, pain, disease, sin, in unalloyed happiness. Because his Redeemer lives he shall live also.
II. THE UNHAPPY CONSEQUENCES OF NOT BELIEVING ON THE SON OF GOD. The unbeliever shall not see life. Of all that the believer enjoys he is deprived, and will be, if he persists, for ever. He may have a name to live, but he is dead, condemned already, bearing the eternal wrath of God. If these things be so, then see —
1. What is the great condemning sin of the world, the sin comprehending every other sin — Unbelief. For this makes God a liar, tramples on Christ's salvation, does despite to the Spirit of grace, shuts heaven and opens hell.
2. What is the faith of the gospel. Not a dead, inoperative belief, but a vigorous, influential principle, moved by the Holy Spirit, to serve and please God, to fear His displeasure, to obey His will out of love and not from dread of punishment or hope of reward.
3. Who alone are secure from Divine displeasure. Those only who are found in Christ (Acts 4:10-12).
4. How we may escape God's wrath. By taking shelter in Christ through faith.
(W. Mudge, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.