Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Acceptance of Jesus Means Life

Acceptance Means Life (John 5:24)

5:24 This is the truth I tell you--he who listens to my word and believes on him who sent me has eternal life, and is not on the way to judgment, but he has crossed from death to life.

Jesus says quite simply that to accept him is life; and to reject him is death. What does it mean to listen to Jesus' word and to believe in the Father who sent him? To put it at its briefest it means three things. (i) It means to believe that God is as Jesus says he is; that he is love; and so to enter into a new relationship with him in which fear is banished. (ii) It means to accept the way of life that Jesus offers us, however difficult it may be and whatever sacrifices it may involve, certain that to accept it is the ultimate way to peace and to happiness, and to refuse it the ultimate way to death and judgment. (iii) It means to accept the help that the Risen Christ gives and the guidance that the Holy Spirit offers, and so to find strength for all that the way of Christ involves.

When we do that we enter into three new relationships. (i) We enter into a new relationship with God. The judge becomes the father; the distant becomes the near; strangeness becomes intimacy and fear becomes love. (ii) We enter into a new relationship with our fellow men. Hatred becomes love; selfishness becomes service; and bitterness becomes forgiveness. (iii) We enter into a new relationship with ourselves. Weakness becomes strength; frustration becomes achievement; and tension becomes peace.

To accept the offer of Jesus Christ is to find life. Everyone in one sense may be said to be alive; but there are few who can be said to know life in the real sense of the term. When Grenfell was writing to a nursing sister about her decision to come out to Labrador to help in his work there, he told her that he could not offer her much money, but that if she came she would discover that in serving Christ and the people of the country she would have the time of her life. Browning describes the meeting of two people into whose hearts love had entered. She looked at him, he looked at her, and "suddenly life awoke." A modern novelist makes one character say to another: "I never knew what life was till I saw it in your eyes."

The person who accepts the way of Christ has passed from death to life. In this world life becomes new and thrilling; in the world to come eternal life with God becomes a certainty.

From William Barclay's Daily Study Bible
John ch5

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