He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)John 5:24. John evidently designs to refer to that passage in the verse before us, and to state a principle laid down by the Saviour himself. This is the sense of all the important testimony that had ever been borne by God on the subject of salvation, that he who believes in the Lord Jesus already has the elements of eternal life in his soul, and will certainly obtain salvation. Compare the notes at John 17:3.
hath life: not only spiritual life, being quickened by him, and living by faith on him, but eternal life; the knowledge he has of him is eternal life; he has it in faith and hope, and has a right unto it, and the earnest of it, as well as has it in Christ his representative, whom he has, and in whom this life is:
and he that hath not the Son of God; no knowledge of him, nor faith in him, nor enjoyment of him:He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 John 5:12 states the inference from the immediately preceding thought. If the ζωή is originally in the Son, then he who has the Son has with him also the ζωή. With ὁ ἔχων τὸν υἱόν, comp. chap. 1 John 2:23. Changing and weakening the sense, Grotius puts for τὸν υἱόν: verba ilia quae Pater Filio mandavit; even ἔχει τὴν ζωήν he erroneously explains by: jus certum ad vitam aeternam. Whilst John in the first clause says simply τὸν υἱόν, in the second he adds τοῦ Θεοῦ; on this Bengel remarks: habet versus duo cola; in priore non additur Dei, nam fideles norunt Filium; in altero additur, ut demum sciant fideles, quanti sit, non habere.1 John 5:12. μή with the participle does not necessarily make the case hypothetical (cf. note on 1 John 2:4). St. John would have only too many actual instances before him in those days of doctrinal unsettlement.12. A deduction from the preceding clause. If the Son has the life in Himself, then whoever has the Son has the life, and no man can have the one without the other. ‘To have the Son’ must be compared with ‘to have the Father’ in 1 John 2:23. In both cases ‘have’ signifies possession in living union through faith.
hath life] Better, as R.V., hath the life; not merely ‘the life just mentioned’, ‘the life which God has given’, but ‘the life which in the full sense of the word is such’.
he that hath not] As in 1 John 5:10, the negative alternative is stated generally and indefinitely (ὁ μὴ ἔχων). The addition of ‘of God’ is neither fortuitous nor pleonastic. Those who possess Him know that He is the Son of God; those who do not, need to be reminded Whose Son it is that they reject.
The verse constitutes another close parallel with the Gospel: comp. the last words of the Baptist (John 3:36).1 John 5:12. Ὁ ἔχων) he who has, in faith.—τὸν Υἱὸν, the Son) The verse has two clauses: in the former, the Son only is mentioned, without the addition, of God; for the faithful know the Son: in the other this addition is made, that unbelievers may know at length what a serious thing it is not to have Him.—ἔχει, has) In the former part of the sentence, the word has is to be pronounced with emphasis; in the second, the emphatic word is life.Verse 12. - Eternal life is not granted to the whole world, or even to all Christians en masse; it is given to individuals, soul by soul, according as each does or does not accept the Son of God. The order of the Greek is noteworthy - in the first half of the verse the emphasis is on "hath," in the second on "life." Here, as in John 1:4, the article before ζωή should be translated, "hath the life... hath not the life." The insertion of τοῦ Θεοῦ in the second half of the verse points to the magnitude of the loss: the possessor has no need to be told whose Son he has.
The Son of God
Hath the Son, hath not the Son of God, pointing back to God as the giver of life in His Son. Bengel observes: "The verse has two clauses: in the former, of God is not added, because believers know the Son; in the other it is added, that unbelievers may know at length how serious it is not to have Him."
Hath not life
Note the inversion "He that hath the Son hath the life. He that hath not the Son of God, the life hath he not."
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