1 John 5:12
He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
I. CONCERNING THE LIVING. "He that hath the Son hath life."
1. I shall remark, in the first place, that having the Son is good evidence of eternal life, from the fact that faith by which a man receives Christ is in itself a living act. Furthermore, faith in Jesus is good evidence of life, because of the things which accompany it. No soul asks for pardon or obtains it till he has felt that sin is an evil for which pardon is necessary; that is to say, repentance always conies with faith. Where there is faith, again, there is always prayer. So might I say that the consequences of receiving Christ are also good evidences of heavenly life; for when a man receives the Son of God he obtains a measure of peace and joy; and peace with God and joy in the Holy Ghost are not to be found in the sepulchres of dead souls.
2. The possession of the Lord Jesus Christ is the evidence of faith in many ways. It is God's mark upon a living soul. Whatever else we cannot see, if a simple trust in Jesus is discernible in a convert, we need feel no suspicions, but receive him at once as a brother beloved. Moreover, the possession of the Lord Jesus Christ becomes a clear evidence of life, because, indeed, it is in some sense the source, fountain, and nourishment of life. While the branch is vitally in the stem it will have life; if it is not always bearing fruit, yet it always has life; and thus the fact of having the Son becomes an evidence of life, because it is the source of life. In another aspect of it, having the Son is not only the source of life, but the result of life. Now, when a man receives Jesus into his soul as life from the dead, his faith is the sure indicator of a spiritual and mysterious life within him, in the power of which he is able to receive the Lord. Jesus is freely preached to you, His grace is free as the air, but the dead do not breathe that air — those who breathe it are, beyond all doubt, alive.
3. Let me further remark that the possession of the Lord Jesus Christ by faith is sufficient evidence of eternal life. "I do not know," says one, "when I was converted." Have you the Son of God? Do you trust in Jesus Christ? That is quite enough.
4. It is a great mercy that having the Son is abiding evidence. "He that hath the Son hath life." I know what it is to see every other evidence I ever gloried in go drifting down the stream far out of sight.
5. I may close this first head by saying that having the Son is infallible evidence of life. "He that hath the Son hath life." It is not said that he may perhaps have it, or that some who have the Son have life, but there is no exception to the rule.
II. CONCERNING THE DEAD. "He that hath not the Son of God hath not life" — that is, he hath not spiritual life, sentence of death is recorded against him in the book of God. His natural life is spared him in this world, but he is condemned already. Now observe that the not having the Son of God is clear evidence of the absence of spiritual life; for the man who has not trusted in Jesus has made God a liar. Shall pure spiritual life make God a liar? Shall he receive life from God who persists in denying God's testimony? Let me tell you that for a hearer of the gospel not to believe on the Son of God must be, in the judgment of angels, a very astounding, crime. Recollect, if you have never received Christ, that this is overwhelming evidence that you are dead in sin. I tell thee, moralist, what thou art: thou art a corpse well washed and decently laid out, daintily robed in fair white linen, sprinkled plenteously with sweet perfumes, and wrapped in myrrh and cassia and aloes, with flowers wreathed about thy brow and thy bosom bedecked by the hand of affection with sweetly blushing roses; but thou hast no life, and therefore thy destiny is the grave, corruption is thy heritage.
III. CONCERNING THE LIVING AS THEY DWELL AMONG THE DEAD. As the living are constrained to live among the dead, as the children of God are mixed up by Providence with the heirs of wrath, what manner of persons ought they to be?
1. In the first place, let us take care that we do not become contaminated by the corruption of the dead. You who have the Son of God, mind that you are not injured by those who have not the Son.
2. If we must in this life, in a measure, mingle with the dead, let us take care that we never suffer the supremacy of the dead to be acknowledged over the living. It would be a strange thing if the dead were to rule the living. Yet sometimes I have seen the dead have the dominion of this world; that is to say, they have set the fashion and living Christians have followed.
3. What I think we should do towards dead souls is this — we should pity them. "The most of these I meet with are dead in sin." Ought not this to make us pray for them: "Eternal Spirit, quicken them! They cannot have life unless they have the Son of God. Oh, bring them to receive the Son of God"!
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.