John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
There are many people who say that you can’t know if you have eternal life. These are religious people, people that attend a church somewhere, or those who practice beliefs other than Christianity, like the Muslims. To them, our eternal destiny is all up in the air, something that we’ll only find out about after we die. Others think they’ll end up in heaven someday, but if you ask them why they think that, you’ll get an answer that is tentative at best, for the truth is, it’s just an idea that they’ve made up in their own mind. Truth be told, there is no possible way they can be certain, for they certainly don’t know for sure. However, eternal life is something about which God would have us know that we can be absolutely certain, for He’s given us that certainty in His Word.
One of the ways that the Jews in biblical times emphasized a word or idea was to repeat it. For example, when God warned Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis 2, He told them that if they did, they would “surely die.” The actual Hebrew for this phrase is two closely related words for “die.” It’s the Hebrew way to emphasize the certainty of what is being said. We are familiar with the terms “Lord of lords” and “King of kings.” Both emphasize that God is the absolutely highest sovereign. No one is greater than Him. Then in Isaiah 6 we are told that God is not just “holy,” and not just “holy, holy,” but “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts,” a superlative of the superlative of this word! And so, we look to Jesus’ words from John 5:24 above. It’s important to know that these words, and in fact any words that came from Jesus’ lips, were the absolute truth, for “it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18),” and Jesus in His very being embodies all Truth (John 14:6). Yet, this perfectly truthful One resorts to the use of emphasis when He says “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.” Notice that He doesn’t say “will have” eternal life. No, He says “has eternal life.” It is a present possession, as certain as anything can be certain, this gift of eternal life for all who believe.
But what is belief? Is it the idea that Jesus can give us eternal life? It’s like an illustration I heard many years ago to explain “belief.” Someone can say that they believe that the great Wallenda can cross over the Grand Canyon on a tight rope. Perhaps they’ve heard a lot about him and they’re pretty sure he can do such an amazing thing. But if that same person was asked to climb on Wallenda’s shoulders while he crossed the Grand Canyon, to do so would surely demonstrate a much deeper level of trust. That’s the way it is with Christ. We can believe He is God (even the devil believes that), or we can trust Him with our life, following Him wherever He leads us, even into the valley of the shadow of death. That’s the belief that Jesus is talking about when He says “Truly, truly, if you believe you will have eternal life.”
So, do you believe Him? Do you trust Him with your life? Will you give Him your whole being, and leave the results of your life up to Him? Well if you don’t, if you are trusting your life to something else you think is more certain, do you really think that that other thing is more certain than the One Whose name is “the Truth?” Surely you can’t, for you don’t even know what tomorrow brings. So, how can you trust your own ideas about eternity.