By Oscar M. Baker
"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."
This is a repetition of 3:16, which is the same as Deut. 8:3, except that the latter is limited to Israel, while John 3:16 is worldwide in application, the result of the reconciliation of 2 Cor. 5:1. Life, (Gr. Zoe), is used 36 times in John's gospel, and even the critics must admit that this word does not mean animal life, but that it is the equivalent of the new man, the holy spirit, the spirit of Christ, etc. A present possession of the believer. So it is plain that the unbeliever will never see or experience this life, in this life or after death.
"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:11,12)."Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). From these and many other Scriptures, we can see that there is no life outside of Christ. Only those in Him have life and resurrection. He is the true and living way. No one can ever come to the Father except by resurrection. See John 6:39,40,44,54.
Skeptics use John 11:24-44 as a proof that a man can be resurrected to life again as he had before, that Lazarus had a resurrection. But such is not the case. He was raised from the dead, it is true, but that is not necessarily a resurrection. It is claimed that resurrection is in context as in verse 25 where He says, "I am the resurrection and the life." But this is to be in the last day, as in verse 24. And in that day the Lord is the resurrection and the life, not before. He is the resurrection in that day for dead believers, and the life for living believers. They will be changed, as in I Cor. 15:52. Nowhere in all the Scriptures can one find the word resurrection used in connection with the unbeliever. It is plain that resurrection brings immortality and incorruption as in I Cor. 15:52-55. Again we must emphasize the fact that the unbeliever shall never see life, resurrection. It is plainly stated in Acts 24:15 that Israel had a hope of resurrection, both of the just and the unjust. If the unjust were unbelievers, then where is the hope? How could that be? Multitudes who fell in the wilderness will have a resurrection as well as the 2 who
overcame, Caleb and Joshua. The just were few in number.
After the Lord's resurrection (and not before), tombs were opened in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and dead bodies came forth, alive, and appeared to many in Jerusalem. Were these the dead? In the Old Testament and the New Testament there are many instances of were folks were brought back from the death state. Are they raised immortal? Are they still alive anywhere?
(Reprinted from Truth For Today, Vol. 34, No. 3)