“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
In a world where we’re told to accept all beliefs as equal, this verse runs counter. It is indifferent to all protests. Cower power won’t make God change His mind. This verse is either for you or against you. There is no middle ground. It is categorical. One either “has” Christ, and thus has everlasting life, or not. Where does this verse put you?
First, note it is individual. The verse says, “He that hath …” not “They who have…” While the latter is true, the personal, one-by-one nature of salvation is here emphasized. Like a revolving door at some imposing edifice, it accepts just one at a time. Here are two important truths: God wants you to be saved and you are responsible to trust Christ. Have you believed on Christ? Do you “have the Son” as your Savior?
Second, it is a matter of faith. Those who have the Son as their Savior have, according to verse 13, believed on the name of the Son of God. John, more than any other writer in the Bible, talks about faith. What is faith? Perhaps the word “result” or “conclusion” would help us. It is the result of hearing, understanding, agreeing, submitting, accepting, and relying. It is conscious, intelligent, informed. It is never described in the Bible as a feeling, though often accompanied by such. Some of the Bible’s words for it are: believe, receive, commit, lean, trust, accept, be fully persuaded, rest, know, understand, put confidence in. However, saving faith is never faith in itself; it is ALWAYS faith in Christ. Nor does it earn salvation; it is merely a link to the saving One. Uniquely, faith is the only thing a sinner can do without its being in any way a “work” that earns salvation. Hence, all merit belongs to Christ.
Third, this faith is not general, though that is important. It is specific, directed, takes place on a particular occasion, and has lasting results. It means to trust Christ not for some dilemma in your life, not to take you safely through some pending surgery, not to resolve some family crisis. All that is very good, but has nothing to do with your rescue from hell. It means to trust Christ to save you forever from God’s wrath. It isn’t great faith that saves, but small faith in a great Savior. Why can you trust Him to do this? Because of what He did on the cross. Therefore, it is not trusting Christ’s life, but His death. That alone can save. Understand and accept Christ as your crucified and risen Savior.
Fourth, it affirms a present possession. “He that hath the Son hath life.” This runs completely counter to the majority opinion among religious people. Most assume that no one can have everlasting life right now. Hence, there is no search to acquire it. Bill Gates, the richest person in the world, was asked, during an interview, the single most important thing that had ever happened to him. Suddenly he filled up with emotion, paused, then replied, “My wife.” Amidst all his wealth, activities, and accomplishments, he recognized the value of things which cannot be measured by money. Donald S. Trump said, in an issue of U.S. News and World Report, “Measure wealth, not by the things that you have, but by the things that you have for which you would not take money.” Rich indeed is the person with this treasure of eternal life!
Finally, something permanent is involved. “He that believeth on the Son hath life.” This is not talking about how long you live in this world. It’s a truth for the soul; it is truth for eternity. Should the body die, the person will be with Christ. This is assurance for a fearful heart – that ye may know that ye have eternal life. Do you have the Son and the life He gives?