Salvation or Condemnation
by Bro. K.D. Ward
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Of all the promises in the Word of God there is one above all others. I John 2:25 says And this is the promise that He has promised us — ETERNAL LIFE. The Scriptures also speak of “exceeding great and precious promises” in I Peter 1:4. But of all promises, the gift of eternal life the is greatest, for without this life we have nothing. (John 4:10,14)
I. He Who “Hears” and “Believes”
The words of Jesus in John 5:24 stand out to us. He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” The words HEARS and BELIEVES are present active voice participles in Greek, which is action in force, LIMITED in scope and time to the object of these verbal nouns or the context. Thus, we do not read constantly hears or constantly believes.
An example among many would be that the present participle ERCHOMENON in Matthew 24:30 can not mean Christ is constantly coming, for it will be as lightning verse 27. In John 5:24 he who has an active belief has, present tense, life that is everlasting life. When we BELIEVE, we have passed from a state of death into life. The word METABEBNKEN (has passed), is present perfect tense in Greek and is a completed act in the past with present results.
II. Shall not Come into Judgment
Another important truth is taught in the words, “shall not come into judgment.” By this, Jesus means the condemnation of the lake of fire. We who have received the gift of everlasting life have passed from death into life and will not be condemned to the second death which is the lake of fire or Gehenna. (Revelation 20:14)
Jesus referred to the place of condemnation as Gehenna. There was a deep valley just out side of Jerusalem where were cast the dead bodies of criminals and refuse of the city. Jesus referred to Gehenna as a place of everlasting fire (Matthew 18:8) and condemnation (Matthew 23:33). The Scribes, Pharisees and Apostles knew Jesus was referring to the final judgment.
The Lord referred to Gehenna in the presence of the Scribes, Pharisees, and Apostles and maybe as a witness to Judas who Jesus called a devil (John 6:70) and thus unsaved. In Matthew 18:7, 8, Jesus applied Gehenna to the world. In Matthew l0:28, Jesus taught that those who go into Gehenna will have both SOUL and BODY destroyed. Jesus told the Pharisees that although they travel over land and sea to make one disciple he becomes twice the son of Gehenna as themselves (Matthew 23:15). Thank God that none of the redeemed will ever go there.
III. The Nations Outside Jerusalem
God has a special destiny for the saved WHO DO NOT ATTAIN to covenant relation. Those saved nations will FLOW to ZION to worship and bring offerings.(Micah 4:1, 2) Every one “shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken” (Micah 4:4).
These saved Gentiles will reap from their vineyards and bring offerings to ZION. (Zechariah14:16-21 ; Revelation 21:24)
Closing To conclude my thoughts, the Bible teaches in John 5:24, John 3:18 and elsewhere that those who are saved will NOT go into CONDEMNATION, but in I Corinthians 3:15, DEPRIVATION of reward and privilege will be the result of unacceptable works in the everlasting Kingdom.