I marvel, at times, regarding the various trends that seem to captivate the attention of huge numbers of people. More often than not, I have no idea how or where the trend started, or what it is that keeps it going. Consider the recent national obsession with bacon. Seriously, what is up with that? Yes, I like bacon too, a lot, but I don’t want to wear a bacon-print suit.
Another contemporary national obsession seems to be with zombies – the reanimated dead. In my little home town of Lynden, WA, I see, on occasion, a Zombie Outbreak Response Vehicle. It’s pretty hilarious, but I would not drive it.
What men and women outside of Christ do not realize is that they are something of a zombie. Outside of Christ, we also were walking dead. Oh sure, went to work, we ate dinner, we watched television, but outside of Christ, we were “in” death.
Consider this statement from Jesus:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgement, but has passed out of death into life.” – John 5:24, NASB
Jesus begins his statement with the oft-seen “Truly, truly” or “Verily, verily.” It is “Amein, Amein,” which is a way of saying, “Truth is coming. Pay attention to this!” Jesus will say this more than 20 times in John’s gospel.
In one fascinating statement, we see Jesus talk about past, present, and future, telling us what was, what is, and what will be.
Past – What Was – We Were Dead
Jesus says we have passed from death into life because we heard his word and believed the one who sent him. Similarly, Paul says God made us alive in Christ, and that life is granted “to those who believe.” (Ephesians 2:5, 2:8)
In order to pass from death into life, we had to be in death to start with. In his commentary on Ephesians, John Calvin said,”[Paul] does not mean simply that they were in danger of death; but he declares that it was a real and present death under which they laboured. As spiritual death is nothing else than the alienation of the soul from God.” In his book Grace Unknown, R.C. Sproul said, “To be dead in sin is to be in a state of moral and spiritual bondage. By nature we are slaves to sin.”
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” – Ephesians 2:1a, NASB
When we are outside of Christ, we are detached from the life-giving vine. We die. It is not theoretical. It is a spiritual reality!
Present – What Is – We Are Eternally Alive
We have eternal life. We have passed from death to life. It has already happened. As before, this is not theoretical. It is a present reality. Jesus has been infused with authority from the Father, and that authority extends to Jesus granting life to whomever he wishes to grant it. Hence the statement from John regarding Jesus:
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” – John 3:36, NASB
Both Jesus and John agree that eternal life is a “now” possession. We see much the same thing in 1 John 3:14, where John says, “We know that we have passed from death into life…” It is a done deal. We are there!
Future – What Will Be – No Judgement
Because we hear and believe, and because we pass from death into life, we do not come under judgement. Not now, and not in the future.
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” – John 3:18, NASB
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1, NASB
No, we face no condemnation. Instead we long to hear “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34b, ESV)
Those walking dead who hear God’s Word and believing on God’s Son are translated from death to life and face no condemnation. Not now, and not ever. “Everlasting life” means forever, for all time.
If you’re not there, then I implore you to get there.
For He says: “In the time of favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is the time of favor; now is the day of salvation!” – 2 Corinthians 6:2, BSB