Passed from Death into Life: John 5:24–27

passed death to life (2)

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5) John 5:24–27: Whenever Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you,” he called his audience to listen closely. He was about to say something of utmost importance:[1] a proclamation coming from the one wielding the authority to make it.[2]

In John 5:21, Christ stated, “The Son gives life to those whom he wishes.”

Here he asserted, “The one who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and does not enter into judgment.”

Therefore, the group of people whom Christ chooses completely overlaps with those who receive eternal life (John 6:37–40; Eph 1:3–13).[3]



In this case, Jesus’s “word” (logos) consists of his entire message.[4] Since the Father’s word and Christ’s are the same, to embrace one means to accept the other (John 14:6–11).[5]

One cannot truly believe what the Father says and reject the Son (John 8:42; John 16:23–32; 1 John 5:1).[6]

However, the one who hears and believes experiences eternal salvation. Those who belong to Christ have already crossed over from the realm of condemnation and death into life (Col 1:13–14).[7]

Likewise, God’s judgment begins here and now (John 3:16–18).[8]

Believers leave the courtroom acquitted to participate in the resurrection life (Col 2:13–14).[9] As a result, we can live without fear of judgment at the last day, for Christ guarantees our eternal security (John 10:27–30;[10] Rev 20:11–15).[11]



In this passage, Jesus began to distinguish between what already is and what has not yet occurred.[12]

By emphatically stating that the raising of the dead “has come and now is,” he pronounced the rousing of the spiritually dead from their slumber.[13]

To “hear” (akouō) in this instance means “to give careful attention to,” “listen to,” or “heed.”[14]

Those who accept the message of Christ foreshadow the resurrection of their bodies by the awakening of their souls (1 Cor 15:20–23, 50–55; 2 Cor 5:1–10; 1 Thess 4:13–18). The one in whom life always existed imparts his own life to his people (John 1:1–4).[15]

Consequently, the final verdict upon every member of the human race rests in the hands of Christ alone.[16]

Jesus performs the work which the Old Testament attributes to God (Gen 2:7; Ps 16:8–11; Gen 18:25; Judg 11:27).[17]

Christ qualifies to judge all people not only because he is human but also because the Son of Man “has been given dominion, and honor, and royal authority, for all people and nations and languages shall pay him reverence; his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion” (Dan 7:13–14; Phil 2:5–11).[18]

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a) Read John 5:24–27. Who is included among the people of God? In what ways do we already experience eternal life? Why is Jesus the one who gives life to those who believe and who judges those who refuse to recognize his lordship?




Go to A Second Resurrection (John 5:28–29)

[Related posts include A Second Resurrection (John 5:28–29); In the Beginning Was the Word (John 1:1–2); The Light Shines in Darkness (John 1:3–5); A Murderer from the Beginning (John 8:42–44); Delivered from this Body of Death (Rom 7:14–25); Set Free from Sin’s Dominion (Rom 8:1–14); Dead in Adam but Alive in Christ (1 Cor 15:20–23); Perishable Flesh and Blood (1 Cor 15:50); We Shall Be Changed (1 Cor 15:51–52); Victory over Death (1 Cor 15:53–55); Blessings from the Father (Eph 1:3–4); Adopted as Sons (Eph 1:5–6); Redemption through Christ’s Blood (Eph 1:7–8); The Summing up of All Things (Eph 1:9–11); Equality with God (Phil 2:5–6); A Summary of Trinitarian Creeds (Appendix to Phil 2:5–6); Taking the Form of a Slave (Phil 2:7); Obedient to the Point of Death (Phil 2:8); The Name Above Every Name (Phil 2:9–11); and Our Certificate of Debt (Col 2:13–14)]

[Click here to go to Chapter 10: The Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22–24)]


[1] Morris, The Gospel According to John, 148.

[2] Osborne, Matthew, 182.

[3] Carson, The Gospel According to John, 255–6.

[4] Morris, The Gospel According to John, 279–80.

[5] Burge, John, 178.

[6] Morris, The Gospel According to John, 280.

[7] Beasley-Murray, John, 76.

[8] Morris, The Gospel According to John, 280.

[9] Carson, The Gospel According to John, 256.

[10]Note that per Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd. Ed, 197–8, there are serious text critical problems with translating John 10:29 as, “My Father, who has given them to me is greater than all.” Since the United Bible Society Committee has given the italicized portion a “D” in terms of the likelihood that it represents John’s original words, this verse must not be used to claim that Jesus has been subordinate to the Father throughout eternity.

[11] Morris, The Gospel According to John, 280.

[12] Carson, The Gospel According to John, 256.

[13] Beasley-Murray, John, 76–7.

[14] Danker et al., “ἀκουω” (akouō), BDAG, 38.

[15] Carson, The Gospel According to John, 256–7.

[16] Morris, The Gospel According to John, 283.

[17] Burge, John, 178.

[18] Carson, The Gospel According to John, 257.