Salutations. I’m reading through most of the New Testament, chapter by chapter, and logging some of my thoughts here in my journal. I continue this study, looking at the message of Salvation and John the Baptist’s Testamony.
This chapter begins with the Healing at the Pool, which I cover here.
The next section describes Jesus authority as the Son of God. What I find fascinating are the following verses…
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
And soon after that…
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.
Now some might point to this as salvation by works. This is where understanding the New Testament as a whole is critical. Note, first that Jesus says that those who believe Him will have eternal life. Then he says that those who hear his voice (and only those who believe, His sheep, know his voice – John 10:27), and those who have done good… now, does that mean all who have done good works? Not really. Here’s why.
The Bible says that evil men can do ‘good’ works.
Mat 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
However, to God, these good works are filthy rags?
Isa 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
So what is this good work which please God?
We actually find out in the next chapter of John.
6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
So, before you get too confused by Jesus message here in John 5, remember to come back to read through 🙂
With that being said, a faith in Jesus does produce good works which please God. We’ll talk about that later on in our study of the New Testament. And, it is possible that Jesus was referring to that here. However, I believe since the very next chapter talks about the “work of God” being faith, that this is the message here. Regardless, you can’t have faith without a natural outpouring of ‘good works,’ so it’s kinda hand in hand.
Jesus then moves on to testify about himself. Verse 39 gives me pause. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. We have so much focus today on theology, I wonder how many this might apply to today. Correct theology is important. Yet, as I’ll point out in another study I plan to do, so many of us seek out theology, but are not pursuing God. It’s very possible to know the scriptures, and to not know God at all. Look at the Pharisees!
Last, I’ll point out this line… 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. One of the strongest testimonies and proofs for Jesus is the old testament prophecies. I’m not an expert in them, myself, but they’re mind blowing when you dig into them.