The Berean Expositor
Volume 7 - Page 13 of 133
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Eternal Life.
pp. 77-80
In our issue of July 1916 we drew attention to the way in which aionian life was used
in Matthew's Gospel. There is a marked difference when we consider the teaching of
John's Gospel. While works are constantly associated with aionian life in Matthew, faith
is the constant accompaniment in John. The first occurrences are typical. John 3: 14-16,
Here aionian life is definitely linked with faith, and with the offering of Christ. The
reference to the serpent lifted up, shows very definitely that faith in Christ as the offering
for sin is in view. The Lord Himself used the expression "lifted up" to signify "what
death He should die" (John 12: 33). The last verse of John 3: testifies to the same truth.
"He that believeth on the Son hath aionian life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not
see life; but the wrath of God awaiteth for him".
John 5: 29 is one of the passages introduced by the solemn words "verily, verily", the
terms are somewhat different, but faith is still the essential, "He that heareth My word,
and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath aionian life, and shall not come into
condemnation, but is passed from death unto life". John 6: records the miracle of the
feeding of the five thousand, and the subsequent effect upon the people. The Lord
rebuked their mere desire for food, saying to them, "Labour not for the meat that
perisheth, but that meat which endureth unto aionian life, which the Son of man shall
give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed".  The argument is continued
throughout the chapter. It reappears in the words of John 17: 3; that argument is faith
in Christ as the sent One. "This is aionian life, that they might know Thee, the only true
God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent". Speaking of the disciples the Lord says,
"they have believed that Thou didst send Me" (17: 8). Again, in verse 18, the Lord
refers to being "sent into the world". His prayer continues and looks forward to the time
when the "world may believe that Thou hast sent Me" (verse 21); and finally, "that the
world may know that Thou hast sent Me". This is evidently a most important theme.
Returning to John 6: we make the following correction in verse 27, "Work not"
instead of "labour not". The reason for this is found in the question of verse 28: "What
shall we do in order that we might work the works of God?" The answer that Christ gave
to this question was, "This is the work of God, in order that ye believe on Him Whom He
hath sent" (29). "They said therefore unto Him, What sign shewest Thou?" It is
important that we follow the argument here.  What is the cogency of the word
"therefore"? In answer to their question about working the works of God, the Lord said,
"This (i.e. this miracle already witnessed) is the work of God, with the object that ye
might believe on Him whom He hath sent". Their unbelief at once seized upon the words
"the work of God". This miracle then is the work of God, "What sign showest thou
therefore, that we may see and believe thee, what dost thou work" (i.e. of thyself). For,
the argument continues, Moses who was sent by God proved his mission by the miracles
he wrought, as for example the fact that the Scriptures record, "He gave them bread from
heaven to eat" (31). Again they had to be corrected. "Moses gave you not that bread
from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven". The correction is