Whoever has the Son has life


Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:12

John Piper gives this illustration to help us understand:

In the film, Passage to India, there was a young Indian doctor who had been arrested for allegedly assaulting a young English woman in India. The case became an explosive point of tension between the Indian people who longed for independence and the colonial English government. The whole colonialist power structure seemed to make the doctor’s case hopeless even though everybody knew his integrity was above question. He was too poor to afford a lawyer.

But the most famous and able lawyer in all India got word of the case. He had a reputation of liking to take on the British and standing up for the Indian underdogs. For me one of the most powerful scenes in the film was when two of the doctor’s friends bring him word in the jail that the famous lawyer is willing to defend the doctor—and then, as if it were too good to be true, they say, “And he’s not even going to charge a fee!”

Now the doctor has a lawyer. He HAS a lawyer. The lawyer is going to do his thing for the doctor. All his reputation, all his eloquence, all his skill are now going to be used to save the doctor.

How did the doctor come to HAVE this great lawyer? He never had met him before. He had no money to pay him. He was far away from him in a different city. And yet now he could say to all his enemies, “I HAVE a lawyer!” How did he come to have the best lawyer in India?

It starts with the motivation of the lawyer. He has two goals: the liberation of India from the British, and the glorification of his own legal skills. When the camera picks him up in a tumultuous courtroom scene, he is sitting at his table utterly calm, as though in sovereign control of the situation. And to show that what he really loves is the liberation of India and the display of his skills for the helpless patriot, his services are not for sale. He will not be paid. That would call into question what he really loves.

And so how does the doctor come to have this lawyer? The lawyer makes a free offer, and the doctor hears the offer and accepts it. He trusts that the lawyer means it, and he believes he can do it. He HAS the lawyer because he TRUSTS the lawyer.

Two Goals of the Son of God

And so it is with the Son of God. He has two goals: the liberation of his people from sin and death, and the glorification of his own powers. That is the origin of salvation. That is the source of eternal life. And to show that what he loves is the liberation of his people and the magnification of his power, his services are not for sale. He will not be paid.

So how do you come to HAVE the Son of God? He makes you a free offer, and you accept his offer, you trust him. He does his thing for those who trust in him. He who has the Son has life.

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