“For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:22-24).
John wanted his readers to understand that God the Father and God the Son are in unity with one another. The Son is the exact imprint of the Father. Or as Jesus explained it in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” This does not mean that they are identical individuals but rather one in essence and substance. The Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit possess the fullness of the divine nature or divinity. Therefore, what the Son does is what the Father does, and vice versa because what the Son is the Father and Spirit are.
This is what Jesus begins to teach the religious leaders of the Jews in John 5. He can heal on the Sabbath because He is the Lord of the Sabbath. What God the Father does is what God the Son does. There is no disharmony.
Jesus begins to explain this harmony between He and God the Father with the subject of raising the dead. God the Father raised the dead (Deuteronomy 32:39; I Kings 17:17-22). So too does God the Son (John 11). So too does God the Holy Spirit (John 3; Ephesians 2:1-10). However, even though the raising of the dead back to physical life is significant, the raising of the spiritually dead to spiritual life is even more so. This too is a work of the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit.
A second harmony between God the Father and God the Son is in the realm of judgment. Let’s begin to unpack these three verses today so we can understand what John records Jesus saying.
First, Jesus is acknowledging the subject of judgment. The word judgment (κρίσις; krisis) literally means the authority to determine guilt or innocence (Matthew 5:21). Jesus said that the Father has given the right to judge the guilt or innocence of sinners to the Son: that is Jesus. This not only means the right to judge but also the authority to judge.
Let’s be honest! Most do not want to hear about judgment. Many certainly do not want to hear that Jesus is going to judge. What will be the basis of either being judged by Jesus as either being righteous or sinful; innocent or guilty.
The answer is given in the text for today. “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
In the immediate context, the people who did not honor God the Son, and therefore did not honor God the Father, were the religious leaders John simply identifies as the “Jews.” They did not honor Jesus when He revealed Himself as God when He healed the invalid man on the Sabbath (John 5:1-9). They may have thought that their religious piety and position would endear them to God, but this was not the case. By the way, to honor (τιμάω; timao) means to show respect and to give recognition.
Jesus made it clear to them that if they did not honor Him, they were not honoring the Father. Therefore, they would come into judgment by the very Son of God they were ready to kill (John 5:18).
Those who would not come into judgment, that is be declared guilty, are those who hear and understand the Word of God and believe in the Son of God. As we have already seen, this can only occur when the individual is born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:1-8).
It is not sufficient to simply believe in the existence of God. I hear this statement a lot: “I believe in God.” What is it that is believed? Do they understand that belief involves trust, commitment, dependence and worship of this God? Do they understand that unless they believe in the person and work of the Son of God, Jesus Christ to solely provide redemption, that they will come into judgment? This is what the religious leaders in this text did not understand. Do you?
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
The promise Jesus makes is that all who place their faith and trust in Him as Lord and Savior, will immediately possess eternal life. They will not come into judgment as one who is guilty, but rather possess eternal life as one Jesus has resurrected from spiritual death.
Is this your testimony of faith in Jesus Christ? It must be for this is the heart and soul of the gospel. Therefore, repent of your sins and trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior thereby receiving His righteousness as your own.
Soli deo Gloria!