John is speaking of Christ and our relationship with him in chapter 5. Through the course of the chapter, he writes some important news for us to remember.
We often testify that Jesus is the way to come back into relationship with God. But the more important news for us to consider is that this is not just our testimony, but it is God’s testimony as well, and because it is His testimony, it carries much more weight.
And then John delivers the testimony itself:
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.1 John 5:11-12
These two verses are full of both wonderful and terrible news. Jesus is God’s Son who came by water and blood and then confirmed by the Spirit of God. He came by water through his baptism and identification as the Son of God. He came by blood by shedding his blood on the cross for us. And the Spirit of God both testified for Jesus when he was on the earth, and continues to testify for him as He speaks within us today to confirm the words from the word of God and from speakers that we hear to today.
So the wonderful news is that if we believe in him, if we believe in Christ, then God has given us eternal life. Life in eternity. Forever.
We can live on forever. Our spirits will continue in Christ, with God, into eternity, but only if we are in the Son. Only if we are in Christ can we have this eternal life.
And so there is a corollary to this statement that is also true, and is as equally terrible as is wonderful the previous news. And that is, if we do not have Christ, if we do not know him, if we are not in him, then we do not have eternal life. Instead, we will have punishment. We will have eternal death. We will have eternal separation from God.
That should, if we truly believe what it is saying, give us a great urgency, both for ourselves as well as for others. We must know Christ to have an eternal life. We must know him, or else we do not have eternal life. We have eternal death. May we know him, live for him, and tell others what they must know to have life themselves!