“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; the one coming to me shall not hunger and the one believing in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me and the one coming to me I will never cast out.’”
It is unfortunate that many of our English translations do not properly translate the correct verb tense in many of the Scriptures, so I have taken the foundation of the ESV translation, and I have looked at the Greek, and I have replaced verbs in the ESV that sounded “past tense” with verbs that are properly “present tense” and indicative of something now happening.
So, instead of saying, “Whoever comes to me,” or “Whoever believes in me,” which can sound as though they are one-time events, it should read “The one coming to me,” or “The one believing in me,” which is something presently happening, and which implies something ongoing and continuous.
But how we translate these verbs is critical to us properly understanding their meaning so that we don’t end up misinterpreting their meaning and forming a doctrine of salvation which is false. And, what I mean by this is that many people are misinterpreting the Scriptures because of mistranslations of verb tenses, and so they see their belief for salvation as past tense rather than as something presently happening and ongoing.
In other words, it is not the one who believes (one-time) in Jesus who has eternal life with God, but it is the one believing in him (present tense). We must keep believing. We have to continue in our faith, steadfast, and true to the end, if we want to have eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17).
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone looking on the Son and believing in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Yes, it is God’s will that Jesus should lose nothing of all that the Father has given to him, but that we should have eternal life and be raised up on the last day. But let’s keep reading. For this is the will of the Father that everyone looking on the Son and believing in him should have eternal life.
And, this “looking on” is not looking at casually, but it is experiencing, discerning, partaking of and concentrating and focusing our attention upon. This means that we are fully involved in the life of Christ, we are dying daily to sin and self, and daily we are walking (living) according to his Spirit, and we are actively obeying his commandments.
And, “believing” isn’t just some emotional or intellectual decision we made to “receive Christ.” For belief in Jesus is divine persuasion, and if persuaded by God, we will submit to Christ as Lord daily, and we will daily follow our Lord in obedience to his commands (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
For, the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. For, if we are walking (living) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. The one feeding on my flesh and drinking my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. The one feeding on my flesh and drinking my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one feeding on me, he also will live because of me.’”
Now, this is where we really get to the meat of what it means to be believing in Jesus Christ. For, it is not the words we say in a prayer, nor is it an intellectual or emotional assent to who Jesus is and to what he did for us on the cross. And, it is not a verbal confession of him as Lord, not by itself. For, many will say “Lord, Lord,” and he will say, “I never knew you.”
So, what is Jesus talking about here? He is talking about the death he was going to die on a cross for our sins. His body (his flesh) would be put to death. He would shed his blood on that cross in putting sin to death on our behalf in order that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.
So, if we are eating (present tense) his flesh, and if we are drinking (present tense) his blood, it means we are participating with him in his death to sin. We are daily denying and dying to sin and self, and we are following (obeying) our Lord and his commandments (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17)
If we are not eating his flesh and drinking his blood, i.e. if we are not participating with him actively in death to sin and in living to righteousness, then we don’t have eternal life with God. But this goes beyond just that. This is about abiding in him, communing with him daily, feeding on his Word and then obeying what he teaches us.
For, our belief in Jesus and our salvation are not one-time events in our lives which guarantee us eternal life with God and heaven as our eternal destiny. We must actively be denying self, dying to sin, and living to righteousness, communing with our Lord, reading his word, praying, and walking in obedience to his commands if we want eternal life with God.
On Zion’s Glorious Summit
By John Kent
On Zion’s glorious summit stood
A numerous host redeemed by blood!
They hymned their king in strains divine;
I heard the song and strove to join,
I heard the song and strove to join.
Here all who suffered sword or flame
For truth, or Jesus’ lovely name,
Shout victory now and hail the Lamb,
And bow before the great I AM,
And bow before the great I AM.
While everlasting ages roll,
Eternal love shall feast their soul,
And scenes of bliss, forever new,
Rise in succession to their view,
Rise in succession to their view.
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of hosts, on high adored!
Who like me Thy praise should sing,
O Almighty King!
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of hosts, on high adored!
Holy, holy, holy.
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