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Friday, January 28, 2011

1/29/11 John 3:31-36 Truth From One Whose Been There

31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Thoughts: For John, eternal life does not begin after we die, but right now.  The wrath of God, too, remains on us now if we do not escape it (36) by believing in the Son.  The Son has authority because He has a different perspective.  He did not come from earth, but from heaven.  He therefore can tell us what heaven is like, and in that sense He is different from the rest of us, and above the rest of us.  It is one thing to read about another country (say the Bahamas).  It is another to hear someone who has been there talk about its beautiful sand and clear water.  Unlike us, Jesus is not guessing about heaven, but talking about what He has experiecned.

Prayer:  Give me ears to hear you, and a heart to respond to you, Lord.

John Calvin's Commentary Abridged:  Jesus is clearly separated from all the rest as from above and from heaven.  Some could ask if John (the Baptist) was not also from heaven.  But the distinction is similar to how ministers speak as from heaven, but when contrasted to Christ they are nothing.  Christ wishes to be acknowledged in His ministers but in such a way that He remains the only Lord.  It is terribly sad that so many rejected his testimony.  Some did receive it, and they should not feel belittled as if their number meant they could not know the truth.  God was the author of salvation. Though the whole world fall away, this should not prevent good people from giving their assent to God.  Nothing is more dear to God than His truth.  We render Him no better sacrifice and no more acceptable worship than putting our faith in His truth.  On the other hand, we render Him no greater displeasure and insult than not believing the Gospel- for He cannot be deprived of His truth without taking away His glory and majesty.  God speaks to us by Christ (vs. 34).  He gives Him a full measure of the Spirit. The rest of us are given partial measures and gifts so that we have to mutually depend on each other.  The Father has given and continually gives all things to the Son.  God's wrath (36)- may speak of Augstine's idea that we are born in sin (Eph. 2:3).  Yet, it may also point out that death hangs over the unbeliever in such a way that they they can't escape it.  Those who shake off the high yoke of God bind themselves with the chains of death.

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