John 5:26 MEANING

John 5:26
(26) Hath he given to the Son.--Better, gave He to the Son also.

Life in himself.--The Son has spoken of the dead hearing His voice and living, but this giving of life to others can only be by one who has in himself an original source of life. This the Father has, and this the Son also has. To the Son in His pre-existent state it was natural, as being equal with the Father. To the Son who had emptied Himself of the exercise of the attributes which constituted the glory of that state (comp. again Philippians 2:6 et seq.), it was part of the Father's gift by which He exalted Him exceedingly, and gave Him the name which is above every name. It was, then, a gift in time to One who had possessed it before all time, and for the purposes of the mediatorial work had relinquished it. It was a gift, not to the Eternal Son, but to the Incarnate Word.

Verse 26. - This verse, introduced by γὰρ, shows that the statement about to follow will sustain some portion of the previous one. Which portion? As it seems to me, the coming clause justifies the alteration of the term "the Son" into "the Son of God;" and declares, more fully than any other passage in the New Testament, the lofty and unique character of the Sonship which he claimed. For even as the Father hath life in himself - the sublime assumption of the self-existence and eternal being of the Father, the absolute Possessor of life per se, the Source ultimate and efficient of all that is connoted by life, the eternal Fountain of life - in like manner also he gave to the Son to have Life in himself. "He generated," as Augustine has it, "such a Son who should have life in himself, not as a participator in life, but one who should be as he himself is - Life itself." It is the bona fide expression of community of nature, attribute, quality, and possession of Godhead. In virtue of this utterance, the evangelist, learning from the consciousness of Christ through long years of meditation, under the power of the Spirit, eventually formulated the doctrine of the prologue, "In him was life." "The Son," or the God-Man, is, so far as this Sonship is concerned, the veritable Son of God with such a fulness of life power and such a fountain of life flowing from him, that his voice is the voice of the Eternal Son. This is the primary meaning, though since the Lord returned to his use of the word "the Son," and since the word "gave" is also employed to denote the stupendous conception, there is also involved in it the declaration that the God-Man, seeing he is both Son of God and Son of man, is endowed with all the functions of both. In his incarnation he has not lost the infinite fulness of life giving power. "He quickeneth whom he will," having life in himself. His voice is the voice of the Son of God. The glory of the Word who became flesh was the glory of the Only Begotten. The part which this great passage took in the Arian controversy is well known (see Athanasius, 'Discourses against Arians,' 3:3, translated by J.H. Newman). Archdeacon Watkins emphasizes the position that the Lord here speaks of "life in himself," which was given to the Son (God-Man) in virtue of, and as the reward of his sacrificial work. He points to Philippians 2:6, etc. But Jesus here speaks of a gift already made.

5:24-29 Our Lord declared his authority and character, as the Messiah. The time was come when the dead should hear his voice, as the Son of God, and live. Our Lord first refers to his raising those who were dead in sin, to newness of life, by the power of the Spirit, and then to his raising the dead in their graves. The office of Judge of all men, can only be exercised by one who has all knowledge, and almighty power. May we believe His testimony; thus our faith and hope will be in God, and we shall not come into condemnation. And may His voice reach the hearts of those dead in sin; that they may do works meet for repentance, and prepare for the solemn day.For as the Father hath life in himself,.... Is the living God, the fountain of life, and is the author of life to all living creatures; or rather has eternal life in his mind, his heart, his counsel, and his covenant, and in his hands, for all his chosen ones, which seems to he the peculiar sense here:

so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; he hath not only made the purpose of it in him, and given the promise of it to him; but even eternal life itself, he has put into his hands, and secured it in him for them, 1 John 5:11, to give it to as many as he has given him: and he does give it to all his sheep, so that not one of them shall perish; which shows that he and his Father are one, though not in person, yet as in affection, will and power, so in nature and essence. The Son has life in himself, essentially, originally, and inderivatively as the Father has, being equally the living God, the fountain of life, and donor of it, as he; and therefore this is not a life which he gives, or communicates to him; but eternal life is what the one gives, and the other receives, according to the economy of salvation settled between them: and hence it is, that all that hear Christ's voice spiritually shall live eternally; for these words are a reason of the former, and confirm the truth of them, as well as show the equality of the Son with the Father, in that he is equal to such a trust, as to have eternal life committed to him.

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