#43. When God's Word is Preached, It Provides the Means to SpiritualResurrection
“Truly, truly, I say to you,
he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death intolife.
So far, we have seen when God's Word is preached, it is Christ Who speaks through thepreacher. Christ Himself is the content of the message, more precisely the free offer of complete forgiveness from sin because of what He has done. We saw that the power of Godaccompanies true preaching of His Word, and that His Wisdom is to save men and women,young and old through this message that all those in the world regard as foolishness.Because there is much in the Bible concerning the relationship between the preaching of God's Word and salvation, we are going to look at one or two more verses on this topic,beginning with our text this week.Our Savior is speaking and once again, He begins with His solemn and emphatic declarationthat what He is about to say is absolute truth, "Amen, Amen, I say to you...." The Son of God, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, could not highlight the trustworthiness andreliability of what He is about to say in stronger words than these. He wants us to pay closeattention to what He is about to tell us, and it is no surprise, because His subject is ourresurrection from spiritual death to eternal life!Some people, He says, have eternal life. They do not come into judgement at the Last Day,since they have passed out of death to life.God warned Adam that he would surely die if he ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledgeof good and evil. When he did eat, the sentence was passed and Adam died in spirit, beingcut off from God through his sin and suffering decay and death in his body also. Paul beginsthe second chapter of his letter to the church at Ephesus (Eph 2:1)with a reminder to them
that before God made them alive in Jesus, they had been dead in their trespasses and sins(just like Adam their forefather). To remain in that condition of spiritual death through sinmakes us liable to judgment and condemnation to eternal punishment in hell.But Jesus is saying that there is a way for spiritually dead people to rise from the spiritualdeath of sin and instead to possess eternal life! There is a way, He says, to avoid judgment. How can this happen? Obviously, this is the most important question we can ask- how can I be raised from spiritual death to life? How can I avoid God's just judgment formy sins? Paul told the Ephesians (Eph 2:4-7)that this is something God does. He "makes
us alive in Christ, even when [we] are dead in trespasses and sins". It has to be a work of God, since no corpse has the least ability to act or to do anything to make itself live again.So it is God's work through and through, but the question remains, how does God do thiswork? Look again at the words of Jesus in His solemn declaration above, because He tellsus. If we would have eternal life, not come into judgment and pass from death to life, wemust hear the word of Jesus and believe God Who sent Him. Essentially, we must rest ourwhole hope for salvation on the perfect life Jesus lived (which can be regarded by God asour life) and the death He died for sins on the cross (which can be regarded by God as full