The Covenant Of Works: Basic To Reformed Biblical Exposition

Verse 47. “Verily verily, I say to you, He that believes on me, has everlasting life.”

Christ having digressed this far (being interrupted with their murmuring) to show the cause of their distemper; He returns now to inculcate and press the former doctrine, taking occasion from the former verse wherein he had spoken of his immediate knowledge and seeing of the Father. And first, he gravely asserts and seals the truth of that doctrine which points out salvation to believers in him. Whence learn:

  1. Christ’s immediate acquaintance with the Father, is forth-coming for believers good. Therefore, unto that doctrine, verse 46. is this subjoined, for their comfort.
  2. Such as do know and take up Christ rightly, will see great cause of trusting him, and closing with him. So much also does the dependence of this on the former verse import, that they who take him up to be one who immediately see the Father, will find ground to credit this doctrine, whatever they thought of it before.
  3. This repetition, and pressing this doctrine does hold out how necessary these truths are.
  1. That men be taken up with their own salvation, and the way of attaining it, as being the mean to drive away many idle and needless janglings. Therefore does he wave the answer to their sophistry and direct them how they may attain everlasting life.
  2. It is necessary that men study much that eternal life is to be had only in and by Christ, and will certainly be attained so: This he again repeats here.
  3. It is necessary, that all false ways to heaven be cried down, and that men look on faith as the only and sure way of taking hold of Christ, and of getting life in him; for, to such is the promise again repeated.
  4. Men should also study that this offer of life, is indefinite, and it will be undoubtedly granted to all who shall or will believe: for, it is indefinite, he that believes, be what he will, or be they never so many.
  5. It is also to be seriously studied, that believers have eternal life in some respects, even here, to wit, in Christ, and by faith, in the earnest penny and first fruits; for, he that believes has everlasting life. . . .
  6. The confirmation of this doctrine, by a double asseveration, teaches.
  1. Men are by nature so addicted to the covenant of works, and so loath to be stripped of their own worth and righteousness, that they are hardly persuaded that faith in Christ is the way to life, and very unwilling to embrace and rest in it; for, this asseveration imports, that there is a controversy in this matter.
  2. Corrupt reason will never end this controversy, but we must take us to Christs word alone, to satisfy us. Therefore he uses no dispute, but asserts it on his truth and word.
  3. This truth (however controverted) is most certain, and without all controversy; for, it is verily, verily, true.
  4. It is most needful, and profitable, that sinners believe and close with this truth, and make use of it: Therefore does he inculcate and assert it.
  5. Christ allows such as believe in him, to be very confident and persuaded of his accepting of them, and of their eternal happiness. Therefore does he strongly assert that verily, verily, they have everlasting life.

George Hutcheson (1612–78; on John 6:47) An Exposition of The Gospel of Jesus Christ According to John (London, 1657), 113–14 [spelling and punctuation modernized].

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