“‘Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live’” (John 5:25).
Jesus begins this emphatic, unarguable declaration with the seemingly paradoxical statement “an hour is coming and now is.” The hour of the believers’ resurrection “now is” in the sense that when they “were dead in [their] trespasses and sins . . . [God] made [them] alive together with Christ, and raised [them] up with Him” (Eph. 2:1, 5–6). Yet the hour is still “coming” in the sense that the resurrection of their physical bodies is yet future (1 Cor. 15:35–54; Phil. 3:20–21).
This “already/not yet” sense of the phrase may be understood in another way. When Christ was present, He offered spiritual life to all who would heed His Word (6:37; Matt. 7:24–27). Yet the full expression of the new era He inaugurated would not come until the day of Pentecost (14:17). Both during Christ’s earthly ministry and in the fullness of the Spirit’s ministry after Pentecost, the spiritually dead who heard “the voice of the Son of God” would live.
Scripture frequently describes unbelievers as spiritually dead. To be spiritually dead is to be insensitive to the things of God and totally unable to respond to Him. Paul vividly described it as living “in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and [being] by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).
Rejoice in the amazing grace of God for making you alive together with Christ.
Try to define the ways you’re experiencing the first rays of eternal life even while bound in this time and place. How would your life be different if you were still spiritually dead, removed from the grace of God?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610