John 5:25, “They that hear shall live.” Adduced to prove that if sinners who are “dead in trespasses and sins” will but hear the gospel with reverent and earnest belief as rational and immortal creatures, and will trust in Christ—spiritual life will be imparted to them for so doing: that is to say, that an act performed in the energy of Nature will entitle them to the blessings of eternal salvation.
That this interpretation is false, is, whoever, apparent. The hearing in the preceding verse is evidently a spiritual action; for “he that hearth My word hath (not shall have) everlasting life,” and “is passed from death unto life.” Here, hearing is mentioned as manifesting a life previously possessed, and the statement of our verse must be an amplification and explanation of the preceding one. That stated that Faith manifests life; this states, whence this life proceeds. The Son of God speaks dead souls (by the Holy Ghost) into spiritual existence. In the energy of the life then received, they hear, not with the outward ear, or the rational attention of the mind even, but they give heed in their hearts. Such heart-heed demonstrates the possession of life in the largest sense of the word. They that so hear, shall live spiritually for ever, and be happy, when sinners are consigned to the doom of the death that can never die. That the word hear, has often this force, see John 8:47 and 10:3, 27. The verse therefore, simply enforces a spiritual fact—and by no means states that eternal life is bestowed for believing.