Time to Cross Over

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 5:24

Many of you reading this may have seen this passage as the verse of the day in the YouVersion bible app recently. 

I’ll admit that even though I usually read the verse of the day every day, I often skim over it without giving it much thought.

However, there was something about this verse that caught my eye and caused me to reread it several times, even comparing it in different translations. 

It was the phrase “passed from death to life.”

It made me stop and think about its real meaning. If we take the bible literally, this passage tells us that we have actually transformed from dead creatures to live creatures. 

We’ve “passed” as several translations word it. The NIV uses the phrase “crossed over.” Either term implies that there’s no going back. 

We’ve either passed from one phase of existence to another, or we’ve crossed over (as in crossing a river or ravine) and the past is forever behind us. 

The words create a picture of a definite action, or a movement, from one place to another place—like walking through a doorway to which there’s no turning back.

It implies security, like once we believe in Jesus, we have this new life and can never ever lose it. It’s final and permanent. 

And yes, I’m aware there is a great debate over “once saved always saved,” but I’m avoiding that whole discussion for now.

As significant and powerful as the words “passed” or “crossed over” are in this verse, there was something more that struck me.

It’s the phrase “eternal life.”

As Christians, we no longer must face the end of life when our bodies cease to function.

We are fully alive now—and will be forever.

All we have to do is hear God’s word and believe Him, the One who sent Jesus, and we’ll have this eternal life. Again…that’s forever and ever. 

Have you ever really stopped to think about what forever means? And it’s not just “a mighty long time” as Prince sings. 

Forever means there’s no end to our lives.

We can spend 10 years or even 1,000,000 years in God’s presence and that doesn’t even begin to approach what eternity encompasses (although I don’t believe that we’ll have the same concept of time there as we do in our earthly bodies).

I personally cannot truly comprehend all that eternity represents. As humans, I’m not sure any of us can. We’ve never experienced anything that was eternal. 

No matter how long we’ve been alive, we can only measure our existence in terms of decades—and that comes nowhere close to eternity.

And to gain this eternal life, all we have to do is accept God at His word, that He sent His son Jesus (who is fully God) to earth in human form so He could die to pay the price for our sins. 

That’s it. There are no works involved, as some people who call themselves Christians would have you believe. It’s all through faith in God’s saving grace.

What’s more is that God wants each and every one of us to have this life. “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).

How could anyone turn down this offer? 

If you haven’t made the decision to believe God on His word, do it today…and make today the first day of your new eternal life.

An Unwelcome Visitor


Just like good music, death makes a strong impression on a seven-year-old. The young mind, still forming emotions and reactions that will last a lifetime, takes in every scrap of information around him to try to make sense of the world he’s in. His world is one of grown-ups — parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, even cousins.

I was the last child born into the family — a surprise. I wasn’t supposed to be here. As a child, my world constantly tried to reconcile itself with the one around me, the one everyone I knew lived in. It was the world of any number of grown-up decisions about life, money, work, friends, love, or just what to eat or watch on TV. Because of my tender age, I had little or no say in any of these things in my own life. My young, but sharp mind latched onto any anything it could to learn, to survive and thrive. In this regard death is a masterful teacher.

After a lengthy battle with cancer my best friend’s father died when we were both seven. I had spent a lot of time at his house, and had even been to his father’s office a couple of times. Once when I complained to my mom that I didn’t want to go kindergarten, she relented and let me stay home that day. Later that morning I went with her to run errands and we found ourselves at my friend’s father’s office (he was an attorney in our small town).

To my surprise, my friend and his mom were there — she had allowed him to play hooky also. As our parents took care of whatever business they had, we played on the floor of his father’s office, perfectly oblivious to the world around us. His death a year or two later taught me that life is often cold and cruel, and able to remove people from our lives without hesitation.


For me, a short time after my friend lost his father, death became associated forever with one particular song — “Let ‘Em In”. This track is found on the same Wings album as “Silly Love Songs” and “Cook of the House”. I must have had this song on a 45 record also because I know I didn’t have the entire album on an LP.

I will never forget listening to “Let ‘Em In” shortly before the phone rang that late summer afternoon. A local church youth group had left out early that morning for a canoeing trip. One of my oldest brother’s friends somehow drowned in the river they were on. I knew of this boy, because he had visited our house and had spent some time with my brother.

When I learned of the reason for the call, my young mind nearly went over the edge. Emotion overwhelmed me. I cried. I didn’t understand death and didn’t know why people I knew had to keep dying. It seems that there had been another death around the same time, making this teenager’s drowning the third recent death of someone I knew. I was scared and confused. I felt powerless to stop the onslaught of this horrible, dark thing called death, with which I had had no experience until recently.

I grabbed the phone and, even though my mother was home, dialed the only person I thought would understand — my best friend’s mother. Death had just laid claim to her husband, so surely she would understand the crushing wall of fear and darkness I felt at that moment. When she answered, I wailed into the phone, “It’s happened again…Somebody’s died.” She tried to calm me down as best she could. At that point my mom came into the room.

After that afternoon and until recently, I never intentionally listened to “Let “Em In” again. There were a handful of times afterward that I unwittingly heard the song. Each time I relived the pain, darkness, and powerlessness of that afternoon. The song was and is one of the most profound emotional catalysts of my life.

Not long ago I decided to pull the song up on my computer. I made myself listen to a few lines of it to see if it still had as profound an impact on me as when I was a kid. The emotions weren’t as strong, but they were still unpleasant. Just letting the flute line run through my head sends me crashing back to my childhood with full force.

I think I’ll just leave the song back in my childhood where it belongs.


freckled boy