68.Simon Peter therefore answered him. Peter replies here in the name of all, as he does on other occasions; because all of them were of the same mind, except that in Judas there was no sincerity. This reply contains two clauses; for Peter first states the reason why he cheerfully adheres to Christ, along with his brethren; namely, because they feel that his doctrine is wholesome and quickening; and, secondly, he acknowledges that to whomsoever they might go, if they left Christ, there remained for them nothing but death.
Thou hast the words of eternal life. When he says the words of life, by the phrase of life, he means quickening, using the genitive case instead of the adjective, which is a very common mode of expression among the Hebrews. It is a remarkable commendation bestowed on the Gospel, that it administers to us eternal life, as Paul testifies, that
it is the power of God for salvation to every one who believeth,
True, the Law also contains life, but because it denounces against all transgressors (177) the condemnation of eternal death, it can do nothing but kill. Widely different is the manner in which life is offered to us in the Gospel, that is, when God reconciles us to himself through free grace, by not imputing our sins, (2Co_5:19.) It is no ordinary assertion that Peter makes concerning Christ, when he says that he has the words of eternal life; but he ascribes this to Christ as belonging to him alone. Hence follows the second statement which I glanced at a little ago, that as soon as they have gone away from Christ, there remains for them everywhere nothing but death. Certain destruction, therefore, awaits all who, not satisfied with that Teacher, fly to the inventions of men.