“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.”
We know that we have passed from death to life,
The Christian transitions from death to life at the point of his salvation. The words “have passed” denote to change place, to pass over from one place to another. The Christian changed his place of residence from eternal death to eternal life. The only other occurrence of this term is in John 5:24.
The Greek tense for “we have passed” means that we permanently passed from death to life at one point, with the results continuing on [perfect tense]. The transfer from eternal death to eternal life took place at a point in the past; eternal life began at salvation and continues forever. Christians abide in a new state of life after their conversion. They no longer are in the state of death.
The Greek word for “from” means out of. The Christian passes out of the sphere of death into the sphere of eternal life at salvation. The Christian passed from the state of death to the state of eternal life when he trusted Christ to forgive his sins.
The Christian begins eternal life at salvation and never loses it.
There are different kinds of deaths in the Bible. For example, there is physical death, and then there is spiritual death. The fundamental idea of death is separation. When we die physically, our immaterial souls separate from our bodies. Adam died spiritually when he sinned and died a physical death later. He was still alive bodily, but he died spiritually.
Another death is the “second death.” This is eternal death, where an unbeliever will never have the opportunity to fellowship with God. This death occurs when God casts the unbeliever into the lake of fire forever.
A Christian does not receive eternal life in the future. He received it at a point in the past. Eternal life began for him at the point of salvation (Jn 5:24). That was a permanent event. It will never change. He received eternal life, and eternal life is eternal life, not temporal life.
Jn 5:24, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”