Time or Eternity? ™

Posts Tagged ‘Eternal Life’

Immortality

In Immortality/Eternal Life on April 27, 2012 at 8:00 am

Death has no legitimate part in the economy of the creation of God. It is an abnormal condition, brought into this world by sin. An endless life was the Creator’s purpose for man, but it was to be maintained only upon condition of obedience. God’s government must be clean, with no tendencies to sin, and no danger of rebellion.

The immensity of God’s government cannot be estimated by finite minds. But it is safe to conclude that heaven and earth do not comprise all the creation of God. The myriads of stars are not for show alone. Astronomers tell us that many of them are suns, some of them much larger than our sun.  The starry worlds are certainly of importance, for the psalmist says that God “telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names.” (Ps. 147:4)  In the wonders of the heavens, David beheld such evidences of the magnitude of creation that earth and the petty affairs of man appeared very small. This earth was to him but a minute particle in God’s great universe. He exclaims, “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” (Ps. 8: 3, 4)

Earth, through sin and rebellion, is of great significance in the economy of heaven. Not only has the Son of God died to redeem the world, but the Father and the Son are continually interested in the plan of salvation, and millions of angels are constantly employed as messengers and ministering spirits to fallen man.  Throughout eternity the greatest triumph of divine power will be the redemption of a fallen world. It is wonderful that God should create our world in six days. But it is still more wonderful that, after the fall, all heaven should be engaged for six thousand years in its redemption. And so important is this triumph of divine grace, that, when it is consummated, the entire administration of heaven will be changed.

This must be so, for in coming to earth the Son of God became the Son of man. Throughout eternity He will ever be identified with humanity. He will ever bear the marks of His earthly experience and ministry. This earth will be honored as the abode of the Man of Calvary, and as the seat of the Great White Throne from above. This world will become the eternal home of the Son of God.

John says, in speaking of the New Jerusalem as the capital city of the new earth, that “the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it.” (Rev. 22 :3) May we not gather from this that the earth will become the seat of God’s government, and the New Jerusalem its capital city? However this may be, it will be blessed beyond comprehension. And as the only sphere redeemed from sin and honored by the presence of its Redeemer, it will, through eternity, stand as a gem in all the creation of God.  But what a change must be wrought before this condition can be realized.

Man was sunk in the depths of sin; he had lost his right to life, and the world had come under the dominion of the author of all evil. Desperate measures must be employed to remedy such a desperate condition.  Nothing less than the life on earth of the Son of God, and His death on Calvary, could atone for the sins of man. The Son of God, the Creator, must become Jesus Christ, the Restorer, and thus bring to man the bliss of heaven and the blessings of a life eternal. Immortality through Christ is the only possible basis of hope for a future life.

In 2 Tim. 1: 10 we read of “the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Man lost life by sin, for “the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23)  Jesus forgives sin, abolishes death, and restores to life and immortality, for Paul continues, “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Immortality is an undying nature. Man can receive it only through Him who is the fountain of life. David, speaking of Christ, says, “With Thee is the fountain of life.” (Ps. 36:9) Hence it is only through Christ that we can ever drink of the life-giving stream. The River of Life flows from the throne of God, where Christ sits. See Rev. 22:1.  Christ is to us the Source of all life. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1)  Through Christ alone we receive eternal life. “This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life [in giving us Christ], and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not [eternal] life.” (1 John 5:11, 12) From this text it is evident that immortality is a gift to those only who accept Jesus Christ, and who have Him abiding in them. Christ said to His disciples, “He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.” “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” (John 6147,48, 51)

Jesus said, “I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:17, 18.)  Jesus had life in Himself. No one could take it from Him without His consent. But He yielded His life to His Father, and trusted Him for His resurrection. He said, “This commandment [the promise of His resurrection] have I received of My Father.” Vs. 18. It was His faith in God and the resurrection that brought Jesus from the grave, and gave back to Him the life which He had laid down.
It is the Christian’s faith in Christ that will bring him from the grave at the resurrection morning, and give to him the eternal life which became his by faith when he accepted Christ as his Saviour and Life-giver.
Those who do not have Christ abiding in them have not this eternal life or the promise of it. “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:14,15)  Here, then, are two classes compared. First, Those who have the love of Christ, because He dwells in them, and so have eternal life; and, secondly, Those who have not the love of Christ, the indwelling Saviour, have not everlasting life, but “abide in death.”

The conclusion seems clear, that’ the life and immortality of which we have been reading is only in Christ, and is obtained only through the resurrection.

Advertisements

Immortality part II

In Immortality/Eternal Life on April 27, 2012 at 8:00 am

The resurrection has been the hope of all the people of God through all ages. Says Paul, “Now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” (Acts 26:6, 7)  What was that hope? Paul continues: “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” Vs. 8.  Death is the present condition of all men, and from it even Christians are not exempt. But to them Paul says, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:3, 4)

Eternal life is not something which man possesses b y inheritance, nor can he earn it by good works. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6: 23)  By suffering death as a criminal, in agony unspeakable, Jesus purchased life for those who would receive it at His hand. When He appears the second time, bringing life through the resurrection to those who believe in Him, we shall receive this gift of all gifts.

But it is believed by many that man already possesses life and immortality, an undying spirit, an immortal soul, a deathless life. If this be true, Jesus died in vain, for He died to bring us life and immortality. If we already possess immortality, His death was unnecessary. The doctrine that we now have immortality outside of Jesus, robs Him of that for which He died. It makes the cross of Christ of none effect, and His precious blood was spilled for naught.  “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14: 6. “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” John 10: 1)

Any theory or doctrine which robs Christ of that for which He died, and gives hope of immortality to men who are not in Christ, is a thief and a robber. Of those who teach such false theories the prophet says:— “With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life.” (Ezek. 13:22)

The Resurrection

In Eternal Life, Resurrection, Salvation on April 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

The resurrection has been the hope of all the people of God since the plan of redemption was first announced. It is the only hope; for death comes to all, and the only escape from eternal death is in the resurrection. In faith Job looked forward to the morning of the resurrection. In the midst of earthly sorrow and pain he exclaimed:—“O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me. “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.” (Job 14:13-15)  Isaiah prophesies of the righteous who sleep in the grave, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust [in the grave]: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isa. 26 : 19)  Paul, pleading his case before king Agrippa, states his position plainly: “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” And then comes the epitome of the hope: “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:6-8)  The “hope of Israel” is the hope of God’s people. For Israel embraces every overcomer,—every soul who shall stand at last victorious over sin and death. It is the “blessed hope” of Titus 2: 13.  Note that the foregoing text does not say that the “blessed hope” is the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, but it reads, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing.” It is the gospel hope, the way of escape, the road to heaven, the gate to endless joy.  In the days of Paul, as with many in our time, the opinion of the Jews was divided regarding the resurrection. In the early days of his imprisonment Paul was brought before the Jewish council. He knew well his accusers, and perceiving that some were Pharisees, who believed in the resurrection, and that some were Sadducees who did not so believe, he cried out, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” (Acts 23:6) And immediately there was an uproar, the Pharisees siding with Paul and the Sadducees against him. So great was the contention that the chief captain of the Roman guard, “fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.” Vs. 10. See also Acts 24:15; 28:20.

In concluding the chapter on the resurrection we quote the following from the pen of J. S. Washburn:—”Christ is ‘the resurrection, and the life.’ John 11:25. He entered the tomb, descended to the lowest cell of the grave, Satan’s prison-house. When He ascended up to heaven at His resurrection, He carried with Him the keys of death and the grave. Of these scenes He says:— ‘”I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [the grave] and of death.'(Rev. 1: 18.)”Jesus opened the door on the other side of death. Without His resurrection, the tomb had but one door—the door of entrance. From it there was no door, no hope of escape. But through Christ the tomb has not only the door by which all men enter, but also a door through which all may escape—the door of the resurrection. Without the resurrection even the righteous have perished. See I Cor. 15: 16. “Enoch and Elijah were translated without dying. When Jesus comes, the living will be changed without dying. Translation is the only exception to the resurrection, and comparatively a very small number are translated.”Christ is the model of the resurrection. His body was not left in the tomb. It was the same Jesus that went into the grave who arose, but with a changed, glorified body.

After His resurrection He appeared and disappeared before those who had known Him. Evidently there was a great change in some respects in His appearance, yet He was the same. “So with the righteous who will rise as He arose, with glorified bodies. Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. “Note that it is impossible for any human being to go to heaven without a body. The Scripture knows nothing of a spiritual, immaterial essence floating through the heavens with intelligent, thinking power. When God created us in the beginning, perfect and beautiful, it was with a body. When He raises us from the dead, freed from every mark of sin and the curse, it is with a spiritual body, but all the same, the very same. “Those who saw Jesus when upon the earth, will know Him when He comes again—’this same Jesus.’ Those who have known us when upon the earth, will know us there—changed, glorified, the ‘vile body fashioned like unto His glorious body,’ yet the same. We shall see familiar faces in heaven, those with whom we are actually acquainted, whose memory and ours link us together—not entirely new individuals with whom we must become acquainted, but the same old friends.

How many times in this life have we sighed that the old friends, yes, even those articles that have become dear to us by association, could be preserved and kept rather than replaced by those that were new and strange. Yes, the same old friends, renewed, glorified, shall meet us in the morning of the resurrection. “Then, truly, shall we know even as we are known.” As from the dark tomb Jesus arose triumphant, turning His back upon the darkness and the tomb, and His face toward the sunrise of eternal morning; so, when the trumpet sounds, we shall rise victorious over all the sorrows and failures of the past, leaving death a conquered enemy, while before us stretches out an eternal, glorious future. O, the glory, the joy, the triumph, the eternal blessedness of the resurrection of the dead! “But we should remember that there are two resurrections. See i Thess. 4:16,17; Rev. 20:5,6.

There is a resurrection to condemnation as well as one to eternal life. See Acts 24:15; John 5:28,29. Between these two resurrections there is a period of a thousand years. “The first resurrection is of the righteous when Jesus comes, in which they are changed to immortality. The second is of the wicked a thousand years later. But the wicked come forth with the same bodies, the same weaknesses, the same passions with which they went into the grave. With the same malice and murder in their hearts as in the day when they breathed their last, do they rise to wage war against the people and the city of God. See Rev. 20:8. “All might have risen blessed and holy. No one need to have risen in the second resurrection if the opportunities which God held out had been accepted. Yes, all must rise in the first resurrection to eternal life, or in the second to final destruction and eternal death.

Shall we not choose our part in the first: resurrection?”