THE NATURE OF ETERNAL LIFE
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
What is eternal life? How is it different from physical life? We know the Holy Spirit is eternal Life; so is the Lord Jesus Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is the Nature of Jesus Christ. Living in the Spirit produces the characteristics of Jesus Christ in our personality.
THE NATURE OF ETERNAL LIFE
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23)
It is my point of view that once a spirit has been formed it is always conscious. Even though physically we may be unconscious, yet the spirit is still conscious. When we die our physical body ceases to function. It is dead. But our spirit, wherever it is, remains conscious.
The Lord Jesus Christ came to bring us eternal life. Does this mean eternal consciousness? I don’t believe so. It is my thought that once God gives a creature consciousness, that consciousness will endure for eternity with or without the Lord Jesus. Eternal consciousness is not the eternal life Christ came to bring.
The Lord Jesus referred to Himself as “the Resurrection and the Life.” Certainly He is not referring to consciousness. So it appears there is life that we might equate with consciousness, and then there is another kind of life that we would call eternal life.
We know conscious life includes thinking, imagining, creating, remembering, reproducing, moving, speaking, and the whole range of emotions and motivations.
I would think eternal life includes all of these in one form or another. However, there are elements of eternal life that are not included in mere conscious human life—at least not in an eternal, Divine form. The elements to which I am referring are the fruit of the Spirit of God, and the Nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. In their Divine form, these are the characteristics of eternal life.
Would we ever find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control in the consciousness of the natural man, the adamic man? Certainly! Many people who do not have the eternal Life of the Spirit of God are loving, joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and exercise self-control.
However, since these characteristics are not of Divine quality, in the individual who does not have the eternal Life of the Spirit of God, they will not always stand up under the pressures of life or under demonic seduction.
Love turns to dislike, irritation, a desire for revenge, slander, hatred, or even murder. All of these are forms of death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer.
Sometimes a person is treated unjustly. For example, the young child who is molested. He or she may make a strong effort to forgive but find forgiveness impossible.
Adamic love has a difficult time coping with injustice or perversity. It fails under the weight of enough spiritual darkness. But God’s love, the love that is the main component of eternal life, can enable the grievously wounded person to forgive. There is this kind of power in the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which are our eternal resurrection life.
Joy is not possible without love. Even the most naturally joyous person may be brought into situations that are intolerable. Joy turns to dread, gloom, fear, worry.
The joy of the Lord, however, resides deep in the heart of the mature saints. They can be in terrible circumstances and yet have the Lord’s joy in them. Such Divine joy is a component of eternal life.
Misery, dread, fear, gloom are all forms of death. Who wants to be conscious and filled with hatred, revenge, misery, fear, anger? Christ came to give us love and joy, and that more abundantly.
The world is seeking peace. It possibly is true that today, with all of our material advantages, there is less peace than ever before. Certainly Americans have every form of indigestion and nervousness because of the pressures of our wealthy culture. Anxiety is epidemic in our country.
The wicked cannot know peace. There are peaceful people, but their peace can easily be disturbed. But the eternal peace that comes from the Prince of Peace can survive every storm.
The opposite of peace is unrest. Unrest is a form of death. Who would want to be eternally conscious if he or she were filled with unrest? Only Jesus Christ can give us love, joy, and peace. These three are the greatest blessings of all, aren’t they?
God is kind by nature. There are people who are kind by nature. But they can become selfish and unkind if the pressure is great enough. The Spirit of God forms an eternal kindness in us that will survive the meanness and malice that are prevalent in the world.
Meanness is a form of death. A person who is mean creates enemies and drives people away from himself. No one would want to be conscious forever with the kind of personality that drives people away. The mean person is consumed with bitterness and malice. He is not a candidate for the new world of righteousness that is on the horizon.
A kind, loving nature is part of eternal life.
God is good. All his ways are constructive and helpful. God always is looking for ways to bring us to joy.
Satan implied to Eve that God is bad and evil. God was not willing that she should be wise. Satan’s message to mankind is that God is not good and does not want people to be happy. Satan would like us to think God is cruel and is pleased when we are suffering.
Even Christians believe the lie that God is not good. This is why they are afraid to commit their lives to Christ. They suppose they know what is best for them, and so they do not look to God for every decision of their life.
Young people do not trust God to give them the husband or wife they should have.
Older people are afraid to look to God for the kind of work they should do, or where they should live.
Not many individuals are willing to commit all their ways to the Lord. But there are some who understand the goodness of God and run to God with every decision.
God wants us to be good. We are surrounded with so much viciousness that being good is more than our adamic nature can manage. But the goodness of God that is resident in the Spirit of God can give us a goodness that does not depend on outward circumstances but comes from within us.
Goodness is a part of eternal life.
The Lord Jesus Christ is faithful and true. We are having a big problem in America today with faithlessness. Lack of integrity is the order of the day. Some of this faithlessness and lack of integrity comes from our worship of money; some from our love of pleasure; some from our self-centeredness.
It is difficult for us to be faithful when so many people are deceitful and corrupt. But God requires of us that we be absolutely faithful no matter what others do.
Our adamic nature cannot possibly produce faithfulness in the midst of faithlessness. But the Spirit of God can.
Who would want to be eternally conscious and yet have a treacherous nature! We would despise ourselves because we could see that our actions were injuring those whom we loved. We would be utterly miserable, knowing that our very nature was one big lie.
God honors faithfulness. When we do what we have promised to do, even though it costs us much suffering, God is pleased with us. The Holy Spirit can fill us with the virtue of faithfulness. It is a form of eternal life.
God is gentle. It is a good thing for us that He is. What if God were harsh?
Sometimes we are gentle with people. On other occasions we are harsh. Satan is harsh in all his dealings. Harshness if a form of death. It is not of God.
Who can be gentle at all times? God can. The Holy Spirit can.
Is God ever harsh? We think of the flood of Noah. God is perfectly capable of anger when there is a reason for anger. But God’s Nature is gentle.
The last two chapter of the Book of Revelation, the section of the Bible that presents our ultimate destiny, always presents the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb. Christ can be a Lion. He can be the Commander in Chief of God’s army. But God’s favorite revelation is as the Lamb. The Lamb is the most gentle of creatures. This is the way God wants us to be. This is not possible with Adam. Gentleness is the fruit of the Spirit. It is eternal life.
God has perfect self-control. All of God’s emotions and motivations are held in check. God consults His own wisdom and compassionate Nature before He calls up His love, or joy, or wrath. God never is subject to His emotions.
This is the way we are to be—in perfect control of ourselves. Before we do anything we are to look to the Lord for wisdom. We never are to be subject to our appetites and passions such that they lead us.
The adamic nature can be loving, or joyous, or helpful, or kind, as long as it is not pressed hard enough. But when surrounded with the meanness, perversity, and oppression that proceed from Satan, our adamic love, joy, helpfulness, and kindness fail. Our virtue simply is not pure or strong enough to overcome the darkness that comes from wicked spirits.
But there is a greater Power. There is a greater Wisdom. There is a greater Virtue, There is a greater Love. These come from the Holy Spirit. They are not the fruit of the Christian; they are the fruit of the Spirit.
Such is eternal life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The opposite of these are eternal death: hatred, misery, unrest, impatience, meanness, evil, treachery, harshness, and behavior driven by appetites and passions.
To be eternally conscious and yet be filled with hatred, misery, unrest, impatience, meanness, evil, treachery, harshness, and behavior driven by appetites and passions, would be to be dead while we were conscious.
The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth to deliver us from these forms of death. Just receiving forgiveness through the blood atonement does not deliver us from these forms of death. In order to be delivered from the death-nature we must live in the Spirit of God, turning aside from the desires of our sinful nature.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
(“The Nature of Eternal Life”, 3357-1)