LAYING HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

LAYING HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

In the beginning man because of his sin lost access to the tree of life. God warned Adam he would die if he disobeyed God. Adam disobeyed and Adam died. His descendants have been dead ever since. Into this graveyard has stepped Christ. Christ has brought life to whoever will receive it. In Him is life and the life is the light of men.

What is the nature of the life Jesus brings to us? How does Divine Life affect us now? How will Divine Life affect us in the future? Is eternal life an experience we have when we receive the Lord Jesus, and our ticket to Heaven, or is it a daily transformation of our personality? In this booklet we will attempt to give some answers to these questions.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Elements of Eternal Life

  Being in the moral image of Christ—the desire and power to behave in a righteous, holy manner and to be sternly obedient to God   The indwelling of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit—untroubled rest in the Father through the Son   Freedom from condemnation and fellowship with God   Deliverance from the bondages of the world, sin, and self-will   Fruitfulness—the forming of Christ in us and the ability to form Christ in others   Rulership—the ability to enforce one’s will   Survival—not to be brought down to where we cannot control our own mind, emotions, actions, and prayers   Energy and strength   Health   Joy   Peace   Desire and fulfillment   Pleasant prospects   Accomplishment   Happy memories   The redemption of the mortal body   Being clothed with the body from Heaven 

Spiritual Principles or Fellowship With God?

Conclusion

LAYING HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE 

Introduction

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:6)

Exactly what does "should not perish" mean? The term "perish" is used in the Scripture as follows: 

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. (Matthew 5:29)

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)

Since the spiritual area of man’s personality never is destroyed the expression "should not perish" undoubtedly is referring to the body. The Lord Jesus is saying that whoever believes in Him will be raised from the dead into life lived in the Presence and blessing of the Father.

This interpretation would be confirmed by Matthew 5:29 and Luke 13:3 (above) where the term "perish" is clearly referring to physical destruction. The interpretation of John 3:16 as referring to the resurrection of the body into Divine Life is confirmed also by the Lord’s statements concerning eating His body and drinking His blood. 

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)

Thus the term "eternal life" includes, and may be specifically pointed toward, the bodily resurrection from the dead. 

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: (II Timothy 1:10)

"Abolished death" and "hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" are definitely speaking of the body living forever. If we would understand the statements of the New Testament concerning eternal life we must realize that the expression in its fullest sense refers to the resurrection of the body to a certain kind of life—not just to perpetual existence but to a specific kind of perpetual existence.

What does "have everlasting life" mean? Is it the same thing as going to Heaven?—as being washed in the blood of the Lamb?—as being born again?

We know that eternal life is the Substance of Christ in us. As we eat His flesh and drink His blood we have eternal life in us. If we cultivate that eternal life, learning to live by it, the Lord Jesus will raise us when He appears and we will be eternally alive with Divine Life in body, soul, and spirit. 

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:53-57)

There is the biologic life of flesh and blood and then there is eternal life. If we would attain resurrection unto life in the Presence of God and Christ we must develop and nourish the portion of eternal life given us when we received Christ.

We must learn to think of our initial experience with Christ as being the beginning of our quest for eternal life. At the outset, righteousness is imputed to us. Our sins are forgiven by means of the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. The Divine Seed is planted in us. We are touched with a beginning portion of eternal life, a deposit on the fullness of eternal life that will be ours if we pursue Christ until we attain to the mark set before us as an individual.

Thus we are given a good start. Now it is up to us to fight the good fight of faith, laying hold on eternal life until we attain to the out-resurrection, the first resurrection from the dead.

We must always keep in mind that every aspect of salvation is an opportunity. There is a spirit of assurance among Christian people that is not based on reality. Godly assurance is a blessing but false assurance is a destructive deception.

We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, not with a blithe, overconfident attitude that we are a favorite of God and no matter how we behave God would never punish us severely nor could we possibly lose our inheritance of eternal life. God always is looking to see if we are serving Him. There are no favorites, no respect of persons. The believer who continues in well doing will inherit eternal life. The believer who is careless, not being careful to observe the Lord’s commandments, will inherit corruption in the Day of the Lord.

During the present age eternal life is given to the members of the royal priesthood, to those who were ordained from the beginning to eternal life. 

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

The members of the priesthood have the firstfruits of the Spirit of Life. If they choose to live, not according to the law of sin and death but according to the law of the Spirit of Life, they eventually become life-giving spirits—trees of life. Then they will return with the Lord and bring the Life of God to the saved nations of the earth. 

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

"The firstfruits of the Spirit."

Eternal life always is associated with righteousness. The eternal Life of God does not exist apart from righteousness, initially imputed to us and then worked out in our thinking, speaking, and acting. 

For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (Romans 5:17) 

That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21)

It is the power of eternal life in us that breaks the chains of sinful behavior. 

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

Eternal life is associated with sincere repentance. When we receive Christ we are to resolutely turn from our wicked ways and begin to serve the Lord Jesus. 

When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. (Acts 11:18)

Is there a way that leads to eternal life or is eternal life a one-time experience given to us when we receive Christ? 

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:14)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

Eternal life is not a ticket that is handed to us when we receive Christ. Rather, it is a way—the way of righteousness, the way of life, the way of faith. The righteous live by faith. That is how they live! Jesus is the Way, and the gateway to eternal life is narrow and the way is filled with difficulties.

We are resisted by the forces of death and darkness throughout our entire pursuit of Christ. The fallen angels and demons dwell in eternal death and darkness and they desire we be there with them.

Notice that there is a "way of righteousness," which is the way of eternal life. 

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (II Peter 2:21)

Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. (Acts 2:28)

If we would understand the Gospel of the Kingdom of God we must grasp the fact that the goal of salvation is not eternal residence in the spirit Paradise. There is a spirit Paradise and the righteous will dwell there. But, in spite of our traditions to the contrary, the goal of salvation is not eternal residence in Heaven.

The goal of salvation is to be filled with eternal life. When the Apostles preached in the Book of Acts they preached the Kingdom of God and eternal life. 

And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. (Acts 3:15)

Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life [all that God is saying concerning eternal life]. (Acts 5:20)

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:46)

No mention is made of going to Heaven to live forever. The goal always is presented as eternal life. The Lord Jesus came that we might have eternal life. If the reader can accept this change he will discover that the entire Bible makes a great deal more sense. Also he will begin to focus on fighting the good fight of faith and attaining eternal life now instead of waiting to die and go to Heaven.

Is everlasting life an assurance that the believer will exist forever? Is eternal life something we get in a moment when we receive Christ or is it a state of personality that we have to fight for throughout our Christian life? 

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:12)

Why would Timothy, who obviously had been saved and filled with God’s Spirit for some period of time, be exhorted to "lay hold on eternal life"?

If to have eternal life means we will exist forever, how is it possible to have more abundant life? 

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

The demons exist forever. Do they have eternal life?

Does the Scripture itself define eternal life? 

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

Is eternal life something we reap in the Day of the Lord provided we behave in a certain way, or is it a gift that is handed to us when we receive Christ? 

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)

Does the Apostle Paul teach us that eternal life is an undemanding gift that is handed to us, or does the context of Romans, Chapter Six require that we become the servant of righteousness if we would inherit eternal life? 

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

Speaking to the saints—"whether of sin unto death"! Is it true that if a believer in the Lord Jesus continues in sin he or she will die spiritually, as Paul stated also in Romans 8:13? 

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end [result is] everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:22,23)

Is Romans 6:22,23 (above) telling the unsaved person that if he will receive Christ he will be given eternal life as a gift, or was it written to the Christian that if he would inherit eternal life he must become the slave of righteousness—that eternal life is the end result of a holy life?

What did the Lord mean when He stated that in the world to come we would receive eternal life? Was He saying that we will not be given eternal life in the world to come if we do not leave our home and family, if such proves necessary for His sake and the Gospel’s? 

And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (Mark 10:29,30)

Do we have to endure temptation in order to receive the crown of life? 

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)

Must we patiently endure suffering and imprisonment (of whatever kind) if we would receive the crown of eternal life? 

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

Does the Christian have to put to death the lusts of his body in order to attain the resurrection unto life? 

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Is the first resurrection something we must attain by laying all else aside, by seeking to live by the power of Christ’s resurrection and to share in Christ’s sufferings? How many Christians today are counting all their accomplishments as garbage in order that they may win Christ? How many are seeking to live by His resurrection and to share in His sufferings? How many Christians of today have eternal life?

Are we claiming in this booklet that only the fervent disciples of Christ have enough eternal life to attain to the first resurrection from the dead? Yes, this is precisely what we are stating. 

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)

Are we required to continue patiently in well doing if we would inherit eternal life?

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: (Romans 2:7)

Do we have to "do good" in order to be raised unto eternal life? 

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29)

Can those who do not know the Lord attain the resurrection of life by doing good? If we do not believe this, then it must be the Christians who attain the resurrection of life by doing good.

What is the relationship between eternal life and doing the will of God? 

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (I John 2:17)

Does the Christian who is living in hatred have eternal life dwelling in him or her? 

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (I John 3:15)

It seems from the above verse that eternal life is a form of life that dwells in us rather than eternal existence.

When do we finally attain eternal life? 

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (I Corinthians 15:22,23)

"Afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming." It appears that we have a firstfruits of eternal life now and shall be made completely alive when the Lord returns.

Is eternal life a thing, an experience, or a person? 

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (John 11:25)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

What will happen to us in the day of resurrection provided we have patiently served the Lord throughout our lifetime?

For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)

God warned man in the beginning that if he disobeyed God by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would die. Because of Adam’s disobedience he died, just as the Lord said he would, and all of his descendants died with him. 

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)

The curses that fell on Adam, on Eve, on the serpent, and on nature were part of the death that was promised. Whatever aspect of Divine Life dwelled in Adam and Eve departed when they sinned. The program of death began in their bodies and they finally died physically. Adam and Eve were denied access to the tree of life. They were driven from Paradise. Worst of all, they no longer could walk in fellowship with God in Paradise. All these were part of the death they experienced.

The history of Adam’s descendants has been one of an agony of pain and confusion, and compulsion to sin as people have attempted in their wild ignorance and presumption to regain Paradise by means of their own wisdom and strength. In spite of the marvelous pronouncements of philosophers, teachers, politicians, and other sages, the world is in worse condition today than ever before.

At the appointed time Christ came. In Him is Life and the Life is the light of men. He came to awaken mankind from the dead. He came to show us the way to regain all that was lost. More than that, He Himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This is important to remember in a day when people are attempting to use Jesus to find the way, to learn the truth, and to gain the life. He Himself is all these forms of eternal life, and to attempt to use Him to gain these, apart from worshiping Him as the Author of life, is idolatry. Christ Himself is the only proper goal toward which all people are to press.

In Him is Life and the Life is the light of men. We usually do not think of life as being light. But the Light, the understanding of God comes to us only through the Life of Christ. It is vain for us to attempt to understand God, His salvation, or the Scriptures. All understanding of God, salvation, and the Scriptures comes to us as we live by the body and blood of Christ. All else is Babylon—man attempting to reach God by his own strength and wisdom.

At one time we were dead. Now we are alive because we have believed in Christ and have received Christ into our personality. If we remain on the path of life the day will come when we are a life-giving spirit capable of bringing life to the dead sea of mankind. 

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3)

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)

Let us look now at some of the elements of eternal life. What is the nature of the life Jesus brings to us? How does Divine Life affect us now? How will Divine Life affect us in the future? Is eternal life an experience we have when we receive the Lord Jesus, and our ticket to Heaven, or is it a daily transformation of our personality that requires an unrelenting pursuit of Christ?

Some of the following elements are themselves life and produce life. The other elements are an evidence of eternal life abiding in us. We would not want to be immortal, to live forever, if these elements were not included in our personality.

While some of the elements would be true of us on the basis of our being admitted to Paradise, our possession of them would then depend on our environment rather than on what we have become through Christ. Therefore there is a possibility that we could lose them, just as Satan lost them.

But if through the travail of our soul as Christ is formed in us we gain an eternal life-giving personality, we have all that Paradise can offer, and much, much more. 

Elements of Eternal Life

Being in the moral image of Christ—the desire and power to behave in a righteous, holy manner and to be sternly obedient to God. 

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

To be in the moral image, and finally in the bodily image, of the Lord Jesus Christ is a calling so high as to be nearly incredible. Yet this is what God has said through Paul and we must never stagger at the promises of God.

To live in sin is to live in death. Sin is the absence of eternal life. 

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)

God has promised to deliver us from the body of death provided we sow to the Spirit during the days of our pilgrimage. 

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

"The redemption of our body." Our new personality has been born of God. Our body will be adopted by the Lord provided we sow each day to our new personality, praying, reading our Bible, obeying God sternly in every matter, gathering with fervent believers as possible, giving, serving, and doing all else that is part of the Christian discipleship.

The Lord Jesus lives in Divine Life and He Himself is Divine Life. In Him there is no sin. As each day we walk before the Holy Spirit, ready to forsake and repent of our sins as the Spirit guides us, we remain without condemnation. Day by day, line upon line, command upon command, rule upon rule, the graveclothes of sin are unwound and removed from us. As the sin is removed eternal life enters our personality. As eternal life enters our personality we have the strength to remove more graveclothes. The cycle spirals upward until we stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 

Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12)

Eternal life always is associated with righteousness—righteousness that at first is imputed and then is wrought in our personality until we think, speak, and act in a righteous, holy manner.

Eternal life always is the end result of righteous, holy behavior. 

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end [result is] everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

If we say we have eternal life and are not walking according to the Lord’s commandments we are deceived. 

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:4)

Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (I John 2:24,25)

Eternal life is a promise made to those who continue to abide in the Son and in the Father.

Righteousness always is an issue of life and power. The power of sin and the resulting death reside in our flesh. We want to do good but the law of sin in our flesh fights against us. Our physical body truly is a body of death.

The eternal Life of Christ is stronger than sin and death. As each day we walk according to the Life of Christ that is in us we are able to overcome the power of sin and death. We keep on growing in Christ’s Life until we are in His moral image. If we continue to do this, in the day of resurrection our mortal body will be raised and clothed with incorruptible, resurrection life. This is the crown of righteousness and life promised to those who overcome through Christ the world, the lusts of their flesh, and their self-will and self-love.

The indwelling of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit—untroubled rest in the Father through the Son. 

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

When Jesus spoke of mansions and of going to prepare a place for us He was referring to our abiding in God through Himself, that is, through Christ. To go to God and dwell in the bosom of God is to go home.

Perhaps the most important aspect of eternal life is to be at home in God.

It is God’s will that each of His creatures dwell in untroubled rest in Himself. The Lord Jesus came to earth that He might prepare a place for us in God. Jesus is the Door to the Presence of God.

When through Christ we have overcome the tumult in our personality caused by indwelling sin, then we are able to enter God’s rest. To live in God’s rest is to abide in God’s love, always performing His perfect will.

The highest, best position any human being can attain is to arrive at the place where his most fervent desires are the same as God’s most fervent desires for him. This is God’s rest through Christ.

As long as the world or the lusts of our flesh or our self-will are actively pulling us we cannot find rest in God. We are confused. We are in indecision. We are torn between eternal life and eternal death. We are the only one who can decide the issue. Will we choose death or life? We cannot remain forever in the valley of decision. God exhorts us to choose His way and thus live in His Presence. 

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: (Deuteronomy 30:19)

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

To live in God through Christ is to live in eternal Life.

Freedom from condemnation and fellowship with God. 

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:5-7)

One of the great messages of the Apostles, as recorded in the Book of Acts, was forgiveness of sin. 

Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:31)

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: (Acts 13:38)

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18)

When we first put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven. Then we are to walk in the Light of God’s Presence and will. As long as we do this we have fellowship with God and remain without condemnation in God’s sight.

When the Holy Spirit shows us a sin we are committing, then we are to confess that sin and turn away from it as the Spirit helps us. When we do this, God forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. By His death on the cross the Lord Jesus has made perfect for eternity those who are sanctified, that is, who are living a holy life in Him. They have a perfect conscience before God forever, something that could not be provided by the blood of bulls and lambs.

God is Life and God is Light. There is no sin, no darkness, no death in God. When we commit sin, and do not confess it and turn away from it, we cannot have fellowship with God. When we walk in the light of God’s holiness and righteousness, dwelling in the Light that God Is, we have fellowship with God and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.

God tells us that if we would be received by Him we must come out of the sin and death that are in the world. 

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (II Corinthians 6:16-18)

One of the great losses that occurred in the Garden was fellowship with God. After Adam sinned, God no longer walked in Eden in the cool of the day.

Eternal Life left the earth. Mankind and nature were bound with the chains of spiritual death.

If we would have eternal life we must cleanse ourselves from all death. 

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

Deliverance from the bondages of the world, sin, and self-will. 

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin. All sin came originally from Satan and his angels and demons. Sin entered the Garden as an intelligent personality. We struggle against the lords of darkness presently residing in the heavens.

All sin is darkness and death. As long as there is sin in us there is death in us. Every day death and life compete for our allegiance. When we yield to sin we live in spiritual death. When we resist sin and choose the way of the Lord we live in eternal life.

The individual, Christian or not, who is bound by the world or the lusts of the flesh or by self-will is the victim of evil forces. The compulsions of sin are a form of death. To overcome sin through Christ is to gain eternal life.

Fruitfulness—the forming of Christ in us and the ability to form Christ in others. 

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)

The fruit that the Christian is to bear is the moral image of Christ. Christ is grafted on human stock and the result is Christ substance and likeness. Christ substance and likeness are Divine in origin and righteous, holy, and obedient to God in behavior.

It is God’s will that the fruit that is borne by the Body of Christ, the Israel of God, is to fill the whole earth so that the substance and likeness of Christ are found to some degree in every saved individual. 

He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6)

The good works of Christians, the works of righteousness that proceed from the life that dwells in them, cause people to glorify God. 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

The fruit of Christ that is produced as the saint lives a crucified life results in eternal life in other people. 

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. (II Corinthians 4:11,12)

The nations are waiting to see the fruit of righteousness come forth in the Lord’s elect. 

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

Having your conversation [manner of life] honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:12)

The godly man or woman becomes a tree of life. 

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3)

The fruit borne by the righteous wins the souls of those who do not know the Lord. 

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)

If an individual receives Christ and then does not begin to bear the fruit of Christ’s image he may be cut out of the Vine, out of Christ. He is near to the flames of Divine judgment. 

But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)

Ezekiel, Chapter 47, tells us of the water to the ankles, knees, and thighs, and then waters to swim in. This is a symbolic picture of the believer in Christ who grows in eternal life.

Then the picture changes to trees of life along the bank of the river of life. Soon we see the water of life flow out to the dead sea of mankind, bringing healing and eternal life to earth’s multitudes. This means that the Lord Jesus wants us to grow in eternal life to the point that when He returns we may return with Him and bring eternal life to the saved of mankind. 

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

Another picture of the saints who have become life-giving spirits is found in the last chapter of the Bible. Here we see a symbolic picture of the members of the Body of Christ planted by the great river of eternal life, the river that is the Spirit of God. The nations of the saved will be able to come to the new Jerusalem and receive eternal life and healing. 

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1,2)

We shall count all of our tribulations as joy when we stand in that day and are able to minister life and healing to the nations of the earth. Let us bear the fruit of righteousness and eternal life with patience. We are being made trees of life by the fact that the Tree of Life, Christ, has been formed in us and is dwelling in us.

Rulership—the ability to enforce one’s will. 

But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:6-8)

All the creation has been placed under the rulership of man. Christ is the first "man" to appear on the earth. Christ possesses all authority and all power over the works of God’s hands. It is Christ’s desire that each of His younger brothers sit in the throne with Him. 

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

The power to govern, the power of the royal priesthood, is that of endless incorruptible life. 

Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. (Hebrews 7:16)

One of the main purposes of the two thousand years of the Church Age is the development of the rulers of the ages to come. If we suffer we will govern with Him, the Scripture teaches us. Why must each ruler suffer? Why are those who sit on the right and left hand of Christ in His Kingdom required to drink the cup of suffering?

The reason is, suffering teaches us obedience just as it taught Christ obedience. Each of God’s rulers must be sternly obedient to the Father under every conceivable provocation. They must cry out, "Not my will but Thine be done" no matter what pain they are enduring. Only then can the Father be certain there will be no more rebellions in His creation.

God has provided each disciple of the Lord Jesus with a personal cross. He must carry that cross patiently throughout his discipleship. It is the cross that slays the adamic nature. It is from the cross of deferral of fulfillment of desire, of intense thirst, that the incorruptible resurrection Life of Christ arises. It is that Life that will govern the world throughout the endless ages to come.

If you are destined to rule you will suffer. Stay in your prison of unfulfilled desire. Remain patient when you are forced to do things you despise. If you break out of God’s prison by breaking God’s laws you will lose your crown of righteousness and life. God will have no rulers who cannot be trusted to obey Him in every situation.

Deferred hope creates the power of rulership, the crown of life, in us. We will overcome and rule today if we will allow the Lord to afflict us as He chooses, for it is then that the power of Christ abides on us. We can only know the power of His resurrection as we experience His sufferings, the sufferings of the cross.

The new world that is coming will be a very desirable place in which to live because it will be governed by the spirits of righteous people made perfect in Christ. Each one of them will be a tree of life from which other people can draw life and healing for themselves.

Survival—not to be brought down to where we cannot control our own mind, emotions, actions, prayers. 

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:19)

God has given us a soul. We can possess our soul or we can lose our soul. Our soul rightfully belongs to Christ but Satan desires it for his own purposes.

We are approaching an age of moral horrors. We already can see how the Internet will be used to bring pornography and other moral darkness and death to people. Satan’s purpose in filling the world with moral darkness and death is to give him control of the souls of people.

The Christian churches are morally weak in the present hour. Many of the members are not nearly strong enough to resist the temptations on the horizon. They will not be able to possess their soul during the age of moral horrors. They will succumb. They will lose control over their own soul, being compelled by the power of death in them to live in the lusts of the flesh.

Only the strongest will survive in the days to come. Only those who are filled with eternal life, who are living in the Life of Christ, will be strong enough to retain control over their souls, their minds, their emotions, their memories, their tongues, their bodies.

In the coming hour the Christians who today are lukewarm and careless will be unable to resist sin. Pastors and congregations alike will be deceived by the darkness because they are not carrying their personal cross and following the Master. Pastors and congregation will stay glued to the computer screen, reveling in the moral filth portrayed until the early hours of the morning. They will become puppets moved by unclean spirits. They do not possess enough eternal life to overcome the darkness and death that is filling the earth, the hordes of demons who are counseling them and pressuring them to indulge their lusts.

If we are to survive and to stand before the Son of Man in victory we must have much, much more eternal life than is true of the average church attender of our day. The enemy is coming in like a flood and only the Spirit of God, the Spirit of eternal life, is strong enough to overcome him. The Lord has promised to guard us during the hour of temptation, the hour of moral darkness, but only as we faithfully guard the word of His patience.

At the height of the darkness the eternal life that dwells in the overcomers will shine as never before. Then the nations will come to that light and be saved. 

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:2)

You can be part of the great light that will arise during the hour of darkness but you must lay hold on eternal life. You must sow to the Spirit of Life each day. You cannot be filled with Divine Life in a moment. It is a battle all the way as you fight the good fight of faith.

Energy and strength. Sin brings weariness and sickness, and finally death upon us. 

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (I Corinthians 11:30)

If we would have the strength of the Lord we must wait on Him patiently. We must do His will. We are to turn away from sin and serve the Lord in righteousness and holiness. 

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Eternal life is just that—life, strength, energy. We shall govern, as we have said, by the power of an endless, incorruptible life.

The new Jerusalem is filled with eternal life. So powerful is the life filling the new Jerusalem that there is no night there. There is no need for sleep because every one of the inhabitants is filled constantly with the energy of God, the energy that created the galaxies of stars.

Those of us who are in the ministry may notice how the anointing of the Spirit refreshes our body so that when we finish preaching we are stronger than when we began. As long as we do God’s will we are continually strengthened. It is when we attempt to perform our ministry apart from God’s will that we become exhausted. There always is refreshing when we are in the center of the Divine will. We have food to eat that is given only to those who are fighting the Lord’s battles. It is "hidden manna." 

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (I John 2:17)

Man does not gain energy and strength from food alone but from every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Health. Eternal life and health go together. Sometimes victorious saints have an affliction in this world. But they often are healed in the Lord’s time. However, they can be assured that perfect health will be their portion in the next age.

The Scriptures speak much of physical healing. Healing comes to us as the Tree of Life, Christ, touches our body. In the four Gospel accounts the Lord Jesus healed all who came to Him.

Healing is associated with obeying the commandments of the Lord. 

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. (Exodus 15:26)

Healing is associated with the forgiveness of our sins. It is the Lord’s will to heal all our diseases. 

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (Psalms 103:3)

Our healing was purchased by the lashes laid on the Lord Jesus in Pilate’s judgment hall. 

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Physical healing goes together with spiritual healing. 

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (III John 1:2)

All healing comes from the eternal Life of God.

Joy. Joy is one of the most important aspects of eternal life. Eternal life and joy are very closely related. Gloom, misery, depression, pessimism reflect the absence of life. The believer who is experiencing gloom and pessimism is not necessarily sinning but is in a battle for life. When the victory comes, joy will return. 

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalms 30:5)

In God’s favor there is eternal life.

In God’s Presence there is fullness of joy.

"Fun" is the fleshly counterpart of joy. Fun cannot exist in the midst of distressing circumstances, but joy can. The Apostle Paul commanded us to "rejoice always." He wrote this when confined in prison.

The Lord Jesus was continually harassed by hostile people and unpleasant circumstances. Yet He was a man of the greatest joy and offered to give us His joy.

The joy of the Lord is our strength and comes from the eternal Divine Life that is seeking to fill and govern our personality.

Peace. The Scriptures have a great deal to say about peace. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalms 119:165)

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ. (Philippians 4:7)

During the first few years of our Christian experience we may suffer much tribulation, much discouragement, distressing circumstances, but these do not last forever. They are the judgment of God on our worldly, sinful, self-seeking personality. If we patiently endure the chastisement of the Father we will find that it results in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (I Peter 5:10)

It is necessary that we suffer. Otherwise we continue to live in the flesh. Living in the flesh prevents us from having lasting peace.

Peace is an important part of the fruit of the Spirit. God is the God of peace. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. It is His will that you and I have peace. There is no place for fear or dread in the Lord’s palace.

Let us ask the Lord to remove all hindrances to our peace. He will always answer this prayer although He often does so in surprising ways. Be patient and your peace will come in God’s time.

Desire and fulfillment. 

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalms 37:4)

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

Desire and the fulfillment of desire are very important aspects of eternal life. After we have borne our cross for many years, and it seems we never will be granted the desires of our heart, we can begin to grow pessimistic, or angry with God, or fatalistic, or believe that the Christian life is one of imprisonment and denial.

Sometimes we are called to be in prison for a season but never to become a prisoner in personality. One day Joseph served God in prison and the next day he served God as the ruler of Egypt under Pharaoh. Joseph remained cheerful and optimistic, ready to be abased and ready to abound.

Each one of God’s elect is a ruling priest, even when he or she is bowed low with denial and suffering.

One reason for our suffering is that we may be humbled and learn that man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God. 

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:2,3)

The Lord Jesus cried from the cross, "I thirst." The saint may spend many years thirsting for that which other people possess in abundance.

Another reason why we experience unfulfilled desire, and other suffering, is that God is preparing us to rule. Every ruler, as we have stated previously, must be tested rigorously as to stern obedience to the Father. A well-trained dog will not move toward a bone until the trainer gives the signal. How much more must we, who are destined to govern the works of God’s hands, not move toward the fulfillment of our desires until God gives the signal. If we do before God gives permission we may discover to our anguish that we have lost our predetermined place in the Kingdom. Also, the fruit we have picked will not be ripe. It will be exceedingly bitter to the taste.

It is only as we suffer that we are qualified to rule with Christ.

After we have been proven, and our character has been formed in the Divine Fire, we will be granted the desires of our heart. This is what the Scripture states and the Scripture cannot be broken. Heaven and earth shall pass away but the Scripture cannot be changed in the smallest detail.

We have been commanded to ask what we will in the name of the Lord Jesus and our prayer shall be answered. Why answered? So our joy may be full. Every prayer we ask in Jesus’ name starts the mighty engines of God in motion. Either God will modify that prayer until it reflects our true desire (if we are not stubborn and resistant) or else the prayer will be answered to perfection either now or sixty years from now. It will be answered in the way and in the time when it will produce the greatest joy and peace in us.

When our desire is fulfilled it proves to be a tree of eternal life. 

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)

Pleasant prospects. Pleasant prospects are part of eternal life. 

For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (Psalms 84:11)

The sinner may surround himself with fantasies and dreams of one sort or another. He may boast to himself and the universe that he is master of his destiny. He may arise in the morning and declare he is in control of his life. Whatever he desires he can bring to pass. The day will prove to be whatever he makes it.

The telephone rings and he learns his child has leukemia. His bright sunrise turns heavy with clouds of darkness and foreboding. The nightmare has begun and all his proud boasting turns to ashes in his mouth. How quickly we creatures of the dust are humbled!

But the Scriptures hold out before us a future so glorious that the most gifted writer could not describe it; the most gifted artist could not paint it; the most talented composer could not express it in a symphony.

We are confronted with an endless age of joy and peace, a volume in which, as C. S. Lewis put it, each chapter is more wonderful than the previous. We are saved by hope—the hope we have that one day the glorious promises of the Scriptures will become flesh and bone reality. Our hope is no idle dream! It all shall come to pass exactly as written.

Even in the present world God answers many prayers. We indeed would faint if we did not believe to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

And so we press forward, being filled with an eternal life that is strengthened by the certain knowledge that our future in the Lord Jesus will be all we have ever hoped or dreamed. To continue in sin is to look forward to darkness, weakness, despair, torment, death. To continue in righteousness is to look forward to joy indescribable and full of glory—living forever in a wonder-world of joy, peace, the absence of all dread and pain. Best of all, the Lord will be there.

Accomplishment. It is normal and healthy for a human being to desire to accomplish something of significance during his or her life. However, the desire for accomplishment must be given to the Lord for fulfillment. Otherwise we may spend our life on that which is worthless.

God has given man a brain, not so man can plan his own destiny but so he can comprehend the will of God and make moral judgments.

In the beginning God created all things, including all history through to the coming down from heaven of the new Jerusalem. At that time the place in the Kingdom of each member of the elect was established. The works were finished from the foundation of the world. Then God rested.

If we have been called in Christ we are not to plan our own destiny. We are to present our body a living sacrifice that we may prove God’s will. We do not know even our true name let alone our role in the Kingdom of God. We can discover our true identity only by following the Lord Jesus patiently each day.

What we are to accomplish in this world and the next is known only to God. When we make plans we must remember we are only dust, a mist on the face of the earth that soon will vanish. 

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. (James 4:13-15)

All boasting is excluded. Nothing of worth is accomplished unless it is performed by the Lord. Why, then, do we wear ourselves out trying to do something when we do not know whether or not God is with us? This same question can be asked in both secular and religious work. 

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (Psalms 127:1)

You may have spent your life attempting to accomplish something, and if it was not God’s will for you, you have accomplished nothing of value. In fact, you have wasted your life because you did not do that for which you were born. Like Adam and Eve, you ate of the tree you were not supposed to touch and you did not eat of the tree that would have given you eternal life.

Each healthy child of Adam has a desire to accomplish something of worth. He must go to the Lord and find out what God wants him to do. When he obeys God’s will for his life he enters the rest of God.

He may wait many years for the Lord. Meanwhile he is to do with all his strength and ability the tasks set before him. We all must work. Whoever is not willing to work will never find the Lord.

Even though we may have spent many years waiting, and have accomplished much that seems important to us, and perhaps to other people, yet, when the Lord speaks, we must leave all and obey the Lord.

The writer entered the field of public education while waiting for the Lord, knowing he had been called to the ministry. The Lord prospered him in this profession. The Lord did not give the green light to enter the ministry until he was fifty years of age. This was five years before retirement from the public school system and meant the loss of a considerable amount of money.

Knowing it is always wise to do what God commands, the writer left his profession immediately and accepted the pastorate of a church (which the Lord provided by a miracle). Time has proved the wisdom of the decision to obey the Lord.

We may or may not accomplish much of importance in the sight of man while we are living in the present world. But if we have pleased God by our life, even though we die as a child, our life has been of incalculable value in the sight of God—and this is all that truly matters. Do you agree?

Genuine accomplishment is part of eternal life.

Happy memories. Memory has an important role to play in eternal life. God controls which memories are to be removed and which are forced to be retained or permitted to be retained. 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. (Isaiah 43:18)

That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. (Isaiah 65:16)

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. (Isaiah 65:17)

In order for God to wipe away all tears He will have to remove many memories from each of us so only memories that bring joy remain.

We are of the opinion that part of the torment in which the wicked will be confined will be memories that refuse to leave. It is impossible to faint or sleep in the spirit realm, so the wicked may be faced unceasingly with the deeds they have committed.

What if the abortion doctor keeps seeing for thousands of years the picture of aborted fetuses revolving before him and cannot blot out the sight? The murderer is forced to endlessly consider the vision of his victim pleading for mercy? The rapist keeps hearing the screams of the innocent person he has violated? The child molester hears the little one cry "Please don’t, please don’t"—and for eternity witnesses the troubled emotional life that followed as the child became an adult and was unable to relate properly to his or her marriage partner?

What a torment would be the memory of facing an angry Christ who exclaimed, "You have disobeyed Me at every point. You have wasted your life. Depart into the outer darkness!"

The Scripture states we will receive the bad things we have done. 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

But as part of their eternal life the righteous will remember the way the Lord led them; the fiery passions they crucified only to find that all they desired was waiting for them; the people who came up to them in this world and the next and said, "You were a lifeline for me. I never could have gained the victory over sin had it not been for your testimony."

What greater portion of life could one have than to have heard the Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have finished the work I gave you to do. The mistakes you made were washed away by My blood and God remembers only the years of your faithful service. Enter into the joy of your Lord."

Can you think of anything that would bring more lasting peace and joy than that memory? I cannot!

The redemption of the mortal body. 

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

No matter where we were buried, or drowned, or whether we were buried intact or a bomb blew us to pieces, our body will come forth from its place of interment. 

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29)

The resurrection of our body is a central concern of the Scriptures. Man died physically because of his sin. Man shall be raised physically because of the obedience and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because of the modern emphasis on the "catching up" of the saints there appears to have been a diminishing of the teaching of the resurrection of the body. Recently a lady was heard to say, "I don’t care about the resurrection just as long as I’m not here when trouble comes," referring to the doctrine of the "pre-tribulation rapture." Perhaps she has not considered the fact that the pre-tribulation rapture has been preached since the last century and a multitude of Christians have suffered a great deal since that time. In fact it has been claimed that more Christians have been martyred (and yet are being martyred!) during the twentieth century than any other century of the Church Era. Perhaps the lady would be wise to prepare herself for trouble.

Since John 5:28,29 (above) informs us that the body of every person who has lived will be called forth from the dead, we must give careful thought to the fact that the Apostle Paul was striving to attain to the out-resurrection from the dead. 

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

If everyone is to be resurrected, why would Paul be seeking to attain the resurrection?

Apparently there are many types of resurrections, some to glorious life, some to salvation as by fire, some to shame and everlasting contempt, and some to judgment and condemnation, and all levels of these several varieties. 

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (I Corinthians 3:15)

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: (I Corinthians 15:41,42)

All shall be resurrected. But what one person is raised to may vary greatly from what another person is raised to. This being the case we would want a "better resurrection." 

Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: (Hebrews 11:35)

The way we live as a Christian will directly determine the nature of our resurrection. What we sow we will reap. If we sow to our flesh we will reap corruption in the day of resurrection. If we sow to the Spirit of God we will reap eternal life in the day of resurrection. Here is the perfect justice of God. We shall receive what we have done in our body while alive on the earth.

Since it is clearly scriptural that the manner in which we conduct ourselves as Christians will determine the kind of resurrection we experience, the comment "I don’t care about the resurrection just as long as I’m not here when trouble comes," while it is familiar and meant to be somewhat humorous, reflects a problem with Christian teaching and preaching, a misunderstanding of the Scriptures that directly affects the intensity with which people seek the Lord.

The resurrection of our mortal body is the central message of the Kingdom of God. We shall not perish but have everlasting life. The last enemy that will be overcome is physical death. We must always keep in mind, however, that the quality of our resurrection is being determined by the quality of our discipleship. To think otherwise is to be deceived and to place in jeopardy our entire destiny.

Grace and mercy operate now, today, as we are attempting to gain the strength to serve the Lord. Grace and mercy will not operate in the Day of the Lord so as to change the eternal Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping. We cannot live a weak, indecisive, half-hearted, disobedient Christian life and then receive a body like the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who teach such will stand before the Lord with their terrified followers and explain why they changed the Scriptures.

Being clothed with the body from Heaven.

We have just mentioned the resurrection of the mortal body. The resurrection of the mortal body is the subject of the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians.

Now we come to another body, the body from Heaven. 

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)

The body from Heaven is sometimes referred to as a white robe, or a crown of life, or a crown of righteousness. The body from Heaven is being formed before the throne of God as we experience the sufferings of Christ. 

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)

The "eternal weight of glory" is our body from Heaven, our robe of righteousness.

Our present body is like seed we are sowing. It is dying daily as we give ourselves to the will of God. As our present body dies in the Lord a counterpart is being formed in Heaven above. The counterpart reflects in itself our conduct on the earth. This is the meaning of, "for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

If we confess and turn away from sin our robe in Heaven is made clean. As we die to our self-will, always crying out "not my will but Yours be done," our robe in Heaven becomes sparkling white with a militant, radiant righteousness.

As the Day of the Lord approaches, the righteous spirits in Heaven, those who have attained to the first resurrection, will be clothed with their white robes. They will descend with the Lord and pick up their reconstituted bodies. The new body (the gold) will cover the resurrected mortal body (the wood). Mortality will be swallowed up with immortality. Corruption will be covered over with incorruptibility. Mortality and weakness will be empowered with incorruptible resurrection life. It is to this that the Apostle Paul was looking and the Apostle Paul attained. 

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)

This is what it means to be given eternal life in the world to come.

Woe to that person who is saved as by fire! Woe to that person who is raised to shame and everlasting contempt! Woe to that individual who is raised to judgment and condemnation!

But doesn’t "grace" insure we never will experience the horror of being raised to something other than eternal life? Not in the sense in which grace ordinarily is presented. Grace is being preached today as an alternative to righteous living. The idea is we can sow sin but by grace we will reap eternal life.

The purpose of grace is not to serve as an alternative to righteous living. If this were the case, the new covenant would be the worst disaster ever to fall on the human race, for it would change the nature of God and of eternity. It would be well that we never were born if grace can serve as an alternative to righteous behavior!

If the new world to come is one of imputed righteousness instead of actual righteousness, then it will prove to be like the present hour. Then there is no hope for the individual who loves God and righteousness.

The actual purpose of Divine grace is to forgive our sins and give us a fresh start. Included is the wisdom and strength to turn away from sin and begin to sow the seeds of righteousness. In its truest definition, Divine grace is Christ Himself.

Christ did not come to forgive us and fill Paradise with unrighteous, self-willed people but to enable those who will receive Him to flee the wickedness of the world and become new creatures of righteous, holy, obedient behavior. This is the true grace of God. 

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (Titus 2:11,12)

If we have denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, have lived soberly, righteously, and in a godly manner in this present world, then, when the Lord Jesus comes, we will be raised from the dead and clothed with righteousness and godliness. All the elements of eternal life we have mentioned above will be ours in glorious fullness. We then will have the more abundant life the Lord mentioned. This is the mark toward which the Apostle Paul was pressing and it is to be our mark also. 

Spiritual Principles or Fellowship With God?

We have identified several elements of eternal life. The modern temptation is to seize upon these and try to make them "work." A number of books are published each year telling us how to use the Lord Jesus to gain joy, peace, happy prospects, health, strength, fulfillment and so forth. We have placed the cart in front of the horse, so to speak.

Our goal ought to be fellowship with God. The Lord Jesus came to bring us into fellowship with God. When we have God we have eternal life and all of its elements. To seek to use God to gain the various elements of life is idolatry.

A good example of the difference between seeking to understand and use principles, and seeking fellowship with God, may be found in the first chapters of the Book of Genesis.

Adam and Eve were commanded not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It may be true that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the eternal moral law of God, which is summed up in the Lord Jesus Christ. The tree of life also is the Lord Jesus Christ.

We know from the Scripture that both trees were good for food. 

And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)

The Lord warned Adam that in the day he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would die. Adam ate and he died, as we have pointed out previously.

One can look at this incident in two different ways. One way is to notice that the sin of disobeying God brought death in that the fellowship between God and Adam was destroyed.

The second way, perhaps the most popular in our day, is to attempt to learn why eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil results in death and then to try to gain a spiritual principle from this.

The second way is popular because of human pride. The Christians of today in many instances have not been taught the necessity of dying to self, of how important it is for us to take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus. Therefore we forever are seeking to learn spiritual principles so we can remain in the driver’s seat and make these principles work for our good. We want to remain in control, as the popular saying goes.

Let us say there was a father and a thirteen-year-old son. The father told the boy not to attempt to learn to ride a motorcycle until he was older. The father knew how difficult it is to learn to ride a large, heavy motorcycle. The father told him he probably would fall over and hurt himself and not to try to learn at this time.

A few days later the boy went over to a friend’s house. The friend had a motorcycle and offered to let the boy try it out. The boy got on the motorcycle, lost control, and fell over, breaking his leg.

Now suppose the boy reasoned, "I must not try to learn to ride a motorcycle until I am older and stronger or else I will probably hurt myself." He had learned a principle of safety. He was in control.

Is this all there is to it? What about the relationship of the boy to his father? Is he to obey his father only when he understands there is a principle of safety involved or does he obey his father because his father deserves to be obeyed apart from any principle of safety? What is your feeling about this issue?

Why does the soul that sins die? Is it because the soul has violated spiritual principles, or is it because the soul has disobeyed God and therefore is cut off from God’s blessing?

Is God anxious to teach us spiritual principles so we can control our own state of being, or does God require obedience because He is God? God has made Jesus our King. Are we to obey our King apart from any knowledge of spiritual principles?

If we are disobedient will God withdraw from us even though we have not violated any spiritual principles?

The purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not to help man control his life. The purpose of the Gospel is to reconcile man to God! The difference between these two concepts is the difference between Antichrist and Christ.

God required Abraham to offer up his son, Isaac. When Abraham obeyed, God said, "Now I know that you fear God. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed."

God did not say, "You have learned the important principle that you should not love your son more than you do God. This principle will set you free in your personality so the nations, beholding your personal spiritual liberty will be set free as a result."

We think modern Christianity in numerous instances is leaving the Lord Jesus standing at the door and knocking while we are seeking to learn how to build a large church, how to win the world for Christ, how to get rich, how to be healed, and so forth. If we will just push a little harder we can get [or force] God to do so and so.

Perhaps it is time for us to forget about ourselves and worship God. Of all the losses that occurred in Eden, the most tragic was the loss of fellowship with God. No doubt God is waiting to see who among us will turn away from our own desires and efforts, look up, and worship and adore our Creator. Surely the Lord will draw near to us when He sees we love Him more than we do His works. 

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:39,40)

Conclusion

God is Life. God is Love. God is a consuming Fire. Life, love, and fire. These are closely related. Out of the Fire of God comes Life. Out of the Fire of God comes Love. Sin and death are consumed by the Fire of God. Let us desire always to live in the Fire that is God Almighty.

The Lord Jesus is the Way to Life. The Lord Jesus is the Truth concerning Life. The Lord Jesus is the Life itself.

"I am the Resurrection and the Life."

To be filled with the Lord Jesus is to be filled with endless, incorruptible, resurrection Life. This is what the Lord came to bring us. We, the dead children of Adam, can receive the fullness of Divine Life if we will receive the Lord Jesus each day of our pilgrimage, hear and obey His Word, and place our trust in the Father. No condemnation rests on those who receive Jesus each day for the blood of the Lamb washes away all their sins.

A verse that always has been a puzzle to us is as follows: 

But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (Mark 10:30)

The bothersome phrase is "and in the world to come eternal life."

We always had thought we Christians have eternal life now, so what does it mean to be given eternal life in the world to come?

As we have discussed the several elements of eternal life we see that some of them we can have in part in the present hour but all of them will be ours in a much greater fullness in the world to come.

Being in the moral image of Christ—the desire and power to behave in a righteous, holy manner and to be sternly obedient to God.

The indwelling of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit—untroubled rest in the Father through the Son.

Freedom from condemnation and fellowship with God.

Deliverance from the bondages of the world, sin, and self-will.

Fruitfulness—the forming of Christ in us and the ability to form Christ in others.

Rulership—the ability to enforce one’s will.

Survival—not to be brought down to where we cannot control our own mind, emotions, actions, prayers.

Energy and strength.

Health.

Joy.

Peace.

Desire and fulfillment.

Pleasant prospects.

Accomplishment.

Happy memories.

The redemption of the mortal body.

Being clothed with the body from Heaven.

Many of these blessings will be ours to enjoy today, although in limited measure, if we put to death through the Spirit the deeds of our flesh and patiently follow the Lord in all aspects of our life.

We would like to possess all of these elements in the fullness of power and glory for eternity. We will if we seek the Lord throughout our lifetime on the earth, setting aside all else as He leads, and giving our life for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s.