The Eternal Life, Lesson 4, Death and the Life Beyond, 9-12

However, there is another use of the word “age” in the Bible, and that is to denote quality. Paul, writing to the Romans, says, “Be not conformed to this age.” Other writings, such as, “He gave us eternal consolation” and “Christ obtained eternal redemption.” Here, the word “eternal” is used as meaning “divine.” Without thinking, one can easily read this “eternal redemption” as meaning forever, but redemption is an act taking place only once and has no meaning as a length of time.

We do find one definition of eternal life in the Scriptures. John says, “This is eternal life; that they should know Thee, the only true God, and Him whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ.” So we see that eternal life is a qualitative thing and not a quantative thing. If we put together all the ideas that concern eternal life, we see that eternal life consists of the soul’s fellowship with God through Jesus Christ. This fellowship with God is the same thing as entering the Kingdom of Heaven, and that this life is a present experience and possession. Eternal life is not a natural human life prolonged indefinitely into the future, but it is essentially divine, and endless because divine.

This entering into the glorious fellowship with God is the bright side of eternal life, but what about the dark side the Scriptures tell of? One verse of Scripture says, “All their sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of man; but whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” Notice the Scripture does not say “eternally guilty” but says “eternal sin.”

Another verse says, “They shall be cast into the eternal fire.” Notice, again, that the fire is eternal. A careful reading of such scripture verses will show that the word eternal does not refer to time, but rather the quality of the thing stated. The Gospel is a revelation of God through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, many things have been revealed, but this revelation applies only to this age and the age to come. These are Jesus’s own words. We have no idea how many ages there may be after this one.
We do not find in the Scriptures promises or revelations for man about infinity. Revelation does not oppress us bewilder us by speaking of things that the mind cannot conceive of. Rather, it says, “Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.” The gift of eternal life is offered here and now. But on the other hand, the Bible does not say that punishment is for millions and billions of years. Even the worst sin shall not be forgiven in this age, nor in the age to come. This is our age. Our life in the next age will be determined by our life in this age. As a man sows in this age, so shall he reap in the next age. Jesus did not go further. We need not go further. Now is the accepted time.

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