Immortality – When, Who and What?

This mortal life doesn’t last long. Some are content with 70 plus years, but most of us want to live as long as possible. Billions are spent on vitamins and supplements to slow the ageing process. If someone came up with a proven way to extend youthful life for even 100 EXTRA YEARS everyone would want to buy the cure. Imagine! People would give up their life savings, sell their home, volunteer years of their time, whatever the price, if it meant extending life for 100 more years!

But consider what God has offered… and it’s MORE than just 100 extra years:

“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life …” (Daniel 12:2)

“…to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

God is offering ETERNAL Life!!

Our Heavenly Father is offering Eternal Life. God has proven He has the power to give this gift as shown by His resurrection of Jesus Christ – the “FIRST to rise from the dead” (Acts 26:23). Paul says he lived “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began,” (Titus 1:1-2). Shouldn’t everyone be lining up for this GIFT?

So WHEN Does God Plan to Give us Eternal Life?

After Lazarus died, Jesus comforted his sister Martha with the hope, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:21-26)

Jesus told the Jews:

“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:21, 24-29. See also Matthew 25:31-32, 45-46; John 6:51,54)

Jesus promised to give us eternal life when he raises the dead, on the ‘last day’ (John 6:44). Jesus Christ was the FIRSTBORN from the dead (Revelation 1:5; 3:14; Colossians 1:18) – the first to rise and be given immortality. What God did for his Son, He promises to do for us. (Philippians 3:10, 20-21)

Will EVERYONE Receive Eternal life?

Immortality is a gift from God (Romans 6:23). When Adam and Eve sinned, God said, “Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden…  he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:22-24)

Barred From the Tree of Life

God barred access to ‘living forever’ after our first parents chose to disobey His clear and simple command. However, the true way and door to living forever has been given to us through the faithful obedience of Jesus Christ.

“For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man [ADAM], much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:15-17; John 14:6; 10:1-9)

If we don’t choose to repent and seek forgiveness in Christ, we won’t have hope of receiving eternal life. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.(1 John 3:15) And in Ephesians, Paul speaks about our lives before we find Christ, saying, “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

The same message is given in the Psalms, “Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.” (Psalm 37:1, 9-11, 22, 27-29, 34-38)

What is Immortality Like?

There is only one man who has been raised and given immortal life, so far. If we want to know what immortality is all about, Jesus Christ is our model. He was on earth in his immortal state for 40 days. Jesus ate (Luke 24:42-43), he talked, he walked, (Luke 24:15-19) he had a physical body that could be touched, but yet he was able to appear or disappear instantly (Luke 24:31), seemingly without the need for doors (John 20:26-28). He told his disciples that he wasn’t a spirit, “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (Luke 24:39; John 20:26-29)

Notice that Jesus doesn’t say ‘flesh and blood’, which is often a description of mortal humans (Hebrews 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:50; see Leviticus 17:11) . In his crucifixion, Jesus gave his mortal body and his blood (his life) for us (Luke 22:19-20; John 6:48-58). Being made immortal his body is now energized by God’s Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:42-49); it is a ‘spiritual body’. Jesus ascended up to heaven to be with his Father, (Luke 24:51) where he was given all power sitting at God’s right hand (Matthew 28:18). Now, 2000 years later, he is still actively working in the lives of believers to make us ready for the day of his return! (Revelation 2&3)

No Pain, Sorrow, Crying or Death!

We are told that when we are made immortal, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) Immortality means no more pain, sorrow, crying or death!

Equal to Angels

Jesus told us clearly that when we are made immortal we will be like the angels. ““The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:34-36) Angels were often mistaken for men (Genesis 18; 19:1-5; Joshua 5:13-15), can eat (Genesis 18), had tangible bodies that can be wrestled and touched (Genesis 32:24-32; Genesis 19; Daniel 10), can possibly fly (Daniel 9:20-21), can appear and disappear instantly, are not restrained by locked doors (Acts 12:6-11) and occasionally glow with light (Judges 13; Luke 24:4-5).

As we have considered in previous blogs, the Bible Hope in the Old and New Testament is for resurrection. Immortality is a gift to be granted when Jesus raises us from the dead, but not everyone receives this gift. Just as Jesus’ flesh ‘rested in hope’ and didn’t ‘see corruption’, so our mortal bodies must PUT ON immortality.

What is a “Soul”?

However, there is a very popular, dearly cherished, Christian belief which states that every human being possesses an ‘immortal soul’. When did this teaching become part of Christianity? What does the word ‘soul’ mean in the Bible and how is it used? Does the phrase ‘immortal soul’ ever occur in the Bible? These are the questions we will answer in our next blog. If you’d like to investigate on your own, try our new Discovery Lesson on “What is a Soul?”

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