Jan 03

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Eternal life has been the quest of man through the centuries! Lands have been explored, the waters deep have been searched, and the “heavens” have been longed for. It may or may not surprise you to learn that the words “eternal life,” or “life eternal” appears forty-seven times in the King James Version of the Bible. Another word that expresses the same thing is “for ever,” and it appears 393 times. While the word “everlasting” appears 97 times. These words are most important to the Bible believer, because of what each word summons to the mind.
The Greek word (aiōn) translated “for ever” in 1 Peter 1:23, expresses “perpetuity” which means: “the quality or state of being perpetual.” In our time, it may be used, “an annuity payable forever.” Of course, this would be based on an incorrect thought, that this world/earth is “forever,” which it is not. Peter wrote: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10). This fact, “the earth … shall be burned up;” thus, it is not “perpetual,” this truth being settled to the one who believes the New Testament is the inspired word of God, we move on! Here are Peter’s inspired words, which has our attention: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23). Peter’s point and our point is that, it requires that which is “eternal,” “for ever” to produce that which is “eternal,” or has the quality of “perpetuity!” One thing on this earth has this quality! Peter identified it, as the “incorruptible” seed, and the Greek word he used is “aphthartos,” which expresses the thought of “undecaying.” (Strong) We know of no other thing that this can be truthfully said! There is no other thing that can save the “soul/spirit of man. But as to the soul/spirit of man, it is the quality of eternal perpetuity, but where it will be so! As in heaven with God or in “hell” without God; as Paul wrote of the one who never obeys the gospel: “… shall be punished with everlasting” (aiōnios, perpetual, eternal, for ever, everlasting”); as in “perpetual,” there is no difference but the place. Jesus said: “And these shall go away into everlasting (aiōnios) punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (aiōnios)” (Matt. 25:46). Please notice that Jesus used the same word for “everlasting” punishment and for “eternal” life. Neither has an end but is perpetual!
The difference between the Greek word “aiōnios” as it relates to the “incorruptible” seed by which the child of God is begotten (born, KJV) is that it is of God, who is eternal, perpetual; therefore, it has the quality of being eternal, perpetual, and producing that which will be “eternal,” perpetual. In the words of Peter: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” Another word we may introduce is that of “immortal.” Now, let us notice only those who are/have been “begotten” (born) of this “incorruptible” seed of God, that they are “immortal,” in that he/she will live with God in an immortal state, which we known as heaven!
Peter compares the “immortal,” incorruptible,” “everlasting,” and that which liveth “for ever” with: “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:” (verse 24). We are fully aware of the “grass” which “withereth” in the fall of the year and we see “the flower thereof falleth away.” On the other hand, Peter concluded with: “But the word of the Lord endureth for (ice/unto) ever (aiōn, eternal). And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Pet. 1:25). Thus, Paul wrote of the gospel of Christ: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17).
Going back to the words of the Lord, when he said: “And these shall go away into everlasting (aiōnios) punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (aiōnios)” (Matt. 25:46). It is not a matter of existing “for ever” but where we shall exist eternally! There are but two places: 1) heaven with God and 2) hell without God: “with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power!” The saddest words that any person will ever hear are: “… I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23).
With the beginning of the New Year, let us put and keep our lives in the keeping of God, as we “trust and obey” the gospel of Christ, “the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

Frank R. Williams

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