by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 6 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Salvation is More than Being Saved)
When the average person thinks of eternal life, the first thing that would enter into his mind is endless life. Certainly endless life is included in eternal life, but there is far more than endlessness to eternal life. It is not only endless, but it is boundless. In His intercessory prayer in John 17, Jesus said in verse 3, "And this is life eternal, that they should know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent." So eternal life is endless life, but it is infinitely more than that. This passage is not saying that you must know Him to get eternal life. It is saying that knowing Him is eternal life. This eternal life is received by faith in Him. It is more than endless. It could be called "of the ages," not just "long continuation"; it means "life all the way on, all the way back, all the way up and all the way down." The Apostle Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
Then eternal life is more than duration or longevity. It is also a quality of life. It is losing the NOW in the ALWAYS. Eternal life not only describes longevity, but it describes quality. It is living now in the always. When Jesus was tempted, the Devil attacked him with the now. He said, "Do something now. Fall before me now. Get something now." All temptation is a NOW attack.
Notice, however, that Jesus used the Word of God in fighting temptation. Actually what He was doing; He was using the always (eternal) for the now. Psalm 119:89, "For ever, 0 Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven." The Devil shot Him with a now arrow, and Jesus blocked it with an always shield. The Devil shot Him with a second now arrow, and Jesus blocked it with an always shield. The Devil shot Him with a third now arrow, and Jesus blocked it with an always shield. The now is never a match for the always. Satan offered Jesus something now and Jesus shot back with something that was always.
Human wisdom on the part of God's people in debating the unsaved is fighting now with now. For the Christian to use human philosophy in his battle against the Devil is fighting now with now. For the Christian to use human psychology is fighting now with now.
For example, suppose that a Christian is unhappy He decides to move to another area. He is fighting now with now. Perhaps he will quit something that he is doing for God. He is fighting now with now. Maybe he will change from one thing to another. He is fighting now with now. Maybe he will do something in his own strength to try to cure his unhappiness. Again, he Is fighting now with now.
Now put in your quiver the arrows of always. A Christian is unhappy. He flees to the Bible. He is fighting now with always. He flees to soul winning. He is fighting now with always. He flees to fellowship with God. He is fighting now with always. He flees to the will of God. He is fighting now with always. Because he does this, he wins the battle. His happiness is restored.
Any time Satan makes an attack, it is a now attack. He always wants to sacrifice on the altar of today the opportunity of tomorrow. There is only one way to defeat him and that is to pull from our spiritual quiver arrows that are eternal. We must fight him with things that are eternal. The Word of God is eternal, soul winning is eternal, prayer is eternal, worship of God is eternal. The will of God is eternal, and if we win the warfare against his now attacks, we must use the always.
Actually that is what worldliness is. Worldliness is using the now in an effort to be successful. It is avoiding the always for the now. The one who reads in the now is worldly. The one whose literature is the always can be spiritual. The one who lives for his own will is guilty of the now. One who lives for the will of God is using the always. So eternal life is more than length of life or longevity, It is a quality of life. It is equating and comparing everything with the eternal. When Jesus saw a Lily, He used it to teach an eternal truth. When He saw a sparrow, He used it as an illustration of the always. The same is true with the raven and with a little child. The now always turned His attention to the always. He looks now at a tree but He sees the Always Who is behind it. He looks now at a flower, but He sees the Always Who made it. He looks at a sparrow, but he sees the Always Who watches over him. He looks now at a raven but he sees the Always Who feeds him. He looks now at a Lily, but he sees the Always Who clothes it.
What a wonderful thing is eternal life! It goes on and on and back and back and up and up and down and down. It is boundless, but not only will we have it forever; it is a quality of life that we have now. We now have available eternal life and that eternal life is eternal.
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love God who doesn't love sinners!”
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