Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Key Verses on Eternal Life as a Gift From God

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Key Verses on Eternal Life as a Gift From God

In working on the sermon for 2/27/16 “ Rivers of Living Water ” I quote Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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and indicated there were plenty of other places in scripture where the same idea was expressed.

Specifically… that human beings do not have an immortal soul.

Scripture clearly indicates the promise of God and the hope of salvation is the GIFT of eternal life. God has to give you eternal life as a gift… you were not created with an immortal soul built-in. As I said, the go-to scripture for me on this matter has always been Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×
because of its close parallelism of eternal life vs. death. However, the same statement is made in God’s word in numerous places:

Romans 2: 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he [God] will give eternal life. My Comment: good one… shows eternal life is a gift you must receive. Adds the extra understanding that the complete fulfillment of this is a future event.

Romans 4: 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He [Abraham] is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed–the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. My Comment: contains the contrast of life vs death and notes that life is a gift God gives, but leaves out the element of eternity.

Romans 6: 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. My Comment: yup… still my go to scritpture.

Romans 8: 10-11 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. My Comment: love this verse since it also reveals that the Holy Spirit within you is the “mechanism” through which God makes this amazing change come to pass.

Galatians 6: 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction [corruption, death etc]; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. My comment: a little wordier than Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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but has all the same ingredients. The use of the phrase destruction instead of death is less direct but essentially means the same thing.

Titus 1: 2 a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time… My Comment: one does not hope for what one already has Romans 8:24 Romans 8:24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for?
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Titus 3: 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Ditto: one does not hope for what one already has Romans 8:24 Romans 8:24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for?
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1 Peter 3:7 1 Peter 3:7Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
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Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. My Comment: not as direct as Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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but the same idea… God gives to you as in inheritance something you do not already have. If it {eternal life} is already mine then it {eternal life} is not something I need to inherit…

1 John 2: 25 And this is what he promised us–even eternal life. My Comment: the use of the promise concept here indicates a future fulfillment… we don’t promise to give someone something they already have.

Jude 21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. My Comment: again note the future tense and the fact that life is something to be given to you.

Romans 5: 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. My Comment: this verse has the parallelism of death vs life… speaks of the bringing of eternal life in future tense. Just not as clear and emphatic about eternal life as a gift. But it does indicate that eternal life is something that must be brought to you.

1 Timothy 1: 16 But for that very reason I [Paul] was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life. My Comment: indicates the future tense (something that we may take hold of in the future) but leaves out the key element of a gift

1 Timothy 6: 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. My Comment: indicates the future tense (something that we may take hold of in the future) but leaves out the key element of eternity

James 1: 12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. My Comment: clearly indicates something we will only receive in the future… although it does not use the word eternal.

Revelation 2: 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. My Comment: here the idea of a gift you are to receive is replaced by the idea that life is something you are give the right to posses. The context implied eternity but is not explicit with in the verse.

When commenting on these verses I have emphasized the future fulfillment. Yet there are places in scripture that refer to us already having begun that eternal life because we have already received the Holy Spirit. They key concept to remember is found in 2 Corinthians 1:22 2 Corinthians 1:22Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
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… we are given (and currently have) the power of the Holy Spirit in us… but not in its completeness, What we now have is a deposit of what is to come. A taste… a sample. that is how the scripture can say both HAVE and WILL HAVE without contradiction.