Life ... Promised Before Times Eternal (continued)
Eternal Life the Governing Factor
I want to look at two or three fragments of Scripture:
"For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, even Jesus Christ. So then as through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life" (Romans 5:17-18).
"... in hope of eternal life, which God, Who cannot lie, promised before times eternal" (Titus 1:2). That life, then, links us with what is eternal.
"Paul, an apostle to Christ Jesus through the will of God, according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 1:1).
Now I want to say one or two quite important things at this point. This that is called eternal life is the factor which determines everything in history and destiny. Not religion, nor ritual, nor orthodoxy, but "life" determines history and human destiny. It governs everything. The Bible is God's Book of world history and human destiny, and it is wonderful how universal the Bible is. It comprehends the whole human race, it governs the destiny of all the nations which make up the human race, and it contains the principles of destiny. And the center of the Bible, from the beginning to the end, is this that is called eternal life. It is the all-governing factor.
Life determines whether God is present or not. The question, down to the smallest detail, is a question of life. Begin with the individual and the individual's personal experiences. If we understood rightly we should know that this matter of life is governing our personal experiences. We are individually involved in this great governing matter of life, and that determines whether God is with us. The same is true of any company of God's people, or any company of religious people. The thing that determines whether God is there is this matter of life. God is the source of life, and He cannot be present and life not be there. That, surely, is a very searching thing for our assemblies! Thus, in every sphere, this question of life governs.
Now we are going to look at the Bible along three lines. The earthly life of the Lord Jesus was divided into three sections, and each one of those sections has to be repeated in the life of the believer. First, there was His birth and infancy; secondly, His childhood; and thirdly, His manhood. These are three distinct sections in the biography of Jesus Christ, and the whole Bible is divided into those three main sections. The issue in each of the sections is life.
The first section is what we call the time of the antedivuvians, that is, the people before the Flood, and the great antediluvians were Abel, Enoch and Noah. That was the infancy of the people of God, of the Divine biography which was being written by the Holy Spirit. That infancy is marked by very simple things, as one would expect. We do not expect very much when we are dealing with babies, and here we have, in that particular period, the babyhood of the people of God.
(continued with # 8)