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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

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Eternal life has to do with two elements: being in God; and in an incorruptible physical body, termed a “spiritual body” (1Co 15:44, e.g. Luk 24:39). Thus the “resurrection” has solely to do with a new physical body, which all who come into this life will receive, the good and the evil (Jhn 5:28). All will be raised, some unto eternal life, and most unto eternal death (“second death” - Rev 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8); which the latter “shall be forever and ever” in “the lake of fire” (Rev 20:10).

 

Eternal life can only be given once, or it isn’t eternal life, because it is life in God—“forever.” If one were asking God for eternal life, wouldn’t He know if they were being sincere? Thus, to honor His Word He gives it only to those He knows who genuinely desire it. How could He do otherwise, knowing their insincerity? It’s insensible to conceive that He would give this gift knowing He would be taking it back due to the absence of truly desiring it.

 

Regardless of how hard it may seem, in knowing that God foreknows most will choose the “broad way” (Mat 7:13, 14), we can be confidently assured that all He does is “good” (e.g. Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).

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39 minutes ago, NetChaplain said:

Eternal life can only be given once, or it isn’t eternal life, because it is life in God—“forever.”

Since you brought this topic up ...

Do you have any evidence that "eternal life" is given (or promised to any specific individual) before the completion of their race?

 

I did a quick search for "eternal life" and offer the following for this discussion:

 

[Matthew 19:16-17 NASB] 16 And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" 17 And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is [only] One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."

  • Can anyone keep the commandments? 
  • I can't even avoid being a murderer and adulterer (Matthew 5:22  Matthew 5:28)

 

[Mark 10:29-30 NASB] 29 Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.

  • Eternal life is promised in the "age to come", so there is at least a possibility (in this verse) that one could fall away and not finish the race to claim the prize at the end.

 

[John 3:36 NASB] 36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

  • John makes eternal life and death a matter of belief and obedience in this verse.
  • Can a life of belief or a life of disobedience be known before the end?

 

[Acts 13:48 NASB] 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they [began] rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

  • Praise God! Acts appears to present a link between being APPOINTED to eternal life and believing that places the promise of eternal life first.

 

[Romans 2:5-8 NASB] 5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

  • Makes "eternal life" seem like a prize for a race run well, rather than a guarantee for anyone still running that race.

 

[Galatians 6:8 NASB] 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

  • Sowing and reaping suggest that the "harvest" does not come until the end, so 'eternal life' is for later.
  • Sowing and reaping also suggests that the crop is already determined ... one does not plant Corn and suddenly find themselves harvesting Cabbage.

 

[1 John 5:11-13 NASB] 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

  • Appears to claim 'eternal life' as a present condition ("has given", "has", "have").
  • How is this reconciled with the other verses?
Edited by atpollard
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36 minutes ago, atpollard said:

Since you brought this topic up ...

Do you have any evidence that "eternal life" is given (or promised to any specific individual) before the completion of their race? 

Interesting in that caution and warning are given to those written in the Lamb's book of life. In my opinion and something rather recent in my studies that I have noted is only a limited assurance is given. Though I wish for 100% assurance or a guarantee I'm left always cautious and persevering.

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31 minutes ago, atpollard said:

Since you brought this topic up ...

Do you have any evidence that "eternal life" is given (or promised to any specific individual) before the completion of their race?

 

Eternal life is an issue only in this life. It's no longer an issue after once entering into it. Thus, I believe it stands to reason that if it is not possessed in this life it cannot be possessed in the next. It's not as though one cannot know until the next life, which would be too late and insignificant.

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It is possible for someone to believe he has eternal life when in fact he does not.  I was once in this condition.  I had been baptized and was an active member of a church but I was still lost.  A lot of the warnings in the Bible are addressed to those in this situation and are intended to wake them up to their true condition.

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19 minutes ago, theophilus said:

It is possible for someone to believe he has eternal life when in fact he does not.  I was once in this condition.  I had been baptized and was an active member of a church but I was still lost.  A lot of the warnings in the Bible are addressed to those in this situation and are intended to wake them up to their true condition.

True, as is demonstrated when James wrote that "A man may say," paraphrased, one may say they have faith but does not have faith (Jam 2:18).

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