Difficult Texts

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

The Christian receives everlasting life as a gift when he accepts Jesus. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish." John 10:28. "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." 1 John 5:12.

Are these verses talking about temporal life or eternal life? Does accepting Christ save us from the first death or the second death? The answer is obvious. Jesus said, "He that ... believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and... is passed from death unto life." John 5:24. Please note that this death had to be the second death. Receiving everlasting life did not take away the first death--only the second. Although the scriptures tell us that the apostle Paul had eternal life (2 Timothy 4:7,8), he still suffered the first death. Paul said, "It is appointed unto men once to die." Hebrews 9:27. This is true of good or bad, saved or lost.

Please note that the eternal life received when we accept Christ does not save us from the first death, but only from the second. "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." Revelation 2:11. Only the wicked will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8). Because the Christian has everlasting life through the Son, he will never die. The second death cannot touch him, and he will live for eternity. Dying the first death will not take away that promise of life without end, which is the gift of God.