Eternal Realities - by JT, Sr.
Hebrews 6 : 1 (latter clause), 2; 9 : 12-15; 13 : 20; 5 : 9
I have in mind to speak to-night on the things called " eternal." There are other things besides those appearing in these chapters, conveying what is eternal, but these will suffice to present the things that are available now, and which also run on into eternity. There are things we shall find there that are not included in what I have read, things that are beyond my power or time to enumerate.
The Lord Jesus has gone into heaven to prepare a place for Christians, for believers, and you may be sure it will be a wonderful place we are going to, but the things I have read about here to-night enter into the present time ; I mean the positive things, the idea of judgment is a negative thought. It is something we shall not come into as believers, as the Lord Jesus said, " He that heareth my word . . . shall not come into judgment," John 5 : 24. But there is judgment and it is called eternal judgment in this passage. Eternal judgment! There are many today who are seeking to get rid of this uncomfortable thing, and it is uncomfortable to an unbeliever. Bold infidelity wants to get rid of it because it is uncomfortable. It haunts! And it is intended to haunt, to follow up any unconverted person in the world. However eloquently Satan's tools may declare against it and seek to get rid of it, it stands. In fact it was so well established that the writer of this epistle said it was not necessary to lay again " a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith in God and the doctrine of washings . . . and of eternal judgment." The things are accepted as incontrovertible foundations. He wanted to go on to other things, of which I want to speak.
Men, women and children have to face these things, not simply judgment, but eternal judgment, and this word ' eternal' cannot be frittered away by learning, by scholars who would seek to get rid of this uncomfortable word, for in doing so they would get rid of God, the eternal God and the eternal Spirit. It is the same word used for eternal life, so that all the scholars in the world cannot dispose of the word ' eternal.' It is eternal and is applied here to judgment, and no doubt no-one here would dispute the validity of it. It is a well-authenticated doctrine, never more so, but it is well to be reminded that there is such a thing as eternal judgment. There is a place called hell or a lake of fire, for the word ' hell,' by divine intent, is replaced by " lake of fire " in Revelation 20 : 10. So there is no question of scholars disposing of the matter by way of the word ' hell.' Although the gospel in the plainest way shows " their worm dieth not and their fire is not quenched." Two solemn considerations! There is no dying away of the person, the soul cast into hell; think of the undyingness of it, the unquenchableness of it! They go away into everlasting punishment. Death and hell were cast away. Make it a figure if you will, but it is a figure of something terrible; it is fire, and it is a lake, a confined place out of which there is no outlet. These are very solemn facts, beloved friends, and it is well worth while to face them, for while God in the gospel is presented in grace, He faithfully reminds us of these things, and it is the first `eternal' idea in the scriptures I have read.
The next thing I speak of is the grace of " eternal redemption," a beautiful expression! The believer is redeemed eternally, and God is asserting His right to all, to all Christians here to-night whom He has redeemed. He claims us. He has paid for us. We have been redeemed, it says, " by precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ," 1 Peter I : 19. It has cost God that. Each of us cost Him the same, each as much as the other. The poor, we are told in the type, was not to give less, and the rich were not to give more, viz., half a shekel. God allotted it. Moses gave God half a shekel as did the poorest Israelite in the camp. All cost the same. It is a very precious thought, and God does not redeem what is not of value. Redemption is a paying back. He owns every one of us creatorially, but that fact does not save us. The scripture says, " Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth," Eccles. 12 : 1. Suppose you do not remember Him. The fact that He is your Creator does not save you, for all are creatures and God has rights over them. In creating Adam, He had Christ in His mind. No other order of being is like Christ, and so God has great regard for man. When Christ became Man, it was said, " in Him was life and the life was the light of men," John 1:4. It is not that Satan should be illuminated, nor the fallen angels. He valued His creatures, and God has rights over us. So the prophet tells us that the place of torment was not created for us, but for the devil and his angels. God is loath that any of us should be lost. He is not willing that any man, woman or child should perish. God has peculiar interest in us, in man, and it is as if He would say, " If you go into the lake of fire, it is because I cannot stop you." You may say, I thought all things were possible to God. God cannot lie, He says so, and so He would impress upon everyone that He is interested in you because you belong to manhood, that order of being, and He has paid the price; " being justified freely by His grace," Rom. 3 : 24. That is not an ordinary redemption, it is an eternal one.
We Christians here tonight are God's by right of redemption as well as by right of creation. We come thus to Him ; we remember Him in the days of our youth and we come into the gain of eternal redemption. We own our Creator. God has creatorial rights over us, but only redeemed ones own them. If I disregard redemption, I disregard creatorial rights and may be shut out from God for ever.
I speak of eternal redemption, and it is by the cost of Christ's precious blood. He has offered Himself. It is not by the blood of bulls or of goats ; it is by His own blood (Heb. 9 : 12-15). That is what is presented to every creature under the sun, an eternal redemption, fixed in Christ. He carries us right through to eternity. Is there anyone here who has not accepted this redemption—a redemption for ever fixed in Christ? The apostle Paul says so, " being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus," Rom. 3 : 24. Grace is one of the most interesting words you can get; it is that which rises above sin in the sinner. " Where sin abounded grace has over-abounded," Rom. 5 : 20. The greatest sinner ever converted wrote this.
Do you believe in the blood? Some people say it is the language of the shambles. Let it be that! The court of the tabernacle, which illustrates the death of Jesus, was a shambles. Beast after beast was slain and blood ran like a river. It is a solemn reminder of the death of Christ. Think of the millions of graves and of all the undertakers' shops. It is the awfulness of death. The shedding of blood means death, and in connection with eternal redemption, it is the blood of Jesus. Peter says it is the precious blood of Christ. It is one of his choice words and he applies it to the blood. It is a word used in heaven (for heaven has a language), and adjectives are descriptive words. So it is the " precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot," as is set forth in the propitiation and mercy-seat, where the blood was sprinkled seven times. That is what Scripture calls " eternal redemption," and everyone who has it is restful. I belong to God. God calls everyone who belongs to Him an " acquired possession." as it says : " Ye have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the earnest of our inheritance to the redemption of the acquired possession to the praise of his glory," Eph. 1 : 14. Paul, John and Peter were sealed. Their bodies lie in the grave, but as sure as God's throne, they will come out in the acquired possession. The seal is the sign that I am the property of God. Every vestige of me, the believer, will come out in that power. The earnest of the Spirit is until the redemption of the acquired possession.
The next thought is the " eternal covenant." God gets us out of judgment. You will never come into it as a believer. The Lord says it. I am sealed, and redemption is eternal. God says, ' Now I want you to know My love. My Son has entered into death for you. He has redeemed you by His blood, sealed you; you are His property.' There is no claim upon me but God's now, and He says, I want you to know My love.' This is the portion of your heart all the days of your experience in this world. You are not to be without Him and He wants to give you plenty to live on whilst here. So here is the eternal covenant. Men's covenants may be for two or five years, but God's covenant is an eternal one. His love remains in our hearts. The Spirit, the eternal Spirit is here. Why is He called the eternal Spirit ? It is that no timid believers should have any doubt about it. It continues into eternity. The Holy Spirit is here to remind me that it is a continual thing. His thought is that you might know something of escape from judgment. I hope no one here is in terror of judgment. You may be clear of that and know redemption which involves forgiveness of sins. If that is so God has nothing at all against you now. You may have light about that, but very little consciousness of God's love, and you are poor indeed without it. You do not belong to rich people without the consciousness of God's love. The income is in line with His own love. The covenant was made with Israel, but it applies to us now to assure us of the continuance of God's love. Though I may be cold today, that makes no difference ; it does not turn away God's love, for God is true to Himself. Hence the promise and the oath in this book. The great end of this book is to make people sure. It is simply a question of our taking account of it, and especially the eternal covenant of God. So it says, " The God of peace, who brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus," Heb. 13 : 20. Think of the strength of that statement! It is in order that the love of God should be known in our hearts so that we should not be without income as believers. Many are without income and their faces are not bright. Their faces on Monday are dull, for they live on the income of others, such as on ministry or meetings. But God would have you know there is an income, the best income heaven can provide, " the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit." I would have each one to understand it is his portion. You will never enjoy God except in this wonderful covenant which He has made for us in the blood of Christ.
The next thing is " eternal salvation." You may think I have already intimated this, but eternal salvation is not simply immunity from the wrath to come. It does mean escape from judgment and immunity from that is one part of salvation. Scripture indicates that the wrath of God is to come. Wrath does not apply now. The worst things happening in the world now are not wrath, but they are being allowed that men might turn to God. The wrath of God is coming, but that is all settled for the believer, for Jesus has borne the judgment. But Satan uses the things of the world to bring Christians into bondage and even into sin, and salvation implies that I am safe from this present evil course. Jesus is our Saviour. It is an eternal salvation, but it begins now. There is power in this world, in the presence of the Spirit and in the presence of the saints, and it is called the kingdom of God. No other power can cope with it. It is like the " strong tower " typified in the Old Testament. It is an impregnable position—" The righteous runneth into it, and is safe," Prov. 18 : 10. God has provided these things in the kingdom in view of our salvation from the evil which Satan uses to damage young people, to damage me. You will remember how God directed Noah to prepare an ark for the saving of his house, and his house went into it. They were wise; they went into the ark. It was a movement on their part, and now God has provided a strong thing for us to run into. Do you know what it is to run into the tower and be safe? It is not simply confessing the Lord Jesus to your parents, brothers or sisters, though it is good to confess to them first, but the confession of Christ is a continual thing, and when I confess, evil must flee. There is a power in this world that keeps you and establishes you. God brings you into that sphere of things and you are safe and He gives you a consciousness of power on your behalf, and you are safe.
The next thing is the " eternal inheritance." I have been speaking of income, by the way of the love of God being shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit. One is set up here with income, but the inheritance is future. We have the earnest of it in the Spirit. The inheritance is too great to be enjoyed in flesh and blood conditions, and we are not yet equal to these things which God has prepared for those who love Him, but we await them. It is an eternal inheritance and it is one to come into. We have the earnest of it now and we are shown to be wealthy by it. It is so great, so grand, and the understanding of it differs so from this world. Nothing in the world, or its wealth, is to be compared with the inheritance that God has given to us in Christ. We are brought into it, for as believers we obtain this eternal inheritance.
This is all I have to present to you, and the word ' eternal' in these connections should confirm us. We have to do with shaky things here, but God would have us to do with things that are eternal, which are immutable, more fixed than things in the heavens, for they are in Christ. What if heaven and earth pass away, the whole social, political world and all it contains ? These eternal things will remain, for they are based upon the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
May God bless His word.