Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From a sermon by Preacher Clark at Grandma’s house, December 21, 1969
Taken from Gary’s CD 29b Track 11
The Bible does refer to eternal life as the goal of the saints, and so we must, as Jesus said, “strive to enter in.” However, eternal life is also given to those who repent of their sins right here and now. How do we reconcile these two truths, one saying that eternal life is our goal, and the other saying that we have eternal life now?
Preacher Clark spoke to the point when he said, “You don’t die and [then] look for eternal life. You receive eternal life right here, but it’s assigned to you on condition. Only on condition. Whether you retain it or whether you lose it in the end depends on your walk, your life, right here in this life. It’s in your hands.”
The goal of the saints, then, is not so much to obtain eternal life but to hold on to it so that in the Final Judgment, you will be judged worthy of the eternal life you have. Paul said as much when he told Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are called” (1Tim. 6:12). Was Paul saying that Timothy did not have eternal life within him? Of course not, because receiving “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” is what made Paul and all the saints “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). “The Spirit is life”, wrote Paul in his letter to the Romans, and surely Paul would have known that Timothy had the Spirit.
We have the life of God in these “earthen vessels”, and it is here within us to guide us safely through this wicked world. It is with us now, and God has promised that we will possess it forever, on the one condition that we follow its guidance now. If we follow its lead, we will enjoy God’s eternal life forever, together with all the saints who have been of the same mind. The reason Paul insisted that the only true children of God are those who are led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14) is that when all is said and done, only those people will remain as God’s children.