Having in the last lecture clearly established the fact that man is mortal because of sin, Brother Roberts now proceeds to set forth to his readers the glorious hope of the gospel. In this lecture he shows that Christ has “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”, and that this “hope of eternal life” will ultimately be the reward of all those who by “patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality”. Again we would encourage readers to use these summary notes to assist in following the sound scriptural logic that Brother Roberts applies to establish this glorious truth.

Lecture 4

The Overall Objective

 To prove that man in death is in a state of nonexistence for the time being, requiring resurrection and judgment to determine his future destiny.

The True Relation of a Future Life to our Perishing Race

  • Man has a natural aspiration for immortality and Perfection
  • This aspiration proves that the conditions must exist, and that there is a possibility of their attainment, as with a hungry man who desires food—his hunger is evidence that a possibility exists of satisfying his appetite, although it does not necessarily follow that his dinner is within his reach
  • Immortality can only be available under certain circumstances, and those who wish to possess it must examine the circumstances which govern its attainment
  • Immortality is the opposite to mortality. Mortality means “of limited life, owing to an inherent tendency to dissolution”
  • God is the source and giver of all life; therefore whilst individual lives cease to be at death, life as a whole is indestructible
  • The life and breath of both man and beast is God’s and returns to Him when they die: “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity” (Ecc 3:19); “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils” (Job 27:3; cp Job 34:14-15; Ecc 12:7; Isa 2:22)
  • In nature, instinct and condition exist together, yet man has a desire for immortality which cannot be fulfilled by nature. It is impossible to account for this anomaly on natural principles, and therefore man’s condition and destiny can only be known to him by revelation.

The Inheritance of Mortality

  • Adam and Eve were happy occupants in the garden of Eden as long as they submitted to the will of God
  • Death came into the world because of sin. We have all sinned, and have all inherited mortality
  • Adam and Eve’s disobedience to the law which God instituted brought their death, and the calamitous consequence that the death-tending qualities of their nature have been inherited by all their descendants (Gen 3:17–19).

The Promise of Immortality

  • If a man is to live again, it must be the result of divine effort.
  • The Bible contains the hope of life through resurrection by the sacrificial work of Christ, as can be seen in the following quotations: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9); “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” ( John 11:25 cp John 3:16; 5:40; 10:27–28; 17:2; Rom 6:23; Titus 3:7; 1 John 2:25; 4:9; Jude 21)
  • These passages show that immortality is not a natural or present condition. The divine promise is to award those who seek for it—human nature knows nothing of immortality at present
  • Men must be forgiven and justified before they can be saved—apart from the work of Christ there is no hope: “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12)
  • Immortality is the physical condition of having an incorruptible body
  • This condition will be imparted at the return of Christ: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col 3:3–4; cp 1 Cor 15:23, 51–54, 2 Tim 4:1)
  • The resurrected body will be a physical reality as Christ’s was: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil 3:21); “And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:38–43; cp Zech 13:6)
  • Our mortal bodies are sustained by blood and prone to illness, disease and death: “For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off” (Lev 17:14)
  • An immortal body is spirit-energised, beautiful, powerful, vigorous and inexhaustible: “But they that wait upon Yahweh shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa 40:28–31; cp Isa 25:8; Dan 12:3; John 3:6).

The Conditions of Immortality

  • Immortal life will not be granted universally, but only to those whom God judges to have developed the moral fitness which he has prescribed: “Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Rom 2:6–7; cp Matt 19:17; Mark 16:15–16; John 3:36; 5:24; 6:53; 11:25, 20:31; Rev 21:6)
  • Two classes will be excluded from eternal life; those who are ignorant of the truth, and those who reject the truth: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16; cp John 12:48)
  • Those who reject the truth will be raised, but will receive a punishment which will end in death
  • Those who die in ignorance are put aside by God in His justice, as they could neither be rewarded or punished. They will never rise: “They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish” (Isa 26:14; cp Jer 51:57; Rom 2:12).

Immortality is the gift of everlasting life to be bestowed upon the righteous at the resurrection: “He will swallow up death in victory; and Adonai Yahweh will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for Yahweh hath spoken it” (Isa 25:8; cp Rev 21; John 10:28; 1 Cor 15:53). The proposition is plain and the evidence conclusive. May it be the happy lot of all who read these pages to inherit the glorious gift.