If someone was told that Paul the apostle didn't possess immortality until the end of the age in AD70, they'd most likely disagree with the person who said this to them. However, upon examination of the New Testament scriptures, mainly from Paul himself, we can see that he had not yet inherited immortality. He would inherit it at the end of the age when the Lord returned in His Kingdom to gather both the righteous dead and the righteous living into one Kingdom. Into Christ.
The passage today comes from 2 Timothy. Paul writes...
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began..." 2 Timothy 1:8-9
Here we see Paul making mention of the gospel message and how it is the power of God. He makes mention of how God did it because of His own purpose and grace through Christ Jesus. He then says...
"and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do...." 2 Timothy 1:10-12
The fleshly appearing of Christ on earth to die on the cross was the beginning of the end. The end of the Old Covenant. Here is where we are going to see a prime and classic example of the "already but not yet" concept used numerous times in the New Testament writings in between the cross and the end of the age.
(For more on this see my recent article titled "already but not yet")
Paul said that Christ's appearance at the cross abolished (past tense) death already. But yet we also hear Paul say that the last enemy to be defeated would be death when Christ has put His enemies under His feet. (1 Cor 15) He speaks of this in the future tense in 1 Cor 15.
Both can't be true because Christ hadn't Come back for salvation yet when Paul wrote this letter. Unless of course you understand what basically all the authors of the New Testament did in their writings. They assumed the act was already finished because Christ had died on the cross and it was as good as done. However, the authors all made sure that we know that they still were looking forward to the Day when all of those inheritances would become their (and our) reality. They would receive the promise. But the key that I want to look at here is the next words from that passage I just quoted. Paul said...
"who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
Why is this important? Well, look at how he words it. He says "WHO BROUGHT LIFE AND IMMORTALITY TO LIGHT...."
To bring to light means to make it visible. To be able to see it. It was so close they could see it and touch it but it wasn't theirs yet. According to Paul it would be at the Coming of the Lord that they would be changed to immortal. (1 Cor 15)
The last line to look at today is Paul saying...
"But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.' 2 Timothy 1:12
What Day is Paul looking forward to?
Could it be the same day that would dawn when the "Morning Star would rise in their hearts" and they were changed to immortal? The same day Peter spoke of....
"And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" 2 Peter 1:19
I have heard people refer to this as "The Eternal Day". I like that.
Christ brought immortality and life TO LIGHT at the cross. He paid the full penalty for sin there. But salvation was not inherited there. It was inherited at the Coming of the Lord. (Hebrews 9:28)
That's why (after the cross) Peter looking forward said....
"Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
1 Peter 1:5
And why Paul (after the cross) said....
"…for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." Romans 13:11
Or why Jesus when speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem at the end of the age told them....
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21:28
The inheritance of that immortality and life came at the end of the Old Covenant Age at the Coming of the Lord when the KINGDOM WOULD ARRIVE ON EARTH.
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