The Retrospective Feature (continued)
Incorruptible Life in Christ (continued)
Let me say to young Christians: Be very wary of an insidious deception - partly through unfortunate mistranslations of the Scriptures, but more through common language and phraseology about immortality, the 'immortality of the soul'. The Bible does not teach it! The Bible word, where the translators of the Authorized Version have put 'immortality', is really 'incorruption' - ad incorruption is quite a different thin from what men mean by the immortality of the soul. They lump all men together in this and by their word 'immortality' lift us on to a level to which we do not all belong, and to which we can never come naturally. Incorruption is the "true" immortality.
But immortality is thought of as continuity of existence, and we will allow that for the soul; but there is a very great difference between continuity of existence and incorruption, incorruptible life. Eternal life is a different thing altogether from just continuity of life. It is a kind of life, a character of life. It is the life which we have in Christ. You see, this goes to the root of the whole matter. We have got to get right back to Jesus Christ. Christ is different from all other men in the essential nature which is in Him; and, when He gives us His own life, we as Christians are different essentially, with the biggest difference possible, from all other creations - because this is an eternal matter.
The Counter to Corruption
Now Paul sees corruption coming into the Church. Moral laxity, and all sorts of things which belong to this fallen creation, to this evil world, were creeping into the Church in Paul's day; corruption was manifesting itself in the life of God's people. What is going to be done about it? "Remember Jesus Christ"! For just consider: you and I have another life, through Christ, and we have got to live on the basis of that life, and to remember that it is not necessary for us to be corrupted. We have in us a life, the mighty life of God, which in Christ has overcome death and corruption, for man. "Remember Jesus Christ"! Remember that, in Jesus Christ, there is that which went through all corruption untainted, and it is still possible - and blessed be God, it has been proved actual again and again - for a child of God to walk in white raiment in the midst of Sodom and Gomorrah. Where satan's very seat is you may find saints waling in purity. It is the marvelous miracle of the Christian life that we can be subjected to all the filth and all the horror, all the corruption and pollution of this world around us, and still go on, unstained, untainted.
So, when corruption is assailing, is seeping in, remember: your life is not for you; that is not your way, that is not the way of Christ. This life is not one imposed upon you by law - it is something in you by power. Thank God for this miracle! A young man or young woman, without a great deal of knowledge, instruction, or teaching, or experience, has to go out into this world, and, without anther Christian anywhere near, be surrounded by people of the lowest type, and that young man or woman can be kept by the power of God unpolluted. This incorruptible life is very practical. Jesus is different. He is not just better than the rest; He is different, basically different from the rest. That is the truth about Jesus, and that is the truth about the child of God: not only a bit better than other people, but different. The life-principle is different. Is that important? Surely it is, if we are to negotiate this course safely to the end.
(continued with # 54)