There are two kinds of eternal life; one is eternal life and the other is everlasting life




On numerous occasions, Jack Hyles, the late pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (FBCH), taught that there are two gifts of life in salvation, one is eternal life and the other is everlasting life. The distinction being that one in qualitative and the other quantitative. A 4/28/85 sermon, “The Gifts of God Are Everlasting Life & Eternal Life,” started by misquoting Romans 6:23 as “the gifts of God” (plural) instead of “the gift of God” (singular): “When a person receives Christ as his Savior … God gives him immediately—and he is an immediate possessor of—everlasting life. Though he has a gift of everlasting life, he does not necessarily possess eternal life. For everlasting life is a quantity of life and eternal is a quality of life. … The gift of everlasting life is taken once and for all when you receive Christ as Savior, and the gift of eternal life is made available. …Eternal life is a gift, but is only made available at the acceptance of everlasting life. … Eternal life is a life that must be received every day. Every time you get out of bed at the sunrise in the morning, God looks at you and says, ‘I have another gift for you today. I have the gift of eternal life. You can accept that gift and life in eternity, or you can refuse that gift and live like the base animals of the world live.’” Hyles also said there were hundreds of members of the FBCH who “have everlasting life, but you are not a possessor this morning of eternal life. You are living like the animals of the field live.”




The Scripture says that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23) and one receives this gift when he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ said: “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47), and John says: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life” (John 3:36 - NKJV). There is no distinction between everlasting life and eternal life. To have the gift of everlasting life is to possess the gift of eternal life, and vice versa.

Therefore, eternal life is something that a believer received when he believed and that a believer continues to keep every day through faith in the Lord. For instance John says: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:10-13). Therefore, the gift of eternal life is not something that we must receive every day but something that we have in us. Of course, this gift can be lost; this will happen if we give place to unbelief. As the Israelites could not enter the promised land because of their unbelief, so we will not enter the Kingdom of God if our heart becomes an unbelieving heart. However, anyone who perseveres in the faith till the end will by no means lose eternal life.

There is another thing that must be said: since we still live in this tent we are mortal beings, thus even though we have the gift of eternal life, we will see the fulfilment of the promise of eternal life at the resurrection of the just, yes, because eternal life is the promise God has promised us through Jesus Christ, as it is written: “And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life” (1 John 2:25 – NKJV). In other words, eternal life is something that God has promised us. Let me explain this concept; our body is mortal, therefore we can’t affirm that we are immortal beings. Our soul is immortal, because it can’t be killed, and thus continues to live after death, while our body returns to the dust and begins to decompose. Therefore, when we die we will go to be with the Lord in heaven: but it is our soul that will go to heaven because our body will remain on earth to decompose. For this reason we need to wait for the resurrection of our body, for when God raises our body it will become immortal. In that day, therefore, our soul will return to our new body (which will be glorious, immortal and incorruptible) and with that body we will live forever with the Lord. We can say, therefore, that on that day the promise that God has promised us – even eternal life – will be fulfilled. But till that day our body will remain slave of corruption. Then in that day our body will be redeemed, that is to say, it will be fulfilled what Paul calls “the redemption of the purchased possession” (Ephesians 1:14 – NKJV). It is evident, therefore, that when I say that in that day the promise of eternal life will be fulfilled, I mean not only that our body will be made immortal, incorruptible and mighty, but also that this transformation will be performed by the power of God so that we may live forever with the Lord on the new earth which God will create in His time. So eternal life is a glorious life, a life full of joy and peace which will endure forever. On the contrary, when the wicked die their soul go to a place of torment called Hades, and they will receive the fullness of their punishment when they are raised on the judgment day, for only in that day they will take back their body with which they gave themselves over to the lusts of the flesh while on earth, they will be judged according to their works and with that body they will be cast into the everlasting fire where they will be tormented forever and ever. This means that their body also will become immortal (otherwise we could not say that they will rise again, but their resurrection is a resurrection of condemnation and not a resurrection of life). Unlike the saints, the wicked don’t have eternal life in them because they refuse to believe in the Son of God, the wrath of God is upon them and they will never see life.

Therefore, let no one deceive you with empty words, for you have eternal life.