2 Timothy 1:10
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death…
We will consider three things — first, the great subject "brought to light," "life and immortality"; secondly, the revelation — "He hath brought life and immortality to light"; and, thirdly, we will glance at the means by which this glorious subject is placed in the light of open day — it is "by the gospel."
I. IMMORTALITY NATURALLY AND ESSENTIALLY BELONGS TO GOD ALONE, "who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see." By "life and immortality," in the language of the text, we simply understand immortal life, or existence incapable of decay. Human existence, or existence in the present world, is not, strictly speaking, immortality; it is liable to decay. The natural powers are liable to decay, and the natural members crumble into dust; and the intellectual powers are also liable to decay, in consequence of their being encased in, and connected with this crumbling and mouldering tabernacle. The gospel has brought to light this glorious fact: that there is an existence in another state for creatures such as we are, incapable of decay. By which we understand that it is an existence without sin; for in sin is involved and included all the elements of destruction, and nothing can remove the elements of destruction but the removal of sin. All the powers shall be cleansed, nicely balanced, rightly directed, and constantly employed; and they shall be raised beyond the reach of that which might tarnish, sully, deprave, or injure them for ever. As it is a state of existence without sin, so, consequently, it is a state of existence without sickness. And as there will be no sickness, as a matter of course there will be no pain. And that fear, which is such a source of torment, will be done away. And then as to gratification; there is nothing that can gratify a perfected intellect or a purified heart, but we shall possess it in all its fulness and purity, in order that we may enjoy it for evermore. "Life," with holiness; for as holiness is the principal perfection of God's nature, so holiness will be the principal characteristic of the Lord's people in a better state. "Life," with knowledge; for immortal life stands virtually in connection with spiritual knowledge. Hence Christ says: "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." It will be life, with peace in perfection, and life in the possession of joy; and all the future will be the anticipation of perfect satisfaction. It is, we may observe, life with God — we shall be "for ever with the Lord" — life in the presence, life in the possession, and life in the enjoyment of God. We may remark that it is life of the most perfect kind, in the highest degree. Now we know not what life in perfection is. I conceive that the highest kind of life will, in all the experience of the Lord's holy ones, be wrought up to the highest degree of perfection, and, in that state, it will be spent to reflect His honour, to perpetuate the glory of His grace, and for the honour of His glorious perfections, for ever. For, in other words, we may say it is life in employment and in enjoyment. We associate these two together, for in our minds they always are associated: we can conceive of no suitable employment without enjoyment.
II. THE REVELATION: "life and immortality are brought to light," intimating that immortal life was obscure before. The heathen had some idea of a state of immortal existence for the soul, but not for the body; although, according to the gospel, immortality is intended for the body equally with the soul.
1. He "brought to light," the purpose of God, which was to be wrought out through all the opposition of sin and Satan, and of man under their influence, that He would have a people possess an immortal existence incapable of decay — A life of the highest kind, in the most perfect degree.
2. He not only "brought to light" the purpose, but the promise. How frequently and how plainly does our Lord refer to this, particularly in the Gospel of St. John. We can refer but to one passage — the sixth chapter and the fortieth verse — "This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
3. He not only "brought to light" the promise, but He was Himself the example. You know He yielded to the death upon the cross. He came forth in the possession of immortal life, with an immortal body and an immortal soul.
4. He exhibited eternal life, as a blessing promised to the Church. "This," says the apostle John, with emphasis — "this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son."
5. He not only exhibited it to us as a blessing promised, but as a prize to be gained; for there is nothing in the gospel to sanction indolence.
6. It is represented as the end which grace has in view. Hence the apostle, drawing the parallel between the two heads, or public representatives, says (Romans 5:20). It was "brought to light" as the great object of hope, upon which the eye of hope is to be fixed from time to time. And what made primitive Christians so cheerful, and dauntless, and bold, and courageous, was just this: they "were living," says St. Paul, "in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began."
III. THE MEANS BY WHICH THIS BLESSING IS "BROUGHT TO LIGHT" IS "THE GOSPEL,"
1. Now, in one view of it, the gospel is a kind of telescope, without which it is impossible to look so far into the distance as to see immortal life. There it is in the distance, but our faculties are so weakened by sin, and the mists of ignorance have so gathered between us and it that it is necessary there should be something to bring the mind's eye into contact with it. The gospel is that something. It brings the subject near, just in the same way as a telescope seems to bring the distant object near; so that we can look at it, gaze upon it, examine it, admire it, and enjoy it.
2. The gospel brings "life and immortality to light," because it shows us how we may get rid of sin, the cause of death.
3. The gospel not only tells how we may get rid of sin, the cause of death, but how we may obtain justification, the title to life.
4. As it tells us how to obtain justification, which is the title to life, so it informs us how we may surmount every obstacle that would keep us from the possession and enjoyment of it. It brings to our help the power of God, the wisdom of God, and the Spirit of God; in other words, it presents to us the Saviour, in all His fulness, and tells us how to every believer in Him He "is made wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
Parallel VersesKJV: But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: