Pollock on Conditional Immortality: Second Argument

Continuing on with A. J. Pollock’s arguments against conditional immortality we come to this:

A mistake common to all conditional immortality teachers is that of confounding eternal life with immortality. They teach that they are convertible terms. Scripture says:

“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6: 23).

A leading Conditional Immortality writer says:-

“Immortality is the gift of God in Christ our Lord, but is not a universal possession of man” (Report of Ilford Conference, 1913, page 56).

But the believer in Christ has got eternal life NOW. If eternal life and immortality are convertible terms, as many teachers of Conditional Immortality say, then it follows that believers in Christ, who have got eternal life NOW, have immortality NOW and therefore cannot die. But they do die. […]

HADES and Eternal Punishment
A J Pollock
p. 22

The point Pastor Pollock makes is an important one and needs to be addressed. The definition of words is critical to proper interpretation of scripture, often Christians argue with each other because they define words differently. Can the believer who has “eternal life” die physically?

If you look at the passages of scripture that discuss the fate of those who have died in unbelief words like “death”, “destruction”, “perish”, etc. are very common. If you “take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning” in these passages then I believe conditional immortality becomes a real possibility. This is one of the issues that started me down the path of taking a serious look at conditional immortality. If immortality is one of the things all believers receive at the point of salvation then does the death of believers in time contradict this teaching?

My take on this is once again different than everyone who I have read on this topic. If you all will bear with me for a moment while I take a small side trip I think you will see why I don’t think this is a problem.

I grew up in a church that taught the Forty Things Received at Salvation. The forty things are a list of “things” the scriptures teach each person receives at salvation during the Church Age (remember I am dispensational). The first item on the list was always the “righteousness of God” which I believe to be valid and scripturally supported. So, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ I have been imputed with God’s righteousness. That means I possess God’s righteousness at this very moment.

Just to be extra clear on this let me provide a definition of righteousness that I doubt any Conservative Christian would disagree with:

Definition: Righteousness is the state of moral perfection required by God to enter heaven.

Now, what happens when I sin? Sin is without a doubt an act of unrighteousness! Does my sinning contradict the premise that I possess God’s righteousness? Does my sinning prove that I am an unbeliever and have some form of false assurance? Any pastor worth his salt would answer that question in the negative.

I was taught as a youth that the righteousness I have been imputed by God really is mine but I have not actually taken possession of it yet. My pastor would use the metaphor of an escrow account where God’s perfect righteousness is being held for me. I will take possession of that perfect righteousness after leaving this body of corruption behind and am in heaven. Once I am actually in possession of that perfect righteousness then I won’t sin again. This solves the problem of the “righteous” sinner.

Using the same logic why can’t my eternal life (or immortality if you prefer) be held in escrow for me just like God’s perfect righteousness? There are things that I am the rightful owner of but have not taken possession of yet. I don’t see why eternal life isn’t one of those things. Unless someone can show me why possession of eternal life must function in a way completely different from possession of perfect righteousness I am unconvinced by Pastor Pollock’s argument.

[Click on this link to see the next installment in this series: Pollock on Luke 20:36]

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