I received the following question:
I have a question concerning eternal life during the Acts period. It seems to me that any person putting their faith in Jesus Christ during Acts crossed over from death unto life (John 5:24). By this I mean that the death process ceased to be at work in them and it was replaced by the life process, i.e. aionian life flowing through them. Of course, they were still subject to death and if they committed a sin unto death it resulted in death, i.e. Ananias and Sapphira. Also during Acts God would use sickness as a form of punishment to bring wayward believers back unto Himself (1 Corinthians 11:30). All of this came to an end and was suspended (Philippians 1:6) when God completed His goal for the Acts period and began His Gracious Administration. Anyone putting their faith in Jesus Christ today does not have the same experience as the Acts believers, we do not cross from death working in us to life working in us, we have the hope of eternal life which will be granted to us at His appearing (2 Timothy 1:1 and Titus1:2) .
I wondered if you see eternal life for believers during Acts and after the same way as me?
This issue you bring up is one I addressed in my audio series on Romans.
I agree completely that the Acts period believer had passed over from death to life. That is, they had ceased to die, and even to grow older, I believe (although this last statement is harder to prove.) Paul describes this as the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus setting him free from the law of sin and death in Romans 8:2.
I do not think that I would call this eonian life, since I believe that eonian life is made up not just of life unending (for that could be less than desirable, if we consider something like unending life in this fallen, corrupt world,) but also life in God’s eon, a life that flows with every good thing from the hand of God that would make life forever worth living. There might have been a change in them that caused them to stop getting sick or dying, but the outward conditions around them were not conformed to eonian life, even if they experienced something like it inwardly.
They could still die by Divine punishment, and they could still be martyred. They still were not in their glorious bodies that they will receive at the start of the full kingdom. If they injured themselves, there were healers to cover that. But death was not eradicated from their systems, and they went back to dying as soon as the kingdom was suspended and the dispensation of grace began. At that time, they started getting older and dying once again.
So I think we are in complete agreement, except for the terminology. I know that God’s flow had started in part in Acts, but it was only a trickle compared to what will be in the full kingdom. I do not think I would call it “eonian life” until it actually is life in God’s eon.
Thanks for the question. Feel free to write me with any more. Keep studying the Word!