The Wages Of Sin Is Death

If sin is a tough sell these days, imagine what the proclamation of its wages has become! I mean, western culture is still not fond of talking about death unless its in the context of a crime scene television program.

But everyone is thinking about it. That’s why books about heaven sell so well. People are wondering, What’s it like after death? And of course, the popular assumption is, heaven’s it, unless it’s nothing.

The only other question that might be more on our minds is, What’s it like when the world self-destructs? No one’s really sitting down to ask that question — except novelists who are writing end-times or dystopian fiction. But the people reading those books are lapping them up, because they want to know what somebody else thinks it might be like.

Thankfully we have the Bible and God hasn’t left us totally in the dark.

One thing we can know from Scripture is that there is physical death and there is spiritual death. A number of verses indicate that people separated from God by their sin are already dead. Here are a couple verses of the many:

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart
– Eph. 4:17-18 (emphasis mine)

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace
– Rom. 8:6 (see the following verses also)

In brief, this is what I believe the Bible teaches about death. When sin entered the world, so did death — both physical and spiritual. This was the very consequence God warned Adam and Eve about.

Physical death is the incontrovertible consequence of rebellion against God, one that we, and the world, must all suffer — with the exception of Enoch and the believers who will be alive when Christ comes back. Spiritual death, at the least, is separation from God.

Christ doesn’t undo death. He does one step better. He offers new life. By shedding His blood, He washed away the sin that separated us from God. Consequently, believers have spiritual life here and now. In addition, He promised eternal life — a new, better body we can enjoy for eternity — and He Himself was resurrected from the dead, giving us a glimpse of what a resurrected body is like.

But new life is conditional, as are many of God’s promises. All through the Old Testament, God told His chosen people He would bless them if they obeyed Him. So too, in the New Testament, the promise of life is conditional.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
– John 3:16-18 (emphasis mine)

Apparently there’s some confusion regarding what it means to “believe in Jesus,” so I’ll address that another time.

Published in: on February 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm  Comments (1)  
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