The second death

“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”

(John 8:51)

Believers in Christ, according to the Bible, suffer three kinds of death. One physical and two spiritual. Every human being is born dead in sin. The first human pair was a masterpiece of creation.Then Adam and his wife died spiritually in one fell (fall?) swoop and eventually they died physically as well. All their progeny – in some way not revealed by God – sinned in Adam. This is what is meant by “Original Sin.” “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5). This death was a spiritual death (that is, everyone is born with a sin nature and thus alienated from God) as well as eventual physical death. With regard to spiritual death, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath (Epehsians 2:1-3).

Then there is for believers in Christ, in this life, the death of death in the death of Jesus Christ (John Owen), that is to say, the Christian’s spiritual death dies in Christ’s death. We follow on from Ephesians 1:3:

“1:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” So, after believers’ death of death in Christ, they are made alive, they are regenerated, the yare born again; their wills are no longer in bondage to their corrupt hearts; God has replaced their corrupt stony hearts with the desire to come to him an follow him.” Non-believers in Christ die spiritually only once in this life. Their second spiritual death occurs after their physical death when Christ casts them into outer darkness.

Those raised in Christ will also have new bodies: 1 Corinthians 15: 35 But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. 37 And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. 38 Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. 39 Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”

And unbelievers, those who are raised not in Christ but by Christ, will they have new bodies? Yes, “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both for the just and unjust.”—Acts 24:15. A vile body, to grace the state of their soul. How terrible.


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