Jesus came to redeem us from the consequences of the fall – Part 20
No longer did they look forward to walking and talking with God in the garden; rather, they hid from His presence (Gen 3:8). Elsewhere, the Bible teaches that aside from Christ, all are alienated from God and from life in Him (Eph 4:17-18). Aside salvation, we are all spiritually dead.
(4) Finally, death as a result of sin involves eternal death. Eternal life would have been the consequence of the obedience of Adam and Eve (cf. Gen 3:22); instead, the horrible consequence of eternal death has become operative. Eternal death is eternal condemnation and separation from God as a result of disobedience (see Gen 3:4) i.e., “punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his “power’ (2 Thes 1:9; see Rom 6:16).
(5) The only way to escape death in all its multifaceted aspects is through Jesus Christ, Who “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light” (2 Tim 1:10). By His death, He reconciled us with God, thus reversing the spiritual separation and alienation that had come as a result of sin (see Gen 3:24; 2 Cor 5:18). By His resurrection, He overcame and broke the power of Satan, sin and physical death (see Gen 3:15; Rom 6:10, cf. Rom 5:18-19; 1 Cor 15:12-28; 1 Jn 3:8). That believers will not remain forever in the grave was already a part of the testimony of God’s OT people (see Job 19:25-26; Ps 16:9-11). See 1 Cor 15:35-50.
The meaning of Physical Death for Believers. Even though believers in Christ have the assurance of resurrection life, they still go through the experience of physical death. But believers approach death differently than unbelievers. The following are some scripturally revealed truths about the death of a believer.
(1) Death for the Christian is not the end of life, but a new beginning. Rather than something to be feared (1 Cor 15:55-57), death is the point of transition to a fuller life. Death for believers is a release from the troubles of this world (2 Cor 4:17) and from an earthly body, in order to be clothed with heavenly life and glory (2 Cor 5:1-5). Paul speaks of physical death as sleep (1 Cor 15:6, 18, 20; 1 Thes 4:13-15), implying that death is rest from earthly labour and suffering (cf. Rev 14:13). It means going to be with our godly ancestors and other believers, who have died before us (see Gen 25:8). It is a door into the presence of the living God (Phil 1:23).
(2) The Bible also speaks of the death of believers in comforting terms. The death of the godly is “precious in the sight of the LORD” (Ps 116:15). It is an entrance “into peace” (Is 57:1-2) and in “to glory” (Ps 73:24); a being carried by the angels “into Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22); a going to “Paradise” (Luke 23:43); a going to our Father’s house, where there are “many mansions” (John 14:2); a blessed departure in order to “be with Christ” (Phil 1:23); a being “present with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8); a falling “asleep in Christ” (1 Cor 15:18; cf. John 11:11; 1 Thes 4:13); a “gain… which is far better” (Phil 1:23) and a time to receive the “crown of righteousness” (see 2 Tim 4:8).
(3) Concerning the time between the believer’s death and his or her bodily resurrection, Scripture teaches the following: (a) At the time of death, believers are brought into Christ’s presence (2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23).
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