googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: There’s Dying and Then There’s Dying

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

There’s Dying and Then There’s Dying

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27)

When God created Adam, it was His will that men would live forever. Of course, we know what happened: Adam disobeyed God and died as a result of his sin. It was by this act of disobedience that death entered into the world (Romans 5:12). As a result, we also die because we are descended from Adam.

Now, there are critics of the Bible who argue that our dying for Adam’s sin is unjust and even contradicts God’s command in Deuteronomy 24:16, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”

So, are we punished for Adam’s sin? Not exactly. We die physically because we have inherited our body of flesh from Adam. It is this fleshly body that dies. We also inherit his propensity to sin (sometimes called “the sin nature”). But we are not condemned because of his sin; there is another judgment coming where the lost will be judged for their own sins.

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15) [bold added for emphasis]

So when a lost person stands before God on that day, he is clearly not judged by Adam’s sin but his own. The “books” which will be opened, I believe, are the books of the Bible. And God will judge each man’s works according to the things written in the books. I can almost imagine it now – God will read the commandment, “You shall not lie,” and then show the person every time he told a lie. Then He’ll read the commandment, “You shall not steal,” and show the person every time he stole. On and on God will go through the books showing the sinner every time he violated His word. When He is finished, the lost person will have no defense; he is guilty on all counts.

Then there is another book opened, The Book of Life (Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5, Revelation 21:27, et al). These are those people who trusted Christ as their Savior. They will not suffer the second death (Revelation 2:11) but have already passed from death unto life (John 5:24). When we stand before God in judgment, we don’t have to show Him our good works (because we have none). We only have to have our names in the Book of Life. But the person who rejected Christ and relied on his own good works is condemned.

Unless Christ returns in our lifetime, our physical death is inevitable. When we leave this body, Christians will be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Those who reject Christ, however, have a worse death waiting for them – the death of their soul.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

No comments: