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Author: Ron Graham

Why Be Religious?

The Four Deaths People Can Die
—Physical death and three other deaths.

How many times have you died? That is not a silly question. There are four kinds of death (including physical death) mentioned in the Bible.

Some people may die all four of these deaths. Many will never experience any of them. You have probably undergone at least one, hopefully two. Puzzled? Then please read on.

1 Physical Death

We suffer this death, because we are made of dust, just like our progenitor Adam who "was of the earth, made of dust" (1Corinthians 15:47).

God said to Adam, "You will return to the ground, because from it you were taken, for you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19).

Being procreated from Adam, we share his earthy nature, and follow him back to the dust. This will continue until the return of the second Adam, Jesus Christ. He will abolish physical death. "The last enemy to be destroyed is death" (1Corinthians 15:26).

2 Eternal Death

In a vision, John saw portrayed the judgment day of mankind before the saints enter the new world. Both wicked and righteous were resurrected and judged. Anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into a lake of fire. "This is the second death" (Revelation 20:12-15).

Jesus had earlier said that those who overcome the tribulations of the Christian way, "will not be hurt at all by the second death" (Revelation 2:11).

This second death is the opposite of eternal life (Matthew 25:41,46). We usually call it Hell.

3 Death In Sin

Paul says, "I was once alive... then sin sprang to life, and I died" (Romans 7:9).

When Paul says, "I died" he was in neither grave nor hell —he had died neither physical nor eternal death. But he had died a death of some kind because he said, "I died."

Paul had earlier written of this death: "Through Adam sin entered the world, and through sin death passed to all men because all sinned" (Romans 5:12).It is a timeless principle that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

God says to all, just as he said to Adam, "In the day you sin, you shall die" (Genesis 2:17). Thus you may be "dead in your trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1).

Adam was not told, "If you sin, you will die someday," but rather, "In the day that you sin you will surely die." The day one sins, one dies, being "alienated from the life of God" (Ephesians 4:18).

4 Death To Sin

Paul tells Christians, "Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God" (Romans 6:11). This is the reversal of being dead in sin and alienated from the life of God.

Death to sin is death of the sinful self. "We have been buried with Christ through baptism into death" (Romans 6:4). Baptism, obviously, does not bring us into physical death, eternal death, or death in sin. So the death we are "baptized into" is something else.

We die to be born again

When we go "through baptism into death... our old self is crucified with Christ" (Romans 6:6). Out of this death, and in his death, we are born again.

This death to sin brings us back into the life of God —from which we were cut off when we died in sin.

Paul says, "I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ is living in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

When faith and repentance lead us to be baptized into Christ and his death, we become "dead to sin and alive to God" (Romans 6:11). This is a good death to die, isn't it?

We close with this thought: You cannot know the meaning of life unless you know the meaning of death.

You cannot know
the meaning of life
—unless you know
the meaning of death.


Webservant Ron Graham

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