By Albert Gregg
“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him...” Revelation 6:8
Death comes in many different ways. Just the thought of it brings fear to the hearts of men. It leaves us sad and lonely. It leaves an empty place in our lives. In our society we try to hide from death and to hide death. Many do not know how to handle death, or how to grieve. However, death will touch us all. It comes to the young, the old and those in between. Death does not respect age nor station in life. It comes to family and friends, to our enemies, to people we know and people we don’t know. It will even come to you, for we cannot escape death. It is all around us. When disasters take place, we are brought face to face with it. Why do these things happen? I do not know why, but I do know that God is in control “Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word (Psalm 148:8) ...” “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7) ...”
Why Do People Die?
The simple answer is, because of the presence of sin in the world. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12) ...” Death even comes to those who have not committed any great sin. However, it comes because of sin in the world . “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:1–5).” God told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:17).” Satan deceived Eve. “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Timothy 2:14 ).” “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat (Genesis 3:6).” Adam ate of the tree, knowing God said not to, and the curse of death entered into the world. “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Genesis 3:17–19).” Because of Adam’s sin, we become sinners by birth. And when we get old enough to know right and wrong, we become sinners by choice. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10 )...” “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) ...” The consequence of sin is death. “For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) ...”
The Wrath of Almighty God
To die without Christ is a terrible tragedy. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).” All must stand before God in judgment . “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27) ...” The plight of the unredeemed sinner is so awful that it is called the second death . “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death (Revelation 20:14).” By the way, there is no general judgment of individuals where the saved are separated from the lost. There is the judgment seat of Christ for the saved to determine rewards or lack thereof (1 Corinthians 3:9–15). There is the great white throne judgment for the lost (unredeemed), which will determine the extent of their punishment. “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).” There is only heaven or hell. You are redeemed, or you are not. There is no place, given in the Word of God, that would purge you from your sin after you die.
We Cannot Save Ourselves From Sin
Indeed, we are spiritually dead in our sins . “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) ...” Just as a dead person can do nothing, a person who is spiritually dead can do nothing to appease God. Our works do not save us. Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:9).” Keeping the Old Testament Law does not save us, for the Law only brings the knowledge of what sin is. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).” We are not saved by our righteousness, for we are unrighteous . “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5) ...” We are not saved by baptism, for dipping a spiritually dead person in water does not produce life . “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21) ...” Baptism is only a figure of what salvation does. It is not salvation. We are washed from our sins in the blood of the Lamb, not in water . “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1:5b) ...” The physical body is able to do all of these things I have mentioned, but God is not satisfied with them, for our personal righteousness is filthy in the sight of God . “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah 64:6).” You cannot buy salvation . “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:18–19) ...” God owns the universe. What can you give Him that He does not already own? For that matter, what can you do to benefit God?
The Good News
We do not have to die without Christ. God loved us enough that He sent His Son to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” Salvation is not automatic, nor is it inherited. You must be born again into the family of God to be saved from your sins. In Ephesians 2:1, where it says, “And you hath he quickened,” it means that He makes the believer alive spiritually. This is brought about by the new birth, which is a spiritual birth. “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again (John 3:1–7).” There are many different terms which describe salvation. One of them is redemption. To redeem means to buy back. Adam sold the human race into sin by his own sin. Christ came into the world and shed His precious blood on the cross, was buried and rose again the third day. In shedding His blood, He paid the ransom to rescue us from our sin. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14) ...” Salvation is brought about by repentance and faith. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead (Acts 17:30–31).” “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).” Repentance is a change of mind that brings about a turning away from sin. Faith is believing or trusting Christ to save your soul . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9–10).” Salvation is the gift of God . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23 ).” “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8) ...” It is free for the asking . “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).”
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