by WordExplain

Bringing Truths from Different Books of the Bible into Focus, Perspective, and Understanding.

"For the wages of sin is death ..."  Romans 6:23a

Cemeteries are often beautiful, but they cannot mask the ugliness of Death


The Study of Sin

by WordExplain

The Three Different Kinds of Death

“The wages of sin is death ...” (Rom. 6:23)

In the Garden of Eden, God gave man almost total freedom. He could do virtually anything that he wished to do. It never occurred to man to do anything injurious to himself, to man, to animals, to the environment, nor to God.

God did give man some general positive commands – things he was to do. God’s first command was three-fold, and it was issued in the form of a blessing: God blessed them; and God said to them,

1) “Be fruitful and multiply,

2) and fill the earth, and subdue it;

3) and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen. 1:28).

God’s next statement amounted to a general permission: Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you ....” (Gen. 1:29).

In Gen. 2:15 it is implied that God gave man a specific positive command. God placed man in “the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Adam was destined to be a gardener as a specific first step in subduing the earth.

There was only one negative imperative God gave to man. But even that negative was cast in the light of the nearly infinite number of things he was permitted to do. In Gen. 2:16 God graciously gave man virtually unlimited dietary permission: The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely.” Man had the freedom to eat from any tree in the Garden. Furthermore he could eat from any tree as often and as much as he wished. As God put it, he was permitted to “eat freely.”

There was one restriction placed upon man. There was only one thing on God’s green earth that he could NOT do, and that had to do with diet. Here is how God stated His restriction in Gen. 2:17: “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

God’s SINGLE RESTRICTION was that man was NOT to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is my belief that this was not a tree endowed with special powers, as the tree of life apparently was (Gen. 2:9; 3:22, 24; Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14, 19). Rather, this tree had the capacity, because of God’s restriction, to permit man to learn by experience that which God knows intuitively – good and evil. God’s desire was for man to experience good, but never to have to experience evil. Tragically, from a human viewpoint, man chose to disobey God, and ever since, he has been experiencing a great deal of evil. The good that man experiences in his life on earth is vastly diminished from what it could have been.

The single consequence of which God warned for man’s disobedience is DEATH. It is the purpose of this essay to explain the nature of that penalty. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). What does death mean?

When most people think of death, what do they think of? A person’s heart stops beating, he quits breathing, his brain ceases to function, his bodily functions cease, and life is gone. He is inanimate. He has died. As horrifying as that process is, it is not the most terrible part of death, as we shall see. In fact, it is merely the most visible symptom of an even more grotesque condition.

It is helpful to establish a definition of death. What is Death? A Biblical understanding of Death consists of the basic idea of SEPARATION. Let us examine the three different categories of death indicated in the Bible:  Spiritual Death, Physical Death, and Second Death.


A.    Spiritual Death (Go to Physical Death; Go to Second Death)

            1.          Spiritual Death can be defined as Man Separated from God. It is instructive to observe the immediate consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin in Genesis 3.

                         a.         In Genesis 2:17, God had forbidden man to eat from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” The consequence stated was this: “for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” If all God meant by death was physical death, God would have been in error, for man did not die physically on that very die. We are not told how long Eve lived, but we do know that she continued to live, for she gave birth to two sons, Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:1-2), to Seth (Gen. 4:25), and presumably to other sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). Apparently Eve lived a long time.

                         b.         We know that Adam did not die physically the day he sinned, either. The record states that he lived an astonishing total of 930 years (Gen. 5:5)!

            2.         Genesis 3:1-6 records the temptation and the sin of Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:7-10 records the immediate consequences of sin.

                         a.         The first symptom of Spiritual Death is A Loss of Innocence and a Sense of Personal Guilt (Gen. 3:7). This is evidenced in that the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened and they perceived that they were naked. The sinful pair took great pains to cover their nakedness. The text does not say whether they felt a sense of shame in front of one another, or in front of God, or both. Almost certainly they craved a sense of modesty in front of one another, but apparently God paid regular visits to them in the evening, and so they were also probably preparing for that event.

                         b.         The second symptom of Spiritual Death is Alienation from God (Gen. 3:8). This is seen in that the moment they heard God walking in the garden that evening, they hid themselves. For the first time in human history, instead of happily running out to meet God, man furtively hid himself from God. Man has been hiding from God ever since .... What a terrible situation! God created Man as the crown of His creation. Man was to be the Ruler of the Earth under the leadership of God, and now He was hiding himself from the Creator. This painful retreat did not bode well for either Man or the Planet over which he was to have ruled in benevolence.

                         c.         The third symptom of Spiritual Death is Fear of God (Gen. 3:9-10). There is a good fear of God in the Bible and a bad fear. This is a bad fear.

                                      1)         A good fear, as it later developed, would have deterred the Philistines from killing Abraham in order to steal his wife (Gen. 20:11), would cause Abraham to trust God sufficiently to prepare to sacrifice his son Isaac in obedience to God (Gen. 22:12), and caused the Hebrew midwives to keep alive the male Hebrew babies despite the command of Pharaoh (Ex. 1:17, 21). A good fear of God caused Job to be a blameless and upright man, turning away from evil (Job 1:8; 2:3), will cause believers to praise the LORD (Psa. 96:4), and brings Yahweh’s favor (Psa. 147:11). A good fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7) and of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). A good fear of Yahweh prolongs life (Prov. 10:27) and inspires confidence (Prov. 14:26), and is a fountain of life (Prov. 14:27).

                                      2)         A bad fear of God causes one to hide from Elohim and fear exposure of his nakedness in His presence (Gen. 3:7-10). A bad fear of Elohim causes one to run away from God instead of out to meet Him.

                                      3)        It is instructive to note that Adam and Eve, in their now fallen, spiritually dead condition, did everything they possibly could to remedy their sense of nakedness before God by sewing together fig leaves to make loin coverings (Gen. 3:7). Their best human efforts to remedy the consequences of their own sinfulness were insufficient! Their efforts did no good whatever, because they were still ashamed of their nakedness and they hid from God anyway (Gen. 3:10)! This should cement in our minds firmly the truth that all human efforts to remedy human sin will fail. Only God can remedy human sinfulness!

                         d.         A fourth symptom of Spiritual Death is A Tendency to Abdicate One’s Personal Responsibility.

                                      1)         When God confronted Adam with his sinfulness, Adam refused to shoulder responsibility for His sin. He blamed his wife, and in arrogance, he implicitly blamed God for having given him this troublesome wife (Gen. 3:11-12). It is important to observe that God deliberately called on the man first and confronted him with his sin (Gen. 3:9-11), even though Adam had not been the first to sin. God obviously held Adam responsible for the advent of sin into the human race. This is further supported by the New Testament (Rom. 5:12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19; 1 Cor. 15:22; 1 Tim. 2:12-14).

                                      2)         When God confronted Eve with her actions, she refused to accept responsibility for her actions, instead blaming the serpent and his deceit (Gen. 3:13).

                                      3)        So it has been ever since. People show their own spiritual death by refusing to admit their own sinfulness. Someone else or something else made me do it! And so society ever looks in the wrong area to assuage spiritual death. Society believes that education will solve crime, that more money will solve crime, that a mental illness caused sin, that alcoholism is a disease (not a choice), that intolerance causes evil behavior, and that lack of understanding and failure to negotiate causes terrorism. The three most difficult words in the English language to utter are, “I HAVE SINNED.”

            3.         Clearly, man needs to be rescued from spiritual death. We need to be rescued from alienation from God. We need to be saved from Spiritual Death? How can we be restored to friendship with God? Click here to find the answer.

B.    Physical Death (Go to Spiritual Death; Go to Second Death)

            1.          What is a Biblical definition of Physical Death? Remember that Death, in Biblical terms, does not mean cessation or annihilation. It means, rather, Separation. So Physical Death means the Separation of Man’s Soul from His Body.

                         a.         Physical death is grotesque. The one moment there is a person inside that body – a person with hopes, fears, aspirations, dreams, cognition, emotion feelings, intellect, awareness. In the next few moments something bizarre happens. That person’s heart stops beating, he quits breathing, his brain ceases to function, his bodily functions cease, and life flickers away. The soul is gone. Gone somewhere. The body is now but a corpse. It is inanimate. The man has died. As someone once told me at the funeral of a middle-aged woman killed in a traffic accident, “Death is so final.”

                         b.         Whither goes the soul of man at death? Some assert boldly (as if they know with certainty), “When we die, there is nothing. A human is no different than a cow, a dog or a cat. We just cease to be.” And how would they know? And on what authority do they pontificate? It is impossible to know with certainty unless someone greater than we are – someone who has the ability to peer into the future – someone who has access to the afterlife – tell us. Science is utterly helpless when it comes to informing us of life after death. No scientist or journalist has ever spoken with a single person who died and came back to life. So the only way we can know about life on the other side with certainty is for someone authoritative to reveal to us what life is like after death. God would qualify, and God’s prophets would qualify as His spokesmen. Daniel, one of the world’s greatest statesmen, said this, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2). The writer to the Hebrews asserted boldly, “ is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27). We Christians state with certainty that there is existence after physical death, and that existence includes an evaluation as to how we have lived our lives.

            2.         Adam and Eve did not die physically the moment they sinned, but they did die spiritually instantly. They were instantly separated from God. The first physical death in human history was a homicide. That took place when Cain murdered Abel (Gen. 4:1-8). Though it took many years for the natural deaths of the patriarchs (the ancient fathers) to occur, die they did. The process of physical death began to work in their bodies immediately, but because of their physical vigor, and probably because the environment was considerably different in the Pre-Flood Earth, both man and animals lived much longer. People aged much more slowly then than today. A fifty-year old man today will have aged as much as a 500-year-old man back then. A seventy-year-old man today will have aged as much as a 700-year-old man back them.

            3.         Genesis 5 serves as a funeral bell tolling out the inevitable physical deaths of men in the Pre-Flood era as a consequence of their sin. Though Adam lived 930 years, he died (Gen. 5:1-5). Though Seth lived 912 years, he died (Gen. 5:3-8). Though Enosh lived 905 years, he died (Gen. 5:6-11). Though Kenan lived 910 years, he died (Gen. 5:10-14). Though Mahalalel lived 895 years, he died (Gen. 5:12-17). Though Jared set a record and lived to be 962 years old, he also died (Gen. 5:16-20). There was an exception. Enoch lived only 365 years, but he did not die. He walked with God, and then “he was not, for God took him” (Gen. 5:19-24). Enoch’s son Methuselah set the all-time record for longevity. He lived 969 years, but then he, too, died (Gen. 5:21-27). Lamech lived but 777 years, and then he also died (Gen. 5:25-31). Apparently his life was cut short by the Great Flood (Gen. 7-8).

            4.         After the Great Flood of Noah, men continued to live long lives, but their life spans began to be greatly diminished, and physical death came more quickly. Noah, who lived 63% of his life before the Flood (Gen. 5:28-32; 7:6-11), died at the age of 950 (Gen. 9:28-29). Shem, one of Noah’s three sons, lived only 16% of his life before the Flood, and died at the age of 600 (Gen. 6:10; 7:13; 11:10-11). Arpachshad, the first in this genealogy whose entire existence was post-Flood, lived but 438 years before he died (Gen. 11:11-13). Shelah lived only 433 years before he died (Gen. 11:13-15). Eber lived only 464 years before he died (Gen. 11:14-17). Peleg (Gen. 11:16-19) and Reu (Gen. 11:18-21) lived but 239 years before they each died. Serug lived only 230 years before he died (Gen. 11:20-23). Nahor lived only 148 years before dying (Gen. 11:22-25), and Terah lived but 205 years before he died (Gen. 11:24-32). A logical explanation to the declining longevity is that drastically changed conditions on earth precipitated by the Flood were not as conducive to long life after the Deluge as they were before.

            5.         The decline in optimal conditions is emblematic of another aspect of Physical Death. God punished Adam for listening to his wife and eating from the tree from which God had forbidden him to eat. God cursed the ground from which man had been created. Now work would become burdensome; it would tend to yield thorns and thistles; and man would ultimately decay and decompose and turn back into earth (Gen. 3:17-19).

                         a.         Though man did not die physically the moment he sinned, the aging process began in him the moment God placed this curse on him and the earth. The aging process would eventuate in actual physical death. This aging process applied both to man, to animals, and to nature as a whole. Mutations, which are glitches in biological informational processes, began to appear. Man began to age, slowly at first, and then, after the Flood more rapidly. After the Fall of Adam and prior to the Great Flood, man’s life expectancy was 912.22 years. After the Great Flood, man’s life expectancy plummeted. The average of nine generations after the Great Flood dropped precipitously to only 332.89 years. Today, according to Matt Rosenberg, worldwide life expectancy for all people is a mere 64.3 years. Japan has the fourth highest life expectancy at 81.15 years. Life expectancy in the United States is 77.7 years, while Swaziland has the world’s lowest life expectancy at 33.2 years.

                         b.         The curse God placed upon the ground (Gen. 3:17-19) did not affect man only. It affected the entire creation. Because of man’s sin, the entire creation “was subjected to futility” (Rom. 8:20). So adversely was the world affected that “the whole creation groans and suffers the pain of childbirth together until now” (Rom. 8:22).

                         c.         The Bible states clearly that this universe is coming to a catastrophic end because of the sin of man.

                                      1)         The stars up in the heavens “will wear away, and the sky will be rolled up like a scroll” (Isa. 34:4).

                                      2)         The heavens and earth are headed for a fiery destruction as a judgment against ungodly people (2 Pet. 3:7).

                                      3)        “The heavens will pass away with a roar” (2 Pet. 3:10) “and the elements will melt with intense heat (2 Pet. 3:12)!”

            6.         Clearly man needs a remedy for Physical Death. The older we get, the more we begin to think about death. I have a friend who, after her sixtieth birthday, commented that she was beginning to have a sense of her own mortality. Clearly, she found the thought unnerving. I have now reached my sixtieth birthday, and I understand how she feels. Is there a cure for Physical Death? The Bible says there is! Click here to find out.

C.    Second Death (Go to Spiritual Death; Go to Physical Death)

            1.          The phrase “Second Death” is used but four times in the Bible, all in the book of Revelation: 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8.    Rev. 20:14 identifies Second Death as “the lake of fire.” Rev. 21:8 adds “the lake that burns with fire and brimstone” (sulphur). Second Death is a ghastly extension of Spiritual Death. Our definition of Second Death is as follows: Second Death means Man Separated from God in the Lake of Fire Forever. The Location of the separation is in the Lake of Fire and Sulphur. The Time of the separation is eternity.

            2.         Adam’s sin caused all of mankind to become guilty of sin. Starting with Cain and Abel, each of us humans has been born with a sin nature, an innate tendency to disobey God and do wrong things. Because we are born with this sin nature, each of us commits acts of sin, and so we are born Spiritually Dead and in the process of Dying Physically. If nothing is done to correct Spiritual Death before the arrival of Physical Death, our inevitable destiny is Second Death! It is imperative that we rectify our condition of Spiritual Death before the arrival of Physical Death!

            3.         How does one experience Second Death and the horrors of being cast into the Lake of Fire?

                         a.         First, man is doomed to Second Death if he does not have his name written in the Book of Life (Rev. 20:10-15). Here is a summary of this passage:

                                      1)         The time is coming when matter as we know it will be destroyed in a fiery explosion. The heavens and planet Earth will cease to exist (2 Pet. 3:7-10; Rev. 20:11).

                                      2)         A judge will be seated on a Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11). We believe that this judge is none other than Jesus Christ, to whom has been assigned the judgment of all human beings (John 5:22-30).

                                      3)        The dead, both ordinary and celebrity types, are called to stand at this judgment. I presume, because those at this judgment are called “the dead,” that they do not have eternal life. These are they who, in Daniel’s words, awake from “the dust of the ground” “to disgrace and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2).

                                      4)        The dead stand before Christ and are judged according to that which has been recorded about the deeds of the lives of each of them in certain books which are opened at this judgment (Rev. 20:12). Evidently these dead are they who, in Jesus’ words, are called out of their graves to a “resurrection of judgment” (John 20:29).

                                      5)        That this is a judgment of the unredeemed of all ages is reinforced by the fact that those who appear here have not participated in any prior resurrections to life. They have been waiting, some for millennia, in death and Hades for their upcoming judgment. Death and Hades will give up their dead to be judged here (Rev. 20:13).

                                      6)        It is repeated that all who here appear are judged according to their deeds. No one will be judged unfairly, or receive a lighter sentence merely because he has been a celebrity (Rev. 20:13).

                                      7)        Death and Hades are then thrown into (literally) “the lake of the fire,” which is defined as (lit.) “the death, the second one” (Rev. 20:14)

                                      8)        Who are those cast into the Lake of Fire? Anyone whose name is not found written in the Book of Life (lit. “the book of the life”) was cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15).

                                      9)        It becomes starkly apparent, then, that those who wish to escape being cast into the Lake of Fire, which is the Second Death, must by all means make sure their names have been recorded in the Book of Life!

                                      10)       What is the Book of Life?

                                                   a)        There are seven references to the book of life in the New Testament: Philippians 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27 .

                                                   b)        From these references we learn the following:

                                                               i           There exists a Book of Life in the records of God kept in heaven. In every instance in the Book of Revelation, the literal phrase is “the book of the life” (emphasis mine) or its equivalent. I take it that the particular life denoted is not the transient, physical life of human beings, but the particular life inherent in God, who is the living God (Deut. 5:26; Psalm 84:2; Matt. 16:16; Acts 14:15; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 12:22), whose life is eternal. Therefore, the book could be accurately entitled, "The Book of [those who have God's] Life [which is Eternal]."

                                                               ii          The names of the Apostle Paul’s fellow workers appear in the Book of Life (Phil. 4:3).

                                                               iii         Those who conquer (overcome) sin and spiritual apathy are they whose names are recorded in the Book of Life (Rev. 3:1-5).

                                                               iv         Those whose names are written in the Book of Life are properly related to the slain Lamb, a reference to sacrificial death of Jesus for the sins of all humanity (Isa. 53:7; John 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32; 1 Pt. 1:18-19; Rev. 13;8). In other words, those whose names are recorded in the Book of Life have been redeemed from sin by the sacrificial death of Christ (Rev. 5:4-9). This is true because the Book of Life is said to belong to the Lamb – it is His book (Rev. 13:8; 21:27).

                                                               v          The names in the Book of Life have been recorded there from the creation of the World (Rev. 13:8; 17:8).

                                                               vi         In the Great Tribulation, those whose names have not been recorded in the Book of Life will be star-struck with the Antichrist, the “Beast” (Rev. 17:8), who rules the whole world with a despotic fist. Furthermore, they will inevitably worship this ruthless world dictator (Rev. 13:8) with eternally disastrous consequences (Rev. 14:9-10).

                                                               vii        The Book of Life will be opened at the final judgment, the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:12).

                                                               viii       Anyone whose name has not been recorded in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15).

                                                               ix         Only those whose names are recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life will have access to the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:27) in the New Heaven and Earth (Rev. 21:1 - 22:5).

                         b.         Second, people will be doomed to Second Death if they can be described as follows, according to Revelation 21:8. They will be thrown into the Lake of Fire if they are

                                      1)         Cowardly

                                      2)         Unbelieving

                                      3)        Abominable

                                      4)        Murderers

                                      5)        Immoral persons

                                      6)        Sorcerers

                                      7)        Idolaters

                                      8)        Liars (all liars – without any exceptions. Who of us can claim we have not lied?)

            4.         What Objections do People Raise against the Idea of Hell and Second Death?

                         a.         Some maintain that the notion of a lake of fire and brimstone is not to be taken literally. It is just a metaphor, they say. Hell, they explain, is merely a symbol of the times of struggle we go through here on earth.

                         b.         Some say that a God of love could not possibly send people to hell or a lake burning with fire and sulphur.

                         c.         Others maintain, “I am not a bad person. Hell is reserved for people like Adolph Hitler. I believe that the good that I have done will outweigh any bad that I have committed.”

            5.         What Can Be Said in Response to Objections about Hell and Second Death?

                         a.         What can be said in response to the notion that the Lake of Fire (Second Death) is not to be taken literally?

                                      1)         The answer is that Jesus took hell literally. He called it a place of outer darkness, weeping, and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12; 13:42; 22:13; 25:30). He described it as a place of conscious agony in flame (Luke 16:24). He described it as a place where “their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47-48). Jesus took hell seriously. We had better also!

                                      2)         Jesus warned us repeatedly about hell. If we can’t believe what He says about hell, why can we believe what He says about heaven? If we can’t believe what Jesus revealed about the Lake of Fire in the book of Revelation, how can we believe what He says about eternal life or the New Jerusalem?

                                      3)        If those who don’t believe in a literal hell looked at the Scriptures honestly, they would be forced to conclude that hell is a literal place. If they were honest, they would say, “I prefer not to believe in a literal hell because I personally find the idea repugnant and alarming.” Just because someone prefers not to believe in a literal hell doesn’t make the Lake of Fire non-literal. The Lake of Fire is all too literal, and those who reject its literalness and reject the only Savior who could deliver them will one day find themselves in agonizing pain and searing heat – literally.

                         b.         What can be said in response to the idea that a loving God would never send people to a Lake of Fire and Sulphur?

                                      1)         The people who say this are much like the people who prefer not to take hell literally. These people prefer to emphasize one of God’s attributes, his love, but prefer to reject other of His attributes – His holiness and righteousness. In other words, they pick and choose the evidence that suits their own preconceived ideas.

                                      2)         God is all light and no darkness (1 John 1:5). He cannot look upon evil (Habakkuk 1:13). Most of us do not understand either the holiness of God or the sinfulness of ourselves. Isaiah did (6:1-5), and declared himself ruined for having “seen the King, the Lord of hosts” with his own defiled condition of sinful speech! For thousands of years, Holy God has been enduring man’s sinful condition and the defiled condition of the world.

                                      3)        The truth is that God is a holy and fair God. He has warned us of the consequences of sin (Gen. 2:16-17; Rom. 6:23). Death is not so much a penalty as it is a consequence. God is the essence of Goodness and Life. If His created beings decide to act in ways other than the character of God, they will automatically self-destruct. They will experience Non-Goodness and Non-Life, that is to say, Death. Saying Hell and the Lake of Fire is unfair, is much like saying the Law of Gravity is unfair. If you step off a hundred story building, you will fall to the earth below and die in an instant. That is not unfair, it just IS in the nature of things. If you act other than the way God is, you will Die, which includes Second Death. That is not unfair, it just IS in the nature of things.

                                      4)        God is poised to destroy both the universe and sinful man by fire (2 Peter 3:7, 10, 12), and to create a Brand New Universe in which only righteousness and righteous people dwell (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-4). But He is patiently waiting, “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:8-9).

                                      5)        So we see that God is more than fair. He is also gracious. God has graciously revealed to us the whole Bible so we can be extricated from Second Death. Not only is God fair, He is much more than fair. He is also merciful, reaching out to men who have rebelled against Him, something He had no moral obligation to do. Two thousand years ago He sent His Son as the only cure for the redemption of man and of the universe (John 3:16-18; 3:36). He loves us so much He has paid our eternal Death Penalty if we will but trust in His Son (Rom. 5:8; 8:1)!

                         c.         What can be said in response to those who think that they are good people and do not deserve to be sent to the Lake of Fire?

                                      1)         First, it is not good people who are consigned to the lake of fire. The truth is that none of us is good! We may be good in our own sight, but none of us is good in God’s sight! None of us is innocent. We are all guilty. None of us is righteous (Romans 3:10); not one of us seeks God (Rom. 3:11); not one of us does good (Rom. 3:12); all of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Those who find themselves in the lake of fire are described as “the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying” (Rev. 22:15). These are those who have rejected the only way of salvation God has provided, Jesus, who did not come the first time to condemn the world but to save the world (John 3:16-17). Those who reject Him stand already condemned (John 3:18).

                                      2)         We can all find someone who is a greater sinner than we are. That is sinful human nature – the tendency to justify ourselves. But the truth of the matter is that none of us is as good as God is, which is Perfection. Since God is a holy God, He cannot allow any unholiness into heaven. Are you as good as God? Then you are not good enough to escape the Second Death without God’s help.

                                      3)        Furthermore, sin is the deadliest condition known to man. God told our first parents that if they sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit, in that very day they would die (Genesis 2:17). They did so anyway, and that first sin spawned a deadly succession of evil that engulfed the entire human race, warranting the terrible destruction of the entire world in Noah’s Flood, and warranting the destruction in the lake of fire of all who reject Jesus’ sacrifice (Acts 4:12; Hebrews 10:26-27). All humans are afflicted with spiritual AIDS, an Acquired Immune Deficiency Sindrome. Sin is always deadly. If we reject God’s extended hand of mercy in Jesus, there is no other rescue from the Lake of Fire.

            6.         How does one make sure his name has been recorded in the Book of Life? How does one make sure he will not experience Second Death and be cast into the Lake of Fire and Sulphur forever? There is only one way – you must place your trust entirely in Jesus Christ – he who died to pay for your sins (Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3) and rose again that you might be justified in God’s sight (Rom. 4:25)!

                         a.         Why trust in Jesus? Because He is Life personified, and He is the ONLY way to God (John 14:5-6).

                         b.         Why trust in Jesus? Because if you trust in Him, you will not perish, and you will have Eternal Life (John 3:16, 36) because you will have passed from the realm of Death to the realm of Life, and so you will not be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment (John 5:24).

                         c.         Why trust in Jesus? Because He is the one who conquered Death. He is the only guarantee of Resurrection (John 11:25-27).

                         d.         Why trust in Jesus? If you do not obey Jesus by trusting in Him, God’s wrath continues to remain on you (John 3:36)!

            7.         A Closing Thought.

                         a.         We are all born with Spiritual Death, alienation from God.

                         b.         We are all in the process of dying Physically.

                         c.         If we do not cure our Spiritual Death before Physical Death comes, the inevitable result is Second Death.

                         d.         The clock is ticking. None of us knows when he will die physically. We could be in the best of health, but an accident could take our lives today. A cardiac arrest could stop our hearts in the next moment.

            8.         Will you accept NOW God’s way of escape from the Lake of Fire and Sulphur? Will you accept NOW God’s provision for escape from Second Death?

                         a.         God invites you to accept, at no cost to yourself, the spring of the water of life (Rev. 21:5-7).

                         b.         Are you thirsty enough to take a drink? Will you, the reader, reach out and grab hold of Jesus, God’s loving sacrifice for your sins? He stands ready to enter your life (Revelation 3:20). Will you open the door?

The Three Different Kinds of Death

by James T. Bartsch,

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August, 2007, updated February 18, 2022

Scriptures referenced are from the NASB 1995 except as otherwise noted.

WordExplain by James T. Bartsch

(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB 1995.  Used by Permission.)

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Updated February 18, 2022