Thursday, 13 February 2014

Death: the Trilogy


This reading is based on Ecclesiastes 9 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten."
Physical Death
This is the first death (implied by reference to a second death, Rev 2: 11; 20: 6, 14; 21: 8), that all on earth has or will experience at one time or another. All who die this death will come back again, some will be raised to live forever thereafter, and others to face eternal (second) death (John 5: 29). Those who are raised to live eternally will receive new, incorruptible bodies (1 Cor. 15: 42, 50, 53, 54) - because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." In a sense then, death is a transition station for the saint (even as they, in total rest and silence, await the final works of the Saviour before He returns to call them back to life). Those who will be translated will receive an express service of physical death and instant resurrection. Flesh and blood cannot abide the presence of a holy God whose glory will be unveiled - for He shall come in power and great glory (Matt 24: 30).
Death to Self (the old man)
Paul says in Gals. 2: 20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." In Romans 6 he speaks about being crucified with Christ and being raised to a new life in Him - as symbolized through the rite of baptism. As indicated in Eccl. 9: 6 where those who die, "will never more share in anything done under the sun," so those who die to sin should no longer engage in the works of sin. Rom 6: 6 says, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Spiritual Death
It is a fearful thing to be spiritually death - considering that death means unresponsiveness, a state of being unaffected by what happens around you. In context, this would mean unresponsiveness to the Holy Spirit. Thank God the Plan of Salvation covers all cases of death, and so this most threatening state is not a hopeless one. All who are spiritually dead may yet be quickened by the Word of God. The Psalmist says in Ps. 119: 50, "This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me." Paul, the prolific New Testament theologian, says in Ephesians 2: 1, 5, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)."
Father, we pray you revive (quicken) us from spiritual death, and that indeed we would die daily to self, so when we are confronted with physical death it won't be with a hopeless dread. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

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