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Home The Light Articles from 2007 Thou Shalt Surely Die

Thou Shalt Surely Die

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by G. Steve Watts
Man has often learned the hard way that what God says will not be altered without severe consequences. Often the consequence is death. The thought of dying is never pleasant to most for it carries with it many uncertainties. It also conveys a certain finality. What happens after we die? Where will we go? Who can we ask? Can those we ask be trusted to tell us the truth?
God has preserved the story of the first death including the day it happened and to whom it happened. One might quickly recall the death brought by Cain and say, "Sure, I remember that death that Cain caused when he killed his brother Abel." That was the first physical death recorded 'tis true, but it was not the first death re­corded. The first death was Eve and then the second one to die was Adam.
One might say, "But they did not die." Well, let us examine this picture and event to see what really happened that day. God had given a command to Adam and Eve. It was forthright and easy to be understood. "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 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" (Gen. 2:15-17). It is clearly stated by God-"in the day...thou shalt die." Did they die? Yes, they died and let us see how they died.
There are several kinds of deaths that happen on this earth. There is a physical death, death of plants, shrubs, vegetables, and there is spiritual death. We all under­stand about the death of a human being with a physical body. "For as the body without the spirit is dead" (James 2:26). When the spirit leaves the body there will be death. Here we see that life is attached to the spirit, being a part of the body. Bear this in mind a moment. This spirit brings or takes life from the body.
A faithful follower of God will be led by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God moved over the earth in the beginning bringing life to the earth. So it is with the spiritual life one can possess in Christ. To accept the teachings of God and be led by those teach­ings allows one to be led by the life of the Holy Spirit. To remove those teachings is to remove the life from the body. Herein is the way Adam and Eve died the very day they sinned against God by eating what he com­manded them not to eat. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14). Paul further explains the very meaning of life and death spiritually in his inspired writings to the Roman brethren in Rom. 8:5-10: "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the car­nal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness."
This picture is clear. Minding the flesh brings death to one's walk with God. Adam and Eve died this very way the day they ate. Life is in God and His Son. "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself (Jn.5:26).
When one becomes a Christian today, the body of sin is removed. When one becomes a sinner today, they die in their safety with God and become dead in sin. Union with God by some way and by some means is essential to all life, and a separa­tion from God will always bring death to that which is separated. To attach one's self to Christ is to attach one's self to life. To remove one's self from Christ is to remove one's self from life. "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine: no more can ye, except ye abide in me" (John 15:4).
To be united with God unites one with life and to remove one's self from God is to die. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:11). "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;)" (Eph. 2:1,5). "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses" (Col. 2:13). "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18).
Did Adam and Eve really die the day they ate of the fruit which God forbade them to eat? Yes they did. Note how they died.
A) They were separated by a spiritual death, a separation of their souls from God. No longer would they see God, nor walk with Him in the "cool of the day."
B) The original holiness given to them by God at their creation died.
C) The spiritual tenets of their disposi­tions were altered to now include: anger, fear, remorse, strife and rejection. They hid from God. They were ashamed of their nakedness. The rejection of their perfect home and God's presence came to pass.
D) Animal death (death of the body) was a consequence of this disturbance by sin. Only by God's mercy for the human race were they allowed to continue without immediate death. That too would happen as a result of eating.
E) They died in their safety and protec­tion in that Satan was given access to tempt man who can voluntarily transgress.
Yes, as God had said, it really came to pass-"In the day...thou shalt surely die." Friend, that has not changed. We too will die in the day we eat of what God has ordained as an instrument of death. Lying, stealing, false worship, doctrines of man, adultery, fornication, wrath, using God's name in vain, to name a few, are instru­ments of death and death will be the result. "The cost of pleasure is too high consider­ing the lost factor."
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