Blog - Passing From Death Unto Life

  • By Pastor Chad Wagner
  • on Friday, October 3, 2014
A simple thought just dawned on me this morning concerning eternal salvation. There are two, and only two, spiritual states of men in this life: spiritual death and spiritual life. At any given time, all men are either spiritually dead or spiritually alive. There is no transitional state between death and life; one is either dead or alive...mind-blowing, I know. According to the scripture, spiritual life is eternal life; therefore, a person is either spiritually dead, or in possession of eternal life. Before I continue, let me quickly establish the above statements with a few verses. According to Romans 5:12, "by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men", and this death is first spiritual, then physical, and lastly, for those outside of the grace of God, eternal. The death on which I am now focused is spiritual death: "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;" (Eph 2:1). The life one receives when he is quickened is eternal life: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." (1Jo 5:11) The question now is: how does a man go from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive? Since the idea of spiritual death and life is difficult to see, being spiritual; let's move this question into the natural realm. How does a man go from being physically dead to physically alive? "By a resurrection, of course," you must be thinking; and if that is the case, you're right. For a dead corpse to come to life, a power outside of itself must act upon it. There is only one man in history that had the power to raise Himself from the dead (Joh 10:17-18), but He is God. A man that is dead has no strength to change his condition; so if it is to be changed, it must come from without, not within. Now back to spiritual death. Spiritual death and life are just as real as physical death and life; the concept of spiritual is opposed to natural, not literal or actual. That God is a spirit (Joh 4:24) doesn't make Him unreal; it makes Him unnatural (nonmaterial). So, in that spiritual death and life are just as real as physical death and life, the same means is necessary to pass from one to the other: a resurrection. In other words, for a man to pass from spiritual death to spiritual life, a power outside of himself must act on his dead and powerless spiritual nature and give it new life. Just as a physically dead man has no strength to raise himself from the dead, so when Christ acted on the behalf of those He died for, they were "without strength" (Rom 5:6). Because men are spiritually dead, it is said that God quickens (To give or restore life to; to make alive) them (Eph 2:1), regenerates (to invest with a new and higher spiritual nature) them (Tit 3:5), and makes them born and begotten again (Joh 3:3-8; 1Pe 1:3). Just as Jesus had to act on Lazarus' dead body with the power of His voice to resurrect him from the dead (Joh 11:43-44), so Jesus has to act on all those whom God gave Him with the power of His voice to resurrect them from the dead spiritually (Joh 5:25). This is called passing from death unto life. Remember, one is either spiritually dead or spiritually alive; there is no spiritual half-way house. Also, remember, to pass from spiritual death to spiritual life requires a resurrection by the power of God, in which the person is totally passive. You may be wondering where a person's belief fits into this equation: does belief happen during spiritual death, or spiritual life (remember, there is no transitional state between the two)? Let's examine a verse of scripture which shows where belief takes place. Before we do that though, ask yourself what a dead person is capable of doing -- just think about that for a minute (the answer is nothing, in case you are still pondering). In John 5:24, Jesus said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." So when does belief happen: in spiritual death, or in spiritual life? Jesus said that the person who believes has everlasting life, not death. Furthermore, He said that he that believes (presently) is passed from death unto life. So when does a person believe: in death or in life? In life, of course; remember, dead people can't do anything. So if belief happens in life, rather than in death, that necessarily means that belief doesn't cause life, but is rather the effect of it. And one more thing: remembering that the new spiritual life which God gives when he spiritually resurrects a person is eternal life, how long then do you suppose that that life lasts? In that it is called eternal life, it by definition lasts forever. Can it be lost? Obviously not, else it would be called temporary life. Interestingly, Jesus also covered this aspect of spiritual life in John 5:24 when He said that the person who "is passed from death unto life" has "everlasting life"; and in that he "shall not come into condemnation", his eternal life can never be lost.
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