Death is Separation
Death is not exactly the most entertaining topic to discuss. For those left behind, death is often troubling, even shaking some to question everything about life. What is death? In all three ways death is described (Biblically), it is separation.
James 2.26, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead”. James points out that to be living, faith requires obedience as much as the body requires the spirit. In Psalm 146.4 we read, “When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish”. Physical death is the separation of the breath and the body’s ability to take it. Which makes complete sense since Adam is formed but to become animate God breathes life into him (Genesis 2.7)
Spiritual death is discussed before physical death. In Genesis 2.15-16, “And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Scripture also makes it clear that once Adam and Eve eat from the tree the die spiritually. In Genesis 3.23-24 it is explained that man is banished from the garden and angels guard the gate. They are separated from fellowshipping with God. Romans 6.23 tells us that the wages of sin are death.
As negative as both of these deaths discussed are, there is yet a worse death. In Revelation 20.11ff we are told how judgment will play out: the physically dead are brought before the throne, and if they are also spiritually dead (names not written in the Lamb’s book of life) then they are eternally banished from fellowship with the Father. They are “thrown into the lake of fire”. The “second death” is worst of all because it is eternal, with no way to be united with God.
But there’s good news (JESUS!). In meeting with a ruler of the Jews, Jesus tells him to be born again, and in doing so obtain, what amounts to be, eternal life; or undying life. A second birth to prevent the second death. John 11.25, “…I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” If you are only born once, you will die twice. But if you are born twice, you will only die once.
(Loosely transcribed from portions of a sermon by Dr. Craig Bean)