“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” 1 Cor. 15:26.
This verse unequivocally exposes death for what it is–the enemy of mankind. No sooner had sin entered the world than death came running upon its heels. And so speaks God to the first man, “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19). “In Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22). It is a product of the Edenic curse on sin, and thus “death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12).
Death was not God’s original plan for man’s existence. It is the end of all earthly probation, a sealing up of the deeds of man until the day of resurrection and judgment. It is the blight of all of man’s natural hopes for life and vitality. It severs the bonds of friendship and family. Death has brought untold grief to multitudes of those still living, and more fearful still, the everlasting agony of untold billions since it followed the entrance of sin.
And yet, in the face of all of this, there are actually people who applaud death as a friend and saviour. They welcome death as an end to misery and the curse of sin, when it is a curse of sin itself! As appalling a thing as death is, they languish for it, thinking that only through the venue of death can they ever be rid of sin in their life. As if death were a cleansing from what they could not (or rather would not) part with here! To such, life is not long enough for a person to know conclusively that they are saved. Nor can one attain unto Christian perfection but through the scourge of death.
This is an absurd doctrine, and one completely without warrant in the holy scriptures. It is Satan’s attempt to perpetuate the deception which he first introduced in the garden. It turns an end-product of sin, the most baneful curse to ever soil the history of man, into a blessing. And such a “blessing” this! To hope to be delivered then from what one can most certainly be and must be delivered from now? To put off the day of one’s salvation, claiming it cannot be had until then? To completely undo all the dire warnings of the holy apostles and prophets against sin? To foster lukewarmness and down-right coldness and disinterestedness of vital religion in the soul of man?
Dear reader, death will produce no metamorphosis of the soul. One cannot be cleansed through death of the wrongs they have committed while living. “And if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” Eccl. 11:3b. It is a maxim that is every whit true in the spiritual, as well as the natural. Death, the enemy of your soul, will seal your spiritual condition, not change it. If sin is harbored in life, it will crush you in death.
“But this is not so,” says one, “For Paul has said, ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ (Phil. 1:21).”
Hold! Death is only gain if you have this testimony of Paul: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). And how can you truly have this testimony unless, like Paul you have been “crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20) and are “dead indeed unto sin” (Rom. 6:11) in this life? How can death be gain to those whose obvious testimony is that they are yet sinners and continue in sin more or less every day? What! you have fought a good fight when you have been vanquished by sin every day of your life? This is strange language, for sure! Death, the child of sin, a gain to the soul that sins? As if sin itself were a blessing and not a curse!
I would that those who espouse this pernicious doctrine would realize the magnitude of the view they hold. It exalts death over Christ; makes it a saviour, instead of Him. It gives to death the power reserved to the Deity alone, and shames the blessed Son of God, for it yields more power to death than to Him. “We cannot be perfect,” they say, “until we die. No man can live above sin while living.” Never mind that Christ is the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and it is He who is “exalted…to be a Prince and a Saviour” (Acts 5:31). Nay, for they will have death to do what they will not allow Christ to do for them here.
Why is this, dear soul? Is it because sin is yet sweet to you? Is it because you fear to live a righteous and a holy life now? Are earthly things of such value that you are loath to be deprived of them by being a true Bible Christian?
Hear the words of the Lord Jesus, the Vanquisher of Sin and Conqueror of Death. “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). Not a servant of His. And “know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). Therefore death (in this case the second death, or everlasting punishment) is linked to sin, and yielding to sin makes you its servant and a partaker of its consequence. But “if the Son therefore shall make you free” from being the servant of sin, “ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Indeed. But is death His mechanism for making one free from sin? Surely not, for hear Him again, “Sin no more,” and “Go, and sin no more” (John. 5:14; 8:11). He is the Saviour, and deliverance from sin is found in Him in life, not death.
Sin is a spiritual principle and condition. Therefore, since the soul is in itself eternal and does not pass away with physical death, it remains that sin in the soul also cannot pass away with the body. There is no cleansing element in death. The cleansing of the soul can only be had through the blood of Christ. Death is not His work, nor His means of dealing with the problem of sin. Calvary is.
God feels so strongly toward death that He is destined to destroy it and anything attached to it. This includes your soul, for “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezk. 18:4).
“Do not venture the hope
that is waiting for death
To waft you to comfort and peace.
There’s no rest for a soul,
in this world or above,
Not saved in the Father’s embrace.”
Precious soul, fly to Christ now for cleansing from all sin. Death is not a saviour! There is one hope for your soul. Newness of life is to be had now.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17. “…Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. 6:2.