By Kenneth E. Hagin
(Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from Kenneth E. Hagin’s book Welcome to God’s Family.)
The Bible is a mystery book until we find the key that opens it. Then it ceases to be a mystery and becomes a message. Death has been a mystery in all ages.
Science stands utterly mute in death’s presence and is unable to explain it. Philosophy turns poetical when it meets this dread enemy of man. And theology has dealt only in generalities when attempting to explain it.
Several kinds of death are spoken of in the Bible, but there are three kinds with which we need to familiarize ourselves: 1) spiritual death; 2) physical death; and 3) eternal death or the Second Death, which is being cast into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (Rev. 21:8).
Spiritual death came to the earth first and then manifested itself in the physical body by destroying it. When God said to Adam, “. . . in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17), He did not refer to physical death but to spiritual death. If man had never died spiritually, he would not have died physically.
Spiritual Death Means Separation From God
The moment Adam sinned he became separated from God and united with the devil. Man became an outcast, driven from the Garden of Eden with no legal ground of approach to God. He no longer responds to the call of God but to his new nature and his new master. Man is more than a lawbreaker and a sinner. He is spiritually a child of the devil and partakes of his father’s nature.
This explains why man cannot be saved by conduct. He has to be born again. If man were not a child of the devil, he could begin to “put on” the right kind of conduct, and he’d be all right. But even if he puts on right conduct, he’s still a child of the devil and will go to hell when he dies.
Man cannot stand in the presence of God as he is, because he has the nature of his father, the devil. Man has to be saved by someone paying the penalty for his sin and by someone giving him a new nature.
You might take a mule and try to make a racehorse of him. You could feed him the finest food and run him around the track every day. But on the day of the race, when the gun sounds all he’ll do is lope off down the track! Being a racehorse is just not in him.
Yet you could take a racehorse and not give him much care, but when you put him on the starting line and the gun sounds—he’s off! It’s his nature to race. He’s born and bred that way. But for that old mule to be a racehorse, he would have to be reborn—and that’s impossible.
Man, however, can be reborn. His nature can be changed. He can become a new creation in Christ Jesus!
Jesus was not conceived the way we are conceived and didn’t have the spiritual nature of death in Him. Yet the Bible says in Hebrews 2:9 that He tasted death for every man.
Jesus took upon Himself our sin nature. Hebrews 9:26 says He “. . . put away sin [not sins] by the sacrifice of Himself.” He took upon Himself our sin nature, the nature of spiritual death, that we might have eternal life.
Jesus came to redeem us from spiritual death! Adam was banished from the Tree of Life because he rejected God’s Word. According to Revelation 2:7, all who accept and obey the Word of God are brought back to the Tree of Life.
The New Birth does not take place gradually. It is instantaneous! It is a gift from God received the moment we believe.
Ephesians 2:1 says that we who were dead in trespasses and sins have been made alive. Verses 8 and 9 tell us how this happens: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any many should boast.”
“Not of works.” That punctures the balloon of the ego. Man wants to do something to save himself. He wants to have a part in it. But he can’t.
We have to admit our helplessness and hopelessness. We have to admit that we are just what the Bible says we are—lost sinners. Then we can come and accept what Christ has wrought for us—a gift!
Have you passed from spiritual death to spiritual life? Is God your Father? Can you look up to Heaven and say, “Father God”? Is His Spirit within your spirit, bearing witness that you are a child of God? Do you have the Holy Spirit in your heart, crying, “Abba, Father”?
You do if you are born again. If you are not born again, accept Christ as your Savior today!