For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In his Meditations the Roman philosopher and ruler Marcus Aurelius wrote that the act of dying is one of the acts of life. Death may seem like a natural stage in the cycle of human development. But as Scripture reveals the human story, death is an intruder. Death was not part of our original design. It is a curse and was the consequence of Adam’s sin.
The entrance of sin fundamentally changed human experience and affected every area of life. Adam had been warned that the consequence of disobedience to God’s command would be death (Gen. 2:17). Adam did not die physically until many centuries later, but the spiritual effects of death were immediate. Sin introduced a barrier in his relationship with God. All of creation was “subjected to frustration” because of his disobedience (Rom. 8:20). Childbirth became painful and work laborious.
Sin introduced the principle of entropy into human experience. We weaken and eventually die (v. 19). Physical death is the objective evidence that we have all been declared guilty as a result of Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:12–14). Death, like the angel’s flaming sword, is an ever present reminder that the gates of Eden are now closed to us.
If death is an enemy, however, it is also a kind of schoolmaster that leads us to Christ. Death’s hard lesson exposes the true nature of sin (Rom. 7:13). Physical death is God’s goad, puncturing our denial and prodding us to turn to Christ for relief from its sting (1 Cor. 15:56). More importantly, Jesus Christ has made death the gateway to eternal life. He is the promised offspring who would crush the serpent’s head (v. 15). Having been reconciled to God by His death on the cross, we will be saved through His life (Rom. 5:10).
Apply the Word
We should not be surprised to feel uncomfortable at the prospect of death. Death is the “last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26). But for those who know Christ, death is not the end but merely a point of transition into life eternal. If you are uncertain about what will happen to you when you die and want to talk with someone about Christian faith, call 1-800-DL MOODY (1-800-356-6639).