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That which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven: Miniature pictures of yourself

SpurgeonLet us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”

2. But I must take it in another sense. “The sting of death is sin:” that is to say, that which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven….

Thus, then, having painted two full-length pictures, I might give each one of you miniatures of yourselves. I might picture, O drunkard, when thy cups are drained, and when thy liquor shall no longer be sweet to thy taste, when worse than gall shall be the danties that thou drinkest, when within an hour the worms shall make a carnival upon thy flesh; I might picture thee as thou lookest back upon thy misspent life. And thou, O swearer, methinks I see thee there with thine oaths echoed back by memory to thine own dismay. And thou man of lust and wickedness thou who hast debauched and seduced others, I see thee there and the sting of death to thee, how horrible, how dreadful! It shall not be that thou art groaning with pain, it shall not be that thou art racked with agony, it shall not be that thy heart and flesh faileth; but the sting, the sting shall be thy sin. How many in this place can spell that word “remorse?” I pray you may never know its awful meaning. Remorse, remorse! You know its derivation: it signifies to bite. Ah! Now we dance with our sins-it is a merry life with us-we take their hands, and sporting in the noontide sun, we dance, we dance, and live in joy. But then those sins shall bite us. The young lions we have stroked and played with shall bite; the young adder, the serpent whose azure hues have well delighted us, shall bite, shall sting when remorse shall occupy our souls. I might, but I will not tell you, a few stories of the awful power of remorse: it is the first pang of hell, it is the ante-chamber of the pit. To have remorse is to feel the sparks that blaze upwards from the fire of the bottomless Gehenna; to feel remorse is to have eternal torment commenced within the soul. The sting of death shall be, unforgiven, unrepented sin.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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That which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven: Second picture of this

Spurgeon 1Let us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”

2. But I must take it in another sense. “The sting of death is sin:” that is to say, that which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven….

Or suppose another character-a minister. He has stood before the world, proclaiming something which he called the gospel. He has been a noted preacher: the multitude have been hanging on his lips, they have listened to his words, before his eloquence a nation stood amazed, and thousands trembled at his voice. But his preaching is over; the time when he can mount the pulpit is gone; another standing-place awaits him, another congregation, and he must hear another and a better preacher than himself. There he lies. He has been unfaithful to his charge. He preached philosophy to charm his people, instead of preaching truth and aiming at their hearts. And as he pants upon his bed, that worst and most accursed of men-for sure none can be worse than he-there comes up one, a soul from the pit, and looking him in the face, says, “I came to thee once trembling on account of sin, I asked thee the road to heaven, and thou didst say, ‘Do such-and-such good works,’ and I did them, and am damned. Thou didst tell me an untruth; thou didst not declare plainly the word of God.” He vanishes only to be followed by another, he has been an irreligious character, and as he sees the minister upon his death-bed, he says, “Ah! And art thou here? Once I strolled into thy house of prayer, but thou hadst such a sermon that I could not understand. I listened; I wanted to hear something from thy lips, some truth that might burn my soul and make me repent; but I knew not what thou saidst, and here I am.” The ghost stamps his foot, and the man quivers like an aspen leaf, because he knows it is all true. Then the whole congregation arise before him as he lies upon his bed, he looks upon the motley group; he beholds the snowy heads of the old, and the glittering eyes of the young; and lying there upon his pillow, he pictures all the sins of his past life, and he hears it said, “Go thou! Unfaithful to thy charge: thou didst not divest thyself of thy love of pomp and dignity; thou didst not speak

As though thou ne’er might’st speak again,

A dying man to dying men.”

Oh! it may be something for that minister to leave his charge, somewhat for him to die; but worst of all, the sting of death will be his sin, to hear his parish come howling after him to hell, to see his congregation following behind him in one mingled herd, he having led them astray, having been a false prophet instead of a true one, speaking peace, peace, where there was no peace, deluding them with lies, charming them with music, when he ought rather to have told them in rough and rugged accents the word of God. Verily it is true, it is true, the sting of death to such a man shall be his great, his enormous, his heinous sin of having deluded others.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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That which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven: First picture of this

Spurgeon 3Let us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”

2. But I must take it in another sense. “The sting of death is sin:” that is to say, that which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven. If that be not the exact meaning of the apostle, still it is a great truth, and I may find it here. If sin lay heavy on me and were not forgiven-if my transgressions were unpardoned, if such were the fact (though I rejoice to know it is not so) it would be the very sting of death to me. Let us consider a man dying and looking back on his past life: he will find in death a sting, and that sting will be his past sin. Imagine a conqueror’s death-bed. He has been a man of blood from his youth up. Bred in the camp, his lips were early set to the bugle, and his hand, even in infancy, struck the drum. He had a martial spirit; he delighted in the fame and applause of men, he loved the dust of battle and the garment rolled in blood. He has lived a life of what men call glory. He has stormed cities, conquered countries, ravaged continents, overrun the world. See his burners hanging in the hall, and the marks of glory on his escutcheon. He is one of earth’s proudest warriors. But now he comes to die; and when he lies down to expire what shall invest his death with horror? It shall be his sin. Methinks I see the monarch dying; he lies in state; around him are his nobles and his counsellors; but there is someone else there. Hard by his side there stands a spirit from Hades; it is the soul of a departed woman. She looks on him and says, “Monster! My husband was slain in battle through thy ambition: I was made a widow, and my helpless orphan and myself were starved.” And she passes by. Her husband comes, and opening wide his bloody wounds, he cries, “Once I called thee monarch; but by thy vile covetousness, thou didst provoke an unjust war. See here these wounds-I gained them in the siege. For thy sake I mounted first the sealing ladder; this foot stood upon the top of the wall, and I waved my sword in triumph, but in hell I lifted up my eyes in torment. Base wretch, thine ambition hurried me thither!” Turning his horrid eyes upon him, he passes by. Then up comes another, and another, and another yet: waking from their tombs, they stalk around his bed and haunt him; the dreary procession still marches on, looking at the dying tyrant. He shuts his eyes, but he feels the cold and bony hand upon his forehead; he quivers for the sting of death is in his heart. “O Death!” says he, “to leave this large estate, this mighty realm, this pomp and power-this were somewhat, but to meet those men, those women, and shoes orphan children, face to face, to hear them saying, ‘Art thou become like one of us?’ while kings whom I have dethroned, and monarchs whom I have cast down shall rattle their chains in my ears, and say, “Thou wast our destroyer, but how art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou brought down as in a moment from thy glory and thy pride!’” There you see the sting of death would be the man’s sin. It would not sting him that he had to die but that he had sinned, that he had been a bloody man, that his hands were red with wholesale murder-this would plague him indeed, for “the sting of death is sin.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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Sin brought death into the world

September 27, 2021 Leave a comment

Spurgeon 6Let us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”

1. First, sin puts a sting into death from the fact that sin brought death into the world. Men could be more content to die if they did not know it was a punishment. I suppose if we had never sinned there would have been some means for us to go from this world to another. It cannot be supposed that so huge a population would have existed that all the myriads who have lived from Adam down till now could ever have inhabited so small a globe as this, there would not have been space enough for them. But there might have been provided some means for taking us off when the proper time should come, and bearing us safely to heaven. God might have furnished horses and chariots of fire for each of his Elijahs; or as it was said of Enoch, so it might have been declared of each of us, “He is not, for God hath taken him.” Thus to die, if we may call it death, to depart from this body and to be with God, would have been no disgrace; in fact it would have been the highest honor: fitting the loftiest aspiration of the soul, to live quickly its little time in this world, then to mount and be with its God; and in the prayers of the most pious and devout man, one of his sublimest petitions would be, “O God, hasten the time of my departure, when I shall be with thee.” When such sinless beings thought of their departure they would not tremble, for the gate would be of ivory and pearl-not as now, of iron-the stream would be as nectar, far different from the present “bitterness of death.” But alas! How different! Death is now the punishment of sin. “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” “In Adam all die.” By his sin every one of us become subject to the penalty of death, and thus, being a punishment, death has its sting. To the best man, the holiest Christian, the most sanctified intellect, the soul that has the nearest and dearest intercourse with God, death must appear to have a sting, because sin was its mother. O fatal offspring of sin, I only dread thee because of thy parentage! If thou didst come to me AS an honor, I could wade through Jordan even now, and when its chilling billows were around me I would smile amidst its surges; and in the swellings of Jordan my song should swell to, and the liquid music of my voice should join with the liquid swellings of the floods, “Hallelujah! It is blessed to cross to the land of the glorified.” This is one reason why the sting of death is sin.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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The Sting of Death

September 20, 2021 Leave a comment

SpurgeonWhen I select such a text as this, I feel that I cannot preach from it. The thought overmasters me, my words do stagger: there are no utterances that are great enough to convey the mighty meaning of this wondrous text. If I had the eloquence of all men united in one, if I could speak as never man spake, (with the exception of that one godlike man of Nazareth) I could not compass so vast a subject as this. I will not therefore pretend to do so, but offer you such thoughts as my mind is capable of producing To night we shall speak of three things: first, the sting of death; secondly, the strength of sin; and thirdly, the victory of faith.

I. First, THE STING OF DEATH. The apostle pictures death as a terrible dragon or monster, which, coming upon all men, must be fought with by each one for himself. He gives us no hopes whatever that any of us can avoid it. He tells us of no bridge across the river Death; he does not give us the faintest hope that it is possible to emerge from this state of existence into another without dying: he describes the monster as being exactly in our path, and with it we must fight, each man personally, separately, and alone; each man must die; we all must cross the black stream; each one of us must go through the iron gate. There is no passage from this world into another without death. Having told us, then, that there is no hope of our escape, he braces up our nerves for the combat; but he gives us no hope that we shall be able to slay the monster; he does not tell us that we can strike our sword into his heart, and so overturn and overwhelm death; but pointing to the dragon, he seemed to say. “Thou canst not slay it, man, there is no hope that thou shouldst ever put thy foot upon its neck and crush its head; but one thing can be done-it has a sting which thou mayest extract; thou canst not crush death under foot, but thou mayest pull out the sting which is deadly, and then thou needst not fear the monster, for monster it shall be no longer, but rather it shall be a swift winged angel to waft thee aloft to heaven.” Where, then, is the sting of this dragon? Where must I strike? What is the sting? The apostle tells us that “The sting of death is sin.” Once let me cut off that, and then, though death may be dreary and solemn, I shall not dread it; but holding up the monster’s sting, I shall exclaim, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Let us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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With all that bold flight of eloquence, he does not deny that death is a gloomy thing

September 13, 2021 Leave a comment

CharlesSpurgeonThe sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But

thanks to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus

Christ.”-1 Corinthians 15:56, 57.

WHILE the Bible is one of the most poetical of books, though its language is unutterably sublime, yet we must remark how constantly it is true to nature. There is no straining of a fact, no glossing over a truth. However dark may be the subject, while it lights it up with brilliance, yet it does not deny the gloom connected with it. If you will read this chapter of Paul’s epistle, so justly celebrated as a master-piece of language you will find him speaking of that which is to come after death with such exaltation and glory, that you feel, “If this be to die, then it were well to depart at once.” Who has not rejoiced, and whose heart has not been lifted up, or filled with a holy fire, while he has read such sentences as these: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Yet with all that majestic language, with all that bold flight of eloquence, he does not deny that death is a gloomy thing. Even his very figures imply it. He does not laugh at it, he does not say, “Oh, it is nothing todie;” he describes death as a monster, he speaks of it as having a sting, he tells us wherein the strength of that sting lies and even in the exclamation of triumph he imputes that victory not to unaided flesh, but he says, “Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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The Puritan Family

by Oliver Allmand-Smith

Samuel Sewall lived with his family in Puritan America between 1652 and 1730, and he suffered in ways unimaginable to us today. Over a period of 24 years, he and his wife Hannah had 14 children: his first son John died aged 17 months; his third son Hull died aged 23 months; his fourth son Henry died aged two weeks; his fifth son Stephen died aged 6 months; his third daughter Judith died aged 6 weeks; his fourth daughter Mary died following childbirth aged just 19 years; his fifth daughter Jane died at 5 weeks; his sixth daughter, Sarah, after just five weeks of life, was laid in the family tomb, and his seventh son never saw the world alive, being stillborn.

Of their 14 children, one was stillborn and seven died before they reached the age of three. Out of the 6 who survived to adulthood, only three outlived their father meaning that Samuel Sewall buried 11 out of his 14 children. In the years 1685, 1686 and 1687 Samuel buried three sons, Henry, Hull, and Steven.

In Samuel’s diary, we read of a nightmare he experienced. In it, he woke up and all of his children were dead – his nightmare nearly came true.

We also read that when his children were not actually dying, they battled with smallpox, measles, the flux, ague, colds and numerous…

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

The Wednesday Word: A Substitute Found

January 2, 2019 1 comment

There is an ancient saying, “The Judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted.” Alas, guilty people are sometimes set free in our judicial system, but this never happens in God’s Courtroom. If a person is justified (acquitted, found not guilty), it is because God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4). God has declared the person not guilty and has done so in strict harmony with His rule of Law and Justice.

But, how, is this possible?

How can a sinful person be accepted in the sight of a God who will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7)?

Man is a sinner and the penalty upon sin, as announced by God, is death (Romans 6:23). And that will be his lot unless a sinless substitute can be found to die in his place.

A certain man on the Malabar Coast of Southern India had enquired of various Hindu Holy men how he might make atonement for his sins. He was directed to drive iron spikes, sufficiently blunted, through his sandals and walk about 480 miles to a place of pilgrimage wearing the spiked shoes. He undertook the journey but found no peace … just painful feet. One day, resting beside a large banyan tree, he heard a Christian preach that the blood of the sinner’s substitute, Jesus Christ, cleanses from all sin. He got up, threw off the torturing sandals, and cried aloud, `That is what I want .. that’s what I need!’ There is substance in that’ From that day forward he became a dedicated follower of the Lord Christ.

Every sinner needs a substitute. But there is only one substitute and He is none other than God manifest in the flesh. He went to Calvary’s cross as a substitute for His people. The Indian gentleman in our story discovered that self-torture could not take away sins. It is sad to say that there are many today who, like those Hindu priests, are deceitfully offering false hope. For example,Spiritualism says; “Man becomes his own savior. He is made better in this life by intercourse with spirits.”

Theosophy says: “An ordinary being must pass through hundreds of incarnations before he can complete his purification from sin.”

Mormonism says; “To get rid of our sins, we must work out our own salvation through the teachings and forms of the Mormon church.”

Roman Catholicism says; “The instrumental cause of justification is the sacrament of baptism and the grace purchased by Christ’s death can flow only through the hands of the Catholic priests.”

Nonsense! Baloney! Balderdash! Twaddle!

In the Gospel, we have the One true Substitute, Jesus Christ. “He bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” (1 Peter 2:24). Since He is our substitute, we are secure. If Jesus has been condemned in our place, how then can we be condemned? To claim that the believer can be eventually lost is to say that Jesus was an unacceptable substitute. Away with such drivel.

O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!

Our load was laid on Thee;

Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,

Didst bear all ill for me.

A Victim led, Thy blood was shed;

Now there’s no load for me.

Death and the curse were in our cup:

O Christ, ’twas full for Thee;

But Thou hast drained the last dark drop,

’Tis empty now for me.

That bitter cup, love drank it up;

Now blessing’s draught for me.

Jehovah lifted up His rod;

O Christ, it fell on Thee!

Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God;

There’s not one stroke for me.

Thy tears, Thy blood, beneath it flowed;

Thy bruising healeth me.

The tempest’s awful voice was heard,

O Christ, it broke on Thee!

Thy open bosom was my ward,

It braved the storm for me.

Thy form was scarred, Thy visage marred;

Now cloudless peace for me.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Of Death and Judgment

OF DEATH AND JUDGMENT.

As the devil labors by all means to keep out other things that are good, so to keep out of the heart as much as in him lies, the thoughts of passing from this life into another world; for he knows, if he can but keep them from the serious thoughts of death, he shall the more easily keep them in their sins.

Nothing will make us more earnest in working out the work of our salvation, than a frequent meditation of mortality; nothing hath greater influence for the taking off our hearts from vanities, and for the begetting in us desires after holiness.

O sinner, what a condition wilt thou fall into when thou departest this world, if thou depart unconverted! Thou hadst better have been smothered the first hour thou wast born; thou hadst bette have been plucked one limb from another; thou hadst better have been made a dog, a toad, a serpent, than to die un-converted: and this thou wilt find true if thou repent not.

A man would be counted a fool to slight a judge before whom he is to have a trial of his whole estate. The trial we have before God is of otherwise importance; it concerns our eternal happiness or misery; and yet dare we affront him?

The only way for us to escape that terrible judgment, is to be often passing a sentence of condemnation upon ourselves here.

When the sound of the trumpet shall be heard, which shall summon the dead to appear before the tribunal of God, the righteous shall hasten out of their graves, with joy, to meet their Redeemer in the clouds; others shall call to the hills and mountains to fall upon them, to cover them from the sight of their Judge. Let us therefore in time be posing ourselves which of the two we shall be.

Mr. John Bunyan’s Dying Sayings

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Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1-Chapter 7-The Punishment of Sin-Number 2

CHAPTER 7-THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN-NUMBER 2

“The wages of sin is death,” God said to Adam, concerning the forbidden fruit, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (#Ge 2:17). This threatened penalty of death was not pronounced upon Adam as a private individual merely, but as a public and representative person. It was a race penalty. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (#Ro 5:12). The first sin was a race sin and the penalty thereof must have been a race penalty. The whole human race was in Adam, the first man, both seminally and legally, and his act was considered as their act; not personally but representatively. Every man by nature is guilty with Adam’s guilt, just as every believer is righteous with Christ’s righteousness. Believers are not righteous personally, that is, by their own obedience; they are righteous representatively by the obedience of Christ, their Surety.

The death threatened against, and passed unto, all men was not a corporeal death merely. Physical death is a mere incident and is not universal. There have been two notable exceptions (Enoch and Elijah), and there will be many alive, who will not die physically, when the Lord returns. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (#1Co 15:51,52). Furthermore, physical death did not occur until some 930 years after the sin was committed; whereas God said, “in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (#Gen 2:17).

The death which passed unto all men was the loss of divine favor and exposedness to divine wrath. It was not the death of man considered as a physical being but as a moral and accountable being. Moral death was the result of a break with God. Man broke with God when he tried to seize the reins of government and do as he pleased. Sin separates from God and brings His condemnation. Physical death is the result of the separation of the body and spirit “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (#Jas 2:26). Moral death is the result of separation of man as a moral being from God. The sinner, although alive physically, is alienated from the life of God “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (#Eph 4:18); “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled” (#Col 1:21).

LIFE AND DEATH

The words life and death are antonyms, and it is axiomatic that a man cannot be both dead and alive in the same sense at the same time. But one may be dead in one sense and alive in another sense at the same time. This is obvious from the saying of our Lord: “But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead” (#Mt 8:22). He meant for those dead morally to bury the physical dead.

Life and death are not synonyms of existence and non-existence, but rather of condition of existence. Death never means non-existence or the cessation of being. In the moral sense life is a condition of existence, and death is the opposite condition of existence. To have life as a moral being is to exist under the favor of God and to be free from the wrath to come. To be dead as a moral being is to exist without His favor and to be exposed to His wrath. This will become more apparent as we continue these discussions.

THE SECOND DEATH

The second death is punishment in the lake of fire. And this will be for both soul and body of the lost. Physical death is not everlasting, for “there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (#Ac 24:15). Death (dead bodies) and hades (lost souls) are to be cast into the lake of fire. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (#Re 20:14). And this is the second death. We will not here and now give proof that the second death is eternal. This will come out in a later article (D.V.). However, it does not seem reasonable that the fire will burn them up in the sense of putting them out of conscious existence. If this were true the only difference between the martyred saints and the wicked would be in time and place of suffering. The martyrs (many of them) were burned to death, and if their tormentors are only to be burned up and put out of existence, then their salvation was not the previous thing they supposed it to be. A brother who believes in conditional immortality wrote me that he knew of no Scripture that taught that the wicked would suffer in hell longer than five minutes. Cheap salvation! Sweet morsel to the wicked! If that were true.

Man is both a physical and a psychic being, that is, he has both body and soul. As a physical being his body was made of the same substance as that of the beasts of the field. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul…And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” (#Ge 2:7,19). As a psychic being he became a living soul when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Heb. lives). This is not said concerning the origin of the soul of the beast. The beast has a soul (this will be proven later), but it did not get its soul like man got his. Man as the acme of creation was made in the image of God, which must mean that he has something which does not belong to the beast of the field. This image of God in man is spirit. God is a Spirit and man must have a spirit to be in His image. In making man a living soul, God communicated to him that which made him in His image. Man, by virtue of his creation, has a body and a soul which gives him kinship with the beasts, but he also has a spirit which relates him to God. F.W. Grant makes a very helpful distinction between the soul and spirit:

“The ‘soul,’ is in Scripture the seat of the passions, emotions, sensibility, as the spirit of the mental and moral judgment. These latter, in any real sense, the beast has not. The spirit it is which is in man, which knows the things of a man “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (#1Co 2:11). But he learns them, gathering the materials of judgment through the soul-the senses; and as the body begins to develop before even the soul, so does the soul before the spirit. Spirit in man depends, thus, really upon the soul; and it is striking that just when absent from the body his real distinction begins to manifest it self. The soul survives, indeed, the stroke of death; but is now called what he never was before, a ‘spirit’ “But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit….Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (#Lu 24:37,39); “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God” (#Ac 23:8,9); “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (#Heb 12:23): “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;” (#1Pe 3:19).

Grant tells us that man is called Adam, from Adamah (Heb.), the ground, to remind him of his origin “dust thou art”; and he is called a soul to remind him of his likeness to the beasts; but he is never called a spirit until after he takes his departure from the body. We read of the spirits of just men made perfect, and of spirits in prison.

THE FIRST DEATH

Man as a physical and also a moral being is subject to two kinds of death: namely, physical and moral. There is only one physical death for any man. “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (#Heb 9:27). Notice the accuracy of Scripture. It is not “man” the generic, but “men” as individuals. Physical death is not appointed for “man” the whole race, but for men. We have already pointed out exceptions.

Man considered as a moral being may experience two deaths: the first and the second. All who are saved will experience but one death; all who are not saved will experience two deaths. “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (#Re 2:11). Nobody has escaped the first death, for that death passed upon all men.

The first death is also clearly defined in the Scriptures. It is to be “dead in law,” or judicial death. It is to be dead in trespasses and sins. It is death in the sense of guilt and depravity. It is the death of condemnation. The antithesis of judicial death is “justification of life.” “Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (#Ro 5:18). “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” (#Joh 5:24). Everlasting life is equivalent to justification and is opposed to condemnation. As a moral being the believer is justified by God, and will never be condemned. He has passed out from under the curse of God’s law and exists under the favor of God. Life and death in the judicial sense are generally overlooked by commentators.

The believer is told to “reckon himself as dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ” (#Ro 6:11). This means that the believer is dead to the guilt of sin—no longer exposed to the wrath of God; and that he is alive or justified before God by virtue of the imputed righteousness of Christ. We also have this aspect of life and death in I #Joh 5:12: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” And again in #Joh 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” The sword of divine justice hangs over the head of the unbeliever; the benedictions of the heavenly Father are pronounced upon the believer in Christ.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1