BY GRACE ALONE (PART 6)
Satan's insane use of Scripture is notorious, evidenced in his pathetic attempt to even deceive the Lord God Jesus Christ Himself (see Matt. 4:1-11). As evidenced in Jesus’ replies, not only is the Word of God the best defence against the lies and temptations of the Devil, the Word of God is also the best mode of attack against him. Satan’s use of Scripture is always, and only, utilized so as to further his own agenda which is to deceive, steal, kill, destroy and ultimately exalt himself above God, and be worshipped as God (see Isa. 43:13). Sometimes, Satan's lies sound truer than truth because they seem to be confirmed by the truth itself, and also because it makes perfect sense to the carnal, spiritually dead mind of man which is incapable of rightly discerning the things of God, and, therefore, cannot properly take into account God's Word on a matter. Scripture says that Satan is the god of this world (see 2 Cor. 4:4 & Rev. 12:9). In other words, this world's god is Satan! That's how he deceives the whole world because the world follows him, it believes him, it trusts him. The world’s image of Satan is an ugly red, horned figure with a pointy tail and a pitchfork in his hand, only the Scriptures give a true picture of him: “…Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). “…under a show of truth, Satan introduces the most notorious falsehoods and errors; and, under a pretence of religion, all sorts of idolatry, superstition, and impiety…these are his wiles, stratagems, and cunning devices.” Satan does not frequent bars and nightclubs, but the many so-called churches filled with congregations he has deceived into believing they are Christians. Satan is described in Scripture as, “…that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…” (Rev. 12:9). The apostle John tells his brethren: "...we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 Jn. 5:19). Satan's deceiving the whole world is done by often presenting people with a false truth as their starting point upon which they base everything else i.e., false teachings of religion about who God is and of how He saves. A case in point is the Serpent’s original lie that man would not die. This is the launching pad for other major doctrinal discrepancies in man’s way of thinking, such as, Jesus dying for everyone and salvation resting on each individual’s choice: for life or against it. The problem is that natural man has no life to begin with. He is already dead and so has no choice to make, no possible way of choosing for life, for he is without God, without hope and incapable of correctly discerning the truth of God. Why would the Lord Jesus have died for everyone, leaving salvation ultimately up to their choice, if all are by nature dead in sins totally incapable of making any choice. Even if man did have a choice, HE WOULD NEVER CHOOSE THE TRUE GOD! To be dead in sins is to be dead to the true and only God. A man is saved not by choosing life, but by being made alive by God Who has chosen him and given him to His Son to make atonement for. Man is, by nature, not only separated from God, but also ever hostile toward Him.
The following part of our study will provide further ample evidence revealing that man did indeed die spiritually, as well as physically, after eating the fruit. That what eventually would happen to Adam physically, had instantly happened to him spiritually. For a more detailed study please see my book: ‘Thou Shalt Surely Die’. God told Adam: "...of every tree of the Garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:16,17). The key word in the above two verses is without doubt the word ‘die’. A proper biblical understanding of the meaning of this word, will unlock any mystery this verse may hold for those who have been wrongly taught that die may not mean death at all, but contain some hidden, or cryptic, connotation, a mystical or symbolical component. Of vital importance to a proper Biblical understanding of the spiritual death of mankind, is that the reader resist every temptation that presents itself to him to believe that 'die' does not mean death in the spiritual sense, by arming himself with the truth of God: His Word. If one believes that the word die in Genesis 3:17 does not mean literal death in the spiritual sense, then it COULD NOT POSSIBLY mean death in the physical sense either. Any attempt to change the word die from meaning anything but death will, as we shall see, prove quite problematic, for any deviation from the truth of its true meaning does away with the notion of physical death as well as spiritual. It is vitally important to know that throughout one’s study of spiritual death, the only figure in the whole of Scripture who opposed God’s warning to Adam, and the consequences of it being disobeyed, is Satan. Therefore, to say man did not die, and that he is not dead, is nothing less than a Satanic statement. To fall for the lie that man is not spiritually dead, is to agree with Satan that man would not die upon eating the forbidden fruit. It is to side with Satan and call God a liar in the matter of spiritual death. To say that man is not spiritually dead is to agree with Satan that man would not suffer spiritual death. It is so anti-God that it calls God a liar, and follows what Satan said as truth. Any denial of man’s spiritual death is a refutation of man’s need to be made alive by God, and is a gateway into real Satanism. God's warning to Adam involved much more than physical death. Of far greater, and more immediate, concern was the fact that he would die spiritually: eternal separation from, and eternal hostility toward, God. Adam’s sin of disobedience would plunge the entire race of man into a permanent state of spiritual death: “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…by one man’s offence death reigned by one…by the offence of one judgement came upon all men unto condemnation…” (Rom. 5:12,17,18). Man would never again seek the true God, and so, would never believe and trust in His only Way of Salvation by grace alone. In a world of death, man would only seek to console himself by his own inventions.
God used the same word, die, to define precisely what would happen to Adam and his wife in both the physical and spiritual realms. To allay any thought that perhaps the word die, in Genesis 2 does not mean die in the only obvious sense, the following succinct, Scriptural study of the word ‘die’ as used by God in His warning to Adam reveals it to mean precisely what it implies: ‘dead’, ‘to lose one’s life’, ‘destroy’, ‘die’, ‘kill’, ‘slay very suddenly’. How clearer could the meaning of any word be! How could anyone in their right mind not see this, and why would anyone seek to oppose it? Any man's inability to see the blatantly obvious when it comes to the spiritual state of man, both before and after the Fall, lends powerful support to the existence of, and provides compelling evidence for, spiritual death. There is no better way to describe man’s natural, spiritual blindness to the truth of the true and only God, than by death. ONLY the spiritually dead could be deceived into not seeing the simplicity and clear teaching of the doctrinal and spiritual truth that man by nature is spiritually dead to God, eternally separated from God because of sin, and, therefore, can only be saved by grace alone. Spiritual blindness/deadness does not preclude one from speaking intelligently, even in a scholarly manner, about God. All such speech can sound great, but only to the ones who do not know the truth. The acceptance of lies belies an ignorance, or non-recognition, of truth. Man's having sinned immediately erected a wall of partition between himself and God, making contact impossible (see Isa. 59:2). What would make Joe want to contact Steve, if Steve is not recognized as the Steve that Joe wants contact with? Man’s natural state before God precludes him from contacting the true God, for the true God is not recognized as the true God by spiritually dead man. You can only communicate with God if you have been made alive by God. God cannot be found, but reveals Himself to His people. Man in his spiritual deadness is only open to the possibility of a false god being the true God. To come from reading Genesis 2:16,17 and conclude that die does not refer to absence of life, that it only means sickness or being unwell, injured but not fatally, or to further and unnecessarily confuse the issue by concluding that die here has a dual meaning to it, of man being utterly and irreversibly separated from physical life, but nothing so harsh when it comes to spiritual life, i.e., his connection with God, is actually quite laughable. If it were not such a deadly serious matter, my entire response to a person's claim that man is not spiritually dead would be nothing but hysterical laughter.
If spiritual death does not mean being utterly cut off from God, being without God, without spiritual life, and, therefore, without hope in the world, then what on earth could it mean? What other alternative could possibly make any Scriptural sense? Any other meaning attached to the word die that does not speak of death is completely prohibited by the very word die itself. It would be like attaching to the word life a meaning that had nothing to do with living. What else could have happened to man who requires to be made alive, if it was not death! The word die has no alternate meaning other than death, even when it is used metaphorically. It is like the word ‘shut’. How can anyone possibly picture a door even partially open when they have been told the door is shut! How can anyone possibly picture, or even momentarily consider something to be white when it has clearly been described as black! Shut is not open, black is not white and death is not life! What is spiritual death if it is not being dead spiritually! How could man have died spiritually, and yet remained in communication with God, exclusively desiring the true and only God, when the Scriptures offer undeniable evidence to the contrary in that there are NONE that even seek after God (see Rom. 3:11). What else could being without God mean other than being dead to God. What else could the immediate subsequent action of being dead to God be, other than not seeking Him! What else could being without Christ mean other than being dead to Christ. What else could being without hope mean other than being dead to hope. WHAT IS SPIRITUAL DEATH IF IT IS NOT TO BE DEAD SPIRITUALLY! What is spiritual death if it is to not ever seek the true God? Man's believing he is not spiritually dead displays an ignorance which is exceeded only by an extreme naiveté that can only exist because of the very thing that is being denied—death. And it all started with Satan's original, God-contradicting lie that man would not die. Billions, today, still believe that lie and, ironically, they believe it not in the name of Satan, but in the very name of God: the very One Who said man WOULD surely die!! Such is the deceptive power of Satan who deceives the whole world (see Rev. 12:9 & 1 Jn. 5:19). Make no mistake: ALL WHO BELIEVE THE LIE THAT MAN IS MERELY SIN-SICK, AND NOT SPIRITUALLY DEAD IN SINS, ARE NOT BELIEVERS IN GOD, OR IN GOD'S PROMISE TO ADAM THAT IF HE ATE OF THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL HE WOULD SURELY DIE, BUT ARE ADHERENTS AND PERPETUATORS OF SATAN'S LIE TO EVE THAT SHE WOULD NOT SURELY DIE, FOR THEY SAY, 'WE ARE NOT SURELY DEAD'.
It is actually quite a disturbing experience to look into a person's eyes who truly believes that man is not spiritually dead, and that he can, by his own free will, choose God at anytime. It’s like looking into the eyes of death itself. Spiritual blindness is the immediately perceptible evidence of spiritual death. Indifference to doctrine is also a manifestly unmistakable sign that one is spiritually dead. The distinct inability to discern the things of God belongs only to those who have never been born again. To be dead in sins is to be unable to discern what is the Truth of God, and who the God of truth is: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they (the things of the Spirit of God) are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14; cf. 1 Cor. 2:9). Speaking to His disciples, Jesus said: “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (Jn. 14:17). Equipped with the inherent inability to recognise the Truth of God, and, therefore, the God of truth, spiritually dead men simply cannot come to terms with, and so deny, the truth’s veracity and thus ignorantly continue on their path to destruction all the while locked in a passionate embrace with Satan and his lie that man is spiritually alive and can come to God whenever he so chooses. To quell any thought, to immediately dispel any suggestion that the word die, in the spiritual sense, may mean something other than death—utter and eternal separation and alienation from God—in other passages of the Bible, and thus be viewed by some as reason to justly cast reasonable doubt on the actual meaning of it in Genesis 2, we reveal, without a moment's hesitation and without fear of contradiction, that in all 321 verses of Scripture where the word die is used in both Old and New Testaments, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM speaks of death! There is not a single verse in ALL of Scripture where the word die—or any of its directly related forms such as death, dying, etc.—means anything other than death. NOT ONCE does die ever refer to a mere state of temporary sickness, of being unwell, or of a non-fatal injury, which would imply some hope of recovery within a man’s reach, which is the baseless, indefensible definition given by religionist and pseudo-Christian alike, who hold to the doctrine of man’s free will. One would think there would be something for those who do not believe in man's spiritual death to hang their hat on, as it were, but there is quite literally nothing. Not one verse of Scripture to which they can refer which can lend any credence to their foolish proposition. The Fall of Man, his disobedience to God, which resulted in man's physical and spiritual death, has not left man in any kind of self-help situation. On the contrary, death has left man in a state of total spiritual helplessness and, therefore, hopelessness, for he is now dead and God-less, without God, and without the desire for the true God. A spiritually dead person is without God, therefore, without God’s blessings, without God’s mercy, without God’s grace, without God’s love and without God’s Holy Spirit Who only makes a man alive according to God’s will, God’s bidding. A saved man is not one who is born again physically, but he is born again spiritually. To be born again is to be born of God, born from above, made spiritually alive by God to God.
When Jesus stated that a man must be born again if he is to enter the Kingdom of God, the Pharisee, Nicodemus, thought that Jesus was referring to a man being born again physically, and commented: “…How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn. 3:4-6). To be born again is to be made alive, not well, by God according to His will. Man does not need to be born again physically, for he is already physically alive. Re-starting one’s physical life would not do a single thing to alleviate man of his sinful human nature, nor would it make him a new creature in Christ. The Lord Jesus was speaking about being born again spiritually, of being made spiritually alive again. Clearly, needing to be made spiritually alive—born again—shows that a man by nature is currently spiritually dead. Why would you require a thing if you already had it? Why would you need life if you already possessed it? A born again man is a man who has been restored to spiritual life. To be born again, made alive by God is the teaching that no one can biblically deny, and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that prior to this, man is in a hopeless, helpless state of utter spiritual death. That a man must be made alive is a doctrinal fact that does not merely imply that man is dead, IT THUNDEROUSLY PROCLAIMS THAT MAN IS DEAD! A man must be made alive from the dead if he is to enter the Kingdom of God. If, therefore, a man must be made alive, he must first be dead. Indeed, any man who has been made spiritually alive again by the Hand of God, was previously spiritually dead. No man is physically created spiritually alive, and so must be made spiritually alive after he has been physically born. If salvation is being made alive by God, then what pray tell condition can any man be in prior to salvation if it is not spiritually dead. What can the opposite of life, existence prior to life, possibly be other than death, a state of non-life? What can life be juxtaposed with apart from death? What other polar opposite to life can there be, but death? If one is to be made spiritually alive by God, one must, prior to this, be spiritually dead.
By nature man lives his life "...according to the course of this world..." (Eph. 2:2; 5:8). The word course here means "a period of indefinite duration". "The force attaching to the word is not so much that of the actual length of a period, but that of a period marked by spiritual or moral characteristics." This is man's natural state before God, a creature that walks according to the ways of Satan himself—the god of this world—and which is enmeshed in the "customs, manner and way of life" of all those who are the children of Wrath. "...the whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 Jn. 5:19). It has been so since the Fall of man and this period will continue to the end of time. No man by nature understands, therefore, seeks God, but lives according to "...the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind..." (Eph. 2:3). By nature man is not a child of God, a child of His love, but is a child of God's Wrath. Everyone by nature is a child of God’s Wrath, not His love. Even Christians prior to their being made alive by God “…were by nature the children of Wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:3 cf. Col. 3:5-7). This is yet further evidence of man’s separation from God, for no man by nature is loved by God, nor does any man naturally, inherently have a love for the only true God. Man must be born again, he must be brought to life, he must be made alive by the love of God before he can love the true God. Man, by nature, is "...DEAD in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). "Not only dead in Adam, in whom they sinned, being their federal head and representative; and in a legal sense, the sentence of condemnation and death having passed upon them; but in a moral sense, through original sin, and their own actual transgressions: which death lies in a separation from God, Father, Son, and Spirit, such are without God, and are alienated from the life of God, and they are without Christ, Who is the Author and Giver of Life, and they are sensual, not having the Spirit, Who is the Spirit of life; and in a deformation of the image of God, such are dead as to their understandings, wills, and affections, with respect to spiritual things, and as to their capacity to do anything that is spiritually good; and in a loss of original righteousness; and in a privation of the sense of sin and misery; and in a servitude to sin, Satan, and the world: hence it appears, that man must be in himself unacceptable to God, infectious and hurtful to his fellow creatures, and incapable of helping himself: so it was usual with the Jews to call a wicked and ignorant man, a dead man; they say, 'there is no death like that of those that transgress the words of the law, who are called, (Mytm) , 'dead men', and therefore the Scripture says, 'turn and live' (see Ezek. 18:32). And again 'no man is called a living man, but he who is in the way of truth in this world. And a wicked man who does not go in the way of truth, is called, (tm) , 'a dead man'. And once more `whoever is without wisdom, lo, he is (tmk) , 'as a dead man'.” A man must be born to see the light of day, likewise, a man must be born again to see the Light of God. Only THEN, only after a work of creation by God may he rightly be called a Righteous man, a saved man, a man of God. Only then can a man, only then does a man, ‘search out’, ‘investigate’, ‘crave’, ‘require’, ‘demand’ and ‘worship’ the True God. Only when a man is made alive again to God by His Holy Spirit, and given the gift of Faith to believe God's Gospel can a man be said to be spiritually alive unto God. As for those who remain dead in sins, “…the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:7,8). A man without God can only seek after false gods. Man's imagination always forms, and follows the god he wants. Man, according to his sinful fallen nature, can only seek after his imagined gods. To be made alive by God is to be reconnected with God. To be reconnected with God is to be born again, it is to know and believe the true God and the only Gospel which reveals Him. The born again man, the man who has been made alive to the True God, seeks only after Him and loves only Him because of Him as He is revealed in His Gospel.
The Fall has left all mankind without the only true God. The Fall of man has plunged him into a world of darkness filled only with false gods. Scripture says that man in his natural, spiritually dead state is "...WITHOUT CHRIST...having NO HOPE, and WITHOUT GOD in the world" (Eph. 2:12). Can anyone believe that in light of these crystal clear Scriptures there exists, not a few, but billions of people who stubbornly retort with childlike, baseless insistence that man was not left helpless after the Fall! That he is not without God or Christ! That he is not without hope in himself and that he can choose to come to God if he so wills. Biblical reality, however, declares that Man is not in a situation that he can do anything to ever remove himself from, physically or spiritually. However much his humanist, religious thinking assures him he can, no man can ever, by any natural means, avoid or escape either form of death. To say man is not spiritually dead, is to foolishly say that man is not without Christ, that he does have hope, and that he is not without God in the world. To say man is not spiritually dead, is to say that man does not physically die. The reason behind death is sin, spiritual death is what has separated man from God, and physical death is the visible sign of the existence of spiritual death. To claim man is not spiritually dead, one must also accept the lie that man does not physically die. Both forms of death were included in God’s warning to Adam should he eat of the forbidden fruit. Having died spiritually, man is dead spiritually and will die physically, and there isn't a thing he can do about either state. The original Hebrew has it “Dying ye shall die”, or “to die you shall die”. Man is dead and will die. Man has died/is dead spiritually, and he will die physically. The two deaths are inseparable. Man would not only have to obey the law of God perfectly to escape the curse of God which is now upon him, he would, moreover, have to somehow reverse that which caused him to be born a sinner, as well as completely erase the fact that he has ever sinned. Man would have to change his very nature not merely reform his ways (see Jer. 13:23). Furthermore, man would have to somehow pay the penalty for his sin without going to Hell for all eternity. As all this is quite beyond the realm of possibility for man, that which is impossible for man IS, however, possible with God, for God can do all things. “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jer. 32:27 cf. Jer. 32:17; Lk. 18:27). As man cannot obey even one law of God perfectly because of man’s sinful and spiritually dead state, man is left with no avenue of escape, no way out of this living nightmare (see Gal. 3:10,11; cf. Jas. 2:10). Just as no man can halt the process of decay in his body and avert the inevitability of physical death, so too, no man can reverse, or do anything concerning, any aspect of his state of spiritual death and separation from God, or in some way revive his spiritual life, for Man is dead in sins and dead to God. Only by the life-regenerating power of God can a man be salvaged from his spiritually shipwrecked, and God-less life, and only by Jesus Christ can a man’s sins be effectively dealt with, paid in full and forgiven, and have charged to his account the perfect and only Righteousness acceptable to God: the very Righteousness of God.
There is no Scripture at all which will support the ungodly notion that man is not dead in, and because of, sin. There is nothing in man, or about man that was not killed in the day he ate of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There is no Scripture at all which any man can find any hope in that will assure him he is not without God, or that he is not utterly without any hope of even reaching out to the True God. The only way a man can love God is by God loving the man first; the only way a man can reach out to God is by God choosing the man unto salvation. In other words, without God man is without any hope, which is precisely what the Scriptures say (see Eph. 2:12). If God does not love, no man can love Him; If God does not choose, no man can come to Him; if God does not love, no man can love Him; if God does not act, no man can be born again. Scripture teaches the only way for a man to come out of his spiritually dead state is for him to be made ALIVE. Not to come alive which would suggest he could do something to change his situation, but MADE alive, something which must and can only be done by Another. Man needs Almighty God. There is simply no two ways about it. Man cannot extricate himself from the curse he is under. Man needs a Saviour, the One and ONLY Saviour: Jesus Christ, the only one Who MAKES a man FREE! Jesus said: “…the truth shall make you free…I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 8:32 & Jn. 14:6 cf. Jn. 15:26; 2 Cor. 3:17). No Scripture can be found, for no Scripture exists, that even remotely suggests there remained even the slightest remnant, or spark, of spiritual life in man after he sinned in the Garden. Why do you think the Lord used such an absolute game over-end of argument word such as DIE in His warning to Adam? No better word could have been used than die to explain what would happen if Adam disobeyed God. No word could have been utilised to better express what would happen to man if he ate of the forbidden fruit, than the life-ending word die. And there is no better definition of the spiritual death of mankind than the fact he is now WITHOUT Christ, WITHOUT God and, therefore, WITHOUT ANY hope in the world. TO BE DEAD IS TO BE WITHOUT: without life, without God, without Christ and without hope. There is no better material evidence of man’s spiritual death than his denial of it. Had God used any other word than die it would have legitimately allowed room for hope, and reason to believe that man did not die spiritually which in turn would have led man to believe that he was not completely separated from God and so could, by his own free will, do something himself to reconnect himself to God. That he could in some way free himself from the cobwebs of his fallen state to once again be in full communication and unity with God. That he is not a creature in need of grace, but one who can remedy his dilemma by choosing to obey by free will. If salvation is by the grace of God, which it most assuredly is, then it cannot be by any free will act of man, for then salvation would be conditioned on man, and not God, on works and not grace. What throws a ‘spanner/wrench in the works’ of all such nonsense is the word DIE! The explicit, and quite categorical, word die was specifically selected and used with surgical precision by God to clearly express and convey the truth about the condition man would be left in, both physically and spiritually, if he disobeyed God: spiritual death, and inexorable physical death. ‘Dying (having died spiritually) ye shall die (physically)’, as the Hebrew has it.
In order for God to show man that he needed a Saviour, He had to make it clear that man's original sin would not only introduce physical death to his life, but of far greater significance, spiritual death and, that there is no human way back from death. Man cannot prevent the inevitably of physical death, and he cannot resurrect himself from his state of spiritual death. Man cannot will himself, or work himself out of his spiritually dead state. A man must be saved by the Saviour Who alone can do what man cannot. Man would not merely be temporarily incapacitated by the consequences of his sin, but suffer a complete, eternal death from which he could never do anything to remove himself from under its curse. A death so extreme, so utterly without any avenue of escape by anything a man could do, he would remain in that state forever. Only the intervention of grace and mercy according to the will of God is there a true and certain hope of salvation. Spiritual death is the eternal separation between man and God which has left a man lifeless, hopeless and without God. Nothing within the realm of a man’s thoughts, understanding or actions would ever help him. “…Who then can be saved?... Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:25,26). How can a man who is lifeless gain life? Man at his best still cannot do the impossible. God had to use a word which would clearly express the full, far-reaching and eternal consequences of man's disobedience. No other word was used, because no other word could perfectly explain what would happen to man after disobeying God, than DIE. Nothing could have possibly come from the direct result of sin against God, other than full-blown 100% death. Not a fraction of spiritual life remained in sinful man once he had sinned, just as not a fraction of physical life remains in a man who has died corporeally. This fits perfectly with Jesus’ saying that with man salvation is impossible, and that no man can come unto Him unless it has been given him by the Father. Salvation is not by effort, but by a gift.
The word die is a word which leaves no room for hope and no way of escape. There was no other word, there was no better word which could express what would happen if man sinned, other than the word die. Again, what God meant for man's physical being He meant for his spiritual state also: DEATH! Death would not only leave man utterly and eternally separated from God, but Adam's sin of unbelief and disobedience would leave him WITHOUT ANY DESIRE FOR THE TRUE GOD, WITHOUT ANY WAY OF RECOGNIZING THE TRUE GOD AND WITHOUT ANY HUMAN MEANS OF GETTING BACK TO GOD! In his natural state man would forever remain in a state of enmity against the only true God: "…the carnal mind is enmity against God…” (Rom. 8:7), and, therefore, man, by nature, would never understand, want, or seek the true God. “The Greek word translated ‘enmity’ in Romans 8:7 is ‘echthra’. It means ‘hostility’. It is translated incorrectly in the NASV and NIV as ‘is hostile’. No, ‘echthra’ is not ‘is hostile’, but rather, ‘hostility’ or ‘enmity’, ‘enemy’, ‘hatred’. The mind of fallen man is not merely hostile to God; it is hostility itself! The carnal mind is hostility against God!” Spiritual death not only entails being without God, but also involves never seeking God, never wanting the true God, never recognizing Him as God (see Rom. 3:11). Man could not be in a worse spiritual state: not knowing God, and having no way of knowing who the true God is. This is the state of utter accursedness. Death means closure, a discontinuation of life and the beginning of non-life. Without God you cannot seek Him. Without God you cannot love Him. There is nothing in man that is naturally attracted to the Living God. Man’s natural, sinful and lost condition is so anti-God, so filled with hatred and animosity toward the true God, that in His summary of such a deplorable creature, the Lord Jesus concluded: “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…” and, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” and, “…Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:44,63,65). “…who then can be saved?...with men this is impossible…” (Matt. 19:25,26). “…Except a man be born again; he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3 cf. 2 Jn. 9); “…flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Cor. 15:50 cf. 1 Pet. 1:23). Man, by nature, is without God. Man must be made alive, he must be made a new creature in Christ.
Salvation is not about what a man does, but what is done to/for him. The first thing Adam and Eve did after attempting to clothe/cover their shame was to hide themselves from God. They wanted nothing whatsoever to do with Him EVER again! Welcome to the real world of spiritual death, a world where no one, by nature, knows, seeks or wants the only true God. Madkind, excuse me, mankind, only wants the false gods that appeal to his sinful nature and carnal mind. People say, ‘But I want God, I don’t want to be without Him’. The problem here lies in the indubitable fact that no man by nature, that is, no man who has not been made born again, alive to God by God, ever wants the only true God. A man may be fully convinced, as the false Christians of Matthew 7 were, that he wants God, but the ‘God’ he wants is not the true and only God of the only Gospel He has ever authored. What man by nature wants is the gods of his or another’s imagination. Idols and counterfeit gods are the only gods a man dead in trespasses and sins seeks, for no man by nature seeks the only true God, for man is dead to Him. Spiritual death means separation. Dead to the true God, and alive only to false gods. If God had not come to Adam and Eve they would never have sought out God of their own volition. Think about that. Spiritual death is being without God, never seeking Him and never wanting to seek Him. "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the Presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the Garden" (Gen. 3:8). Neither Adam nor Eve went out seeking God after they'd sinned. They did not have godly sorrow in their hearts, but a worldly sorrow which only destroys. Nor did they cry out to God to forgive them and save them. No indeed, but rather Adam and Eve's now sinful state dictated that the natural and instinctive thing to do was to hide their shame and flee from God to try and avoid the punishment which they knew they deserved, to try and avoid the reality that by their actions they could not deny. And this is the seed which is now in every man by nature! Again, man thought the answer to his dilemma was to do rather than go to God. No man seeks God, for man’s life is consumed with running away from God, to anything and everything that is not God. MAN IS NOT A NEUTRAL CREATURE. By nature, he is an enemy of God. When you run from something you invariably run to something. Man’s natural state is to run to false gods, to that which is untrue, to that which is simply not real. Man is not some innocent waif lost in the woods, but is a guilty creature who has willingly run into the wilderness in a lame effort to hide himself from God. No man stands unaffected by his relationship with God. Either a man is saved, made alive, by God, or he is dead to God. No man's existence can ever be outside the context of his relationship to God. Either he has the true God and believes, or he does not believe, is without the true God and either stands alone or with his imaginary false gods. Man's fire for God, his desire for Him, has been forever extinguished by man's sin. God's words to Adam in Genesis 2 were a dire warning, as well as a promise, and God's use of the word die is the clearest description, of what would, and did, occur in the day that Adam ate of the forbidden fruit: Man would be surrounded by death—within and without—and be eternally separated from God. Take God/Life out of the picture and all that remains is death. The wages of sin is eternal death, and the consequence of death is eternal separation.
No word expresses finality and complete loss of all hope better than the word die. How could there be any hope of life to be found in the word die! How could anyone interpret the word ‘die’ to mean there is some life present? ‘Die’ means NO life. The word ‘die’ means the exclusion of all life, the complete absence of any life. Man is now dead in sins with absolutely no life. Man’s natural condition is death, and there is no life in him. The reason why God used the word die is because it was the only word that expresses and describes accurately what would happen to man through sin, both spiritually and physically. God could not have used any other word than die in His warning to Adam concerning what would happen to him physically, likewise, He could not have used any other word than die in referring to spiritual death. Sin brought nothing but death to mankind. “…the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Man is “…dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph.2:1). He is not physically dead in trespasses and sins. He is spiritually “…dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Sin brought death, and death permanently ended man’s relationship with God. Death signifies an end, a cessation, not the continuance of a now damaged situation, but a complete end to it. In the context of the fall of man in the garden, die means the end of spiritual life, the cessation of man’s relationship with God, forever. Sin and subsequent death, both physical and spiritual, leave absolutely no hope. Sin and death have permanently extinguished all hope. Sin and death have taken all hope hostage, and killed it. “The wages of sin is death”. Sin and death go hand in hand. Where there is death there is sin, and where there is sin there is always death. You cannot have one without the other. Through Adam’s sin death passed upon all men, the evidence for this is that all have sinned (see Rom. 5:12-21). Sin and death not only kill off all hope, but they kill off any communication as well as any desire to communicate with the only true God. Sin and death have taken mankind away from God, and away from any desire for the true God. The word die does not mean a mere reduction in the standard of life, nor can it be rightly construed to imply that man has in some way become retarded, partially limited, or handicapped as a result of Adam's sin, but it denotes the total absence of, and separation from life. Sin has not merely brought about the depravation of a man’s spirit, it has completely eliminated all spiritual life. This is why a man needs to be made alive, and not simply helped to become better. Without God there is only death. Death is the presence of the absence of life. Sin and death have taken the place of God in the lost sinner. Once alive and radiant with the Presence of God within him, man is now dead and lifeless with nothing but darkness pervading his soul. Physical death does not partially limit, retard or hinder, for it is an utter cessation of all activity and desire. So too, spiritual death has not placed man in a state of spiritual retardation, but in one of lifeless inactivity, due to a complete incapability, a permanent inability, not only to perform any action to come to the True God, but to even desire to: “…there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). “A proof of the corruption of the will” (cf. Psa. 14:1-3; 53:1-3).
Man not seeking the true God proves conclusively that not only is man dead in sins and dead to God, but that the will of man to seek the true God, to want the true God, is just as dead. Lost people wax lyrical about ‘free will’, while the Word of God declares man has NO WILL to want, seek or love the only true God. No man can love the true God without God loving the man first. That is how utterly bereft man is of any desire or will for the true and only God. A man’s love for the true God does not come from within him, but only through the love of God for him, “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). True love loves first, it does not wait to be invited. Some may see the following words of Jesus as contradicting this, “For the Father loveth you, because ye have loved Me…” (Jn. 16:27). All the Lord is doing here is showing that a person’s genuine love for the only true God is evidence of God having loved the person first. “Not that their love to Christ was the cause of the Father's love to them; but, on the contrary, the Father's love to them was the cause of their love to Christ; and therefore as the cause is known by its effect, they might be assured of the Father's love to them by their love to Christ; for if the Father had not loved them, they had never loved God, nor Christ; but since they did love Christ, it was a clear case the Father loved them.” “Lest love to God, and so to one another, should be thought to be of ourselves, and too much be ascribed unto it, the apostle observes, that God's love to us is prior to our love to Him; God’s love is from everlasting, as well as to everlasting; for He loves His people as He does His Son, and He loved Him before the foundation of the world; His choosing them in Christ as early, and blessing them then with all spiritual blessings, the covenant of grace made with Christ from all eternity, the gift of grace to them in Him before the world began, and the promise of eternal life to them so soon, show the antiquity and priority of His love: His love shown in the mission and gift of His Son was before theirs, and when they had none to Him; and His love in regeneration and conversion is previous to theirs, and is the cause of it; His grace in regeneration brings faith and love with it, and produces them in the heart; and His love shed abroad there is the moving cause of it, or what draws it first into act and exercise; and the larger the discoveries and applications of the love of God be, the more does love to Him increase and abound; and nothing more animates and inflames our love to God, than the consideration of the earliness of His love to us, of its being before ours; which shows that it is free, sovereign, distinguishing, and unmerited.”
Far from having a free will, man’s will is completely dead to the true God. By nature, man is free of any will to seek, much less want, the true God. The only ‘free’ will man has by nature is to choose which false god he will worship. Man is a captive of sin, a servant of sin, he is dead in sins and so, cannot choose God, but must be chosen of Him. Everything about man reeks of death. There may well be a freedom of religion in this world, but there is no freedom in a man who is without God to seek and love the only true God. Man’s will for ‘God’ is exclusively reserved for false gods. His seeming freedom is trapped, restricted, taken captive within a world of death, a world where nothing and no one can save him, a world where only false gods are seen as true, or potentially true. Man, according to his sinful nature, is without the will to love the true God. As the physically dead have no will of their own, the spiritually dead also have NO will in terms of their choosing the True God, for they have no desire toward Him. Sin has completely alienated them from God. The word alienated as found in Ephesians 4:18 and Colossians 1:21 means 'to be shut out from one's fellowship and intimacy, to be a non-participant'. This does not mean that millions everywhere are wanting fellowship, that they are seeking intimacy with the true God, but that sin has completely killed off any and all desire for the true God, seen in the fact that there are none that seek Him (see Rom. 3:11). Those whom God does not love do not love Him, they do not want Him. They may call their gods, ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’, but they literally do not know what they are saying. They do not believe the Gospel of Christ, they do not abide in His Word, therefore, they do not have the Father or the Son (see 2 Jn. 9). God rejecting any who seek Him is an oxymoron, for the only ones who seek the true God do so because they are loved by Him, called by Him, chosen by Him and given by Him to His Son Jesus Christ that they might live. Jesus testifies to this in the following verse: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn. 6:37). Clearly, the only ones who will come to Jesus are the ones the Father has given Him, and the only ones whom Christ will not reject are the ones whom the Father gives to Him (see Jn. 17). Christians love God because God loved them first. NO ONE WHOM GOD DOES NOT LOVE SEEKS HIM. God does not give any to His Son whom He does not love. No one comes to Jesus whom the Father does not love. No one whom God has not drawn to Him will ever come to Him (see Jer. 31:3). Spiritual alienation from God means no intimacy or any fellowship whatsoever with the only true God. Sin is a deprivation of God. Sin has left man totally bereft of God. Spiritual death is to be shut out from any access to God, thus ending any and all participation with Him as well as extirpating any desire toward Him. Man is not in a state of spiritual deceleration but has been comprehensively brought to a standstill, halted by sin and left in an utterly irreparable state, from which there is no return possible via the deeds or desires of man. Death has left man without anything, no desire, no hope, no knowledge, no discernment, no ability, no motivation and no love for the only true God.
Die is the sort of word concerning which no one really needs any instruction in order to properly understand its meaning. It is a word which immediately brings to mind such phrases as, no hope left, all is lost, and, you can stop praying now, etc. It is as simple as, where there is death there is NO life and where there is life there is no death. You cannot have one if you have the other. You cannot be alive to God if you are dead to God. The only way to no longer be dead to God, is to be made alive by God. You cannot be alive to God if you have not been born again of God. No one can be alive and dead at the same time nor can a man be partially alive and partially dead. As with grace and works, so too, life and death share no common ground. Significantly, no one can be made alive if they are already alive. Sinners needing to be made alive by God is at once an immediate, clear and unmistakable reference to their current state of death, for no one can be made alive from a state of life, but only from death. You cannot be made well if you were not first sick, so too, you cannot be made alive if you were not first dead. A man can be extremely unwell yet still alive, but no one can be dead and still alive. No man can require spiritual life if he already possesses it. No man needs to be made alive who is not dead. Man can do nothing to become alive, for he must be and can only be made alive by the Holy Spirit of God (see Jn. 6:63 cf. 1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:6; Gal. 6:14,15). What a man does will not profit him one iota, therefore, what a man does is not the answer to his current state of spiritual death. The answer to life will not be found amongst man’s abilities or capabilities. To be alive spiritually is to be made alive to God by God, therefore, why would a man who is spiritually alive require spiritual life. Why would the Scriptures talk about the need to be made alive, born again, etc., if man were not by nature spiritually dead? Why would any man need to be born again if he is already spiritually alive? No man can be dead and yet still have even a microcosm of life remaining in him. Man is either in one state or the other. If man does not need to be made alive in order to be born again, then he is not dead, he did not die as God had warned he would in the Garden if he disobeyed God. A child of Wrath cannot simultaneously be a child of God. A child of Wrath does not have the life of God in him. One who does not require life is not dead. A denial of death and the requirement of life, is a denial of God.