Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Death: The Price for Sin

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19).

God had promised Adam that the day he ate of the forbidden tree, he would most certainly die (Genesis 2:17). Yet, when God came to judge Adam and Eve for their transgression, He did not put them to death immediately. He chose rather to postpone the fullness of their sentence, giving them time to repent before they died physically.

Of course, in a sense, Adam and Eve did die the day they sinned. First, they died spiritually in that they were cut off from fellowship with God and came under His judgment. Spiritual death is separation from God, and Adam and Eve experienced it on that day as they were cast out of the Garden of Eden.

Second, they died experientially in that they lost the full measure of life that they had previously enjoyed. They began to experience humiliation and pain, the preliminary forms of death that finally climax in the expiration of the physical body. For instance, the woman would undergo pain in the natural act of delivering children, one of the greatest moments of personal self-fulfillment a human being can ever experience.

And what about the man? He would experience fear and frustration in his work. Studies have shown that husbands have five times more nightmares than their wives and that the recurring theme of these nightmares is fear of being unable to provide for one’s family. Deep down inside, married men are afraid that the thorns and thistles will win out and they will be failures.

Finally, Adam and Eve received God’s promise that they would come to physical death eventually. They would return to the dust from which they were made.

In this way, God’s death penalty was indeed carried out but in a merciful way. It would have been perfectly just for God to have slain Adam and Eve on the day they sinned, but instead, He stretched out their experience of death. As a result, Adam and Eve would have many opportunities to think about death before they died and they would be encouraged to repent and return to God.

What “friendly scourges” has God used to remind you of the inevitability of death? How do you respond to these foretastes of death when they come?