Monday, August 10, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: A Tragic Misconception About the Second Death

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is a popular view that "Christ could not have died the world's second death, because He was resurrected! He lived again! Anyone who dies the second death is experiencing 'Goodbye life, forever!'" But this is a tragic misconception.

This popular view is in what Paul referred to when he said, "I do not frustrate the grace of God!" (Gal. 2:21). It's a frustration of the truth of the cross of Christ, leaving it to be a meaningless icon on a church roof or worn as jewelry around the neck.

The "love of Christ" which "constraineth us" to selfless living for His glory is deprived of its power, for if He did not die our second death, then His death was only the sweet oblivion that our universal death is--a "sleep" (cf. John 11:11-13). Both of the thieves crucified with Him died that sweet death; they couldn't wait to bite down hard on that sponge of narcotic given to all crucified victims, so they could just pass out. No, that was not the "death" that the Son of God died. He refused to take that narcotic! He must "be made to be sin for us," and feel our guilt to the uttermost.

It's true that Christ's Enemy in the great controversy has changed the holy Sabbath day, but his supreme achievement has been to rob the sacrifice of Christ of its significance, and thus cast contempt upon His love revealed at the cross. Covering up this truth reduces it to the dimension of our egocentric human affection which we call "love." The result: his magnificent accomplishment after all the millennia of human history--the paralyzing lukewarmness of spirit that pervades Christ's last days' church (Rev. 3:14-16; 12:17). A true appreciation of what Christ accomplished at His cross would cure this last and greatest problem.

We can't understand the cross unless we grasp what Paul says in Galatians 3:13: "Christ was made a curse for us (for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree')," referring to what Moses said, "He who is hanged [on a tree] is accursed of God" (Deut. 21:22, 23). That's the horror in the darkest hell that Jesus gave Himself to (Acts 2:27). Christ is the only man ever who died that death--what yours and mine would have to be, but for Him dying it. Let the truth sink in; then you'll be "constrained," too (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 29, 2006.

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