Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Someone asked, What evidence is there in the Bible that Jesus suffered "the second death" in His great atonement sacrifice? (And others wonder, what difference does it make what we believe about it?)
The Bible clearly teaches that what we call death is "sleep." The real thing is the second death (Rev. 2:11; 20:14). In that light, it becomes evident that since the world began no sinner has ever truly died; everyone who is in the grave has gone to "sleep" until either the first or the second resurrection (John 5:28; 1 Thess. 4:15, 16; Rev. 20:5, 6).
When Romans 6:23 says that "the wages of sin is death," it has to be the second death, otherwise it follows that everyone who has gone to sleep in the grave is automatically qualified to enter heaven because by dying the first death he has paid "the wages of sin"! The Bible is clear: no sinner has as yet truly paid "the wages of sin."
What kind of death did Jesus die? If He died the first death, or if He merely went to sleep "for our sins," then the second death still awaits every human being including those who believe in Jesus, for Christ, in this scenario, has not paid the price for human sin! And that cannot be! Jesus truly paid "the wages of sin" as our Divine Substitute. The Bible nowhere says that He went to sleep for our sins; it says, "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).
But, what difference does it make? The Bible truth clears away clouds of confusion about the sacrifice of Christ, revealing "the width and length and depth and height" of the agape of Christ (Eph. 3:18, 19) that led Him to His cross to pay "the wages of sin" for us. He suffered the terrible heart agony that the lost at last will feel in the final Day of Judgment. A failure to understand this truth inevitably produces the lukewarmness that permeates the church today, for only an understanding of those grand dimensions of agape can "henceforth" "constrain" people to live lives wholly devoted to Christ (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 6, 2000.
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