How do we escape death?

How do we escape death?

The question might traditionally be worded, “How are we saved?” It used to be taken for granted that this question was referring to escaping hell.  I know I’ve been approached numerous times by people who have asked me the question, “If you were to die tonight, where would you go?”  It always seemed to be implied that these people were asking me if I would go to heaven or hell, and sometimes, they might have actually asked about these two locations.  More and more people today scoff at such a question about heaven or hell.    The Bible certainly teaches in eternal life and a second death which is eternal (Matthew 25:46, Daniel 12:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:9), but even if such skeptics reject the Bible’s teaching of heaven and hell, they must still admit that they will one day face death.  Most religions are man’s answers to addressing this inescapable, pending death.  This article addresses the answer of escaping eternal death as revealed in the Bible.

How are we saved?

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”

From this verse we can see four components of our salvation:

  1. By grace
  2. Through Faith
  3. For Christ’s Sake (implied in the passage)
  4. Not by (human) works

What is grace?

A common acrostic applied to the word grace is:

G – od’s
R – iches
A – t
C – hrist’s
E – xpense

Another definition for grace is “God’s undeserved favor and merit on account of Christ’s merit.” 

Both of these definitions for grace are derived from a proper understanding of God’s Law and Gospel.  God’s law is God’s standard or requirement for mankind, which everyone has broken.  Our falling short of God’s law is called sin and the penalty for sin is death, which comes in three forms spiritual death, physical death, and eternal death.  The Bible reveals how we become spiritually alive and how to penalty of eternal death has been paid for us, but physical death must still be faced.

Jesus, the second person of the Trinity took on flesh, being born of a virgin on earth.  Through his time on earth, Jesus fulfilled God’s law, meaning that he did not deserve the penalty of death, but he served as a substitute for us, taking on the penalty of death through Roman crucifixion.  It was through this death that the penalty of sin was applied as an atoning sacrifice for all.  In addition to the atonement of our sins, Jesus serving as a substitute means that his righteousness is also applied to us.

God’s Grace is derived from three components:

  1. God’s love for us – which compelled the Father to send Jesus into the world to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
  2. Devoid of human merit – grace does not involve our work, obedience, or commitment to God.
  3. For Christ’s sake – because of Christ’s work, obedience to the Father, and commitment to our salvation, the Father accepts his sacrifice to be acceptable and pleasing as a substitution for the penalty we so rightly deserve.  Likewise, Christ’s merit and blessings which we do not deserve are given to us!

How is this grace received?

Christ’s sacrifice served as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.  Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”  1 John 2:2 says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 

This however does not mean that all people are saved from eternal death.  The benefits of grace are received and applied to a person through faith.  Hebrews 11:1 states that “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Faith does not mean a mere knowledge of the truth or an intellectual knowing that there is a God.  James 2:19 tells us that even the demons know!  Faith involves trust and a relationship with God.

Faith is also a gift.  It is not our work, because we are saved apart from our works.  Faith is God’s work.  This is an often debated teaching amongst Christians.  John 1:12-13 says, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent,nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” 1 Corinthians 12:3 says that “no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”  1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand thembecause they are spiritually discerned.”

What is the object of saving faith?

Faith must be placed into something.  Often times we put faith into multiple people or things in life.  For instance, I place faith in doctors anytime I go to a hospital for help.  If I don’t have faith in a certain doctor, I will find a different doctor.  I place faith in my car to get me from place to place.  The moment that faith in my car is lost, it’s time for me to buy a new one.  Since we are saved by grace through faith, the object of this saving faith must be certain.  Christ is the object of this faith!  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Romans 4:5 says, However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” 

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”

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