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                    DEATH AND THE CHRISTIAN: 

                 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 

                    Theological Forum 

                    By Chris Camilli 
                    Assistant Pastor 
                    Valley Baptist Church 
                    May 6, 2011 


Death: the word itself can be ominous to some and is not a comfortable subject for many people. In 
fact many are uncomfortable using the plain language that describes the event or the resulting state. 
Many euphemisms have developed in an attempt to say things in a way that doesn’t sound as bad or to 
soften the blow. Instead of hearing that so and so died, we are told that they “passed away”, “left us”, 
or “moved on”. Some have “checked out” or are “no longer of this world”. Sometimes the concept is 
easier to deal with using humor such as when we hear that someone has “kicked the bucket”, “sold the 
farm” or is “six feet under”, or “sleeping with the fishes”. “Pushing up daisies” is one of the more 
creative you may hear. Yet others comfort themselves with thoughts of the person having gone to “a 
better place” or that he or she is “resting in peace”. A dead body or corpse is referred to as “remains”, 
the dead as the “deceased”. Doctors say they “lost a patient”. I suppose it’s easier to hear that your 
loved one is lost, rather than dead. Perhaps he will turn up somewhere around the hospital. 

The concept of death has been harassing people throughout history and is still very scary to many 
because of the unknown element of what happens when we die. Does our existence simply end? Will 
we come back as someone or something else depending on our karma? Is there a fluffy, white cloud 
awaiting us? What about a harp? 

The purpose of this paper is to briefly consider, from a Biblical perspective, some of the different types 
of death in relation to the Christian. What should be feared, what should be avoided, and what should 
be looked forward to. 

Death: A Definition 

What is death and what does it mean? Webster’s dictionary defines death as 1) the act of dying; 
cessation, esp. of life. 2) lack of existence; the state of being dead. When one looks up “dead” we 
find: not living; not existing; deceased. It’s no wonder that so many euphemisms are used, especially 
if one believes that annihilation is a possibility. From a Biblical perspective, we see that death 
involves the concept of separation and that there can be more than one type of death. 

In physical death the human spirit (and soul) is separated from the physical body. 

“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.” 
(James 2:26) 

In the Old Testament we find the concept of separation describing the immaterial part of man being 
separated from the material part in the recording of Rachel’s’ death; 

“And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his 
name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.” (Gen. 35:18) 

Yet, the person continues to exist. Compare Luke 16:22-25 depicting the beggar and the rich man who 
have physically died; the immaterial parts separated from the physical, yet they continue to exist, 
though in different places with different circumstances. Death does not mean “lack of existence”. In 
considering death and the Christian in this paper it will be important to bear in mind that death deals 
with the concept of separation. When death terms are used, context will dictate what the separation is 


Death: Results of the Fall 

When God created Adam He breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives1 (Gen.2:7). Adam was 
created with both physical and spiritual life. When Adam was commanded to not eat from the tree of 
the knowledge of good and evil, he was warned that in the day that he did, “dying you will absolutely 
die,”2 meaning that Adam would die in every way possible, both spiritually and physically. When 
Adam determined to disobey God he trespassed before he sinned and was immediately corrupted with 
a sin nature. The result of a sin nature is spiritual death. Spiritual death is a separation from God. 
When Adam actually sinned he incurred the penalty of physical death and began to die physically even 
though he lived another 930 years. Thus, Adam died spiritually (i.e. was separated from God) because 
of his trespass and began to die physically because of his sin. All of mankind descending from Adam 
are born with a Sin Nature and are born spiritually dead. In addition, all of mankind is counted by God 
to be guilty of the one specific act of sin by Adam and thus are subject to physical death. 

A.) Death and the Christian – The Good 

1.) The Believer in Christ has died with Christ. 

The moment a person accepts Christ as Savior by believing the Gospel for initial salvation: 
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He 
was raised the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4), the believer is baptized 
into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.12:13). In Christ the believer is counted 
to have died with Christ, been buried with Christ, been raised with Christ and to be seated 
together with Him in the heavenlies.3 This is something that occurs in the mind of God and 
He counts or imputes it to be so. When the believer is baptized into Christ, he is immersed 
into His death (Rom. 6:3). Christ’s death is our death. Christ’s death as our substitute has 
dealt with every type of unrighteousness. Jesus died spiritually, before His physical death, 
while on the cross when He was separated for three hours in the realm of His human nature 
from the Father (Matt. 27:45, 46). This propitiated the Father’s holiness with respect to 
man’s sin nature (cf. 1 Jn. 2:2, 4:10; Rom. 3:25). By His physical death, Christ paid the 
sufficient and necessary price through His blood for the redemption of all of mankind (2 Pet 
2:1; 2 Cor. 5:14). However, this redemption is only applied to those that believe the Gospel 
(Eph 1:7, 13-14; Col. 1:13-14; 1 Cor. 6:20). Jesus’ death fulfilled perfectly and completely 
all that God required. All those in Christ are counted to have participated in Jesus’ death. 

In Christ the believer has died to the sin nature. God counts it to be so. Please note that the 
sin nature has not died nor been destroyed (cf. Rom. 7:23). In the book of Romans Paul 
asks the question, “How shall we, that died to the sin (nature or principle), live any longer 
by it?” (Rom. 6:2). In Christ the believer is separated from the sin nature in the mind of 
God. The Christian can reckon what God reckons knowing that God has provided victory 
over the power of the sin nature in Christ’s death. In fact, Christ’s death is the basis for the 
believers’ victory over all three of his spiritual enemies; the sin nature, Satan, and the world 

1 Gen 2:7 yx; plural 
2 Gen 2:17 Hebrew 
3 Rom. 6:3,4; Col. 2:12; Eph 2:6 

2.) The Believer is no longer spiritually dead or separated from God. 

Man is born dead in trespasses and sins and is in a condition of separation from God (cf. 
Eph.2:1). Because all of mankind descending from Adam is born spiritually dead or 
separated from God, spiritual birth is necessary. This is what the Lord was referring to 
when He spoke with Nicodemus. 

Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born 
from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, "How 
can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's 
womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one 
is born out from water even the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 
That which is born out from the flesh is flesh, and that which is born out from the 
Spirit is spirit. "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born from above’.” 
(John 3:3-7) 

The moment a person believes the gospel for initial salvation4, he is born again in the realm 
of his human spirit. A result of the Christian’s spiritual birth or regeneration is that God the 
Son indwells the believer and imparts His life to him. Every Christian has eternal life as a 
result of having the indwelling Son. 

“And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 
He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have 
the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in 
order that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13) 

The Believer has the life of Christ imparted to him because the Son indwells the Believer. 
Spiritual separation or death has been once and for all remedied through the indwelling 

“But not as the trespass, so also is the gracious gift. For if by the trespass of the one 
(Adam) the many died (spiritually), much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the 
grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many. (Rom. 5:15) 

“For if, by the trespass of the one (Adam), the death (spiritual) reigned through the one; 
much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the free gift of righteousness 
reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17) 

“That, as the sin (nature) reigned by the (spiritual) death, even so grace might reign 
through righteousness because of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5:21) 

3). The Believer should not fear physical death. 

In the Old Testament death was a thing to be feared. There was a lot of uncertainty and 
much that was unknown. From the New Testament we learn much that could not be 
formerly understood. When Adam sinned, all of mankind thereafter was counted guilty of 
his sin by imputation and so the penalty of physical death was passed on to all; 

“Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through 

4 1Cor. 15:1-4 


sin, and so death (physical) spread to all men, because all sinned.(in Adam)” (Rom. 5:12) 

In the book of Hebrews we find that the devil had the might of death, but one, who took part of 
flesh and blood for a purpose, paid the penalty demanded by God. 

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise 
took part of the same; that through death he might render inoperative him that had 
the might of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all 
their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14, 15) 

“Knowing that Christ having been raised up from among the dead dies no more: death 
no more has dominion (lordship) over Him.” (Rom. 6;9) 

Christ now holds the keys of death: 

“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand upon 
me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was 
dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” 
(Rev. 1:17-18) 

The price paid through Christ’s death was sufficient for all of mankind 

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore 
all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but 
for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Cor. 5:14-15) 

His death is only applied to some: 

“because God has not set us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.” 
(1 Thess. 5:9,10) 

Christians no longer need to fear physical death for Christ has rendered death inoperative 

and is the first born out from among dead ones with more to follow 

“But now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who 
rendered inoperative death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 
(2 Tim. 1:10) 

“And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn out from 
among dead ones; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Col. 1:18) 

Christians do not physically die because of Adamic sin guilt but because Christ turns the 


“For if we believe that Jesus has died and has risen again, so also God will bring with 
him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus (1 Thess. 4:14).” 

When writing to the Philippians from prison, Paul did not expect to die yet (Phil. 1:19), but 
did not fear death if it were to come. Paul aimed to not be ashamed in anything. As Paul 
had done in the past, he expected Christ to be magnified by his body whether it be through 
life or through death (Phil.1:20). He explains that for him “to live is Christ” and “to die is 
gain” (Phil. 1:21). How could Paul make a statement with such confidence? In II Cor. 12:2 
Paul begins to recall an experience that he had 14 years prior and refers to himself in the 3rd 
person to avoid boasting. He tells of being caught up into paradise to the edge of the third 


heaven. He did not know if it was in the body or out of the body, “God knows” (II Cor. 
12:2). While there Paul heard inexpressible utterances, which are not permissible for a man 
to speak (II Cor. 12:4). The fourteen years prior would correspond to Paul’s being stoned 
in Lystra and left for dead as recorded in Acts 14:19-20. Paul had a taste of what physical 
death would bring and knew that it would be gain to die. Back in Philippians Paul stated 
that he was in a strait between the two, or pressed from both, of whether to live or to die, 
having the strong desire to depart and to be intimately together with Christ. This Paul says 
is “far better” or literally much more better (Phil 1:23). Paul goes on to say that on account 
of the Philippians it is more necessary for him to remain in the flesh, meaning his physical 
body (Phil. 1:24). He has confidence that he will remain for the furtherance of their joy and 
faith in order that their boasting may abound in Christ Jesus through his coming (Phil. 1:2526). 
Paul anticipates that the Lord will not turn the key because God has more good works 
for him to do. He knew that while Christians are in their physical bodies, “we are absent 
from the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6). Paul could say with confidence: 

“We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be 
at home with the Lord. Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, 
to be pleasing to Him.” (2 Cor. 5:8-9) 

Paul wrote of his desire “to depart and be with Christ” (Phil. 1:23). To Timothy he said, 
“The time of my departure has come” (2 Tim. 4:6). The word used in these two passages is 
derived from a compound Greek word meaning “to unloose”,” to break up”, or “to loose in 
order to depart”. If one would view life the way Paul did – “For to me, to live is Christ” 
(Phil. 1:21), then one should view death as he did. 

B.) Death and the Christian – The Bad 

The Potential for the Christian to physically die before one’s appointed time due to chastening. 

1.) Chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-11) 

The concept of chastening is one of rearing and guiding a child toward maturity through 
correction, child training, or discipline. In the book of Hebrews many of the Hebrew 
Christians were returning to elements of Judaism. In their carnality they had become dull 
of hearing (Heb 5:11, cf. 1Cor. 3:1-2). On account of the time that they had been 
Christians, they should have been teachers. Yet, they needed someone to teach them again 
the beginning elementary principles of the sayings of God (Heb. 5:12). By pertaining to 
their sin natures they were without experience in the word concerning righteousness and 
required an easily digestible milk diet of a inarticulate infant (Heb 5:13). If they had been 
spiritual and maturing they could digest the solid food of Biblical doctrine and would have 
their faculties of perception exercised to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5:14). Formerly, 
as Spiritual Christians they had suffered in the will of God with joy (cf. Heb. 10:32-34). In 
their current condition they were not manifesting the same confidence that they formerly 
had and needed to be directing faith at the promises from God (Heb.10:35-38). 


In the twelfth chapter the author5 encourages the Hebrew Christians to lay aside for 
themselves6 every encumbrance and the sin which so easily can entangle all Christians. 
The articular reference to “the sin” I believe is a reference to the sin principle or sin nature, 
which can side track Christians from running properly the course that God has for them 
(Heb. 12:1). Having put away from themselves every encumbrance, and particularly the sin 
nature, the Christian can go on running through patience (the ability to remain under severe 
strain) the course set before them. They are to do this ever looking away to the author and 
finisher of the faith, Jesus who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God 
(Heb.12:2). By referencing the right hand of the throne of God, the author would 
knowingly bring to remembrance the Christian’s position at the right hand (cf. Col 3:1 & 
Eph. 2:6). Jesus, with the emphasis here on his human nature, is the originator and the 
completer of the faith. He is the one who provides the faith to give things hoped for 
substance and the one who will bring the Christian to his intended end. The author points to 
the resurrected and glorified Christ, who previous to His glorification had endured the 
hostilities by sinners so that they might not grow weary and faint in their souls (Heb.12:2,3) 
The writer appears to use sarcasm to emphasis that they had little experience suffering for 
Christ (Heb. 12:4). 

The Hebrew Christians were suffering as a result of chastening. Paul reminds them that 
with sonship7 comes chastening. They are told not to despise the chastening of the Lord 
with a reference from Proverbs 3:11-12 (Heb 12:5-6). The word translated “despise” in the 

A.V. has the idea of regarding something as having little value. Verse 6 continues with “for 
whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son He receives”. By giving in to 
the sin nature the readers were attempting to avoid further persecution by turning back to 
Judaism only to find that they were now suffering as a result of the chastening from the 
Lord. The writer of Hebrews expands by adding “Because8 ye endure chastening, God 
deals with you as sons; for what son is there whom the father does not chasten” (Heb 12:7). 
All Christians are sons (cf. Gal 3:26) and all true Christians are chastened or child trained. 
The following verse makes this explicitly clear, “But if you are without chastening, of 
which all have been made partakers, then ye are bastards, and not sons” (Heb 12:8). All 
sons are partakers of chastisement. 
In the following two verses the author uses the analogy of human fathers as those who 
chastised yet received respect. The question is posed, “Shall we not rather be subject to the 
Father of spirits, and live?” (Heb 12:9b). The word “subject” or “subjection” has the idea 
“to be arranged under”9. “The Father of spirits” is a suggestive phrase when one recalls that 
it is in the realm of the human spirit that the new birth takes place and where true subjection 
should begin (cf. John 3:6; Rom 7:25 also cf. 1 Cor. 6:20 A.V.). “And live” is a future 
tense of a Greek word10 and implies not just physical life, but spiritual life. As a Christian 
gives the Father proper respect by arranging himself under Him for benefits, one will live, 
not only physically but spiritually. This is the purpose of chastening, to bring one back into 
a proper relationship and attitude to the persons of the Godhead and to the position of 
privilege that all Christians share. Our human fathers would chasten us according to what 
seemed good, but He for our “profit” with the result that we partake of His holiness (Cf. 

5 I believe to be Paul 
6 Middle voice of ***** 
7 For biblical concept of sonship see Gal. 4:1-7 
8 Translated as a causal eivj 

9 u`pota,

ssw, to place or arrange under; to be brought under a state or influence, to submit ones self. Lexicon, Green p.195 
10 Future, Active, Indicative of za,w 
cf. 1 Jn.4:19 

Heb. 12:10). The Greek word translated “profit” literally means to bring intimately 
together and can mean advantage, profit, or benefit11 . The author further explains that on 
the one hand all chastening at the time does not seem to be “joyous” but “sorrowful” (Heb. 
12:11a), but on the other hand, afterwards it gives back or yields the peaceful fruit of 
righteousness to the ones having been exercised through it. Chastening is a process 
whereby the Believer should have their path corrected into the direction that God has for 
the Believer. As a believer returns mentally to the position where one is set apart and 
counted righteous he can act right and be suffering on behalf of Christ with supernatural 

2. Premature Death due to Chastening (1 Cor. 11:27-32) 
The Corinthian Church was a church of primarily carnal Believers (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-4). Their 
carnality was even being manifested when they came together in remembrance of Christ’s 
person and the provisions resulting from His redemptive work in observance of 
communion. At a time when they should have been coming together to commemorate their 
sharing in common in the New Covenant and the sharing in common in the Body of Christ, 
they were manifesting schisms, heresy, and drunkenness12 . Paul warned that, “whoever 
eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be liable 
concerning the body and blood of the Lord (1 Cor. 11:27). Paul charged that self 
examination should precede participation in the ordinance (1 Cor. 11:28). The word 
translated “examine” in the A.V. means to put to the test for approval. By participating in 
the Lordian table in an unworthy manner some of the Corinthians were eating and drinking 
judgment13 to themselves by not discerning the body (1 Cor.11:29). As a result many were 
weak and sickly and a number had fallen asleep (1 Cor. 11:30). The sleep is the sleep of 
physical death and is the same Greek word used to describe the dead in Christ in I 
Thessalonians 4:13-15 who shall rise first at the Rapture. Paul continues with a contrary to 
fact conditional sentence in verse 31, “For if we discerned ourselves we would not be 
judged”. If the Corinthians had properly evaluated and formed a right estimate of 
themselves in relation to the body they would not have been judged. “But being judged, we 
are chastened by the Lord, in order that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 
11:32). As a result of chastening many Corinthians were suffering from physical ailments, 
they were “weak” and “sick”. The chastening should have led to repentance or a change of 
mind regarding the path and behavior that brought about the discipline. Yet, a considerable 
number sleep the sleep of premature physical death through chastening. Paul warned in the 
book of Romans, “If ye live according to the flesh, ye are about to die..” (Rom. 8:13a). In 
the book of James the Believer is instructed how a lust becomes sin and is told that sin, 
having been fully formed, brings forth death (James 1:15). The Believer can always 
remove the hindrances that personal sins have on his present tense salvation by confessing 
the sins; 

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse 
us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) 

Paul counted himself as one who generally responded appropriately to chastening when 
commending himself and Timothy as servants of God in everything (2 Cor. 6:4) he added; 

11 sumfe,

rw Greek and English Lexicon to the New Testament, Green p. 177 
12 Cf. 1 Cor.11:17-21 
13 “damnation” in the KJV is the Greek word kri,

ma meaning judgment 

“as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as chastened yet not put to 
death,” (2 Cor.6:9) 

Physical death in itself is not bad for the Christian. Premature death is bad in that the 
Christian having been brought home early loses the opportunity to do good works 
previously prepared for each Christian by the Father (cf. Eph. 2:10). Paul did not fear 
physical death and stated in light of the believers’ works being judged at the bema seat of 

“We are confident, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body, and to be 
present with the Lord. Wherefore we aspire, that, whether present or absent, we may 
be well-pleasing to Him.” (II Cor. 5:8-9) 

Chastening is a gracious thing from God and something that, when properly responded to, 

will move the Christian towards living within the gracious provisions from God. 

C.) Death and the Christian – The Ugly 

The Potential for the Christian to be separated from his Resurrection Life 

In the 7th chapter of the book of Romans Paul recorded that he had been alive once without law, 
but when the commandment came the sin revived and he “died” (Rom 7:9). How did he die? 
He certainly wasn’t talking about physical death. As we have already seen, for the believer 
spiritual death has been permanently dealt with. What does the context indicate that he was 
separated from? If we go back to the 6th chapter we see that the believer has the potential to 
walk in newness of life. This newness of life is resurrection life. 

“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as 
Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk 
in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:4) 

The believer having been baptized into Christ and His death will be in the likeness of His 
resurrection in the future (cf. Rom 6:5, 6:8; 1 Jn. 3:2). In Christ the believer has died with 
Christ and has resurrection life because he is in the Resurrected One. The believer can live 
apart from the sin nature and live resurrection life now as he counts what God reckons to be so. 

“Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto the sin (nature), but alive unto 
God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:11) 

In Christ the believer is no longer left to his own strength to try to manage the sin nature 
through law principles. He already has the victory positionally in that he has died to the sin 
nature in Christ (Rom. 6:2). The Christian can reckon that positional truth so by not responding 
to a temptation from the sin nature with a law principle. A dead man does not respond. The 
believer can then count themselves as alive out from dead ones by setting his reflective 
thinking on things above: 

“Since ye then be co-risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where 
(the) Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your reflective thinking on things 
above, not on things on the earth; for you have died and your life is hidden with (the) 
Christ in God.” (Col. 3:1-3) 


The “things above” in this context are things related to one’s position in Christ and the truths 
associated with it. The “life” in verse 3 is a reference to resurrection life by context. By setting 
one’s reflective thinking on things above the believer allows the Holy Spirit to take over the 
issue of a lust from the Flesh that has become a temptation and begins or continues to walk by 
the Spirit. When a saint is walking by the Spirit he never ever brings to completion the lust 
from the Sin Nature. 

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust from the flesh.” (Gal 5:16) 

By putting to death - by the Spirit - the practices of the body, which houses the sin nature, the 
Christian can live resurrection life. 

“For if you are living according to the flesh, you are about to die; but if by the Spirit you 
are putting to death the practices of the body, you will live.” (Rom.8:13) 

“Shall live” here implies more than just physical life, but resurrection life. Compare: 

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised 
Christ Jesus from the dead will also make alive your mortal bodies through His Spirit 
who indwells you.” (Rom. 8:11) 

By walking by the Spirit the Christian is having victory over the Sin Nature and allowing the 
Holy Spirit to be involved in the mental processes and taking the lead in the believer’s actions: 

“That the result of righteousness concerning the previous mentioned law (v.2 law of 
the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus) might be fulfilled by us, who are walking not according 
to or measured by the flesh, but according to or measured by the Spirit. For they that 
are according to or measured by the flesh do reflectively think the things from the flesh; 
but they that are according to or measured by the Spirit reflectively think the things from 
the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:4-5) 

The Holy Spirit will lead a believer to act in accordance with his position of privilege as a 
mature son: 

For as many as are being led by the Spirit of God, these are (present, active, indicative) 
sons of God. (Rom. 8:14) 


For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:26) 

All believers are sons in Christ Jesus, but not all Christians act like sons. Those being led by 
the Spirit are led to be reaching toward God’s opinion of who they are in Christ. 

Let’s return our attention to Romans seven. Paul states that he was “alive apart from law once” 
(Rom 7:9). When was Paul alive apart from any quality of law? Certainly not when he was 
unsaved, for prior to regeneration and Spirit baptism man had only one alternative for dealing 
with his sin nature; self effort and some form of law principle. When we study the context and 
compare Scripture with Scripture we see that it was when Paul was living Resurrection life and 
being led by the Spirit that he was apart from law. Compare: 

“but if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under law.” (Gal 5:18) 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, 


faith, meekness, self-control: against such things there is no law.” (Gal.5:22-23) 
Paul was dead to the sin nature, living Resurrection life and being led by the Spirit when he 
was alive apart from law. He continues, “but when the commandment came the sin (nature) 
revived” (Rom. 7:9b). Paul had counted himself dead to the sin nature so in essence the sin 
nature was dead to him, but when Paul declared himself alive to the sin nature by using a 
commandment or negative law in response to a lust that had become a temptation14 rather than 
reckoning himself dead to it, the sin nature revived. It came back to life again and Paul says 
“and I on my part died” (Rom. 7:9c). Paul was separated from living Resurrection Life because 
he was no longer counting himself dead to the sin nature. He had tried to deal with it in his 
own strength. 

In the book of Philippians Paul had stated that he desired to be found in Christ “not having my 
own righteousness, which is out from law” (Phil. 3:9). His desire was to have a righteousness 
“which is out from God based on faith” (Phil 3:9) so that he might experientially know Christ 
and the power of His resurrection, “being conformed to His death” (Phil 3:10). As soon as Paul 
used a law principle in an attempt to deal with a lust from the sin nature he set aside one of the 
gracious provisions related to his death in Christ and was essentially attempting to earn his own 

Prior to becoming a Christian Paul was under the Mosaic Law as a way of life (cf. Phil 3:5-6). 
Once baptized into the Body of Christ, Paul was separated from the Law positionally in order 
that he might bear fruit to God. Because of the wickedness of the sin nature, the Law 
stimulated the sin nature to bring forth fruit to death. 

“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made dead to the Law through the body of 
Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, 
that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh the passions of the 
sins, which were by the law, were at work in our members to bring forth fruit to death;” 
(Rom. 7:4-5) 

The problem was not with the Law itself, but with the sin nature. The Law was never intended 
to make someone righteous before God. 

“because out from the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through 
the Law comes the full experiential knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20) 

In Christ the Christian has positional righteousness (cf. 1 Cor. 1:30, II Cor. 5:21) and is 
declared righteous from the sin nature; 

“For the one having died has been declared righteous from the sin (nature)” (Rom 6:7). 

Responding to the sin nature with a law principle is to ignore one’s provision in Christ and to 
revert to the only option an individual had when they were counted to be in Adam. 

“Knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, 
for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and 
murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for homosexuals, for kidnappers, 
for liars, for perjurers, and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine;” 
(1 Tim. 1:9,10) 

14 Cf. James 1:14-15 


The believer’s old position in Adam was co-crucified so that the sin nature might be rendered 

“knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him, that the body of the sin 
might be rendered inoperative, that we should no longer serve the sin (nature).” (Rom. 6:6) 

Having been freed from serving the sin nature in Christ the believer can serve by newness of 

“But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were 
bound, so that we serve by newness from the Spirit and not by oldness of the letter.” (Rom. 7:6) 

Paul learned experientially about the sin nature through law (Rom. 7:7); that the sin nature 
would take opportunity through the commandment (Thou shalt not covet cf. Exo. 20:17) to 
produce every lust (Rom. 7:8). He learned that the commandment, which was for life, to him it 
brought about death (Rom 7:10). This wasn’t physical death or spiritual death, but separation 
from living his Resurrection Life. Paul explains that the sin nature, gaining a point of attack 
through the commandment, thoroughly deceived15 him and through it killed him (Rom 7:11). 
Paul explains that the law is righteous and holy and good (Heb. 7:12). The problem isn’t with 
the law or the commandment, but with the sin nature and this just demonstrates how surpassing 
sinful it is (Rom. 7:13). He had been counting himself dead to the sin nature and alive to God 
(cf. Rom 6:11), living Resurrection Life, and now found himself separated from living his 
Resurrection Life and alive to the sin nature. Paul declares himself carnal; 

“For, on the one hand, I16 intuitively know that the law is spiritual: but on the other hand, 
I on my part am carnal, having been sold under the sin (nature).” (Rom. 7:14) 

Paul, now alive to the Sin nature, is carnal. The following verses describe the conflict of the 
old nature and the new nature with the old nature always winning when Paul was carnal (cf. 
Rom. 7:15-23). 

Paul expresses emotion with regard to the losing battle when he wrote; 

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out from the body of this death? “ 
(Rom. 7:24) 

Paul couldn’t do it on his own and needed help. Because of his new nature, Paul had desires to 
do good, but because he was pertaining to the sin nature he was taken captive by it and unable 
to do so. In the following verse Paul recognizes his deliverance and his responsibility; 

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself 
with my mind am serving a law (principle) of God, but on the other, with my flesh a law 

(principle) of sin.” (Rom. 7:25) 

“There is therefore now no condemnation to the ones who are in Christ Jesus. For 
the law (principle) of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law 
(principle) of the sin and of the death.” (Rom 8:1-2) 

In Christ the believer has resurrection life. Nothing can separate the believer from his position 
in Christ. Carnality though can separate the believer from living Resurrection Life when the 

15 exapatavw, cf. 2 Cor. 11:3 
16 Textual problem with Oi;;

damen being one word or two Oida and men 

provisions of grace are not appropriated properly. This is the death or separation that Paul 

experienced in the seventh chapter of Romans. This is not an attractive option for the Christian 

and something that can be avoided when one correctly appropriates the provisions of grace. 


The fall of Adam and mankind occurred through Adam’s disobedience to the will of God. When 
Adam trespassed he became corrupted with a sin nature resulting in spiritual death, or separation from 
God. Adam’s sin nature has been transmitted to all of mankind resulting in man being born spiritually 
dead. God imputes the whole human race to have sinned when Adam ate the fruit, bringing the penalty 
of physical death. 

Christ’s death as our substitute has dealt with every type of unrighteousness. In Christ the believer is 
counted to have participated in the Crosswork in the position of his Substitute. Through regeneration 
Christ indwells the believer, imparting eternal life and offsetting spiritual death. The believer’s 
physical death is no longer the result of Adamic sin guilt, but results from Christ’s turning the key. 

Premature physical death for the Christian is a possibility that can result from chastening. Separation 
from resurrection life can happen when one counts himself alive to the sin nature by responding to it 
with a law principle. 

To sum up: 

The Ugly: 
Separation from one’s resurrection life resulting in carnality – NOT PRETTY 

The Bad: 
Premature death through chastening resulting in the believer losing opportunities to do 
previously prepared good works – NOT GOOD 

The Good: 
Those in Christ have died with Christ. Christ in the believer nullifies spiritual death. 
Physical death can be looked forward to – GRACE!!! 

“We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with 
the Lord. Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” 
(2 Cor. 5:8-9) 

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am 
serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” (Rom. 7:25) 

"For through the law I died to the law, that I might live to God. 20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and 
it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in 
the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” (Gal 2:19-20)