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# 218

"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) So the apostle Paul expresses the consequence of sin. The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel agreed when he said, "The soul that sins shall die." (Ezekiel 18:20) These two passages, and others like them, connect inseparably death with sin.

But, what kind of death is this? Surely the subject is important enough to look into a little further. It must be admitted that there is more than one kind of death, for 1 Timothy 5:6 says, "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." "Death" means, literally, a "separation": James 2:26 says, "The body without the spirit (or, separated from the spirit) is dead;" and, "Faith without works (or, separated from works) is dead." Physical death occurs when the body and the t spirit within are separated. Sin brought this kind of death into the world; for "As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. "(Romans 5:12)

As a result of the sin of Adam, all of us must die physically—that is the "wages," or result, of that first sin so long ago. But sin also brings another kind of "separation," and so another kind of death: Habakkuk 1:13 tells us something of God's nature; that is, "your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong." Because of that, Isaiah 59:1-2 tells us that "The Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear." Our sin separates us from God, and this is a death far worse than physical death; this is a spiritual death. For this death does not happen because of Adam's sin, as physical death; this comes to us because of our own sin—that's why Ezekiel 18:20 says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." Of course, the worst news about this spiritual death is that, to die physically while in this state is to be eternally separated from God. Revelations 21 describes "the holy city, New Jerusalem," verse 2, a picture of heaven. Revelation 21:27 says of that city, where God and Christ are, that "There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worked abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." Revelations 22:15 continues, "Without (that city) are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Such is the consequence of sin in your life — it can keep you out of heaven. Does that seem rather extreme? Consider how God looks at sin: To Him, it is filthiness, Ephesians 5:4; it is a muddy hog-pen, Luke 15:15-16; it is vomit, 2 Peter 3:22. When we begin to look at sin as God sees it, we'll realize how serious it can be, and how dangerous to our souls; and we'll not wink at it nor tolerate it in our lives, or in the lives of others. And what's more, we'll finally appreciate fully the way out of the consequences of sin that God and Christ have made for us. With Paul, we will say, "0 Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:24-25) And we'll rejoice to read, Romans 8:1, that "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."