Very early in theological investigation we encounter the notion of spiritual death. We come to understand that there is a death beyond death, a death after death, and the one which, to borrow a television term, is the “true death”. The spiritual death is one from which you will not recover, if you do not recover from it before physical death arrives.
Simplistically, we come into this life seeing the immediate creation, the physical one with all its beauty. Later, we come into the knowledge that we all die, that this creation is subject to decay, that even the mountains get worn down and nothing is impervious to the ravages of time. Perhaps in that transition from childhood to adulthood, we spiritually die. Paul said, Once I was alive apart from law….but then came knowledge of good and evil… and I died. paraphrase
Progression leads to the understanding that people are “spiritually” dead even while they are physically alive. The promise of Jesus that “you will never die” becomes confused between two deaths. The word also says there are two deaths when it speaks of the second death. When He takes death, “tastes” death for everyone, which death are we talking about? His words that the flesh counts for nothing, it is the Spirit that matters, indicate that, as usual, we are seeing things from the wrong perspective.
Yes this is a wonderful physical creation, but it is fundamentally flawed. Behind the scenes lies the intended purpose and ultimate intention and divine pattern and ultimate perfection of God’s creation. It is this creation that Jesus speaks of when He mentions that which is to us “spiritual”, but which is to Him “actual” reality. When He speaks of death, He means ultimate death, true death. This present creation is only that from which the real creation will emerge. [ultimate transformation, part destruction]
Physical creation represents that divine perfect pattern which God is creating. Yet it is not, in itself, the final product. The creation is continuing and is building by those of faith being added because of their faith in the WORD of God. The physical creation is just a staging ground for those who will believe and put their trust in Him.
So the reality that Jesus talks about is what we call spiritual. When He says we will never die, that is absolutely correct. He adjusts his words by saying “but if he does die, yet shall he live” (resurrection) and, “he will never SEE death”. (will never be consciously separated from Him). These words address the physical aspects of the current creation. Theology causes us to segregate these various aspects so as to examine them, but the reality is that we are to take things at face value, and especially as we see the way people like Paul respond to such words.
Other than for reason of hope and faith growth because of the promise, our present situation demands we look at our current physical life span as being that which is real to us in terms of our response to the gospel. The gospel makes its appeal to us NOW and it is NOW that we must respond to it. The aspect of judgment should be in the NOW because it will be too late THEN.
We are to be children of the promise of the life that is to come, but the reality of this is to be proved in this current life, this current physical creation. It is here that the promise takes hold, takes effect. We are to display the fullness of the ultimate creation NOW, in sure hope of the fulfillment of the promise, whose fullness came with the coming of Christ and His legacy of the Spirit, which we have inherited through Him. He is the way, the truth, the life, and the resurrection, which is the fulfillment of all creation.
[acceptance of his] Victory over death is a necessary prerequisite of this new life. We must exhibit full new creation life in order to claim the prize of being one of His citizens. Representatives of His new creation even while we are still presently situated in the old. The grave has no claim on us. EVER.
[The second death and judgement are simply the confirmation of the death we are in and the judgement we have refused that would otherwise have released us from it] [It confirms the outcome of this present creation][also confirms the true life that believers have displayed][The beauty of this current creation is also in itself a promise of that which is to come for those who believe][Because of Jesus, the grave no longer has claim over ANYBODY, it just claims it does, don’t believe it]