The Point of Transition from Death to Life
The natural man observes life’s slow fade into the darkness of death. He endeavors to slow the hands of time for fear of his own demise. Like one who has slipped on the gravel mountainside — sliding downward toward the ledge with nothing to anchor himself — so is life unto death. Man’s hopeless declension is confirmed at every funeral. To the naked eye, no one in history has navigated an escape from the impending fall into the abyss.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the heralded message of the reversal of life leading to death (2 Tim 1:10). The natural man does not believe our report (Is 53:1). It is impossible for him to do so (Jn 10:26). He has no will or ability to comprehend so great a salvation. The move from death to life is the most contrary idea man has ever heard. It is inconceivable.
There is no void of evidence to this miracle, however. The dawn of the morning is supported by the spring of the year. Man himself awakens each day from the sleep of death. Still, he muses, “If only I had a sign…something to give me hope beyond this looming death.” He cannot see what God, through nature, has left obvious despite creation’s fall (2 Cor 4:4).
The preacher proclaims life from the dead. Dead men call him a fool (1 Cor 4:10). The preacher’s message grates on the natural man (1 Cor 1:23). He hears the preacher mocking him for his helpless plight. He does not have ears that can hear nor eyes that can see. He is lame to move on his own to counter his downward trajectory. Man must forsake his idolatrous relationship with the world and also forsake his religion. He loves both. He is a slave.
The natural man is further agitated when his aunt begins to echo the foolish preacher. Next, his sister falls prey to this charade that goes by the name, “Christianity.” The man now labors to crush this newly manifested hope in his relatives, who believe such chicanery. His attempts are futile at every family holiday. These Christians actually believe they have passed from death to life.
Death to life is an oxymoron. It is a sick joke, in the opinion of the unbeliever. The believer remains earnest in his faith, even playing the fool for Christ by telling others about this course reversal recorded in the Bible. Why is the Christian so adamant? The fact is he knows who he believes, and he is convinced because this reversal has happened to him, and he would be a liar if he denied what has happened to him. He is a witness wherever he goes (Acts 1:8).
True faith is unwavering faith because of its source. The deceived believe that faith originates in man’s free will. Self-generated faith is fake faith. It is empty of power. True faith is a gift of God (Eph 2:8–9). It is granted to the dead at the point they are transitioned to life (1 Cor 12:8–9; Phil 1:29).
The pinnacle of miracles in Jesus’ repertoire was raising the dead to life (Jn 11). Other miracles could be mimicked by illusion or magic, but resurrection was irrefutable. Death is convincing to the eyewitness. Life is so fragile that a couple of minutes with a corpse is all the necessary proof one needs to be a valid witness of death.
The first valid witness to the regenerated soul is the One who brought that soul to life (Jn 6:63). The life-giving Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 8:11). This same Spirit goes wherever He wants (Jn 3:1–8), to visit whomever He intends. Dead men have no will or ability to resist the One who brings them to life. Remember, dead men are dead…until they are raised from the dead.
The Bible teaches us that the natural man is dead…in his trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) and all people are conceived in sin (Ps 51:5). This means that all people are spiritually dead in relationship to God from conception (1 Cor 2:14). The dead soul is simply waiting for the animated circus of the body to join him in death (2 Cor 4:16–5:5). Conjoined in death for eternity, body and soul must both undergo a reversal, if it is God’s will (2 Pet 3:9).
The dead soul’s reversal is called, “regeneration.” The dead body’s reversal is called, “resurrection.” A day in the future has been fixed for the resurrection of all peoples’ bodies — some to judgment and some to glorious life (Jn 5:28–29; 1 Cor 15). In contrast with this universal human event of bodily resurrection is the personal event of the soul’s regeneration.
Man’s dead soul, from conception in his mother’s womb, remains in the status quo from eternity past to eternity future, unless God ordains the miraculous intervention of Spirit baptism (Mt 3:11; Acts 2:38; 10:45). In this event in time, appointed at the day of God’s own choosing and according to His sovereign will, the Spirit enters the soul of a person (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11). This is the point of transition from death to life.
God is glorified in raising the dead to life, in both resurrection of the body and regeneration of the soul. The two events in the life of each elect, redeemed saint are radical reversals. They both occur at points in time, and they are both life from the dead. Death to life is a glorious display of God’s sovereign love and power to bring about His eternal purpose, including the salvation of His chosen people, body and soul.
The beneficiaries of these two events live with the experience of their soul’s transition from death to life. Here is the reason for their collective hope in the resurrection to come (Acts 23:6; 24:15; Col 1:27; 1 Pet 1:3). This is a blessed hope, replete with blessed assurance, founded on one’s experience of having been dead and made alive already in his soul.
The Christian tells of the hope within him because he cannot deny that he was dead to the things of God in the Spirit, but the Spirit brought him and those things to life at the point of transition from death to life. The day of each soul’s regeneration anticipates the day of our bodily resurrection. Here is each Christian’s experience and hope in the glorious realm of death to life.
Spokane Valley, Washington
January 18, 2022