Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12—NKJV)

Though death is something we tend to ignore and avoid, certain times of the year bring its specter before us. Perhaps at the anniversary of the death of a spouse, or a visit to the grave of a parent, or it may be the inopportune urgency of attending the funeral of a dear friend that forces us to meditate on the seriousness and permanence of death. In the spring, the church remembers the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and for little wonder. It is His death which promises life for all who believe in Him. His death brings hope and victory over the dread enemy of mankind—impending and unavoidable death.

The cause of our death is fully portrayed in our text. Adam was the first man, our representative, and in him we all have our origin. Due to his sin of disobedience to the commandment of God, he doomed all of his progeny to the fate of death. God had said, “you shall surely die.” Death was not only a separation from Adam’s fellow men at the end of his natural days, but it was also spiritual death. All of mankind is born physically alive but spiritually separated from his Maker with no hope of eternal life, and in grave need of rescue.

The proof of that separation is found in that all men sin. Perhaps you will be able to identify sin in your life as we review some of the biblical illustrations of the nature of sin. Sin is a “missing of the mark” of God’s standard of righteousness. It is a “stepping across the line” of the moral boundaries proscribed by God. It is disobedience to His commandments (review the ten commandments, identify and own the ones you have broken). Sin occurs in word, thought, and deed. The Scriptures express that the unregenerated heart is not just sinning, but it is also sinful and incapable of doing anything that would merit favorable consideration from God. Quite literally, your sin is an extreme offense to the holiness of God, and has separated you by a chasm you cannot cross. Physical death is coming to meet you and eternal death in Hell is the just sentence for your sin.

The characteristics of death are described by Paul in what is often styled “the resurrection chapter” found in 1 Corinthians 15. With four terms he expresses the conditions we observe when we are confronted with the reality of physical death. The first term he uses is corruption (verse 42), being brought to a worse condition, decay, destruction. The second is dishonor (verse 43), a term illustrative of disgrace and ignominy because death is not a respecter of any man, but an equalizer of all. The third is weakness (verse 43), the state of strengthlessness and inability to do any action. The final word is natural (verse 44), illustrating the fact that a man who has not been born from above now resembles at death what has been his soul’s relationship with God all along—he has been, and continues to be, spiritually dead.

The sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, took upon Himself the sentence and penalty of sin on behalf of those who rest all their hope in His shed blood upon the cross of Calvary. He died so that He may give life to those who come to Him in faith. Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Revisit the previous paragraph which names the characteristics that describe your body at the point of death, and see if it does not describe your present, spiritual condition before the Almighty. Are you decaying inside, filled with disgrace, utterly incapable of holy merit, and spiritually separated from all that is holy? Can you see the impassable chasm which yawns between you and eternal favor with God?

There is One who has bridged that great gap and offers salvation, as Romans 6:23 declares. Confess your need and yield your life to the Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Trust Him for the rescue of your soul from Hell so that at your death you will pass from death to life eternal. Trust and obey.