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Posted by lealila at 8:10pm Aug 14 '05
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First of all, the fear and trembling bit. I don't think that "fear" is synonymous with "afraid." Rather, fear is to be understood as "reverance." We are to work out our salvation (work it out the finish) in reverance of God's work within us; recognize his power, and be awestruck.

And yes, fear is a horrible motivator. That's why we have grace; the new covenant. The Old Covenant (Ten Commandments) wasn't working because it required the strict obediance of God's people. They feared hell and everlasting torment, so they strived to remain in the covenant. They failed miserably time and again. Their fear of death relaxed, and they abandoned the convenant time and again.

The new covenant is motivated by Grace- God's riches at Christ's expense. Realizing we were not perfect, God established this new covenant with his people to assure them of his love and their salvation.

And now for the sin bit.

We start at the beginning. "Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, beacuse all sinned" (Rom. 5:12). This is original sin, the total corruption of the human nature that we inherit from our parents at birth. It is the ultimate birth defect. It is the reason we commit actual sins (slander, theft, idolatry, etc). It is also the reason all are condemned. Our very nature is tainted by sin. This is evident through sickness, genetic defects, imperfect vision, and death. Yes, death is proof that we are all sinful. "For the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). Not just physical death, but eternal death; hell.

When Christ came into the world, he came to destroy eternal death. And he did. "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22). He has destroyed the power of the devil; Satan must fully submit to God because of Christ. "I am the Living One [Christ]; I was death, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death of Hades" (Rev. 1:18). Christ has all authority over the devil.

So that brings us to your question, though I will put it in different words. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

"If God has conquered death and Satan, and has all control over Hades, why do people still sin? And, more startling, why do people die?"

First point to consider is free will. God has given us the freedom to reject his grace and salvation. We are free to turn away and sin. This is the path many follow, and this is why we still see sin.

It is also because, as Christians, we still have our old sinful nature clinging to our flesh. Why is this? Because the only thing that can rid of us it is death. Physical death. The sinful nature must still be punished, and it is punished through our physical death. Death is no longer something Christians must fear because it is merely a doorway to heaven. We cannot enter heaven until the Old Adam is completely drowned through death.

The reason sin and death apparently reign in this world is because Christ allows it. The final destruction of Satan has not yet occurred. "Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authroity and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death" (1 Cor. 15:24-26). At the end of time, Satan will be forever rendered powerless and will be punished for his own sinfulness. Then will come the final and eternal destrution of sin and death.

Until then, we must contend with Satan and his schemes, and the desires of our own sinful nature. We face death, but we have the hope of eternal life. Our death is not permenant, but merely a doorway to heaven where we shed our old clothes and recieve new garments of holiness and righteousness. We wait for the final destruction of sin and Satan, all the while certain of our salvation and place in heaven.

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