Why do people still die?

HeadstoneDeath is sin’s wage, so if sin has been dealt with at the cross, why do people still die? Good question!

I’ve seen sick people healed by the grace of God. I’ve seen deaf ears and blind eyes opened. But everyone still dies. Why is that? If Christ’s sacrifice undid Adam’s sin, why do people still die? If last Adam is greater than first Adam, why does death still take us all?

It’s a good question, but understand that it is an earthly question. It is shaped by our earthly point of view. Jesus had a different point of view:

Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (Joh 5:24)

Has crossed over. Past tense. It’s already happened. In Adam, we lived on death row. We were born into a dying race. But whoever believes in Jesus has crossed over from death row to new life in him.

Yet we still die. Since Jesus doesn’t lie, how do we reconcile his words of life with our bodies of death?

Some explain it by saying your spirit is saved but your body is not yet saved. I don’t see it that way. I don’t believe in partial salvations. When you were saved, you were made into a new person and the old has gone (2 Cor 5:17). The gift of salvation doesn’t come to us on the installment plan. Paul said, “The new has come.” Whatever salvation is, it has arrived. You are either saved or you need to be. You are either in the kingdom or out of it. You are either one with the Lord or separated from him.

Others say we die out of ignorance, that we’re actually supposed to be immortal here and now. “Christians aren’t ever supposed to die.” Well if that were true, where are the first century evangelists and apostles? Why aren’t we hearing from the apostles who weren’t martyred, like John?

(By the way, wouldn’t that be cool? “Hey guys, we have this 2000-year-old dude speaking at the Men’s Breakfast this Friday. Interested?”)

So if salvation doesn’t come in installments, and if we have already received every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3), why do we still die?

A tent, not a home

Think about what happened when you were born again. You repented and believed the good news with your whole heart. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, you came to see Jesus as he really is and you changed your unbelieving mind. This was no small miracle! One moment you were in the dark; the next you were in his wonderful light. One moment you were alienated from the Source of Life; the next your spirit became fused with his. This was a radical change and the implications are huge, as Jesus said. You crossed over. You became a new person. You changed.

But your body did not change.

Here’s the point: You are not your body. Your body is an earthsuit which you wear for a time but which wears out and will eventually need replacing.

If you have ever been camping, you will know the difference between a tent and a home. A tent is a temporary dwelling place while your home is your permanent dwelling place. Your physical body is a tent. It is a temporary habitation useful for this brief camping trip called earthly life. However, it is not your permanent home.

While he walked this earth, Jesus wore an earthsuit like everybody else, but he’s not wearing one now. He doesn’t need one. He has something better. When he returns we shall see him as he really is. And wonder of wonders, we shall be like him (1 John 3:2).

In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (1 Cor 15:52-53)

The New Testament writers all understood that our physical bodies are temporary while we are eternal beings who live forever. Like garments that wear out, our bodies will one day need to be replaced and Paul says the change will happen instantly, in the twinkling of an eye. The older and more worn out my body gets, the more I look forward to that sudden change!

Two kings, two bodies

Thanks to King Adam’s regrettable choice, nearly everything in this world operates under the law of sin and death (Rom 5:12). That includes your body but it does not include you (see Rom 8:2). Remember, you are not your body and, like Christ, you are not of this world (John 8:23, Php 3:20):

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Php 3:20-21)

The Greek word for “lowly” stems from a word that means to depress or humiliate. Paul is saying, our earthly bodies are depressing. They’re humiliating. (If you don’t believe this, just wait!) But our new bodies will be as glorious as Christ’s body – they will be strikingly beautiful. That sounds good to me!

Don’t think for one minute that I’m one of those people trying to escape this rotten planet. I’m not. I love it here and I’ve got a fulfilling job to do (the Great Commission, remember?). The Good News is not “we’ve got a ticket on the heavenly-bound life-boat,” but that Christ is our life. Eternal life is knowing him and I am escaping to that reality, which is here and now.

So, two take-aways:

(i)    We have a glorious new body to look forward to, one that will never wear out or suffer arthritis or get fat, wrinkled, and decrepit.
(ii)    Thanks to King Jesus, we have already left death row. Death no longer has the last word.

Don’t fear Marvell’s chariot

Andrew Marvell may be conscious of “time’s winged chariot hurrying near,” coming to take him to the beauty-less deserts of eternity, but we need not fear what he fears. For those who are in Christ, death is but a changing room where we shrug off the mortal coil and are clothed in incorruptible glory.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:54-55)

If you are in Christ, then Jesus has already made you new. But understand that the Great King is in the business of making all things new (Rev 21:5).

Healings are wonderful – they give us a taste of heaven-on-earth – but they are little more than repair jobs for tents. Eventually, your tent is going to reach the point where it can’t be fixed or stitched back together. That’s natural and not to be feared. Some things in this world can’t be mended.

But the good news is that Jesus is the Great Redeemer who is making everything new. This is why we can look forward to a new heavenly earth, the home of righteousness (2 Pet 3:13), and a new body in which to enjoy it.


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37 Comments on Why do people still die?

  1. I love the tent analogy. It works for me on so many levels, and is so easy to remember. A great picture of the contrast between my state now, and the much better things to come!

  2. Nobody in the Charismatic world teaches this. As a 1987 Rhema graduate, I was always told “Healing is in the Atonement.” Not one person on this earth has been able to satisfactorily present a case for the healing doctrine that makes sense. Every teaching I have ever heard was nothing more than an “excuse” for the inconsistencies, mystery deaths of great people, colds, fevers, wearing glasses, etc.

    I just for the life of me don’t know why people cannot say “I have no idea.”

    • Squawks 5000 // November 7, 2018 at 1:59 pm // Reply

      I know! In a world with focus on reason (from the Enlightenment), people want clear-cut answers and explanations. However, I (and even veteran Christ-followers) have questions with no clear-cut answers. Also, when God met Job in Job 38-41, God says that we don’t have all the information to explain everything (in fact, there’s a branch of science called “chaos theory” that says the same thing).

      Even in a reason-based world, we still have to do some trust without complete information. For instance, when I get a new videogame, I have to trust that the creators make a good game. Even with review sites, I have to trust that their claims are accurate. I’ve trusted video game quality before, so I can trust without necessarily having all the knowledge. In the case of God, I can trust him via experience and witness reports.

      We can do our best to answer questions, but in the end, we’ll be unable to answer every question because God’s creation is way more complex than science can understand, but that doesn’t mean we can’t trust God.

  3. Thanks Paul this is a great post and has answered things I didnt know how to answer.

  4. great read. want to also add that the bible says death is the last enemy to b defeated.

  5. Insight into death is only found in the true revelation of what death and life is. We are conditioned to believe we live now and will one day die . The truth is that we are all dead and exist in a state of grace this grace gives us time to find life through more grace ,grace upon grace. When we believe the lie about life and death we find it difficult to leave the trappings of this life ,it is like death to us. When we find true life through grace we should realize that we are dead and live for the true life Jesus is that life. the trappings of this world (sickness,etc ) have less of a hold on us and by faith we may even find release from them.We need to renew our minds by meditating on the true life.
    Adam and Eve left the garden with a loving Gods grace, they did not leave with true life.

  6. My wife asked me this and i said, “Good question… I don’t know the answer” i was tempted to say you body is not save but your spirit is but I feel so uncomfortable with it so I just said, “i don’t know”:) thanks for sharing Paul.

  7. I’ve heard as grace is more embraced, we can expect to see longer lifespans…and healthier lives. Abraham and Sarah defied natural law…Sarah was so hot she had kings desire her for their harems (one when she was 90!) I think grace affects our natural bodies, in undeserved ways. I’ve heard Joseph Prince discuss the verse that includes “with long life will I satisfy him”, and suggest that Jesus’ death paid for our satisfaction for life–we need not die before we are satisfied. He even indicated “and they that remain” might refer to an extremely long life. Dave Vaughan had a great point…why do we expect a limited lifespan AFTER the finished work but think people lived hundreds of years because their DNA was more holy? Shouldn’t we expect more? My barren sister-in-law had a baby at 41. (She had a prophecy in her 20s she would.) Grace at work?

  8. Hi, I think that your teachings of Grace is awesome and thanks for the posts. However I have some questions about the following scriptures like: Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. I looked up the word quicken and it actually means to give life.
    Also Hew 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Like if He tasted death why must I still die again.
    Then John 11: 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
    25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
    26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
    Verse 25 clears up the part that if we die in the after life we will live, but then verse 26 just takes it to the max, whoever lives and believes will not die, well we are living and believing so should we trust not to die.
    Could it be possible that we are in a time to believe God for this.

    • chrisvanrooyen // April 24, 2013 at 3:48 pm // Reply

      Hi Terry.
      Read Numbers 9 . I believe that we may have been celebrating the Passover defiled, but the second chance is still available, when we can celebrate completely clean in our minds. Yes I do believe we are in a time to believe God and when we do we will see God move in ways that will astound us.

    • Terry: AMEN! YESSSS!!!!
      It is time to believe His Word …. ALL OF IT! LITERALLY!!
      I am, and I care not what others think of my “childlike” faith 🙂
      “According to your faith be it unto you!”

  9. There is a reality that we are sharing in Christ’s suffering while we are in this ‘tent’ (Phil. 3:10 “10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,”).

    Death for us, because of our being in Christ, is actually a positive thing, because we leave behind our corrupted Adam-like flesh. The sting of death has been removed.

    Poverty was a curse, but now, through grace, even poverty serves God’s purposes.

    Consider the first verses of 2 Cor. 8., We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord,”

    Abundant grace resulted in extreme poverty and abundant generosity as a part of a severe test of affliction. So that, Christ became poor so that we could become rich, is actually the incentive for us to share our resources so that we could increase the livelihood of others. This doesn’t mean that God’s grace makes you materially rich, because the Macedonians received abudant grace and remained in extreme poverty. The result was abundant generosity.

  10. chrisvanrooyen // April 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm // Reply

    God is the God of the living and not the dead if you were to die he would stop being your God This will lead to a dilemma for those who do not believe.

  11. chrisvanrooyen // April 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm // Reply

    The disciples recognized Moses and Elijah,were they dead?
    The early believers were sure Romans 6;9 why should we doubt. .

  12. chrisvanrooyen // April 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm // Reply

    Why was satan fighting for Moses body and why did the angel Michael fight for it.

  13. chrisvanrooyen // April 22, 2013 at 10:08 am // Reply

    2 Kings 13;21 Even Elisha,s dead? body had the power of Resurrection.

    • Chris, are those responses to my post? I’m not sure I follow, because my point was that death is transitory; into more life. Like is someone prays for healing, (of cancer), and they die 3 weeks later as a believer, they are healed forever. It’s not a matter of whether we are healed by the atonement, but when we are healed. Death, in Paul’s terms, is gain because he gains Christ in a special unique way (See Phil. 1:18-23).

      • Hi not responses to your post but in general.
        If I were to respond I would say only this. Jesus promised that if we believe in him we will never die life cannot get any better than that. In many ways we agree on this and that is great.

  14. “While he walked this earth, Jesus wore an earthsuit like everybody else”.

    Yes that’s true, and I can’t recall where in the Bible that said Jesus was sick? He was tired, yes. He was asleep, yes. But fell sick, not once. Therefore we who live today by His grace, we can believe that we have the same body as what Jesus wore on earth. But then why can we still fell sick whereas we should have the same body like Jesus was on earth? The body that exist in natural world but actually lives in supernatural world because we have been saved, we have crossed over from the natural to the supernatural

    • chrisvanrooyen // June 30, 2013 at 7:21 am // Reply

      Hi Joshua
      you are supernatural you will never die if your faith is in Jesus and only him, why are you so worried about your body what you will eat what you will drink, how to sustain it, trust Jesus for it, he said he would give you a better one. Don,t worry, live life without fear you have nothing to fear.What is the worst thing that could happen you could die. I know that is a Lie.You are not your body anymore you are not dust.

    • chrisvanrooyen // June 30, 2013 at 7:26 am // Reply

      Hi Joshua
      Just to add if you are no longer dust and accept this through faith in Life,Jesus the devil has no longer any appetite for you, he only grovels in the dust.You are alive.

      • chrisvanrooyen // June 30, 2013 at 7:30 am //

        Hi Joshua please correct my punctuation a full stop after Jesus and a capital T in the. Don,t want to confuse people.Jesus is Life!

    • chrisvanrooyen // June 30, 2013 at 7:38 am // Reply

      Just to blabber on.The battle for us has already been won, why do we have such a huge problem believing it . Yes we are in spiritual warfare but not for us for those who are dead.

      • Hi Chris,
        Hopefully you will still be alerted to this interaction so long after the initial post.
        Why do you think some people are not made well from a physical sickess either by recieving new life, being physically healed or both?
        How do we know when death comes as a result from wear and tear on the earth suit and when is it something that if conditions are right could have been successfully opposed?
        If this distinction between the 2 situations in which death ocurrs is valid could we and should we by sensitivity to the Spirit be able to discern the difference or should we always be praying and believing for another’s healing if that is what they themselves desire?
        Excuse the barrage of questions.

      • Another question is; why are some people physically healed anyway?
        Is it simply a sign demonstrating and making more attractive God’s reality, power and love or is it an expectation that His children should contend for?
        Thank you.
        Grace and peace.

  15. I am thoroughly enjoying this conversation. Thank you so much Brother Paul for your insights and depth in the Word. Your posts have been blessing me immensely. I am kind of nicely hooked now. I have been pondering and studying the subject of immortality for a while now. I cannot help but come to certain conclusions based on a few things that I have seen in the Word.
    1. I totally agree with Terry that immortality is a reality and one of the benefits of Jesus Sacrifice on the Cross and we need to NOW release our faith and reach out (believe) for it. Just like all the benefits of grace and redemption (eg salvation, healing, financial prosperity, peace etc), we need to release our faith and believe for them to become a reality in our experience. If we do not reach out by faith, it will remain only “theories” on the pages of the bible.
    2. Jesus said he came that we may have Life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10). The word “life” is Zoe which is the life of God. I wonder why we have only so far appropriated “Zoe” for our Spirits only and not our souls and bodies. When we extend the influence of ZOE into our body, ZOE will swallow up every element of death, starting with sickness and diseases and eventually “mortality” itself. I believe this is the next level of the body of Christ and a natural extension of our deeper understanding of the grace message .
    3. 1 John 4:17: “…as He is so are we in this world”. The verse did not say as He “was” but as He “IS”. He is in a state of immortality right now, so are we!!! If only we can believe it. All things are possible to him that believes.
    4. There are only 3 causes of physical death in humans: aging, disease, physical trauma. A deep and closer study of Psalm 103: 1 – 5 reveals that all 3 causes of physical death in humans have been very well taken care of in Redemption and are now listed as our “benefits”…

  16. Hi Lewis to answer your question ,it is not just something we should contend for it is something we should believe. We should believe that every person in Jesus is eternal, holy, and whole. We walk by faith and not by sight, not sometimes,
    allways in all situations.

  17. Thank you Chris,
    But why do think some people get healed and others don’t?

    • Hi Lewis your question is self defeating , as I believe all are healed.But if you are asking why we are sometimes allowed to see it.It has to do with faith and I would answer with a question. Is it great faith to believe without seeing, or to believe when we see, think of Jesus,s words to Thomas.

      • Thanks Chris,
        I understand that anyone born again is healed.
        I also understand that being born again is the biggest move we make to healing.
        I was referring primarily, as you suggest, to physical healing. So the question is are there2 types of situation; one where the body just wears out and has to come and others where physical healing is INEVITABLE if the conditions are right? A
        I guess what I am trying to say is when someone who is born again does not get healed is it because of some deficiency on their part or on the part of the intercession of others.
        I hope this clarifies my questioning.

    • The roman soldier who’s son was healed had great faith but understand what he said. The kings mind was already made up. It was not made by the messengers it was already in effect, the messangers only needed to deliver the message.this is my view. Hope it in some way blesses you. Grace to you..

  18. If I may, here are my musings on how this ties to the proclamation of Kingdom of God is among us.

    In the Kingdom of God is the liberating truth that “I shall fear no evil”. Death has lost its sting. Death has been swallowed up in life, and yest there is a life to be lived in the Spirit right now!!

    Yes the Spirit gives life to my mortal body, and the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. I am so blessed to live in this – and so I must be honest with myself and others. Sin does dwell – though defeated – within my flesh (see Romans 7). I see in my flesh an un-free will, and I groan, eagerly awaiting the redemption of my body. I groan, not because I lack faith, but because while I am in this flesh-tent I am not home with the Lord in my redeemed body. To paraphrase C S Lewis, God does not know us as a body with a soul, he knows us as a soul with a body.

    I am not saying that God does not heal now. He does!! But healing as an act of mercy in one place and one time – is not like the free gift of grace and righteousness, the eternal life that abounds to many through Jesus Christ.

    If God does not heal my flesh, I am nevertheless securely in His unconditional love. For on the cross, in love Jesus condemned my sin in in his body, taking my punishment and wrath, thus making me holy and acceptable, and beloved by God as a free gift of grace through faith.

    I am not saying that we accept the dominion of sin and evil, or that sin shall reign over us. I am saying that despite evil, and the decay of our bodies, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

    Our beloved brothers and sisters who have been granted the gift of healing, will themselves one day die, unless the Lord returns. So as they profess healing, it’s OK to see that their bodies are in decay – they are no longer 22. As they experience healings, it is gift of love bestowed by a merciful God. And if they pray for healing or anti-aging for themselves, unless the Lord returns, one day God will not answer that healing prayer and they will be separated from their fleshly body and be taken home.

    This is not a morbid thought; rather this is freedom and love and grace in truth. Because one day there will be no need for healing, but the fact that we still need healing means that ministry occurs in the place which is not our home.

  19. Psalm 103:2-5 – Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not ALL his benefits, who forgives ALL your iniquity, who heals ALL your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your YOUTH IS RENEWED like the eagle’s.

    If we take God literally…YES, we can expect healing for each and every sickness and restoration of youthfulness (Caleb, Sarah, etc.). Forget not ALL HIS BENEFITS. Does He forgive ALL our iniquities? YES! In the same word, same sentence, He heals ALL OUR DISEASES!

    P.S. This was a promise under the Old Covenant…how much more is this true under the new and BETTER Covenant by GRACE?

    B E L I E V E. H I S. W O R D!!

  20. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

    I believe Paul could have decided to live on, but he decided to end his life here because he felt his mission was complete.

    If Christ is in us, we have the life. Why surrender to death when the life of Jesus is in us? Our natural body surely is as it is, mortal, until we are glorified, but if an injured body part can be healed or missing part can be recreated, the divine life is also possible. Ever thought this could be one of the greater things we could do?

  21. This world is not my home I’m just passing through.
    Healings are gifts of mercy. Certainly they cause people to believe in the Gosple!
    This all makes sense except I still ask
    Yet why did Jesus do so many miraculous healings and then the apostles seemed to slow down in Acts. Then we see them in prison and there seems to be less and less healings in the early disciples after a few generations. What happened? Were there still healings? I see that gnostic doctrines entered and took hold of the “church” in the first few centuries. Were the disciples told that healing was no longer possible or what? Why was there centuries with a lack of miracles or healings? Or were they just not recorded? Any one have an idea?

  22. I am following this post because it refers to a confounding issue I have been trying to understand and come to terms with myself. How can I claim the promise to keep living here on earth in my body until Jesus returns as seems to be promised in the Scriptures (John 11:26, Romans 8:11, Psalm 103:5, John 6:51, 58)? Are we to literally take these Scriptures at face value and believe it possible that we actually WILL NOT DIE until Jesus returns when we receive our glorified body??? Jesus said, “Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, WILL NEVER DIE.” (John 6:49-50) How can we understand and experience this??? I personally have been receiving Communion as often as I can (daily when possible) and claiming in faith this Word from Christ’s own lips. Am I being presumptuous? I sure hope I’m not misunderstanding or misinterpreting Scripture (that is obviously very clear about this subject).

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