Blueletterbible.org (for looking up scripture references)
Lesson Four: The Reign of Spiritual Death (Pastor Barbara Caesar-Stephenson)
In our last lesson, we saw the entrance of spiritual death into the life of man. This explains the dominance and persistence of sin in its kingly sway over humanity. Man has become a partaker of Satanic Nature, spiritual death. The reign of spiritual death heads up in satan. Ephesians 2:1-5 reveals man’s condition of spiritual death, a child of wrath, his life ordered by Satan who has become the prince of the powers of the air. There is no logical reason for man’s response to intelligently organized sin, unless man’s nature and will are in fellowship with it.
The Father-God had made known His will to man. His will was for man to eat of the Tree of Life, to partake of His Nature.
There are three wills in the world: God’s will, Satan’s will and man’s will. Just as man is dependent upon God or Satan for his spiritual life, his will must also either be in harmony with God’s will or Satan’s.
Matthew 6:24 gives the New Testament explanation. A man cannot serve two masters at once. He will love one or the other. He will serve God or Satan. In the Garden, man refused God’s will. He sought his own will. However, in that Adam’s will chose to seek freedom from God – Adam’s will became bound to Satan’s will.
We now turn to studying the reign of Spiritual Death in the life of man – who was created in God’s image – and find the only solution to spiritually-dead man’s need.
The Reign of Spiritual Death Begins
The Dominion of Satan’s will over Adam’s began the moment Adam obeyed his voice. What a horrible awakening it is to man. Satan’s nature has breathed into his spirit.
- Ephesians 2:3 – Adam is now, by nature, a child of wrath (anger)
- Genesis 3:8-13 – He no longer responds to the call of God. Their fellowship has been broken. Man responds to the call of his new master Satan.
- Genesis 3:22-24 – Adam is an outlaw, an outcast from the garden, with no legal ground of approach to God: Genesis 3:24 “So He drove out the man, and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims and the flame of a sword which turned every way to keep the way of the Tree of Life.”
We have not realized the significance of Adam’s act from God’s perspective.
It would have been an unthinkable crime for the nature of God and the nature of Satan to have been united in one individual. Adam must not now have access to the Tree of Life as well.
- Genesis 4:8 – Spiritual Death now becomes a hideous reality to Adam. His first son murders his second, then lies about it afterwards. Two characteristics of Satan are manifested in the life of man. He is a murderer and a liar.
Adam is made to feel with keenness the effect of his treason. He has not only sinned against God, but also against the human race yet unborn.
- Genesis 4:26 – A little grandchild is born into the family and Adam names him Enosh. Enosh means mortal, frail, death-doomed, or Satan-ruled. He names his first grandchild in memory and bitter regret of his sin.
- Genesis 3:17-19 – At the rising of each sun, perfect beauty had gladdened man’s eyes; now he lifts them to devastation manifest everywhere. Worms, briars and thorns abound.
The Iron Will of Spiritual Death has breathed hatred into the nature of the animal kingdom. To the ears of Adam come discordant cries of malice and suffering; while before his eyes the carcasses of animals and insects lie rotting in the sun.
Adam himself grovels under the Iron Will of Satan. He finds that his nature is no longer in fellowship with God. He has lost love; his rest, joy and peace are gone.
Spiritual Death and the Birth of Reason
Spiritual Death caused man to cease walking in the realm of his spirit. Hitherto, man had walked in the Spirit realm with his Creator. His spirit had dominated and ruled. It had been the Faith Realm, the realm of Omnipotent power where faith spoke words into being and substance.
- Romans 4:17 – It was the realm of Him who called the things that are not, as though they were.
- Hebrew 11:3 – Adam had walked as the under-ruler of the One who had framed the worlds out of the things which are not, by faith in His word.
Now that man’s union with God is severed, man’s ability is severed from God’s ability. Man’s word is severed from God’s Word.
Man has fallen from the realm of God’s ability into the realm of human ability. In this realm man is dependent upon his own resources. The resources of man are limited to his mind and his body. The mind can derive its knowledge only through the senses of man’s physical body. The five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell become the doors and windows of his mind. Man forms his conception of the world and himself by means of these senses. He orders his life by what he sees, hears, feels, tastes and smells. The senses bring the material to the mind, and reason draws its own conclusions from the material of sensation: faith has died, the supernatural is lost and Reason is born.
- Romans 8: 1-11 – gives an exposition of the natural man in his walk and life ordered by the senses of his physical body.
- Romans 8:7 – “The mind of the flesh is enmity against God.” The mind of the flesh is composed of the deductions made from the material of sensation which the mind receives from the physical senses.
In other words, Reason, the product of man’s senses, has always been enmity towards the knowledge of God., faith, or any act that is above the realm of human ability. Civilization becomes a cultivation of the arts which please the senses. Regardless of how high man’s aims may be, he cannot rise above the level of his senses.
The walk in the spirit is lost. The cry of the spirit remains unanswered. At the dawn of human history, reason gains the supremacy.
Spiritual Death and Civilization
The history of the human race has been a revelation of I John 5:19, “The whole world lieth in the embrace of the evil one.”
Sin has ruled as a king in the realm of spiritual death, where man lives under the cruel Emperor Satan.
Every effort of man has failed to eradicate the power of sin. Education has failed. History confesses that every rise in civilization has been accompanied by a decline in morals.
War has dominated in every period of the life of every nation, destroying the youth and strength of humanity. It has brought untold suffering to man. It’s cruelty is but a manifestation of Satanic Dominion at work in its destruction of man. Man has been unable to strike at the root and the cause of sin, sickness and death. Death is the supreme problem that all men at all periods have faced. It casts its shadow upon every happiness born in the senses of man.
Man, lying in the embrace of Satan, cries in agony against his vain struggle which only ends in a hopeless death and doom. Despite the blighting curse, creation teems with marks of beauty and harmony. The marks and designs of an intelligent Creator are yet made manifest. Yet man can see no reason for his short span of life between birth and hopeless death. He is born to die; he brings no joy to himself nor his Creator. His spirit hungers for God, but he cannot find Him.
His reason concludes that his Creator is not a God of Love; therefore, he rejects the revelation of a Father-God.
A scientist, expressing the sentiment of the age, in contemplating the life of man, said, “The God of the Christians is not a God of love; the Sisters of Charity are kinder than He.”
Man, blinded by his spiritual father Satan, does not know that at the dawn of human history, Satan, the enemy of God, became the ruler of this world. He does not know that by the trespass of the one, death seized the Sovereignty.
Spiritual Death, the nature of Satan, is the soil out of which has grown sin, sickness, physical death, and every sorrow that has darkened the life of God’s man.
Man’s Need for Eternal Life
Ephesians 4:17-18 gives a picture of humanity as a result of the entrance of Spiritual death into the life of Adam. (See also Romans 5:12). Man is alienated from the life of God. He is walking in the Realm of Reason, in the vanity of his mind, and that mind is darkened and blinded by indwelling spiritual death.
Now man is utterly helpless to redeem himself by his own efforts from his condition. After Adam had obeyed Satan, bringing himself and his authority under Satanic subjection, he had no authority to free himself from that condition. As far as human efforts were concerned, one man had sealed the fate of the human race (I Corinthians 15:22) .
No single man could ever redeem humanity, for every man was under Satanic dominion. If man were ever to be Redeemed, someone greater than Satan must undertake on Man’s behalf. God, Himself, must redeem humanity.
This Redemption demands more than that God merely forgive the sins of man. Although God should forgive the sin of Adam and of all men, man’s Redemption would not be touched. The power and authority of sin over the life of man would still remain. It would be necessary for man to be continually granted forgiveness for his sins. Such was the condition of Israel.
- Hebrews 10:11 – Every high priest stood daily ministering and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices for the sins of Israel. God’s covenant people were still spiritually dead, and needed continual forgiveness for sins which were the outgrowth of that condition.
- Hebrews 10:3 – There was continual remembrance in the mind of God of Israel’s condition of spiritual death. Forgiveness of sins alone would not break the relationship that existed between man and his spiritual father Satan. It would not grant fellowship between God and man, or allow the Father-God to make His home with man.
Redemption must be more than forgiveness.
Redemption must be the giving of a New Nature – a New Life – to man.
Redemption required a New Creation in the spirit of man. Man’s need can only be met by his receiving the nature of God within his spirit.
First spiritual death must be absolutely destroyed in the life of man. The nature of Satan must be completely eradicated from man’s nature, so that he can stand as free from Satanic authority as though he had never died spiritually.
- Romans 6:6 – The body of sin, spiritual death, must be done away.
- Colossians 1:13 – Man must be delivered from the authority of Satan.
- Hebrews 2:14 – Satan, who reigns in the realm of death, must be dethroned from his position as Lord of man.
- Hebrews 2:15 – Man must be delivered from every and any fear of his old master who had held him in bondage. Then man will be free to receive the Life of God.
- Genesis 3:24 – We remember that God had driven man from the Garden of Eden, so that man would no longer have access to the Tree of Life, the Nature of God, but God cannot impart His own Nature to man until He first makes it legally possible for man to be freed from the nature of Satan.
We see that forgiveness on the part of God, and reformation or education on the part of man, would not strike at the root of sin, spiritual death.
Just as Adam had been born again into the Satanic nature when he sinned, man _ who is now by nature a child of wrath, must be born again, born of the life of God (John 3:7).
The Nature of God will give to man the ability to walk with the Father as Christ walked with Him.
Jesus Christ although tempted by Satan, was able to walk absolutely in the Father’s will pleasing Him. (Read Luke 3:22 and John 5:30).
This was due to the fact that He did not belong to the realm of spiritual death, but possessed the Life of God. Eternal Life within the spirit of man today, makes him an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). The man who has been born again stands before the Father as Christ stood in His earth-walk, and has the same freedom from Satanic dominion, and ability to please the Father, as Christ had. (Read John 17:14-18; John 17:22-23 and I Corinthians 1:30). Eternal life will set man free from the law of disease (I Peter 2:24). Romans 8:11 is not referring to the Resurrection. The word “mortal” means “death doomed.” Therefore, the word “mortal” cannot refer to the condition of our bodies after death, for they are then no longer death-doomed, but destroyed by death, and await immortality at the second coming of Christ. Eternal Life dwelling within these bodies will give Life and healing to them now.
Man’s receiving of Eternal Life will make it possible for him to receive the spirit of God and for God to dwell in him (Read II Corinthians 6:16 and Ephesians 3:14-21). This brings man again into the realm of God’s ability, the realm where all things are possible (Matthew 17:2; 19:26). Man will be able to walk again in the realm of spirit – the faith-realm – where he lives by the word of God (Luke 4:4).
Eternal life will meet the need of man, and the heart cry of the Father for fellowship; but before Eternal life can be given to man, he must be declared righteous and God must have a legal right to take man from the family of Satan into His family.
- Name the three wills that are in the world.
- Explain Matthew 6:24
- Why was man driven from the Garden of Eden after he died spiritually?
- What incident reveals the working of spiritual death within the sons of Adam?
- Why did reason gain the supremacy over Faith?
- How does civilization reveal the fact that spiritual death dwells within the spirit of man?
- Explain why forgiveness for sins alone will not meet the need of lost man.
- Why must God Himself undertake for man’s Redemption?
- Why and how will Eternal Life meet man’s needs?
- Explain Romans 8:11
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