Your word is a lamp
for my feet and a light
for my path.
Psalms 119:105

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Are you saved? is a question that Christians commonly ask. But before we ask this question, we should first seek the answer to another important question -- Saved from what?

As Christians, we must look to the Bible to find the only truthful answer to this and all spiritual questions. Where, then, do we start? The most logical place would be the beginning.

Genesis, which means beginnings, records the creation and fall of man. We read in Genesis 1:27, 31 that man was made in God's image. He was made "very good," or perfect. He was an earthly image of his creator, who is a spirit being.

Adam was made of the elements of the earth. (His body was formed first, but it was without life.) Then God "breathed" into his nostrils the breath of life. (God animated or brought Adam's lifeless body to life.) "And man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7).

Notice that man became a living soul and not that he has a living soul. This word "soul" comes from the Hebrew word "nephesh," which simply means a breathing creature. The lower animals (cattle, asses, sheep) are also breathing creatures or souls yet unlike man, they have not been created in God's image..

What was to be the result of man's disobedience to this clear command of his creator? "FOR IN THE DAY THAT THOU EATEST THEREOF THOU SHALT SURELY DIE." This plain statement of Scripture also demonstrates to us that man was created a free moral agent. In other words, he was given freedom of choice.

What was man's choice? He chose disobedience. What was the result of this original sin? (Gen. 3:17-19) ". . . in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground . . ."

Though the penalty for sin was clearly stated to man and the sentence (death) was carried out justly by God, mankind has found this plain truth concerning the curse of death a very confusing issue. Why the confusion?

"The God of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of them which believe not" (2 Cor. 4:4). Yes, though the Scriptures plainly teach that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23) and "the soul that sinneth it shall die" (Ezk. 18:20), the world lies in darkness on this important point of truth.

Mankind has indeed been deceived. What have they believed? They have believed the first lie recorded in the Bible: (Gen. 3:4) "ye shall not surely die." These are the words of Satan. ". . . he is a liar, and the Father of it." (John 8:44) Yes, Satan deceived Eve with this first lie, and since that time, the world has believed the lie and is confused about this fundamental truth concerning the curse upon man.

Satan, in his effort to rule over man, has sought to malign God's character. He has indeed succeeded, making God out to be worse than himself and the whole host of demons. He has substituted the truth, "man shall surely die" (for sin), with the horrifying thought that man will be tormented for all eternity!

When we line up the Scriptures on this subject, what do we learn? God's plain statement concerning sin is "thou shalt surely die." Satan's lie to the contrary is "thou shalt not surely die." Who has the world believed? Who has the Christian believed? And, more importantly, what will you believe? Will you believe the truth found in the Bible, or will you believe the wisdom of men, who have been blinded by God's adversary, Satan?

Let us allow the Apostle Paul's words to instruct us concerning the curse upon man. (Rom. 5:12) "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

DEATH is indeed the curse upon the human race. Every hospital, funeral service, and graveyard reminds us of this fact. All flesh dies the same. Man dies like the beast. (Psa. 49:12, 20; Job 34:14, 15)

Now, some will say that death does not mean death because, they explain, after you die, you are more alive than you ever were. Let us hear the words of the wise man Solomon on the subject of death. (Ecc. 9:10) "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."

God will have all man to be saved! Jesus died a ransom for all! (See also 1 Jn. 2:2.)

After all men are saved from the curse of death by Jesus' ransom sacrifice, what is the next step in God's plan? (1 Tim. 2:4) ". . . saved and (then) come to a knowledge of the truth." Is the Apostle Paul confused here? Has he listed the sequence of events in the wrong order? Isn't man first given a knowledge of the truth and, by obedience to that knowledge, is then saved?

Again let us seek God's wisdom and not man's to answer these questions. (Read: Rom. 5:18, 19; 1 Cor. 15:21-23.) These verses indicated that all mankind who have been cursed to death will have a resurrection because of Jesus' sacrifice. All have been "justified to life" by "the free gift" (Jesus' death).

Are there other Scriptures that support a resurrection of all mankind? (Consider Jn. 5:28, 29.) Yes, all will come forth from the grave. These verses also divide mankind into two groups:

1. Those who have a resurrection of life (i.e. those who have gained life due to obedience to the knowledge of the truth given them during this age.)

2. Those who will have a resurrection of judgment (i.e. those who will be given a knowledge of the truth and will be judged worthy or unworthy of life, according to obedience or disobedience to this knowledge during this period of trial (judgment).

Many other verses support the resurrection of all mankind -- Acts 24:15; Dan. 12:2; 1 Tim. 4:10, etc.

Are there Scriptures that teach that man will be given the knowledge of the truth after death (i.e. in the resurrection)? Indeed! (See Isa. 11:9; 35:5; Jer. 31:34.) These are just a sampling of the prophetic Scriptures which point to a day in the future when the knowledge of God will be common to man so that he might receive a just, fair trial according to knowledge.

According to the Scriptures, we, the true church, were dead like the world because of Adam's sin. We have also been saved like the world, by Jesus' sacrifice. But unlike the world, we are on trial now, because we have been given a knowledge of the truth (Eph. 2:1; James 1:18). The remainder of mankind will receive her knowledge in the future; therefore, her trial will be future.

God's plan is the Gospel, or the good news, for all mankind. God indeed loved the world and sent His son to save the world (Jn. 3:16, 17). If faithful, the true Christian, who has been given a knowledge of the truth and is on trial now, will live and reign with Christ (Rev. 20:4). Who will he rule over during this thousand-year period? Resurrected mankind. This is the period referred to as "the times of restitution of all things" in Acts 3:19-21.

Yes, indeed, "the ransomed of the Lord shall return (Isa. 35:10) from death, from the grave. Our Lord will liberate the captives and open the prison (death) to those (all mankind) who are bound there (Isa. 61:1).

The Bible contains God's plan for man. It opens with the creation and fall of man. It closes with the restoring of man to his original condition: perfection. Yes, indeed, "The last enemy that will be destroyed is death" (Rev. 21:4). At that time there shall be "no more curse" (Rev. 22:3).

Praise be to God, the Savior of all men!