What Does It Mean to Be Spiritually Dead and Alive?

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When a young friend of mine became discouraged about the smallness of her love for God, I asked her, “Before you were saved, how much did it bother you that you didn’t love God?”

She laughed. “It didn’t bother me at all. I never even thought about Him.” She was in the night of the living dead. Like a zombie, never knowing that she was spiritually dead, when there was no response to God.

I’ve always heard of spiritual death described as “separation.” The argument runs:  “Just as physical death is the separation of the soul from the body, so spiritual death is the separation of the spirit from God.” Of course this is strictly true, but maybe when God talks in His Scriptures about spiritual death, maybe He’s primarily talking about unresponsiveness.

When ravens go after a dead body, why do they always attack the eyes first? They’re looking for a response. If there’s no response, they’re sure the creature is dead.

Abraham had to trust God to bring a son from his body, because he was “as good as dead.” What is that but lack of his body’s ability to respond?

You were unresponsive to the love of God in Christ. You were dead. But now, but now, sweet friend, you’ve come alive. You’re responding to the love of God. Take heart that the very fact that you feel concern that your response isn’t what you want it to be, that very fact is evidence that you have been made alive to His love for you.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were unresponsive to Him in sins, hath caused us to become responsive to Him, together with Christ.

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be unresponsive indeed unto sin, but responsive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Spiritual death? Unresponsive to God, being drawn unthinkingly, unseeingly, always in the direction of sin.

Full spiritual life? Responsive to God in awareness and joy; unresponsive to the attractions of sin. Doesn’t that sound like heaven on earth?

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it fully and abundantly.”

 Fully alive. Fully and completely responsive to Jesus Christ through the power of His Holy Spirit.

When my body parts (my “members”) begin to respond to temptation, begin to be pulled in the direction of sin, I can remind myself that I am dead, buried, raised, ascended, and seated with Christ, as Ephesians says. In faith, desperately dependent, I can stand on the truth of God that I am made new and have the power to refuse to respond to the siren calls of sin. I can trust that He will eventually make true in my experience that one day I will no longer feel any sort of response to that attraction. My spirit—and yes, even my body—can respond in joyful faith to the love of Jesus Christ in me, the Hope of Glory.

Yes, when I sin I’ll repent. But I’ll also remind myself that in the death and resurrection of Christ, I’m free from sin, as Romans 6 tells me. I don’t have to respond to sin. I don’t have to experience the night of the living dead.

Do you say, “God, make this true in my life”? But if you are in Christ, at least to some extent this is already true in your life. Believe Him, and stand on faith. Trust Him to make it more and more true in your experience.

“You have made me alive, Lord, you have made me responsive to Your love. Let me rest in Your love and continue to respond to it.”

This is not a love that has to be worked up through determination or disciplines. You are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.


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8 years ago

Hi I had an experience of what I felt, spiritual death. The spirit of my heart melted and died, I remember being angry and dispite knowing the consequences of blasphemy I spoke against the holy spirit then I felt myself die inside. Am I really dead?


[…] and OVER in the New Testament, and which I’ve blogged about here and here and here and here and here, among other places) I could perhaps have something to show for it that could be productive, at […]


[…] are new creations, dead to sin, and alive in Christ. […]


[…] Neither the Lord Jesus nor any of His followers who wrote the rest of the New Testament told Christians that they are to keep on perpetually dying. Instead, they clearly show that in the crucifixion of Christ the dying has already been done, and now we are called to life. […]

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