Question:

Hi,

From the topic of "The Thousand-Year Reign", you stated that baptism is the first resurrection. John also states that second death will not have an effect on those who take part in the first resurrection. Then does that mean all who were baptized will have eternal life? But what about those who are baptized but still live in sin? After all, there are people who are baptized but continue to follow their lusts.

Thanks in advance.

Answer:

"The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:5-6).

Those who partake of the first resurrection will not face the second death. Here is a phrase familiar to many Christians. The second death is defined later in Revelation 20. “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15). The second death is the condemnation to Hell at the Judgment. Notice that Revelation 20:15 describes who will not be a part of the second death – those whose name is found in the book of Life. In other words, children of God will not be a part of the second death, so they must be of those who partake of the first resurrection.

If Hell is the second death, a natural question is what then is the first death? “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). All men must face death. Except for those alive when Christ returns, we will all die one day. This is the first death and afterward, the Judgment will sentence some to a second death in Hell.

Now consider how people become Christians (or priests). “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6:3-6). Baptism then is a representation of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. All Christians participate in baptism; they die to their old life of sin and rise to a new life in Christ. This is what Paul alludes to Timothy, “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us” (II Timothy 2:11-12). Our death in baptism is our resurrection to life.

In Ephesians, Paul makes another allusion to baptism and the theme of death, resurrection, and reigning. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, ... But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1, 4-7). Therefore, becoming a Christian is the first resurrection when we rise up out of the waters of baptism to walk in a new life. Since Christians participate in the first resurrection, it is logical that they in their escape from sin should not join others in the second death.

Of course, if there is a first resurrection, then there must be a second one as well. We all know that the dead will rise at Jesus’ return. “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18). This resurrection is not limited only to the righteous. “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29). This is what Revelation 20:5 is referring to when it speaks of the rising of the rest of the dead. The wicked only experience one resurrection – their resurrection at Jesus’ coming so they may face judgment.

Now in regards to your question: Notice that John said, "Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:5). The phrase "who has a part in" is key. A person who is baptized but remains in his sin has not repented of his sins. He got wet but he wasn't converted. Repentance is required before being baptized. "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38). In the same way, a person who is converted but then returns to the world has left his part behind. As Jesus said, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).

Remember Revelation 20:15? Those who escape the second death are those whose names are found in the Book of Life. But a person's name can be removed from the Book of Life if they live in sin. Consider the church in Sardis who received a warning: "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels'" (Revelation 3:1-5). Some were not living as they ought. If they did not repent of their sins, their names would be removed from the Book of Life. If they die in that condition, they would face a second death.

Response:

Makes sense. Thanks.

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