Archive

Archive for August, 2018

The Covenants-Chapter 2c-The Covenant of Works

The penalty of a violation of the covenant of works, next demands our attention.

All its blessings instantly cease. Transgression turns them all aside, and converts them into so many fountains of wretchedness and woe! And man, alas, became a. transgressor, and, incurred the penalty. The manner of this transgression is thus narrated in the sacred record:- “Now the, serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field, which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman; Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent; We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said; Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman; Ye shall not surely die, for Gad doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat” (Gen 3:1-6). The deed was done! The tempter triumphed. All was lost. The obligations of the covenant, and its curses alone remained. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Rom 5:11). Miserable and hopeless beings! How can they escape? The covenant provides no Mediator, nor any other method of restoration to the purity which is now lost. Between the blessing of obedience, and the curse of disobedience, there is no middle ground. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel xvii: 4). Nor does this inevitable result arise from a mere arbitrary decision on the part of God, but from the very nature of that justice, and holiness, and truth, without which the moral world would be but a horrid mass of confusion and destruction. The law of gravitation for example, is essential to the existence of the physical universe. Remove this law, and all the “fair fabric” we behold, would be instantly dissolved. Place yourself in opposition to this law, in itself so wise and benevolent, and you are in a moment crushed and destroyed by its force. So as to the laws of health. Obey them and all is well. Habitually violate them, and you destroy your life. Thus the covenant secured to our first parents, while obeyed, holiness, and happiness, and life. Transgressed, it overwhelmed them in guilt, and misery, and death.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 184

TO YOUNG PEOPLE

To [Young People at the Tabernacle].

PARIS, Jan. 16, 1874.

DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS, —

I have your welfare continually upon my heart, and therefore thought I would pen a few sentences to you. I was much encouraged by the prayerful attention and deep feeling which I saw last Monday in many of you. It filled me with great hope concerning you. I see that you desire to have your sins forgiven, and to escape from the wrath of God, and I am therefore rejoiced; but I pray God that the signs of grace may not end with these mere beginnings and desires. Buds are beautiful, but we cannot be satisfied with them; they are only good because blossoms often become fruit. Mere blooms on the trees, and no fruit, would be a mockery of expectation. May it not be so with you!

I am writing in my chamber in Paris at midnight. I could not sleep till I had said to you, — Put your whole trust in Jesus at once. All that you want of merit, He will give you; all that you need of help in the Heavenly life, He will bestow. Only believe Him. You who are saved, be sure to wrestle with God for the salvation of other young people, and try to make our new meeting a great means for good. You who are unawakened, we pray continually for you, for you are sleeping over hell’s mouth; I can see your danger, though you do not. It is therefore time for you to awake out of sleep. I send my earnest love to you all, praying that we may meet on earth in much happiness, and then at last in Heaven for ever.

Your anxious friend,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word: Ten Prophesies Fulfilled

August 29, 2018 4 comments

It is said there are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. Fulfilled prophesies are one of the great proofs that the Bible is God’s word. Here are but ten of them.

1 Betrayed by a friend. About 1000 years before it transpired, Psalm 41:9 prophesied the betrayal of Christ, “My own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, who did eat of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” This prophecy was fulfilled in Mark 14:10 -11 when Judas betrayed the Master.

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

2. Sold for thirty pieces of silver. About 500 years before it happened, Zechariah prophesied that Jesus would be sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zec 11:12). “Matthew 26:15 confirms that Judas was paid thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32), to betray Jesus.

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

3. Silent when accused. About 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah the prophet wrote of Him that “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so he opened his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7). Instead of trying to plead innocent, the prophet tells us Jesus remained silent when He was given a chance to defend Himself (Matthew 26:63).

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

4. Slapped and spit upon. Isaiah again gives, as it were, an eyewitness account of the brutal treatment of Christ. “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. Isaiah 50:6.

Mark 14:65 confirms that the Roman soldiers began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants struck him with the palms of their hands. What Isaiah wrote 700 years earlier had come true!

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

5. Hands and feet pierced. 1000 years before the crucifixion and 600 years before it (crucifixion) was invented, David prophetically declares the scene at the cross. He writes, “For dogs (Gentiles) have surrounded me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet (Psalm 22:16).

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

6. Mocked and insulted. “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him (Psalm 22:6-8).

And this is exactly what happened 1000 years or so later. Matthew 27: 39-40 informs us that the people watching the crucifixion yelled insults at Jesus. They mockingly demanded that if He was really the Son of God to call on His Father to rescue Him.

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

7. Soldiers cast lots for his garment. “They part my garments among them and cast lots upon my vesture” Psalm 22:18. According to Mark 15:24, this is precisely what transpired.

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

8. Not a bone is broken. About 1000 years before Jesus, David prophesied of Christ saying, “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” Psalm 34:20.

John 19:33 records that the Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves on either side, but when they came to Jesus, He was already dead, so they didn’t break His legs. This also points us to the Passover Lamb. Numbers 9:12 insists that as our Passover Lamb, none of Jesus’ bones were to be broken.

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

. 9. Buried in a rich man’s grave. 700 years before it happened, it was prophesied that Jesus was to be buried in a rich man’s grave (Isaiah 53:9). It is, therefore, of no surprise that a wealthy man, Joseph of Arimathea, buried Jesus in his own, newly carved tomb (Matthew 27:57-60).

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

10. His resurrection! Again, 1000 years before it happened Christ resurrection was prophesied. We read of this event when it says, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (the grave); neither will You allow your Holy One to see corruption (Psalm 16:10).

Jesus died and was buried, but, as prophesied, He wasn’t abandoned to the grave, and His body didn’t decay. According to Matthew 28:9, He came out of the grave, and He is alive forevermore!

These are but a few proofs that Jesus is who He says He is. He is the Lord God from Heaven come to seek and to save.

Trust Him as your sin-bearer and Saviour and you will never perish.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter X-Total Inability-5-The Representative Principle

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter X

Total Inability

5. THE REPRESENTATIVE PRINCIPLE

It is easy for us to understand how a person may act through a representative, The people of a state act in and through their representatives in the Legislature, If a country has a good president or king, all of the people share the good results; if a bad president or king, all suffer the consequences. In a very real sense parents stand representative for, and to a large extent decide the destinies of, their children. If the parents are wise, virtuous, thrifty, the children reap the blessings; but if they are indolent and immoral the children suffer. In a thousand ways the well-being of individuals is conditioned by the acts of others, so inwrought is this representative principle into our human life. Hence in the Scripture doctrine that Adam stood as the official head and representative of his people we have only the application of a principle which we see at work all about us.

Dr. Charles Hodge has very ably treated this subject in the following section: —

“This representative principle pervades the whole Scriptures. The imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity is not an isolated fact. It is only an illustration of a general principle which characterizes the dispensations of God from the beginning of the world. God declared Himself to Moses as one who visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children unto the third and to the fourth generation, Exo_34:6, Exo_34:7…. The curse pronounced on Canaan fell on his posterity. Esau’s selling his birthright, shut out his descendants from the covenant of promise. The children of Moab and Ammon were excluded from the congregation of the Lord forever, because their ancestors opposed the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. In the case of Dathan and Abiram, as in that of Achan, ‘their wives, and their sons, and their little children perished for the sins of their parents. God said to Eli, that the iniquity of his house should not be purged with sacrifice and offering for ever. To David it was said, ‘The sword shall never depart from thy house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.’ To the disobedient Gehazi it was said: ‘The leprosy of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and unto thy seed forever.’ The sin of Jeroboam and of the men of his generation determined the destiny of the ten tribes for all time. The imprecation of the Jews, when they demanded the crucifixion of Christ, ‘His blood be on us and on our children,’ still weighs down the scattered people of Israel …. This principle runs through the whole Scriptures. When God entered into covenant with Abraham, it was not for himself only but also for his posterity. They were bound by all the stipulations of the covenant. They shared its promises and its threatenings, and in hundreds of cases the penalty of disobedience came upon those who had no personal part in the transgressions. Children suffered equally with adults in the judgments, Whether famine, pestilence, or war, which came upon the people for their sins …. And the Jews to this day are suffering the penalty of the sins of their fathers for their rejection of Him of whom Moses and the prophets spoke. The whole plan of redemption rests on this same principle. Christ is the representative of His people, and on this ground their sins are imputed to Him and His righteousness to them …. No man who believes the Bible, can shut his eyes to the fact that it everywhere recognizes the representative character of parents, and that the dispensations of God have from the beginning been founded on the principle that the children bear the iniquities of their fathers. This is one of the reasons which infidels assign for rejecting the divine origin of the Scriptures. But infidelity furnishes no relief. History is as full of this doctrine as the Bible is. The punishment of the felon involves his family in his disgrace and misery. The spendthrift and drunkard entail poverty and wretchedness upon all connected with them. There is no nation now existing on the face of the earth, whose condition for weal or woe is net largely determined by the character and conduct of their ancestors …The idea of the transfer of guilt or of vicarious punishment lies at the foundation of all the expiatory offerings under the Old Testament, and of the great atonement under the new dispensation. To bear sin, is in Scriptural language to bear the penalty of sin. The victim bore the sin of the offerer. Hands were imposed upon the head of the animal about to be slaughtered, to express the transfer of guilt. That animal must be free from all defect or blemish to make it the more apparent that its blood was shed not for its own deficiencies but for the sin of another. All this was symbolical and typical …. And this is what the Scriptures teach concerning the Atonement of Christ. He bore our sins; He was made a curse for us; He suffered the penalty of the law in our stead. All this proceeds on the ground that the sins of one man can be justly, on some adequate ground, imputed to another.” 9

The Scriptures tell us that, “By one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners,” Rom_5:19. “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned,” Rom_5:12. “Through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation” Rom_5:18. It is as if God had said: If sin is to enter, let it enter by one man, so that righteousness also may enter by one man.

Adam was made not only the father but also the representative of the whole human race. And if we fully understood the closeness of the relation between him and them we would fully realize the justice of the transmission of his sin to them. Adam’s sin is imputed to his descendants in the same way that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to those who believe in Him. Adam’s descendants are, of course, no more personally guilty of his sin than Christ’s redeemed are personally meritorious of His righteousness.

Suffering and death are declared to be the consequence of sin; and the reason that all die is that “all sinned.” Now we know that many suffer and die in infancy, before they have committed any sin themselves. It follows that either God is unjust in punishing the innocent, or that those infants are in some way guilty creatures. And if guilty, how have they sinned? It is impossible to explain it on any other supposition than that they sinned in Adam (1Co_15:22; Rom_5:12, 18); and they could not have sinned in him in any other way than by representation.

But while we are not personally guilty of Adam’s sin, we are, nevertheless, liable to punishment for it. “The guilt of Adam’s public sin,” says Dr. A. A. Hodge, “is by a judicial act of God immediately charged to the account of each and every one of his descendants from the moment he begins to exist, and antecedently to any act of his own. Hence all men come into existence deprived of all those influences of the Holy Spirit upon which their moral and spiritual life depends …. and with an antecedent prevailing tendency in their natures to sin; which tendency in them is itself of the nature of sin, and worthy of punishment. Human nature since the fall retains its constitutional faculties of reason, conscience and free agency, and hence man continues to be a responsible moral agent. Yet he is spiritually dead, and totally averse to and incapable of the discharge of any of these duties which spring out of his relation to God, and entirely unable to change his own evil dispositions or innate moral tendencies, or to dispose himself to such a change, or to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in effecting such a change.” 10

And to the same general effect, Dr. R. L. Dabney, the outstanding theologian of the southern Presbyterian Church, says. “The explanation presented by the doctrine of imputation is demanded by all except Pelagians and Socinians. Man’s is a spiritually dead and a condemned race. See Eph_2:1-5, et passim. He is obviously under a curse for something, from the beginning of his life. Witness the native depravity of infants, and their inheritance of woe and death. Now, either man was tried and fell in Adam, or he has been condemned without trial. He is either under the curse (as it rests on him at the beginning of his existence) for Adam’s guilt, or for no guilt at all. Judge which is most honorable to God, a doctrine which, although a profound mystery, represents Him as giving man an equitable and most favored probation in his federal head; or that which makes God condemn him untried, and even before he exists.” 11

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

It is not to the hurried nor to the cursory reader that its treasures are revealed

It is not to the hurried nor to the cursory reader that its treasures are revealed. What a startling and solemn contrast there is between Christ was “numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:28), and Judas was “numbered with” the apostles (Acts 1:17). Kataluma is used only in Luke 2:7, where it is rendered “there was no room for them in the inn”; and in Luke 22:11, where it is translated “guestchamber”— where the Savior partook of the passover with His disciples. The woman of Thyatira in Acts 16:14, had her heart opened by the Lord so that she might “take unto her” (which is the meaning of the Greek word rendered “attend”) the message of God’s servant; but the woman of Thyatira in Revelation 2:20, opened her mouth for the purpose of seducing God’s servants! Only twice do we read of the Lord Jesus being kissed, and what a contrast: the woman’s kiss of devotion (Luke 7:38), Judas’ kiss of betrayal (Matthew 26:40)!

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

I wish I could get an Arminian here to finish my sermon. I fancy I see him taking that word, “for ever.” He would say, “for — for ever;” he would have to stammer and stutter

But before closing this point, there is one little word which pleases me very much, that is, “forever.” You knew I should not miss that; you were certain I could not let it go without observation. “Abide with you for ever.” I wish I could get an Arminian here to finish my sermon. I fancy I see him taking that word, “for ever.” He would say, “for — for ever;” he would have to stammer and stutter; for he never could get it out all at once. He might stand and pull it about, and at last he would have to say, “the translation is wrong.” And then I suppose the poor man would have to prove that the original was wrong too. Ah! but blessed be God, we can read it — “ He shall abide with you for ever.” Once give me the Holy Ghost, and I shall never lose him till “for ever” has run out; till eternity has spun its everlasting rounds.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Personality of the Holy Ghost,” A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 21, 1855

The Covenants-Chapter 2b-The Covenant of Works

The covenant of works demanded as its conditions, perfect obedience.

Nor was this in any degree difficult. One test only was instituted, by which that obedience was to be formally expressed; abstinence from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. How simple, and easy, was the observance of the obligation! How appaling the consequences of its violation! Compliance however, as is true in regard to all the other laws of God, was not confined exclusively to external action. The state of the heart was of primary consideration. The covenant claimed to govern not the conduct alone, but also, then as now, the powers of the inner man. “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). “The whole heart must be in perfect submission, uninterrupted by a single insurgent feeling. A purity of character must be maintained, uncontaminated by a single spot. A zeal and devotion must be preserved, unrelaxing in a single purpose.”

The covenant of works was in its nature fitted, and designed to give, and did give uninterrupted happiness, as long as its requisitions were observed. This is true throughout the whole moral universe of God. I have before intimated that, man is not the only being under its government. It is the law of angels themselves. To their nature, no less than to man’s while in a state of holiness, it is perfectly adapted. Those of them who “have kept their first estate,” are conformed perfectly to all its demands. They meet, and satisfy them fully by love; fervent love to God, and to all their celestial associates. Heaven is pervaded consequently with the unbroken harmonies of love. And how unspeakably happy! 0, who can estimate the joy, deep, calm, overwhelming, that fills angelic bosoms I Nor was man originally, and during the whole period of his holiness, less happy. Who can adequately conceive of half his joys? Whence all this pure, this unmingled delight? It arose exclusively, as a perennial fountain, from the covenant of works. “The man,” said Paul, “that doeth these things, shall live by them” (Rom 10:5). His bliss is unfading. Happiness embraces every ultimate good. Perfect happiness, is perfect good. God intended man, and all his creatures, to be thus happy. To gain this end was the purpose of the covenant. To all the obedient it was, and ever must be, complete in its results.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 183

TO YOUNG PEOPLE

Letter addressed to Master William Cooper, one of C. H. Spurgeon’s former pupils at Newmarket:—

CAMBRIDGE, , 1851.

MY DEAR WILLIAM,—

You see, by this address, that I am no longer at Mr. Swindell’s, but am very comfortable here in a smaller school of about fifteen boys. I suppose you are at home, but find farming is not all play, nor perhaps altogether so profitable or pleasant as study; it is well said, “We do not know the value of our mercies till we lose them.”

Knowing, (in some humble measure, at least), the value of religion let me also bring it before your attention. If you give yourself time to think, you will soon remember that you must die; and if you meditate one more moment, you will recollect that you have a soul, and that soul will never die, but will live for ever; and if you die in your present state, it must live in endless torment. You are an accountable being; God, who made you, demands perfect obedience. But you must own that you have sinned; say not “I am not a great sinner,” for one sin only would be sufficient to sink your soul for ever in the pit of perdition. The sentence of death stands against you, and mercy alone stays its execution. Seeing now that you are in such danger, how do you think to escape? Surely you will not be content to die as you are, for you win one day find it no light matter to endure the hot displeasure of an angry God. Do you imagine that, if you live better for the future, God will forgive your past offenses? That is a mistake; see if you can find it in the Bible.

Perhaps you intend to think about religion after you have enjoyed sin a little longer; or (but surely you are not so foolish) possibly you think that you are too young to die. But who knows whether that future time will be afforded, and who said that you can turn to Christ just when you please? Your heart is deceitful above all things, and your natural depravity so great that you will not turn to God. Trust not, then, to resolutions made in your own strength, they are but wind; nor to yourself, who are but a broken reed; nor to your own heart, or you are a fool. There is no way of salvation but Christ; you cannot save yourself, having no power even to think one good thought; neither can your parents’ love and prayers save you; none but Jesus can, He is the Savior of the helpless, and I tell you that He died for all such as feel their vileness, and come to Him for cleansing.

You do not deserve salvation; well, there is not a jot of merit on the sinner’s part mentioned in the covenant. You have nothing; you are nothing; but Christ is all, and He must be everything to you, or you will never be saved. None reach Heaven, but by free-grace, and through free grace alone. Even a faint desire after any good thing came from God, from Whom you must get more, for He giveth liberally, and no poor sinner, begging at His door, was ever yet sent empty away.

Look at the blessedness of real religion, no one is truly happy but a child of God. The believer is safe, for God has promised to preserve him; and if once you have the pearl of great price, it cannot be taken from you. The way to Heaven is faith, “looking unto Jesus;” this faith is the gift of God, and none but those who have it know its value. Oh, may you possess it! — is the earnest prayer old

Yours faithfully,

CHARLES H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word: The Old and the New

August 22, 2018 2 comments

Through the centuries, the relationship between the Old and New Testaments has been well examined and established. Speaking of this bond, many have concluded that the New is in the Old concealed and the Old is in the New revealed. Others have said it this way, “The New is in the Old contained, and the Old is in the New explained”. Still others have boldly declared that CHRIST is the theme of both Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, Christ is seen in shadows, pictures, types and rituals. In the New Testament He, the Prophesied One, appears in substance, person, truth and reality.

We must, therefore, not make the mistake of believing that the Old and New Testaments are two separate, unrelated books. No indeed, they comprise 2 integral parts of the One book…the Bible.

Notice how the Testaments relate to each other. In the Old Covenant, we see that God is a Just God and a Saviour (Isaiah 45:21). In the New, however, we receive the full revelation that this Just God and Saviour is none other than the Lord Christ (Matthew 1:23).

The Old Testament begins with God (Genesis 1:1). The New Testament begins with Jesus (Matthew 1:1). This is not surprising since God and Jesus are one and the same.

However, there are major contrasts between Old and New. The Old Testament narrative, for example, deals mainly with Law (Exodus 13:9, Deuteronomy 31:11) whereas the New Testament deals mainly with Grace.

In the Old Testament, the first question asked is from God to man, ‘Where art thou?’ (Genesis 3:9).

On the other hand, the first question in the New is ‘Where is He… (Jesus)?’ Matthew 2:2

The Old Testament ends with the word curse (Malachi 4:6).

The New Testament ends with a blessing (Revelation 22:21).

In the Old Testament, the Law was given by Moses but in the New, Grace …. came by Christ Jesus (John 1:17).

In the Old Covenant, the question is asked, ‘Where is the Lamb’ (Genesis 22:7). The answer comes in the New when John the Baptist declared ‘Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).

In the Old Testament, one of Moses first miracles was to turn water into blood (Exodus 7:19). Blood, as you remember, is a picture of death. However, the first miracle performed by the Master was to turn the water into wine (John 2:1-11). Wine represents joy and gladness.

May we become readers of and believers in the Bible (both Old and New Covenants). An unknown writer said, “In this Book, we find the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.

“Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

“Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for eternity.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter X-Total Inability-4-The Fall of Man

August 22, 2018 2 comments

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter X

Total Inability

4. THE FALL OF MAN

The fall of the human race into a state of sin and misery is the basis and foundation of the system of redemption which is set forth in the Scriptures, as it is the basis and foundation of the system which we teach. Only Calvinists seem to take the doctrine of the fall very seriously. Yet the Bible from beginning to end declares that man is ruined –totally ruined — that he is in a state of guilt and depravity from which he is utterly unable to deliver himself, and that God might in justice have left him to perish. In the Old Testament the narrative concerning the fall is found in the third chapter of Genesis; and in the New Testament direct references are made to it in Rom_5:12-21; 1Co_15:22; 1Co_15:2 Corinthians 11:3; 1Ti_2:13, 1Ti_2:14, etc., although the New Testament emphasizes not the historic fact that man fell, but the ethical fact that he is fallen. The New Testament writers interpreted it literally and based their theology upon it. To Paul Adam was as real as Christ, the fall as real as the atonement. It may be maintained that the apostles were in error, but that this was their position cannot be denied.

Dr. A. A. Hodge has given us a very good statement of the doctrine of the fall which we shall take the privilege of quoting: — “As a fair probation could not, in the nature of the case, be given to every new member in person as it comes into existence an undeveloped infant, God, as guardian of the race and for its best interests, gave all its members a trial in the person of Adam under the most favorable circumstances – making him for that end the representative and personal substitute of each one of his natural descendants. He formed with him a covenant of works and of life; i. e., He gave to him for himself, and in behalf of all whom he represented, a promise of eternal life, conditioned upon perfect obedience, — that is, upon works. The obedience demanded was a specific test for a temporary period, which period of trial must necessarily be closed either by the reward consequent upon obedience, or the death consequent upon disobedience. The ‘reward’ promised was eternal life, which was a grace including far more than was originally bestowed upon Adam at his creation, the grant of which would have elevated the race into a condition of indefeasible holiness and happiness for ever. The ‘penalty’ threatened and executed was death; ‘The day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’ The nature of the death threatened can be determined only from a consideration of all that was involved in the curse actually inflicted. This we know to have included the instant withdrawal of the divine favor and spiritual intercommunion upon which man’s life depended. Hence the alienation and curse of God; the sense of guilt and corruption of nature; consequent actual transgressions, the miseries of life, the dissolution of the body, the pains of hell.” 7

The consequences of Adam’s sin are all comprehended under the term death, in its widest sense. Paul gives us the summary statement that “The wages of sin is death.” The full import of the death which was threatened to Adam can only be seen by considering all the evil consequences which have since befallen man. It was primarily spiritual death, or eternal separation from God, which was threatened; and physical death, or the death of the body, is but one of the first fruits and relatively unimportant consequences of that greater penalty. Adam did not die physically for 930 years after the fall, but he did die spiritually the very moment he fell into sin. He died just as really as the fish dies when taken from the water, or as the plant dies when taken from the soil.

“In general we cherish a very wrong idea as to how Adam fell …. Adam was not tempted by Satan in a direct way …. Eve was tempted by Satan, and Eve fell being deceived. But we have inspired evidence to prove that Adam was not deceived (1Ti_2:14). He was caught by no wiles of Satan, but that which he did, he did wilfully and deliberately. And in the full consciousness of what he was doing, and with a perfect realization of the solemn consequences which were involved, he deliberately chose to follow his wife in her act of sinful disobedience. It was this deliberate wilfulness of man’s sin which constituted its heinous character. Had he been attacked by Satan, and forced to yield through some overwhelming power being brought against him, we might have tried to find some excuse for his fall. But when, with eyes wide open, and with mind perfectly conscious and fully aware of the awful nature of his act, he used his free will to respond to the claims of the creature in defiance of the Creator, no excuse can he found for his fall. His act, in reality, was wilful, defiant rebellion, and by it he openly transferred his allegiance from God to Satan.” 8

And has there not been a fall – a fearful fall? The more we see of human nature as it is manifested in the world about us, the easier it is to believe in this great doctrine of original sin. Consider the world as a whole, filled as it is with murders, robberies, drunkenness, wars, broken homes, and crimes of all kinds. The thousand ingenious forms which crime and vice have assumed in the hands of regular practitioners are all tokens telling a fearful tale. A large portion of the human race today, as in all past ages, is left to live and die in the darkness of heathenism, hopelessly astray from God. Modernism and denial of every kind is rampant even in the Church. Even the religious press, so called, is strongly tinged with unbelief. Observe the general disinclination to pray, or to study the Bible, or to speak of spiritual things. Is not man now, as his progenitor Adam, fleeing from the presence of God, not wanting communion with Him, and with enmity in his heart for his Creator? Surely man’s nature is radically wrong. The daily newspaper accounts of events, even in such an enlightened land as America, show that man is sinful, lost from God, and actuated by unholy principles. And the only adequate explanation of all this is that the penalty of death, which was threatened on man before the fall, now rests on the human race.

We live in a lost world, a world which if left to itself would fester in its corruption from eternity to eternity, –a world reeking with iniquity and blasphemy. The effects of the fall are such that man’s will in itself tends only downward to sets of sin and folly. As a matter of fact God does not permit the race to become as corrupt as it naturally would if left to itself. He exercises restraining influences, inciting men to love one another, to be honest, philanthropic, and considerate of each others welfare. Unless God exercised these influences, wicked men would become worse and worse, overlapping conventions and social barriers, until the very zenith of lawlessness would soon be reached, and the earth would become so utterly corrupt that the elect could not live on it.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination