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Episode 37: Getting the Garden Right

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Pastor Richard Barcellos joins the Regular Reformed Guys to talk about his upcoming, as yet unnamed book about the Covenant of Works, the Garden of Eden and a number of other questions in relation to the New Covenant Theology.

This is one of those meaty episodes. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

 

Source [The Regular Reformed Guys]

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Duty of Repentance: Man’s Present State: Conclusion- Book Fourth

Book Fourth

CONCLUSION.

A careless admission that men are sinners is often made by persons who give themselves little concern about religion; and even acrimonious complaints may be freely vented by them against the iniquities of others. But such is the stupefying effect of human depravity, that men have very little complaint to make against themselves; and their condition, as sinners against God, awakens very little uneasiness. Occasionally conscience may be aroused, and produce alarm; but, through the deceitfulness of sin, its rebukes and warnings become unheeded, and men are again lulled to sleep in carnal security. Until this fatal slumber is broken, and a thorough, deep-rooted conviction of sin seizes the mind, and allows the man no quiet, his spiritual state exhibits no favorable indications.

Conviction of sin has sometimes produced very disquieting effects in the minds of heathen men, destitute of the true knowledge of God. Costly sacrifices and painful austerities have been resorted to for the purpose of appeasing their offended deities. Nature teaches men their danger, but cannot show them the way of escape. In these circumstances, how welcome is the light which the Bible throws on our path! It gives a far clearer discovery of our danger, and, at the same time, opens before us the door of hope.

Conviction of sin may at first respect merely our overt acts of wickedness; but, if thorough and effectual, it will extend to the depraved heart, from which evil actions proceed. It will open to our view this fountain of corruption, this deep sea casting up mire and dirt. To explore the deep windings of depravity, dark and filthy, we need the torch of revelation. Its use in making us acquainted with ourselves, demonstrates the divinity of its origin. The woman of Samaria said of Jesus, “Come see a man which told me all things that ever I did; is not this the Christ?”[1] And the Bible, which tells us so exactly all that is in our hearts, must be from God, the Searcher of hearts. The world of iniquity within us was formerly to us a land unknown; but we have now explored it in part, and we can testify that the only correct map of it is in the Holy Scriptures. As we make progress in the knowledge of ourselves, throughout our course of religious experience, what we read in our own hearts and what we read in the Bible agree perfectly, and we ever carry with us a proof that the doctrine of the Bible is the truth of God.

Many who profess to regard the Bible as a revelation from heaven, do not receive its doctrine concerning the present state of man. They cannot conceive the human heart to be so deceitful and desperately wicked as the Bible declares it to be; and especially they do not so conceive of their own hearts. We hence know that such men could not have written the Bible. When the light of truth has produced in us a thorough conviction of sin, we read the Bible with new eyes, and we discover in it the handwriting of him who said, “I the Lord search the heart.”[2]

The exceeding sinfulness of sin appears when it is viewed as committed against God. David said, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.”[3] While under genuine conviction of sin, a view of God’s perfections renders the conviction overwhelming. To have sinned against so glorious and excellent a being; to have rebelled against the rightful Sovereign of the universe, and aimed at dethroning him; to have violated his law, holy, just, and good; to have trampled his authority under our feet, insulted his majesty, despised the riches of his forbearance and goodness; to have persevered in our course, notwithstanding the calls of his mercy; and, in spite of all his warnings and threatening, to have, feeble worms as we are, defied his omnipotent vengeance; when such views of sin are presented, in the light of God’s word, our souls are filled with anguish, and in the depth of sorrow and self-condemnation we adopt the publican’s prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”[4]

The word of God, which pierces to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,[5] often gives pain by its probing, but their tendency is salutary. They are unwelcome to hypocrites and false professors; but the man of sincere piety prays, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me into the way everlasting.”[6] The Bible tears the mask from the hypocrite, and shows to the Pharisee that all his righteousnesses are but filthy rags;[7] but, humiliating as these wholesome instructions are, the true penitent rejoices to receive them. He fears to be deceived; and he blesses God for the light of truth, by which his true character is revealed.

When men’s eyes are opened to see their spiritual danger, they generally attempt, in their own strength, to work out their salvation. These efforts prove unavailing; and they learn, by experience, that they have no help in themselves. This truth, though clearly taught in the Bible, they never really believed until it was thus learned. Here arises, in the heart of Christian experience, another confirmation of Bible doctrine. A truth which no man sincerely believes until the Spirit of God has taught him, by inward experience, must have proceeded from God. In the whole progress of our spiritual life we become increasingly convinced of our utter helplessness and entire dependence on strength divine; and the Bible doctrine on this subject acquires perpetually increasing confirmation.

Genuine Christian experience commences with conviction of sin; but, blessed be God, it does not end here. The knowledge of our depravity, condemnation, and helplessness, would fill us with despair, were it not that salvation, precisely adapted to our necessities, has been provided by the mercy of God, and revealed in the gospel of his Son. The very truth, which would otherwise fill us with anguish and despair, prepares for the joyful acceptance of salvation by Christ. He who rejects this truth does not feel the need of Christ; and, therefore, does not come to him for life. They that be whole need not a physician.[8] Let the truth of this chapter be received deep in the heart, and we shall be prepared for the profitable study of the next subject.

[1] John iv. 29.

[2] Jer. xvii. 10.

[3] Ps. li. 4.

[4] Luke xviii. 13.

[5] Heb. iv. 12.

[6] Ps. cxxxix. 23, 24.

[7] Is. lxiv. 6.

[8] Matt. ix. 12.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Repentance: Man’s Present State: Depravity- Book Fourth- Chapter 3- Section 2

December 14, 2016 Leave a comment

Book Fourth

CHAPTER III.

SECTION II.–DEPRAVITY.

ALL MEN ARE BY NATURE TOTALLY DEPRAVED.[11]

The depravity which we have to lament in mankind, respects their principles of action as moral beings. As merely sentient beings, external objects produce on them the proper effects; and, as rational beings, they draw conclusions in science with correctness. The disease and debility which are the consequence of moral evil, may impair both sense and reason; but we cannot affirm of these powers that they are totally depraved. Moral depravity shows itself in outward acts of transgression; but, atrocious as these often are, it is chiefly in the heart that God beholds and hates it. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”[12] In the heart it was that God saw the great wickedness of the earth. The heart is a metaphorical term, denoting those mental affections which are the principles or beginnings of action. Here depravity exists at the very fountain from which all human action flows.

The depravity of man is total. We do not mean by this that his conduct is as bad as it could be, or that no amiable affections have a place in his heart. The young man who addressed our Redeemer with most respectful inquiry how to attain eternal life, appears to have been unconverted, yet he possessed so amiable qualities that it is recorded, “Jesus, beholding him, loved him.”[13] The goodness of God is great, even to the unthankful and evil; and he has been pleased to implant natural affections in hearts which desire not to retain him in their knowledge, and so to balance the propensities, even where there is no holiness, that life and human society have many enjoyments. When our first parents permitted natural desire to prevail over the authority of God, human depravity began to flow, and what it was at the fountain-head, it has been in all the streams that have spread through the earth. Men seek good at their own choice, and walk in their own ways, regardless of the authority of God. The love of God is dethroned from the heart, and therefore the grand principle of morality is wanting, and no true morality exists. A total absence of that by which the actions should be controlled and directed, is total depravity. Hence the strong language of Scripture, already quoted, is properly descriptive of human nature in its fallen state; “Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Human depravity is universal. In heathen nations, men did not delight to retain God in their knowledge, and their very religion became filled with abominable rites. In lands blessed with the light of revelation, men love darkness rather than light, and give melancholy proof that they have not the love of God in them. The rich and poor, the learned and the unlearned, the young and the old, all give evidence that, to serve and please God, is not their chief delight, their meat and their drink. A few, converted by divine grace, differ from the rest of mankind, and esteem it their pleasure and honor to obey God; but these very men testify that they are like other men. “Such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the mane of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”[14] “I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.”[15]

Depravity is natural to man; it is born with him, and not acquired in the progress of life. It is not to be ascribed to evil habit, or evil example. Evil habits are formed by evil doing; and evil doing would not be, if there were no evil propensity. Evil example would not everywhere exist, if human nature were not everywhere corrupt; and the tendency to follow evil example would not be so common, and so much to be guarded against, if it were not natural to man. The Scriptures clearly teach this doctrine. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”[16] The psalmist did not mean to charge his mother with crime in these his humble confessions, but manifestly designs them to be an acknowledgment that his depravity was in-woven in his nature, and bore date from the very origin of his being. The Saviour taught, that which is born of the flesh, is flesh.[17] The term flesh, which is here opposed to spirit, signifies, as it does in other places, our depraved nature. It traces human depravity up to our very birth.

As every individual of our race is born of depraved parents, and brings depravity with him into the world, we are led to conceive of it as propagated from parent to child. This accords with the representations of Scripture; “Adam begat a son in his own likeness.”[18] It accords also with analogies to which we are familiar.

Plants and animals propagate their like; diseases are often hereditary, and peculiarities of temper and mind by which parents were distinguished, often appear in their children. In our proneness to find fault with God’s arrangements, we ask, why was the fallen nature of Adam propagated, rather than the original nature which he received from the hand of God.. But we might as well complain that the ascent from the state of sin to that of innocence, is not as easy as the descent was found to be. Virtue fits the creatures of God for society, and for its most beautiful exhibitions opportunity is presented in the social relations. All these give one creature an influence over another, according to the character of the relation between them. Even angels, who were created independent of each other, had an influence on each other, so that the chief apostate in the great rebellion led followers after him. When man was created, it appeared good, in the view of Infinite Wisdom, to institute closer social relations than subsisted among angels. From these resulted a more extend influence than was known in angelic ranks. Now, if Adam had transmitted his original nature, as created by God, the effect would have been the same as if the son had been immediately created by the divine hand, and the peculiarity designed to distinguish the human race would have been virtually abolished.

Another complaint which sometimes rises in our murmuring minds is, that pious men do not propagate their piety, but their natural depravity. We might as well complain that men of great scientific attainments do not transmit their knowledge to their children as a natural inheritance. This complaint would have even greater appearance of propriety, for their attainments are, in a sense, their own; but whatever of holiness is found in man, is not a natural endowment or attainment, but a special gift of divine grace.

When we have discovered that the propagation of depravity in the human race accords the analogies found in nature, our minds seem to obtain relief; but, in reality, the matter has not been explained. Nature is not some superior rule to which God was compelled to conform, but it is an institution of his own, and cannot be right in the whole, if its parts are not right. If the propagation of human depravity is not in itself right, all the analogies of nature could not make it so. The true benefit of tracing these analogies is, that we may perceive all the arrangements to be from the same divine mind, and may the more reverently bow our judgment to the decision of Infinite Wisdom, and hush our murmurs into the more profound silence.

Our natural inquisitiveness takes occasion from this subject to indulge in unprofitable speculations. As the depravity which is propagated belongs more properly to the soul than to the material frame, we ask whether the soul is propagated. Some have preferred to consider the soul as a production immediately proceeding from the creating power of God. They suppose this to be intended when the Scriptures say, that he formeth the spirit of man within him.[19] They regard the body as all that is propagated, and suppose the Creator to form a spirit within it, as he breathed the spirit of life into the inanimate body of Adam, when he became a living soul. They view propagation as belonging to the material part of our nature, and consider it impossible, in the nature of things, that this should generate an immaterial spirit. The latter argument, which is merely philosophical, has to struggle with the fact that all animals generate something more than mere matter, in the powers with which they are endowed, and which bear a strong resemblance, in many respects, to the mental endowments of man. The preceding argument, from Scripture, fails in this, that God is equally said to form the body of the child in the womb of the mother,[20] and yet we never regard that body as a production of immediate creation. It is true that the body of Adam was lifeless for a time; but it was not, as lifeless, that be begat a son in his likeness. We would not argue, from this case, that all life, whether in plants or animals, is a production of immediate creation, and not of propagation; and it does not appear that a more valid argument can be deduced from it, to prove the immediate creation of every human soul. After all, what does the question amount to? If the preservation of all things is strictly a perpetual creation, the distinction is wholly annihilated; for the soul is, at the first moment of its being, and at every subsequent moment throughout its whole existence, an immediate creation. But if this view be not admitted, it is still true that preservation is as dependent on the efficacious will of God, as creation. God willed that the soul of Adam should propagate a son, and that this son should, like the father, have both a soul and a body. The progeny came into being according to the will of God. This work differs from the former, in that it is not singular, but conforms to what we call a law of nature; but nature’s laws have no efficacy in themselves; and when we attribute the work to the efficacious will of God, it is a mere question of classification, whether we refer it to creation or Providence.

An objection to the doctrine of natural depravity is founded on the fact, that Jesus referred to little children, as examples for is disciples. This fact, however, will not authorize the inference, that little children are not depraved. The same teacher said to his disciples, “Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”[21] As something may exist, proper to be imitated in animals which have no moral character, and even in serpents, notwithstanding their venom, so, something for imitation could be pointed out in children, notwithstanding their depravity. Another objection is drawn from the statement of Scripture, concerning children that had not done either good or evil.[22] But the doctrine does not affirm that all have committed overt acts of transgression. It refers to the first spring of action in the heart; and a fountain may be corrupt, before it has sent forth streams, as truly as afterwards. No objection, worthy of consideration, can be drawn from Paul’s statement, that the children of the Corinthian Christians were holy;[23] for this manifestly relates to their fitness for familiar intercourse.

Vain it will be, to receive the doctrine of human depravity into our creed, if it is not received into our hearts. A thorough conviction of our total depravity is necessary to humble us before God, and drive us to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. No genuine Christian experience can exist, where this is not felt and operative.

[11] Gen. vi. 5; viii. 21; Ps. xiv. 2, 3; li. 5; Rom. i. 21–25; iii. 9–23; vi. 17, viii. 5, 6, 7, 8; Eph. ii. 1; 1 John v. 19.

[12] Gen. vi. 5.

[13] Mark x. 21.

[14] 1 Cor. vi. 11.

[15] Rom. vii. 18.

[16] Ps. li. 5

[17] John iii. 6.

[18] Gen. v. 3.

[19] Zech. xii. 1.

[20] Job xxxi. 15; Is. xliv. 2.

[21] Matt. x. 16.

[22] Rom. ix. 11.

[23] 1 Cor. vii. 14.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2-Chapter 13-Righteousness for the Unrighteous

CHAPTER 13-RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR THE UNRIGHTEOUS

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (#Ro 1:16-18).

If I had but one sermon to preach and the whole world for an audience, this is the message I would bring. I would not allow a false modesty to keep me from saying that the truth in this sermon is most vital to every man.

Paul says that he is not ashamed of the gospel because it is what God uses in saving sinners. Then he tells how it saves, namely, be revealing “the righteousness of God,” or how an unrighteous man may become righteous before God. Here is the touch & tone of the true gospel: it reveals how a sinner can become right with a holy and just God.

SOME NECESSARY OBSERVATIONS

1. Salvation is a dire necessity because men are UNRIGHTEOUS, both by inheritance and practice. God is a Lawgiver and the failure of moral beings to obey His law makes them unrighteous in His sight. And this unrighteousness merits and must receive penal punishment from God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (#Ro 1:18).

2. Unrighteousness is universal among men. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one” (#Ro 3:10). This means that no man is righteous by his own record, on his own account, in his own right. In himself considered, every man is ruined by the fall and cursed by the Law. “For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (#Ga 3:10). “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may be come guilty before God” (#Ro 3:19).

3. Every man out of Christ is under the moral law of God as the way of life “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them” (#Ro 10:5). Many think that all were under the law before the coming of Christ, and that since His coming all are under grace. If this were true, all before Christ were lost and all since are saved. This would mean universal damnation in one period of time and universal salvation in another period. It is the function of law to punish the disobedient; it is the part of grace to save the disobedient. All men have been saved alike by grace through faith, whether in Old Testament times or since the coming of Christ. All sinners have the same Saviour regardless of the age in which they lived. The Old Testament believers looked forward to the coming Saviour; New Testament believers look back to the Saviour who has already come. “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were” (#Ro 4:1-17); “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (#Ga 3:21-24). The only way to be saved is to get out from under the moral law of God, and the only way to do this is to trust Jesus Christ, who is “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (#Ro 10:4).

4. To be saved a man must have a righteousness that conforms to all that the law of God demands. Otherwise the sinner would be saved at the expense of justice. No attribute of God suffers in the salvation of sinners. The principle of justice operates in salvation as truly as in damnation, the difference being that in salvation the Divine attributes of mercy, grace, and love come in to satisfy justice by giving up Christ to be punished as the Surety of His people. Christ died for my sins in the sense that He was punished for them, and if He was punished for them then a just God will not punish me for them. “Free from the law, O happy condition, Jesus has died, and there is remission.” The righteousness of the believer is called “The righteousness of God.” This phrase occurs frequently and is one of the most important expressions in all the Bible. To be saved the sinner must have the righteousness of God, and this is what is revealed in the Gospel of Christ.

MEANING OF THE EXPRESSION

The righteousness of God does not mean the justice of God. God is righteous in the sense that He is just, but the Gospel does not save by telling us that God is just and will give us what we deserve. It is not good news to tell the criminal that the law will give him justice, neither is it good news to tell a sinner that God will give him justice—that would be bad news. Nor can the expression refer to a righteousness God requires from the sinner. To tell a sinner that God will save him if he will perform all the righteous acts called for in the law is to mock him in his helplessness and leave him forever hopeless.

The expression we have before us refers to the righteousness God has provided for sinners. This is good news indeed! Men need a righteousness (right standing before God), and without it are eternally doomed, and to be told that God has provided through the cross the righteousness demanded by His justice is the best news ever to fall on human ears. And so the Gospel reveals a righteousness provided and not a righteousness demanded; a righteousness imputed and not a righteousness imparted; a righteousness imported from heaven and not a righteousness exported from earth. The righteousness of God is a garment divinely woven and not one of human manufacture. When the fig-leaf aprons of Adam and Eve would avail not, “The Lord God made coats of skins, and clothed them” (#Ge 3:21). Striking type of the failure of human works in salvation, and of the Lamb of God Who put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

The righteousness of God comes to the sinner through faith. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (#Ro 3:21,22). “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (#Ro 10:4). “Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (#2Co 5:21 R.V.).

My dear reader, if you are lost, let me urge you to acknowledge before God and men that you have no righteousness of your own, and then trust Jesus Christ for the righteousness He provided by His obedience unto death—even the death on the cross. Then you can say with Isaiah, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (#Isa 61:10).

“Jesus, thy robe of righteousness
My beauty is, my glorious dress;
Mid flaming worlds, in this arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.”

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD DESCRIBED

1. AS TO ITS AUTHOR. As already noted, Jesus Christ is the Author of this righteousness. He Worked it out by His death on the cross. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (#Ro 5:19). This verse unmistakably teaches that we are guilty by the disobedience of Adam and righteous by the obedience of Christ. To be justified—by God one must either be righteous in person or by proxy. Theoretically, there are two ways to be righteous before God: one is by personal obedience “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD” (#Le 18:5); “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them” (#Ro 10:5), the other is by the obedience of a substitute and Surety. Practically and actually, there is but one way and this is through Faith in Jesus Christ, the Surety of the better covenant “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament” (#Heb 7:22); “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises” (#Heb 8:6).

2. IN ITS EXTENT. The righteousness Christ wrought for sinners reaches to every born again believer. “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (#Ac 13:39); “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (#Ro 10:4); “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (#Ro 3:22); “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (#1Co 1:30); “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” (#Ro 5:1). The righteousness Christ provided was not needed for Himself, for He was God. Officially, back in eternity, Jesus Christ was in the form or place of God, and His righteousness was that of the Lawgiver. To be righteous as a lawgiver, the law must be enforced and the disobedient punished. To be righteous as a lawkeeper the law must be obeyed. And so Christ kept the law for us, and also paid the penalty we had incurred by violating the law. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” (#Ga 3:13). Here is an irrefutable argument for the Deity of Jesus Christ. If He were only a man He would have had His own obligations to the law of God, and although a perfect man He could not have rendered account before God for other men. We sometimes hear people say that they would trust Jesus as Saviour without being convinced of His Deity. But the writer makes bold to say that he would not trust Him if He were only a man, however good and glorious. The Bible says, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils” (#Isa 2:22). No created being can save sinners. The Godhood of the Lord Jesus is absolutely necessary to His Saviourhood. The eternal Word became a man to represent other men before the court of heaven. “And if any man sin, we (the believers) have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (#1Jo 2:1). Our Redeemer at Calvary is now our advocate in heaven.

THE FIRST AND LAST ADAM

In #1Co 15:45,47 “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit…The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven,” Jesus is called the second man and the last Adam. Here He is considered not personally but representatively. Considered as an individual, Jesus was not the second man nor the last Adam. There were many men between the Adam of Eden and the Adam of Calvary, and there have been many men since Jesus. He is called the second man and the last Adam because there are but two representative men. God deals with all men through two men, and our eternal destiny depends upon which of these two men we have our standing in before God. Believers are accepted in the Beloved “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (#Eph 1:6), and are complete in Him: “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” (#Col 2:10). So believers, considered as moral beings, have obeyed the law in the person of their representative and substitute, and are therefore righteous before God. Jesus Christ is “The Lord our Righteousness” (#Jer 23:6).

“When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
Even then shall this be all my plea—
“Jesus hath lived and died for me,”

3. IN ITS DURATION. How long will the righteousness Christ provided last? It hardly needs to be argued that it will last forever. “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness” (#Ps 119:142). “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (#Heb 10:14).

“The righteousness of Adam or angels could only exist while they were in a state of obedience. The law was binding on them in every moment of their existence. The moment they disobeyed the advantage derived from all their previous obedience ceased” (Robt. Haldane). In contrast Jesus Christ was the God-man, and all that He did partook of His personal excellencies; therefore, in a limited period of time, He could work out a righteousness of infinite value in every respect. “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke and the earth shall wax old like a garment…But my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished” (#Isa 51:6).

The paradise in which Adam was placed at his creation was here on earth. This paradise was lost through disobedience. But the paradise which we have promised us will be ours by virtue of the obedience of the last Adam, and is an inheritance which is incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for those who are kept by the power of God through faith. “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (#1Pe 1:4,5). It is on the ground of this righteousness that God justifies the believer from all things, and delivers him from going down into the pit of everlasting destruction.

“Alas and did my Saviour Bleed? And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head For such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I have done, He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown! And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide, And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the might Maker died For man the creature’s sin.

But drops of grief can neer repay The debt of love I owe’
Here Lord, I give myself away, “Tis all that I can do”

—Isaac Watts

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2

The image of God is in the soul

September 9, 2015 Leave a comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The image of God is in the soul. Its nature may be learnt from its renewal by Christ. What comprehended under this renewal. What the image of God in man before the fall. In what things it now appears. When and where it will be seen in perfection.

4. But our definition of the image seems not to be complete until it appears more clearly what the faculties are in which man excels, and in which he is to be regarded as a mirror of the divine glory. This, however, cannot be better known than from the remedy provided for the corruption of nature. It cannot be doubted that when Adam lost his first estate he became alienated from God. Wherefore, although we grant that the image of God was not utterly effaced and destroyed in him, it was, however, so corrupted, that any thing which remains is fearful deformity; and, therefore, our deliverance begins with that renovation which we obtain from Christ, who is, therefore, called the second Adam, because he restores us to true and substantial integrity. For although Paul, contrasting the quickening Spirit which believers receive from Christ, with the living soul which Adam was created, (1 Corinthians 15:45,) commends the richer measure of grace bestowed in regeneration, he does not, however, contradict the statement, that the end of regeneration is to form us anew in the image of God. Accordingly, he elsewhere shows that the new man is renewed after the image of him that created him (Colossians 3:19.) To this corresponds another passage, “Put ye on the new man, who after God is created,” (Ephesians 4:24.) We must now see what particulars Paul comprehends under this renovation. In the first place, he mentions knowledge, and in the second, true righteousness and holiness. Hence we infer, that at the beginning the image of God was manifested by light of intellect, rectitude of heart, and the soundness of every part. For though I admit that the forms of expression are elliptical, this principle cannot be overthrown, viz., that the leading feature in the renovation of the divine image must also have held the highest place in its creation. To the same effect Paul elsewhere says, that beholding the glory of Christ with unveiled face, we are transformed into the same image. We now see how Christ is the most perfect image of God, into which we are so renewed as to bear the image of God in knowledge, purity, righteousness, and true holiness. This being established, the imagination of Osiander, as to bodily form, vanishes of its own accord. As to that passage of St. Paul, (1 Corinthians 11:7,) in which the man alone to the express exclusion of the woman, is called the image and glory of God, it is evident from the context, that it merely refers to civil order. I presume it has already been sufficiently proved, that the image comprehends everything which has any relation to the spiritual and eternal life. The same thing, in different terms, is declared by St. John when he says, that the light which was from the beginning, in the eternal Word of God, was the light of man, (John 1:4.) His object being to extol the singular grace of God in making man excel the other animals, he at the same time shows how he was formed in the image of God, that he may separate him from the common herd, as possessing not ordinary animal existence, but one which combines with it the light of intelligence. Therefore, as the image of God constitutes the entire excellence of human nature, as it shone in Adam before his fall, but was afterwards vitiated and almost destroyed, nothing remaining but a ruin, confused, mutilated, and tainted with impurity, so it is now partly seen in the elect, in so far as they are regenerated by the Spirit. Its full luster, however, will be displayed in heaven. But in order to know the particular properties in which it consists, it will be proper to treat of the faculties of the soul. For there is no solidity in Augustine’s speculation, that the soul is a mirror of the Trinity, inasmuch as it comprehends within itself, intellect, will, and memory. Nor is there probability in the opinion of those who place likeness to God in the dominion bestowed upon man, as if he only resembled God in this, that he is appointed Lord and master of all things. The likeness must be within, in himself. It must be something which is not external to him but is properly the internal good of the soul.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 15-Henry Beveridge Translation

A twofold knowledge of God, viz., before the fall and after it

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015A twofold knowledge of God, viz., before the fall and after it. The former here considered. Particular rules or precautions to be observed in this discussion. What we are taught by a body formed out of the dust, and tenanted by a spirit.

1. We have now to speak of the creation of man, not only because of all the works of God it is the noblest, and most admirable specimen of his justice, wisdom, and goodness, but, as we observed at the outset, we cannot clearly and properly know God unless the knowledge of ourselves be added. This knowledge is twofold, — relating, first, to the condition in which we were at first created; and, secondly to our condition such as it began to be immediately after Adam’s fall. For it would little avail us to know how we were created if we remained ignorant of the corruption and degradation of our nature in consequence of the fall. At present, however, we confine ourselves to a consideration of our nature in its original integrity. And, certainly, before we descend to the miserable condition into which man has fallen, it is of importance to consider what he was at first. For there is need of caution, lest we attend only to the natural ills of man, and thereby seem to ascribe them to the Author of nature; impiety deeming it a sufficient defense if it can pretend that everything vicious in it proceeded in some sense from God, and not hesitating, when accused, to plead against God, and throw the blame of its guilt upon Him. Those who would be thought to speak more reverently of the Deity catch at an excuse for their depravity from nature, not considering that they also, though more obscurely, bring a charge against God, on whom the dishonor would fall if anything vicious were proved to exist in nature. Seeing, therefore, that the flesh is continually on the alert for subterfuges, by which it imagines it can remove the blame of its own wickedness from itself to some other quarter, we must diligently guard against this depraved procedure, and accordingly treat of the calamity of the human race in such a way as may cut off every evasion, and vindicate the justice of God against all who would impugn it. We shall afterwards see, in its own place, (Book 2 chap. 1: sec. 3,) how far mankind now are from the purity originally conferred on Adam. And, first, it is to be observed, that when he was formed out of the dust of the ground a curb was laid on his pride — nothing being more absurd than that those should glory in their excellence who not only dwell in tabernacles of clay, but are themselves in part dust and ashes. But God having not only deigned to animate a vessel of clay, but to make it the habitation of an immortal spirit, Adam might well glory in the great liberality of his Maker.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 15-Henry Beveridge Translation

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1-Chapter 8-The Punishment of Sin-Number 3

CHAPTER 8-THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN-NUMBER 3

We are hearing much about the complacency of the American public concerning the outcome of this war. But there is a complacency far more prevalent and in the face of infinitely greater danger. There is a complacent attitude towards HELL that is so alarming as to be shocking and heart-breaking. And it is our firm conviction that this complacency is the result of failure to preach the truth on the solemn and momentous subject of eternal punishment. Those denominations that deny eternal punishment have literally sown the country down with their pernicious proaganda. They have put their “no hell” doctrine in nearly every home in the land, while we Baptists and other evangelicals have hardly raised our voice in giving the truth on the subject.

We have our theme songs for certain occasions; why not have our theme texts for the present distress? And let them be after the order of Mt 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Gehenna). Too much of our preaching is for entertainment rather than for information. We are trying to have conversions without conviction. We are calling the self-righteous into the church when we ought to be calling sinners to repentance. We are breaking alabaster boxes and filling our sermons with the odor of spikenard when we ought to be telling the truth about human depravity. We are tying pink ribbons of perfection about the necks of our people when we ought to be waving the red flag of warning. We have let our prejudice for heaven hide the terrible realities of hell.

A STUDY OF WORDS

Those who oppose the truth of eternal punishment make a show of wisdom and confuse the average person by their use of Hebrew and Greek words. We make no claim to scholarship, and anybody who can even use Young’s Analytical Concordance can follow us in this study of words.

QEBER AND SHEOL

QEBER is the Old Testament word for grave and is always used in connection with the body. It is translated grave or its equivalent in every place. It is never used in connection with the soul.

SHEOL is the Old Testament word for the unseen state, and is the place of departed spirits. It never means the grave; although in the King James Version it is wrongly translated grave 31 times. In the Revised Version it is brought into the English text without being translated.

Man has both body and soul and in death QEBER is the word used of the disposition of his body and SHEOL speaks of the disposition of his soul . There is conclusive evidence that the two words are not interchangeable. QEBER, the grave, refers to locality; SHEOL, the state of disembodied souls, is a condition.

QEBER occurs in the plural 27 times; SHEOL never occurs in the plural. The burial of one hundred bodies in a cemetery would mean one hundred graves, but the entrance of one hundred souls into SHEOL would not mean one hundred SHEOLS, but the one state of disembodiment.

QEBER is referred to as the exclusive QEBER, or grave, of an individual. For example, “my grave (qeber)” in #Ge 50:5; “grave” (qeber) of Abner #2Sa 3:32; “their graves” (#Jer 8:1). etc.

SHEOL is never spoken of as the exclusive SHEOL of any person. The one condition of dis-embodiment is common to all who have died.

SHEOL is associated with pain and sorrow. “The sorrows of hell (sheol) compassed me about,” (#1Sa 22:6). “The pains of hell (sheol) got hold upon me,” (#Ps 116:3).

QEBER is never associated with suffering, for the body in the grave is unconscious, and cannot feel pain or experience sorrow. SHEOL is always connected with the soul, never with the body. “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol).” (#Ps 16:10). QEBER is never connected with the soul, but always with the body.

HADES AND MNEMEION

These are New Testament Greek words and are identical with the Old Testament Hebrew words SHEOL and QEBER. Hades, like SHEOL, means the unseen state of the disembodied soul; MNEMEION, like QEBER, means the grave. All that has been said about QEBER may also be said about MNEMEION, for both are connected with the body and mean the grave. And to prove that SHEOL and hades are identical it is sufficient to compare an Old Testament Scripture with the New Testament quotation:

“Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption,” (#Ps 16:10).

“Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (hades); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (#Ac 2:27).

The reference in the above verses is to our Lord. His soul was in SHEOL or HADES between His death and resurrection. His body was in the grave, but it did not see corruption. This condition of body in death was peculiar to Christ. Of David it is said that he “fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he whom God raised again, saw no corruption” (#Ac 13:36,37). “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption” (#Ac 2:27-31).

THE SEPTUAGINT

This is the name of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament made by the Jews of Alexandria, about 280 B.C., under order of Ptolemy Philadelphus, King of Egypt. In this Greek translation, out of the 65 times in which the word SHEOL occurs, the seventy render it Hades 61 times. Not once do they translate it grave (MNEMEION).

GEHENNA

This is a new word introduced by our Lord. Gehenna is translated hell nine times and hell-fire three times. It belongs almost exclusively to the vocabulary of our Saviour, being found only one time: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (#Jas 3:6), when not employed by Him. Gehenna is the place of eternal punishment, and the only word rightly translated hell. It is not the grave, the place for dead bodies; nor is it hades, the place of departed souls. It is the place for both soul and body of the wicked after their ressurrection and judgment. Hades is temporary, as also is physical death. “And death (thanatos) and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire” (#Re 20:14). Gehenna (hell is eternal). “…two hands to go into hell (gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched” (#Mr 9:43).

Gehenna is the Grecianized form of Ge-hinnom (valley of Hinnom), which became a place of the heathen worship, not far from Jerusalem. Ahaz and Manasseh were promoters of foreign religions and set up the horrible worship of Moloch, the god of the Ammonites, in this Valley of Hinnom. Moloch was represented by a hideous ox- headed human figure made of iron and hollow. A fire was built in this image and when it was red hot a living child would be cast into its arms and thus sacrificed to this heathen god. The good king Josiah put a stop to this idol worship “And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech” (#2Ki 23:10). This valley later on became the city dump for Jerusalem and the garbage of the city was kept continually burning. And because the fires never went out, our Lord employed it as the symbol of the lake of fire, the place of eternal punishment. While a fit emblem of hell, it must be carefully noted that our Lord in speaking of Gehenna never referred to the city dump of Jerusalem except as an emblem to designate that place of eternal torment for the wicked. He was not saying that all the lost will be thrown into the valley of Hinnom. The city dump of Jerusalem is not the place of eternal punishment, but only an emblem or figure of it.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1