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Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1-Chapter 7-The Punishment of Sin-Number 2

CHAPTER 7-THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN-NUMBER 2

“The wages of sin is death,” God said to Adam, concerning the forbidden fruit, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (#Ge 2:17). This threatened penalty of death was not pronounced upon Adam as a private individual merely, but as a public and representative person. It was a race penalty. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (#Ro 5:12). The first sin was a race sin and the penalty thereof must have been a race penalty. The whole human race was in Adam, the first man, both seminally and legally, and his act was considered as their act; not personally but representatively. Every man by nature is guilty with Adam’s guilt, just as every believer is righteous with Christ’s righteousness. Believers are not righteous personally, that is, by their own obedience; they are righteous representatively by the obedience of Christ, their Surety.

The death threatened against, and passed unto, all men was not a corporeal death merely. Physical death is a mere incident and is not universal. There have been two notable exceptions (Enoch and Elijah), and there will be many alive, who will not die physically, when the Lord returns. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (#1Co 15:51,52). Furthermore, physical death did not occur until some 930 years after the sin was committed; whereas God said, “in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (#Gen 2:17).

The death which passed unto all men was the loss of divine favor and exposedness to divine wrath. It was not the death of man considered as a physical being but as a moral and accountable being. Moral death was the result of a break with God. Man broke with God when he tried to seize the reins of government and do as he pleased. Sin separates from God and brings His condemnation. Physical death is the result of the separation of the body and spirit “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (#Jas 2:26). Moral death is the result of separation of man as a moral being from God. The sinner, although alive physically, is alienated from the life of God “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (#Eph 4:18); “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled” (#Col 1:21).

LIFE AND DEATH

The words life and death are antonyms, and it is axiomatic that a man cannot be both dead and alive in the same sense at the same time. But one may be dead in one sense and alive in another sense at the same time. This is obvious from the saying of our Lord: “But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead” (#Mt 8:22). He meant for those dead morally to bury the physical dead.

Life and death are not synonyms of existence and non-existence, but rather of condition of existence. Death never means non-existence or the cessation of being. In the moral sense life is a condition of existence, and death is the opposite condition of existence. To have life as a moral being is to exist under the favor of God and to be free from the wrath to come. To be dead as a moral being is to exist without His favor and to be exposed to His wrath. This will become more apparent as we continue these discussions.

THE SECOND DEATH

The second death is punishment in the lake of fire. And this will be for both soul and body of the lost. Physical death is not everlasting, for “there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (#Ac 24:15). Death (dead bodies) and hades (lost souls) are to be cast into the lake of fire. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (#Re 20:14). And this is the second death. We will not here and now give proof that the second death is eternal. This will come out in a later article (D.V.). However, it does not seem reasonable that the fire will burn them up in the sense of putting them out of conscious existence. If this were true the only difference between the martyred saints and the wicked would be in time and place of suffering. The martyrs (many of them) were burned to death, and if their tormentors are only to be burned up and put out of existence, then their salvation was not the previous thing they supposed it to be. A brother who believes in conditional immortality wrote me that he knew of no Scripture that taught that the wicked would suffer in hell longer than five minutes. Cheap salvation! Sweet morsel to the wicked! If that were true.

Man is both a physical and a psychic being, that is, he has both body and soul. As a physical being his body was made of the same substance as that of the beasts of the field. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul…And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” (#Ge 2:7,19). As a psychic being he became a living soul when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Heb. lives). This is not said concerning the origin of the soul of the beast. The beast has a soul (this will be proven later), but it did not get its soul like man got his. Man as the acme of creation was made in the image of God, which must mean that he has something which does not belong to the beast of the field. This image of God in man is spirit. God is a Spirit and man must have a spirit to be in His image. In making man a living soul, God communicated to him that which made him in His image. Man, by virtue of his creation, has a body and a soul which gives him kinship with the beasts, but he also has a spirit which relates him to God. F.W. Grant makes a very helpful distinction between the soul and spirit:

“The ‘soul,’ is in Scripture the seat of the passions, emotions, sensibility, as the spirit of the mental and moral judgment. These latter, in any real sense, the beast has not. The spirit it is which is in man, which knows the things of a man “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (#1Co 2:11). But he learns them, gathering the materials of judgment through the soul-the senses; and as the body begins to develop before even the soul, so does the soul before the spirit. Spirit in man depends, thus, really upon the soul; and it is striking that just when absent from the body his real distinction begins to manifest it self. The soul survives, indeed, the stroke of death; but is now called what he never was before, a ‘spirit’ “But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit….Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (#Lu 24:37,39); “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God” (#Ac 23:8,9); “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (#Heb 12:23): “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;” (#1Pe 3:19).

Grant tells us that man is called Adam, from Adamah (Heb.), the ground, to remind him of his origin “dust thou art”; and he is called a soul to remind him of his likeness to the beasts; but he is never called a spirit until after he takes his departure from the body. We read of the spirits of just men made perfect, and of spirits in prison.

THE FIRST DEATH

Man as a physical and also a moral being is subject to two kinds of death: namely, physical and moral. There is only one physical death for any man. “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (#Heb 9:27). Notice the accuracy of Scripture. It is not “man” the generic, but “men” as individuals. Physical death is not appointed for “man” the whole race, but for men. We have already pointed out exceptions.

Man considered as a moral being may experience two deaths: the first and the second. All who are saved will experience but one death; all who are not saved will experience two deaths. “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (#Re 2:11). Nobody has escaped the first death, for that death passed upon all men.

The first death is also clearly defined in the Scriptures. It is to be “dead in law,” or judicial death. It is to be dead in trespasses and sins. It is death in the sense of guilt and depravity. It is the death of condemnation. The antithesis of judicial death is “justification of life.” “Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (#Ro 5:18). “He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (#Joh 5:24). Everlasting life is equivalent to justification and is opposed to condemnation. As a moral being the believer is justified by God, and will never be condemned. He has passed out from under the curse of God’s law and exists under the favor of God. Life and death in the judicial sense are generally overlooked by commentators.

The believer is told to “reckon himself as dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ” (#Ro 6:11). This means that the believer is dead to the guilt of sin—no longer exposed to the wrath of God; and that he is alive or justified before God by virtue of the imputed righteousness of Christ. We also have this aspect of life and death in I #Joh 5:12: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” And again in #Joh 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” The sword of divine justice hangs over the head of the unbeliever; the benedictions of the heavenly Father are pronounced upon the believer in Christ.

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

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Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1-Chapter 3-Depravity-Total, Universal, Inherent

CHAPTER 3-DEPRAVITY—TOTAL, UNIVERSAL, INHERENT

Depravity is a word that describes the state or disposition of man considered as a moral being. A moral being is one who is accountable to God for his thoughts, speech, and conduct. Depravity means the moral corruption of human nature; it refers to the state of sinfulness natural to the unregenerate.

Depravity is the opposite to what is required by the law of God. The sum of the divine law is love to God and our neighbor. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (#Mt 22:37-39). Paul says that love is the fulfilling of the law. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (#Ro 13:8-10). Depravity must consist then of the lack of love required by God, and the setting up of some other object or objects in the human affections. And all the objects set up in competition with God may be reduced to one, and that is self. Private self-love, to the exclusion of supreme love to God and equal love to men, is the very root of depravity. Self-will, self-admiration and self-righteousness are but different manifestations of depravity.

Depravity is that state of nature that causes man to put self in the place of God, and to seek his own gratification, honor, and interest as the ultimate end of all his actions. Every moral being ought to live and act for the highest good, and the highest good is the glory of God. Depravity is the corruption of nature that leads men to act for self glory. The very essence of sin is selfishness. Take the first and last letters off the word SIN and you have the letter “I”. Take the word self and spell it backwards, adding the letter “H” and you have the word “flesh”. And the Bible often employs the word flesh to denote the corrupt nature of man. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (#Ro 7:18); There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (#Ro 8:1-13); “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (#Php 3:3); “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (#Joh 1:13); “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (#Joh 6:63).

When Paul describes men under a variety of wicked characters, the first link in the chain is: “lovers of their own selves” (#2Ti 3:2). This exclusive love of self is the fountain of depravity from which all- evil thoughts and actions flow; it is the womb from which all sinful expedients are born; it is the incubator in which all evil inventions are hatched.

Depravity is total, reaching to all the facilities of the soul; it is universal; taking in all men by nature; and it is inherent, by which we mean that it is the result of original sin, transmitted by natural generation or physical birth.

TOTAL DEPRAVITY

Total depravity means that man is depraved or corrupted in all the faculties of his being. It is not a question of degree but of extent. It does not mean that any man is as bad as he may become, or that he is as wicked as the devil. However, the potential evil is about the same in every man. The Bible says “there is no difference for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” If we have not sinned as much as others, it is due to restraining grace and not to anything good in our nature. When Jesus Christ said, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. He was not describing any particular heart but the heart of every man. John Bradford, a martyr, once watched the officers leading a criminal to the place of execution, and remarked, “there goes John Bradford but for the grace of God.” The act of transgression is only a small part of sin. Eight ninths of an iceberg is below the surface of the sea. And potentially there is far more sin in everyone of us than every appears on the surface in actual transgression.

There are degrees in depravity. All men are not the same in the degree or amount of sin. Drop a grain of arsenic into a glass of water, and the water is totally affected. Every drop of the water is poisoned. Put in another grain of arsenic and the poison is not extended, but it is intensified. It is not poisoned in more of its parts, but each part to a greater degree. So man, a child of wrath by nature “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (#Eph 2:3), may become more depraved.

The natural man is not depraved in spots, but the whole of his being is depraved. The “carnal mind is enmity against God” (#Ro 8:7); “and the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (#Jer 17:9); “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (#Mt 15:19); the will is in bondage to sin “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (#Joh 6:44), “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (#Joh 5:40); “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (#Php 2:13). The human will is no better than the mind and the heart that controls it. Men choose what they do because of the state of their minds and hearts.

Total depravity means that man, as the result of original sin, is morally or spiritually dead. And dead as an adjective does not admit of comparison. There are no degrees of death, but there are degrees in death. Here is a physical corpse. The man has been dead one day. He is totally dead—dead in all the physical parts. Here is another corpse. The man has been dead one week. He is no more dead than the other man, but the corpse is in worse condition. Now the Bible presents the natural man under the figure of a moral or spiritual corpse. Here is a young girl of sixteen summers, beautiful, vivacious, and outwardly charming. She knows nothing of the life of the brothel. But that girl, if an unbeliever in Christ, is morally or spiritually dead. She is lacking in love to God and to her neighbor. Her depraved nature is manifested in pride of apparel, pride of beauty, disobedient to parents, lack of interest in the word of God, and rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is another moral corpse. She is a woman of the brothel; her virtue is gone, and she is abandoned to a life of sin and shame. She drinks, and swears, and smokes, and lies, and steals, and breaks up homes. She is no more dead than the girl of sweet sixteen, but she is in a worse condition in moral death.

Moral death does not mean that man does not exist as a moral being. Death never means extinction of being, but a state or condition of being. The unregenerate man performs actions, but they are wicked. Theft, and murder, and lying are all acts of moral being, but they are wicked acts.

UNIVERSAL DEPRAVITY

Universal depravity means that all men are depraved. Every man, apart from inwrought grace, is lacking in that which the law of God requires. He does not love God, neither does he love his neighbor as he loves himself. It is only the born again ones who love God: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (#1Jo 4:7); who understand the things of God “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (#1Co 2:14); “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (#Joh 3:3); “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (#2Co 4:4); who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him” (#1Jo 5:1); or who practice righteousness “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him” (#1Jo 2:29).

In Noah’s day it is said that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (#Ge 6:5). Of David’s day it was written: “There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (#Ps 14:3). And Paul quotes this verse from David and applies it to the people of his day “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (#Ro 3:10). The only men free from corruption of nature since the first Adam sinned and fell was the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and his birth was not according to the law of natural generation. To deny the virgin birth of Jesus of Nazareth is to make him a sinner. And who wants to trust a sinner as Saviour?

INHERENT DEPRAVITY

Depravity of nature is transmitted to all men by natural generation. Like begets like; that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and the carnal or fleshly mind hates God.

The early appearance of sin in the child is proof that depravity of nature is inherited. The very first act that discovers reason in the child has sin in it. Watch the child when reason begins to dawn, and it will express itself by doing harm to others, or by lying, or by pride of apparel, or by natural inclination to revenge. Have not all parents quieted the baby by beating that which had hurt or offended it? The small child at the very dawn of reason manifests a spirit of revenge towards others and a dislike for God.

In Andrew Fuller’s diary, under date of January 8, 1785, are these lines: “Much affected today in hearing my little girl say, ‘How soon sabbath day comes again!’ Felt grieved to see the native aversion of the carnal heart to God so early discovering itself.”

Inherent depravity is seen in the fact that the child will sin without being taught to sin. “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (#Pr 29:15). Only leave the child to act naturally and freely, and it will shame its mother. But we must be taught to do the things that are not natural. Take a person who has never been taught to swim and throw him into deep water he will drown. But take a horse or some other beast and plunge it into the stream and it will swim because nature hath taught him. Man sins naturally, but he has to be taught to do good.

Inherent depravity is directly taught in many Scriptures. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me” (#Ps 51:5). David is not casting reflection upon his mother’s virtue; he is confessing to a sinful nature received in birth. “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (#Ps 58:3). In #Eph 2:3, we read that we “were by nature the children of wrath.” In “That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (#Ro 9:8), we are told that the children of the flesh are not the children of God-and if not the children of God, they are the children of wrath, children of disobedience; yea, children of the devil.

The Scriptures which teach the necessity of the new birth prove that depravity is total, universal, and inherent. Regeneration is not of parts but of Persons, the whole psychic being is born again. And every man needs the new birth, for except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. If depravity were not hereditary, the new birth would not be necessary; training and education would bring one into the kingdom of God. If there were a spark of goodness it could be fanned into a flame, and a birth from above would not be essential to salvation.

ILLUSTRATION

The following supposed incident will illustrate the truth of depravity. A ship’s crew mutiny put their officers in chains, and take command of the ship. They sail to a distant port, dispose of the cargo, and divide the money. But while they are on the voyage, they find it necessary, for self-preservation, to establish some kind of laws to govern them in their relation to one another. To these laws they adhere punctually, act with a degree of fairness with one another, and agree to an impartial distribution of their plunder. But before they reach port, one of the crew relents and becomes very unhappy. He insists that they are engaged in a wicked scheme. He urges that they release their officers, implore their forgiveness, and resume their duties under their command. But they plead their justice, honor, and respect for one another. They remind him that they are keeping the laws they had agreed upon, and that there is peace and harmony among them. But he tells them there is no virtue in it; that all their equity while exercised in pursuit of a scheme which violates the great law of justice, is itself, a species of iniquity. He shows them that they are running the ship for their own selfish interests and glory, and not in the interest of the owner. He urges them to repent of their wicked design. He pleads with them to release their officers, and plead for mercy.

The application of this parable is easy. As sailors on the ship of life the human race mutinied in the very beginning, and every one born upon the ship has joined in the rebellion. While there has been a semblance of law and order, and some respect for one another, every man, apart from the grace of God working in him, has lived for self rather than for God, the Creator and Owner of all. The need of every one is to repent of his sin towards God, surrendering to Him and hoping for mercy through the blood of His Son. May both writer and reader abhor themselves for what they were by nature and rejoice in what they are by God’s amazing grace.

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

Chapter 24-The Headship of Adam

The Headship of Adam

THE Scriptures teach that the fall of Adam involved also that of his posterity. In the covenant, under which he sinned, he acted not merely as an individual man, the sole one of his kind, or one isolated from all others of his kind, but, as the head of the race, for his posterity as well as himself. The condition of mankind shows that they have all participated with him in the evils which resulted. The Scriptures teach that this is due, not merely to his natural headship, but to a representative or federal headship, because of which his act of sin may justly be considered as theirs, and they may be treated as though they had themselves done that act, each man for himself.

In order that a proper comparison may he made between the innocent and afterwards the sinful condition of Adam, and that which universally is found in his descendants, it will be well to recall the facts as to Adam in these respects, and those also which are seen to be true of mankind in general. The consideration of these will prepare the way for that of the relation between the parties to which the present condition of man is due.

 

I. THE FACTS AS TO ADAM.

These may be briefly stated since they have already been set forth, and the present statement is only an epitome of that already given.

1. Adam was created perfect, because of which perfection he was not only without sin, but had a strong and controlling though not invincible inclination to holiness and obedience to God. Such must be the nature of every being that is innocent and uncorrupted.

2. This nature did not make him incapable of committing sin, but only made it very improbable that he would choose to do so. Such improbability naturally belongs to a nature whose whole inclinations are towards that which is good. But improbability is far from being impossibility.

3. The possibility of sinning necessarily inheres in every creature endowed with a moral nature and permitted freedom of choice between good and evil. This is no more than saying that a creature is fallible because he is not God, who alone is through his own nature infallible.

4. Adam, in the trial to which he was subjected, did fall, not accidentally nor ignorantly, but deliberately, knowingly, and of his own free will.

5. Prior to this fall there were exhibited in him the nature and condition which belong to an innocent and holy man, and which must be found in any of mankind who have not been affected by his sin. Subsequent to it he possessed the nature and condition of a corrupt and guilty man, which likewise must appear in all of those who have been affected by that sin.

6. The result of that sin was inability to continue in the state in which Adam was originally created, or to return to it.

7. This inability was not merely natural, but also penal. It was to the corruption of his nature through the defiling taint of sin, which was a part of that threatened death, which, not confined to nor chiefly consisting in the death of the body, included this corruption and consequent inability of the whole man, together with the loss of the complacent love of God, and of communion or fellowship with him.

 

II. FACTS AS TO ADAM’S DESCENDANTS.

The facts as to the descendants of Adam show that they have universally partaken of his corrupted nature, and that, not even in their earliest years, have any had the innocent nature, with its strong proclivities to holiness, which constituted his original condition.

1. They are born with the corrupted nature which he acquired, together with all the other evils set forth as the penalties of his sin. This was true even of his first children, Cain and Abel, as it has been also equally true of all others even to the present time.

2. No one of these descendants has been able to recover the nature possessed by Adam before the fall. In each of them the same inability has existed which fell upon him.

3. No one has been able to escape the complete fulfilment of the penalty of death, in all its meanings, except through the work of Christ.

4. No other reason for this universal condition has been assigned than the one sin by which Adam fell, and it has, consequently, been generally recognized as, in some way, the result of that one transgression.

5. The conscience of mankind has universally taught that this condition of their natures is sinful, and is as fully worthy of punishment as the personal transgressions which proceed from it.

6. The Scriptures plainly assume and declare that God righteously punishes all men, not only for what they do, but for what they are. Men are indeed represented as more guilty and sinful than they know themselves to be, because, through the restraints with which God surrounds them, their natures have not been fully developed into all the sin towards which they tend. This is the argument of the first part of the Epistle to the Romans, the turning point of which is Rom. 2:1. It is also illustrated in the case of Hazael. 2 Kings 8:12, 13.

7. It follows from the facts in these last two statements, that a corrupt nature makes a condition as truly sinful, and guilty, and liable to punishment, as actual transgressions. Consequently, at the very moment of birth, the presence and possession of such a nature shows that even the infant sons of Adam are born under all the penalties which befell their ancestor in the day of his sin. Actual transgression subsequently adds new guilt to guilt already existing, but does not substitute a state of guilt for one of innocence.

8. Not the judgement of God only, but that of man also, regards a sinful nature as deserving punishment equally with a sinful act. The law of man is necessarily confined to the punishment of the acts, because these alone give such testimony to the condition of the heart as man can correctly apprehend; but the character of any act is regarded as alleviated, or aggravated, by the character of the actor; and men are shunned or courted as they are deemed to be good or bad, without any other reference to their acts than as they testify to character.

From the above points it will be seen that men, as descendants of Adam, are invariably born, not with his original, but with his fallen nature, and, more than this, not only receive that corrupted nature which was a part of the penalty of his sin, but with it all the other penalties inflicted because of that sin. It is also plain that a condition of sinfulness is regarded worthy of punishment not only by the Scriptures, and by personal conviction of conscience, but by the universal sense of mankind; and consequently that men may be punished for the corrupt nature thus inherited, although they may not have been personally guilty of a single transgression. This naturally leads to the inquiry into the nature of the connection between Adam and his posterity through which such sad and serious results have occurred.

 

III. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ADAM AND HIS POSTERITY.

1. Manifestly the universal sinfulness of mankind is due to some kind of connection with Adam. Being thus universal, it cannot be accidental, nor without some controlling cause. Unless some change was made in human nature at large, or it became liable to new conditions, or there was a connection of the life and state of all with that of the one, no reason can be assigned for the fact that invariably the fallen condition, and not the original one is found in every man. Yet it is manifest that while Adam’s was the first sin, and while that was not committed according to the tendencies of his nature, all of his posterity have been born with the corrupt nature which thence ensued, with all its tendencies and its actual development in due time into personal transgressions.

2. This has not resulted from the mere imitation of an example; but is a deep rooted evil inherent in their natures. It is found there before they can perceive the example, much less imitate it.

3. Such is the natural relation borne by all men to Adam, as their common father, that nothing but his death before the birth of posterity, or some such miraculous influence as goes against nature, or at least acts apart from it, and is believed to have existed in the birth of Jesus, could have prevented all the evils which befell Adam from coming in like manner upon his posterity. By natural generation they must be born with sinful natures such as his, and must, therefore, be corrupt and guilty, eternally destitute of God’s complacent love, and liable to natural death.

4. While the above would follow from mere natural law, the Scriptures teach us that Adam was not merely the natural, but also the federal head of the race. This is done not only in express language, but especially by teaching that the relation borne to Christ, our federal head in salvation, is similar to that borne to Adam in our sin.

5. This shows that the mass of mankind proceeding from Adam by natural generation sinned in him, not consciously, but representatively, and therefore are justly treated as though they had consciously sinned, because they are responsible for the act of their representative.

6. This adds nothing to the penalty which must have been suffered nor to the guilt which would have accrued from natural headship; for guilt is simply just liability to punishment.

7. In each case, whether of federal, or of natural headship, the same difficulties appear.

(1.) In each we are dealt with for an act with which we had no conscious connection.

(2.) In each we are made sinful, and therefore sinners, by that act; for the inherent corruption is spoken of and treated by God as sin in the highest degree to be reprobated and punished.

(3.) In each the consequences of sin are equally beyond escape.

If it he contended that under natural headship we could not be punished until we had actually sinned, it may be replied:

(1.) That this does not appear to be the fact, for at least some of the penalties, namely, corruption and natural death, and we believe all, are inflicted before actual sin.

(2.) That it would show no more equity or justice in God, nor any advantage to us, but rather disadvantage, that our probation, upon which the infliction of these penalties depends, should have taken place in the weakness of infancy, and under the disadvantages of an already corrupted nature, rather than in the personal and intelligent act of the one perfect man connected with us by natural generation.

8. But while, under the natural headship, every evil would befall which could arise under the representative, or federal headship; under the latter would come blessing, in the event that Adam should maintain his integrity, because, as represented in him, we should have been confirmed with him according to the gracious promises and power of God.

9. It would also appear that only through the representative headship could blessing come in the event of the fall. Had our fall been through merely natural headship we can see no way for recovery. But to the fall under the federal headship of Adam corresponds our salvation under the federal headship of Christ.

10. In support of the Scriptural theory, therefore, we can not only adduce the fact that the federal headship of Adam was just and right, because duly constituted by God, and that too in the fittest person of the whole race, but that it was an act of special mercy and grace, not only in itself, as involving the blessing of participation in the good as well as the evil, but as making a way for restoration in Christ the second Adam.

 

IV. THE SCRIPTURES TEACH A FEDERAL HEADSHIP.

The Scriptures recognize both a natural and federal headship of Adam. The natural headship would have sufficed to account for all the effects of Adam’s sin. The federal relationship becomes necessary, however, in connection with salvation through Christ. It is on this account that it is more prominently set forth in the New Testament as the common relationship of both the first and second Adam. The establishment of it as to the first Adam is, therefore, to be regarded as a special act of the grace of God, conferring the privileges of success where the evils of failure would not be increased, and preparing the way for future grace in the representation in Christ. The principle, however, upon which it is based, is a general one of nature, and one constantly recognized in the Scriptures.

1. It is natural and common for men to deal with each other on this principle of representation. Blessings are bestowed and injuries inflicted in accordance with it. Men become heirs to the noble or base characters of their ancestors as really as to their property. The friendship and affection entertained for a father, and no less the dislike and aversion, are renewed as to the son. A similarity is presumed to exist between them, which is deemed a proper basis for such action, until the conduct of the child shows a difference of nature, and, by destroying this presumption, causes him to be differently treated. Nor is this confined to those who are connected, like father and son, in direct succession. The taint of a committed crime soils and stains a whole family, even in its collateral branches. A remote relationship with the guilty one is deemed a disgrace, and the one thus connected realizes himself to be shunned, even if pitied, by those free from such misfortune. On the other hand, the most distant connection with one distinguished for wisdom or virtue, for great deeds or for high position, is thought to be a matter of congratulation, not alone for any supposed substantial benefits that may accrue, but for the simple connection itself.

The same principle extends itself throughout all the circumstances and ramifications of the life of each man. Each takes pride or shame in the place of his birth, in his early or late companions, in the community, or state, or country in which he lives, in its progress or backwardness, in its good or bad character, in its power or weakness, in its knowledge or ignorance,–in short, in any qualities of excellence or of inferiority which are attached to anything to which he belongs. Every man is in some measure represented, though not of his own choice, perhaps by bare accident, perhaps even against his own will, in all the circumstances and persons which surround him.

This principle only gains strength when connected with a duly appointed representative. The President or the King appoints an ambassador to a foreign court, and each citizen, though he had no hand in the appointment, is affected by the action of this, his representative. A representative to Congress is elected, against whom one has voted, and of the whole discharge of whose duties one approves, and yet such a one is bound by these very acts of the one whom he wished not as his representative.

2. The representative relation thus seen in mankind in general is recognized in the same forms in the Scriptures as existing in life with God.

(1.) It is distinctly declared in the aspect of love and hate towards the children of those who love and hate him in Ex. 20:5, and is even more prominently brought to view in Ex. 34:7. See also Deut. 4:40; 7:7-9; Lev. 20:5; 26:39; Num. 14:18 33; Job 21:19; Ps. 89:29, 36; 109:12-16; Isa. 14:19-22; 65:6, 7; Jer. 32:18; Rom. 11:28.

(2) For the fact that different conduct on the part of the children shall counteract the blessing or curse which comes because of the parent, see Lev. 26:40-42; Neh. 9:2, 3; Ezek. 18:10-23; Dan 9:4-27; 2 Cor. 3:16.

(3.) That all of a nation suffer and are punished for the sins of their rulers and representatives is taught throughout the whole history of God’s dealings with Israel. A signal instance of this was the punishment of all Israel because of the sins of Eli and his sons. Compare 1 Sam. 3:11-14 with 1 Sam. 4:10-22. Another was in the pestilence sent because David numbered the people. 2 Sam. 24:2-17. The punishment of all who had killed the prophets is announced by Christ as concentrated on that one generation. Matt. 23:34-39. The death of Christ, which had been brought about by the rulers of the Jews, is charged upon the people themselves. Acts 2:23; 3:13-15. It is also charged elsewhere upon the rulers. Acts 5:30.

(4.) On the other hand, how often was the anger of God turned away or modified by the intercessory prayers of Moses, and for the sake of Moses, as in the battle with the Amalekites, Ex. 17:9-12; and when the golden calf had been made, Ex. 32:9-14; and in his covenant with Moses after the renewal of the tables of the law, Ex. 34:9-28; also after the report of the spies, Num. 14:15-21; and numerous other instances. The case of Elijah and the woman of Zarephath is another illustration. Favour is shown to her because of the prophet’s sojourn with her. 1 Kings 17:20-22. It was because of the grace that Noah found with God that he and his family were saved in the ark. Gen. 7:1. Abraham’s prayer secured from God the promise to save Sodom, if it contained ten righteous ones, Gen. 18:32. God promised to save Jerusalem, if one just man could be found, Jer. 5:1. These are but a few of the instances which show this to be a prevalent principle in the divine government.

3. The doctrine of representation was especially set forth in a religious aspect under the Old Testament economy in the sacrifices under the ceremonial law.

These sacrifices were anticipated under some more general law of sacrifice which was given to mankind in general. This was exemplified from the earliest times. This is supposed by some to have been the source of the coats of skins with which the Lord God clothed Adam and his wife immediately after the fall. Gen. 3:21. It is more plainly seen in the superiority of the sacrifice offered by Abel over that of Cain. Gen. 4:1-8. Noah also offered burnt offerings. Gen. 8:20, 21. Abraham also built altars to the Lord, calling upon his name. Gen. 12:7, 8; 13:3, 4, 18; 21:33. The idea of the burnt offering was familiar to Isaac, as appears from his question to his father, and the ram was actually there offered as a burnt offering in the place of Isaac. Gen. 22:7-9, 13. Isaac also built an altar at Beersheba and called upon the Lord. Gen. 26:23-25. Jacob did the same at Shechem, Gen. 33:18-20, and at El-bethel, Gen. 35:7, and at Beersheba, Gen. 46:1. Moses also offered sacrifices before the ceremonial law was given. Ex. 17:15, 16. We are told that this was even done by Jethro. Ex. 18:12. In Ex. 20:24-26 God prescribes to Moses that an altar to him must be of earth, or of unhewn stone, and without steps for its ascent.

It is almost certain that these more ancient sacrifices taught at least partially the same truths as those of the ceremonial law. But the ceremonies attached to the latter explicitly set forth the fact of representation, including the ideas of substitution, imputation and sacrifice. These are the constituent elements of any doctrine of representation which releases from sin. They are fully exhibited in the representation of men in Christ. In that in Adam the sacrifice does not appear, because his was a representation which involved guilt, and not atonement. While these sacrifices, therefore, illustrate all that is involved in the representation in Adam, they are properly types of that in Christ, by which guilt was removed and atonement made to God for sin.

(1.) In them we have the sinner and the victim substituted for that sinner. The offered animal becomes his representative. What is due to the man is inflicted upon that substitution. The act of the latter thus becomes that of the former, and, upon the supposition that the victim is authorized and adequate, there is a full discharge of further penalty or obligation.

(2.) There is not only a substitution of one for another, but an actual transfer to this one from that other of his sins, trespasses, uncleanness, or whatever else unfits him for acceptance with God. After this transfer the man is treated as though he had never been thus defiled, and the victim dealt with as though alone the offender. This transfer is what is commonly known as imputation. By it the sin of Adam is transferred to us, or in other words so reckoned to us or put to our account that we are treated as though it were ours. In like manner the sin of man was transferred to Christ, who bore it, though he knew no sin personally, and he was made sin (or a sin offering) for man, and was treated as though he were a sinner. On the same principle the righteousness of Christ is also imputed to man, who, though personally sinful, is treated as though he were righteous.

(3.) The third element is the sacrifice, by which satisfaction is rendered to the broken law, and God can be just and yet justify the ungodly. This was shown by the death of the victim whose life was thus given through its blood in behalf of those whom it represented, as was that of Christ upon the cross.

The whole attainment of salvation through Christ was thus symbolized through these Mosaic sacrifices. The antitype as well as the type depends upon the principle of representation. This forms the connecting link. The Mosaic sacrifices were not offered in general, but for specified persons. It was not sin in the abstract that was confessed, but the sins of special individuals. The fact of representation has thus been distinctly involved in the whole religious life set forth in the Scriptures. It was only through the act of a duly appointed representative that guilt could be removed and salvation obtained.

4. The Scriptures represent this as the method by which guilt was incurred through Adam. This is chiefly done in the well-known passage in the fifth chapter of Romans. The apostle is here arguing for the possibility of justification through the act of Christ. He does this by drawing a parallel between Christ and Adam, and the effects of Adam’s sin and Christ’s meritorious work. This parallel could be drawn only on the ground of federal representation. Only thus could it be in connection with Christ as it had been in connection with Adam. Christ could in no sense be a natural head of man. He could only be a constituted or appointed representative head. He is thus everywhere set forth. So the parallel made between him and Adam shows that the headship of the latter was representative and not natural only. The same truth is also taught in 1 Cor. 15:45-49, not only in the names given of the first and second Adam, but by the contrast between their natures and the effects produced by each. In these two chapters from Romans and Corinthians we find ascribed to men, because of the connection with Adam and as punishment of his sin, almost all the penalties which were inflicted upon Adam in the threatened penalty of death. There is the all-comprising word “death,” declared to have come by sin, and that, the sin of one man, Rom. 5:12; death, which came upon all, even over those who had not sinned like Adam. In what respect “not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression” (v. 14) if reference be not made to the fact that there was no personal sin, as there is none in infants? This seems clearly suggested by the interjected expression “who is a figure of him that was to come;” (v. 14) for Adam was only a figure of Christ by virtue of this representative headship. “Judgement unto condemnation,” another penalty of Adam’s sin, is also declared to have come through one, V. 16, 18. The death of the soul, as the opposite of its spiritual life, is also asserted to have resulted from one man’s offence, V. 17. The controlling power of this sin, which causes tile inability to return to God and serve him, is shown by the declaration that “sin reigned in death,” (v. 21), which is a result of the one man’s disobedience mentioned in v. 19. If natural death is not included in the word “death” in this chapter, and the denial that it is so included is hardly possible, it is yet certainly connected with representation in Adam in 1 Cor. 15:22. These two chapters, therefore, show this representative relation of Adam; and that because of it all men have sinned in him and are justly treated as sinners

The discussion of this representative relation of Adam has rendered necessary a reference to that of Christ. It will be appropriate, therefore, to present in a tabular form the parallel between the consequences of these relations as a further proof of the representative character of each of these persons:

 

THOSE REPRESENTED IN ADAM.

 

Sin is imputed.

Treated as though sinners.

Not thus personally sinners.

Not regarded as actually guilty of Adam’s sin.

But only sinners representatively.

Though not personally sinners in Adam, yet born sinful, and naturally becoming actual sinners.

Condemned to all the penalties of death because of Adam’s sin.

Voluntarily accepting the relation to Adam, and persevering in the life of sin inaugurated by him.

 

THOSE REPRESENTED IN CHRIST.

 

Righteousness is imputed.

Treated as though righteous.

Not thus personally righteous.

Not regarded as actually meritoriously possessed of Christ’s righteousness.

But only righteous representatively.

Though not personally holy in Christ, yet born again unto holiness, and graciously becoming more and more holy until finally sanctified.

Released from penalty, and attaining to spiritual life and immortality, because of Christ’s active and passive obedience.

Voluntarily, though by God’s help and grace, accepting the relation to Christ, and persevering in the holy life into which he has brought them.

 

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

 

 

Question 15-Puritan Catechism

Spurgeon15. Q. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?

A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression. (1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

God’s Graciousness in Dealing with Adam’s Descendants

I was in a meeting in a town in Texas, and there happened to be in the audience a United States Senator. After hearing me preach, he asked me home with him. He says:

“If you will make one point clear to me, I am ready to accept the Christian religion.”

“Well,” I said, “what point is it?”

“I can’t see the propriety of Jesus Christ dying for me – this idea of substitution, of the innocent suffering for the guilty. I know what the Bible says about it, but somehow or other my mind revolts at that. I do not understand the propriety of it.”

I told him if he would come to hear me I would preach a sermon on that. He said:

“If you make it plain, that very minute I will accept Jesus Christ as my Savior immediately as I remain in my seat.”

I told him that God made angels first, each angel full grown with mature intelligence, without father or mother, without posterity, without brothers or sisters; hence, there being no hereditary bias or room for any other being, nothing concerning posterity to deflect the mind, the angel that sinned could not possibly be restored. It would be improper to introduce a substitute for a sinning angel. But if God made a race in one, the race standing in that progenitor, subject to all the laws of heredity and to be swayed by the action of the ancestor, and if you and I yet unborn died in Adam, there is a propriety that a way of redemption for us should be provided in a Second Adam, a propriety that does not exist at all in the case of an angel, and, as in the case of that first Adam, all died by his one offense, so we are to be saved by the second transaction, through the Second Adam. When I got through, the Senator came up and offered himself for membership. (I refer to Senator Sam Bell Maxey.) He has ever since been a faithful member of the church of Jesus Christ.

B. H. Carroll—Man’s Creation, Fall, and Redemption