Friday, August 22, 2014
Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 7
Paul clearly indicates (Romans 5:12-21) that many died in Adam (all men) and the sins of many have been dealt with in Christ (all men). That is why Paul wrote that Jesus is the Savior of “all men” especially of those who believe, 1st Timothy 4:10. The issue is what think ye of Jesus? Not whether or not sin has been dealt with. Sin has been dealt with once for all at the cross of Christ.
Peter wrote of false teachers who are clearly not saved that they “[deny] the Lord that bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction,” 2nd Peter 2:1. The error of these false teachers is not that they sinned, but that they denied the Lord who already purchased them with His own blood; they rejected the salvation Jesus offers freely and the fruit they bear demonstrates their view of Christ. Jesus declared that God gave the Son authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man, John 5:27; Christ is the representative Man whom we must have as our head; in whose name we must be saved. The line of demarcation is drawn over the person of Christ, not the issue of sin, John 5:24; 3:36; 3:16-18; Mark 16:15-16; 1st John 5:12, etc.
Skipping ahead to verse 17 we find that Paul is relating how mankind was brought into our present condition of sin and death. The cosmological effects of the Fall affected man at his very core. We died spiritually in Adam and in Christ we receive a spiritual rebirth, John 3:6-7. As we are all born of the flesh, that is, born in the likeness of sinful Adam with Adam’s acquired penchant for sin; so too must one receive through Christ a justification that transforms us into the likeness of the second Adam. So with Christ as our representative Man we may receive (something given; not naturally acquired) abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.
In verse 17 Paul emphasizes that through one man’s offense death reigned; in verse 18 he continues to compare and contrast Christ with Adam and their resultant choices; only this time the apostle asserts that through Adam’s offense judgment came to all men which resulted in condemnation. This verse aids in putting previous passages into proper context when Paul uses the phrase “many”. Now he changes his wording, and tells us that Christ’s righteous act brought the free gift of justification to “all men.” As we saw in verse 17, this free gift must be received through the vehicle of faith but that does not nullify the Holy Spirit’s plain teaching that this gift abounded to “all men.” In other words all sin from Adam to the final person who lives prior to the onset of eternity has been paid for in Christ. The free gift is available to all men; in that respect it is universally applicable and has come indeed to “all men.” The reception of this free gift results in justification of life. “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life,” John 5:24.
Here is the point I have taken some time to lay down. Paul addressed the Genesis account as a factual history of earth’s early days. It is imperative—allow me to stress this point—it is a crucial, inescapable reality that is a pillar of the Christian faith that death existed from the moment Adam sinned and God passed judgment on mankind. “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it your were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” Genesis 3:19. If death in any form existed prior to Adam then the Genesis account is found to be wrong and Paul’s entire eschatological building in Romans chapter 5 comes tumbling down. Death is an unnatural invader in God’s created universe brought here as a result of man’s disobedience; furthermore the hopeless nature of our condition necessitated the crucifixion and vicarious sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf to make possible a just way that God can execute judgment on sin while pardoning the sinner. Remove Genesis as a myth and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross becomes nothing more than human tragedy, because He died for something that had been naturally occurring billions of years prior to His arrival as a normal, God-ordained way to advance each species.