NOTE: This is a continuation of the series “Adam and the Fall.” If you have not read those posts, please do so as it will yield a far better understanding of what this series deals with. The posts can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part3, Part 4, Part5, Part 6.
“Ok. This is what I believe and think you meant in the commentary’s above. Correct me if I’m wrong. In a nut shell, Pre-Fall man(Adam) had the ability to sin and the ability not to sin. I believe Adam’s righteousness was the equivalent to a “born again” Christian’s righteousness, a reborn believer has the ability to sin and the ability not to sin. Pre-Fall man and the Reborn man had the same abilities and desires. As far as what Adam knew, what he didn’t know, what he understood, what he didn’t understand is debatable, and one that I wish not to participate in.” 1
There is a misconception that exists concerning Adam and the righteousness he possessed with respect to the born-again child of God and the righteousness that child has imputed unto them. As was made plain earlier, Adam was righteous, but only within the confines of his existence. By and large, it is not understood that Adam was righteous only in the context of his creation. Instead, what is assigned to Adam is precisely what the comment quoted above states:
“I believe Adam’s righteousness was the equivalent to a “born again” Christian’s righteousness, a reborn believer has the ability to sin and the ability not to sin.”2
This simplistic view does not take into account, nor does it incorporate an understanding, of what happens to someone when they are born-again. This failure to understand or incorporate the extent of, and change in the nature of a person when they are born again, brings about many false teachings that could be easily resolved if the totality of the change in the nature of the individual were correctly understood. This change in nature is so radical a departure from what the believer once was, it is described in this way:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Galatians 6:14-15)
This becoming a “new creature” is reinforced in the Old Testament, in the book of Jeremiah:
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. (Jeremiah 13:23)
Just as it is impossible for the leopard to change its spots, or a man to change the color of his skin, it is equally impossible for someone who has the nature of Adam to do good or become righteous in the sight of God. The reason for this is the corruption of the natural man — the man that is in Adam. As we are expressly told in Scripture, this natural man cannot please God as it is the nature of the flesh only that exists in the natural man, the one who is in Adam:
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. (Romans 8:5-8)
Moreover, no matter how hard any man tries of his own ability, the attempted effecting of righteousness, and righteous acts only brings greater condemnation as we cannot possibly see the real end of our works and will invariably select a course of action that falls far short of matching the righteousness of God. There are numerous reasons for this, which will be dealt with later, but suffice to state at this point, that once a transgression has been committed, it must be paid for, and no subsequent finite act, however righteous, is going to be sufficient to pay for the transgression that has occurred. Hence, whatsoever is done must be of God as man is incapable of effecting any sort of infinite payment that is required of God for transgression of His law.
Here then we arrive at the event called the “new birth.” It is an event that man cannot effect and cannot duplicate. It is solely and expressly a work of God. This event is of such magnitude of change that, were we to physically see it, we would never believe it possible, except that we could not deny that it obviously occurred. In Romans, Chapter 6, it is described thus:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:3-7)
What is described above is nothing less than what would be if we saw someone die, and then immediately come to life, but they were entirely different when they came back to life than what they were before they died. When it states “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed . . .” it is stating nothing less than the fact that when someone believes the gospel, who and what they are — their very nature that caused them to behave and think in a certain way, ceased to exist. This is further described in Galatians:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Here, quite plainly, the apostle Paul states “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:” which is to say that who the apostle Paul was, died when he came to personally know the Lord Jesus Christ through faith, when he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation. Now, the Holy Ghost, by the apostle Paul insures this is very clear, so that we understand fully — who he was before, has departed — ceased to exist, died. This is the “old man” spoken of in the passage from Romans 6 above:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, . . . (Romans 6:6a)
Here then is a change that is beyond reformation, or “turning over a new leaf.” This change is better described as transformation or translation, both if which are terms the Scripture uses to describe the change that occurs at salvation:
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: . . . (Colossians 1:12-14)
Which translation was pictured in the taking of Enoch:
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)
Above, when it declares that “Enoch was translated that he should not see death;” it is the perfect picture of what the Lord Jesus Christ described in John, Chapter 8:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? (John 8:51-53)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, 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. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:24-25)
And yet again:
Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:23-26)
All of which are confirmation of that which is stated in Revelation, Chapter 20:
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
Thus we see in Enoch’s translation a picture of the fact that a born-again child of God cannot die — ever. In addition, we should note that Enoch ceased to interact with this world, and ceased to partake of troubles of this flesh. This also is a picture of what occurs at salvation. It, like the picture of death Enoch portrayed (Enoch escaped it) also applies to the soul.3 The problem that arises here is that problem highlighted by Aaron’s comment quoted above:
“I believe Adam’s righteousness was the equivalent to a “born again” Christian’s righteousness, a reborn believer has the ability to sin and the ability not to sin. Pre-Fall man and the Reborn man had the same abilities and desires.”4
The problem here is that Adam could, and did die. However, the Lord Jesus Christ is express that the born-again believer cannot die. This is not “will not” die, which would leave open the possibility of death based upon some as yet unforseen change or event. Rather, this is “can not” die, which eliminates all possibility of death and dying. Thus, to understand this, we need to establish a perspective, and view everything from that perspective, not allowing any other perspective to cloud our vision. Once we have established that perspective and understand it, then we can examine all other perspectives in light of that one perspective, which would eliminate considerable confusion.
Quite obviously the perspective we are going to view all this from is the perspective of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God manifest in the flesh. There are several reasons for this, but the plainest and simplest is that His perspective is correct, He being the Creator of the “box” we live in and the Author of salvation. Hence, it is His perspective that is automatically correct, with all other perspectives taking a “back seat” to be considered only in light of the perspective of the LORD God.
In establishing this perspective, let us turn to a passage from the Old Testament in which the prophet Samuel was rebuked for having a wrong perspective and reminded of the perspective of the LORD:
And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (I Samuel 16:6-7)
When the LORD tells Samuel that He “seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” He does not speak here of the physical heart of a man. Rather, the LORD speaks of the soul, which is the part of man that He judges and holds accountable:
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)
Therefore, our perspective, if it is to be correct, must focus upon the soul and all things that pertain to the soul. Additionally, we must understand that when the LORD God makes the soul the single element of the individual to be judged, He is quite plainly stating that the flesh, and what happens in the flesh are secondary.5 We can confirm this by the following:
When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:61-63)
Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. (Matthew 15:17-20)
And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7:17-23)
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
The reason Proverbs tells us that the “issues of life” all stem from the heart, (which is the soul), is because the condition of our heart is what we are judged on. Moreover, in telling us that, the LORD God is also stating that a certain perspective we have is never correct — that is, we look at the flesh of a person first, and then say that person ‘has a soul,’ when in reality, it is entirely the other way around. What we should automatically say is ‘there is a soul’ understanding that people are souls, not ‘they have a soul.’ However, the reason we have that wrong perspective is because we are overwhelmed by the flesh, even to the point of not perceiving our soul at all.
Thus, we must change our perspective if we are to understand what the LORD God means when He speaks of life and death in relation to salvation, so that we also are not totally confused and mistaken about the condition of a person, even as the disciples were before the Lord Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead:
These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. (John 11:11-14)
To be continued . . .
- There are quite a number of things that could be discussed at this point. However, to remain with the subject at hand, we shall have to forgo them for the moment.↩
- This is not to say the things that happen in the flesh are not important, but only to say they are secondary.↩