“... Being alienated from the life of God ...” (Ephesians 4:18) To be alienated from the life of God is to be estranged from all that is decent, honest, and good. It is to be in a state of utter spiritual ignorance, a state wherein all that is pure has been debauched, and a state wherein desperate wickedness prevails and where there is a quench less hatred of God (Romans 1 and 3).
Sin has so ruined the natural man that there is not “ONE” good thing in him (Romans 7:18), his mind is enmity against God, his every thought only evil continually, and his will is utterly perverse (Romans 8:7; Genesis 6:5; John 5:40).
The Origination Of Man’s Alienation From God
as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so
passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
As to the origin of evil, man is not the proto sinner. That infamous
belongs to the devil. But in the fall of Adam all of his posterity
as depraved as the devil, for there are no degrees in depravity; it is
of the same extent in fallen angels and men.
There are no degrees in death, be it spiritual or physical. Both are, absolute and final apart from the quickening grace of God. In and by the sin of ancestral and federal Adam a malignant force was unleashed which brought an immediate cessation of spiritual life in Adam, and reduced him to a mere mortal wherein his every step brought him closer and closer to the dust from which he was created (Genesis 2:7, 3:19, 5:5). However, let it be carefully noted in quantifying the offense of Adam against God, Paul says: “all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). “Sinned”, antecedent to their corporeal being, but federally and spiritually every man was equally a constituent unit in the Edenic covenant, and that without residual innocence, for all men were as yet in the loins of Adam, and with him and in him “all have sinned.”
In the strict and judicial sense man is not alienated from the life of God because of the sin of ancestor Adam, for it unavoidably follows that all having partaken of the consequences of sin, must not have only had a character which was susceptible to sin, but were in collusion with Adam in originating mankind’s alienation from the life of God. No person suffers the consequences of Adam’s sin without being involved in and with equal degree of guilt as that of Adam, for the penalty is universal in scope and sameness; i.e., “Death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).
Man’s corrupted character and his physical deterioration is owing to his seminal and federal union with rebellious Adam, and Adam’s sin was no more personal than it was corporate; for by it all men sinned and were alienated from their Creator. Adam’s spiritual demise was precisely that of all of his progeny, and from the standpoint of human nature there is no variation in man’s alienation from God, for all merited the same condemnation and the same measure of wages was contractually measured to every man (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
Alienation Does Not Abrogate Responsibility
I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall
an account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36 )
“So then every one of us shall give account of himself unto God”
The antinomian retorts: “But we are not under the law, but grace.” I fear the person who makes this statement is under the law apart from reconciling grace, and is yet a spiritual anarchist, doing despite to the economy of God. He needs to learn that God’s law is not graceless, and that God’s grace is not lawless. Grace and law are not antithetical, but complementary in their particular design and accomplishment. The purpose of the law was to reveal man’s responsibility unto God and his total inability to respond, even infinitesimally unto God’s law, and to point him to Christ in Whom dwells all sufficiency (Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:24; II Corinthians 12:9).
The incumbency of preaching the law is not less today than when it was first given to Israel. Nay, on the contrary, it is superimposed; for the church now has the plenary revelation of God, and is thereby made aware that it is the preaching of the law that brings conviction to the hearts of God’s elect, without which, there is no salvation from sin. It is in the light of the law that sin becomes exceeding sinful (Romans 7:13).The law of the Lord is perfect as far as it goes (Psalms 19:7), but the law in and of itself never made any thing perfect (Hebrews 7:19).The preaching of the holiness, goodness, and justice of the law (Romans 7:12), apart from the gospel of Christ cannot in the least prosper those who hear it, for men are justified by faith in the Christ of the gospel without the deeds of the law (Romans 1:16, 3:28).
God’s elect are as sure to go to heaven, as Christ Himself is in heaven (John 6:37, 17:24), but I hear the Antinomian say: “A-men, and seeing we are forever saved, it does not matter how we live in this world.” But Paul rebukes the Antinomian, saying: “What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:15). The Arminian goes to the other extreme, and says: “Man is saved by the work or exercise of his freewill, and that destiny determining decision is the basis or root of his incessant good works.” It was in Adam that human freewill brought alienation to the family of mankind, and robbed man of all his power of spiritual discernment (I Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 1:21).
It is true, fallen man has a free-will, but it is in its every exercise restricted to the carnal, and is utterly impotent to will the first thing pleasing unto God. The natural man can will to do the greater or lesser evil, but never to do good; “...There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12). The person who claims human free-will is essential to salvation, bluntly asserts that his will has a creative power greater than that of God, for salvation is referred to as a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17), and this new creation is the glorious product of the infinite agony which Christ suffered for his people under the curse of the law (Isaiah 53:6; II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13).
An Awesome Audit
you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by
works, yet now hath He reconciled.” (Colossians 1:21)
Man owes to God a life of perfect righteousness, but at his best state, he is altogether worthless (Psalms 39:5), his debt is infinite, and he has not the least farthing to pay toward his account. However, this does not disturb him in the least, for his foolish heart is blinded, and he soothes his frayed conscience by telling himself, “there is no God” (Psalms 14:1; Romans 1:21; Ephesians 4:18).Yet, his Divine Creditor MUST, and will be satisfied, for He hath appointed a day wherein all accounts of the irreconciled will be infallibly audited, and every deficit duly recompensed (Acts 17:31; Revelation 20:12).
God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed
the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then
free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans
Being made free from the condemnation of the law does not make the holiness of God less exacting, nor does the reconciling grace of God allow any room for licentiousness, for liberty without rule is anarchy. While the regenerate is no longer under a killing letter, he is subject to the authority, and law of Christ (Galatians. 6:2). Paul said, He was dead to the law of sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:11), and Peter says obedience unto Christ purifies the soul (I Peter 1:22).
Knowing that Christ paid the full penalty of the law for all whom the Father gave Him in the covenant of reconciliation, and knowing that God will not demand payment at the hand of Christ, and then again at the hand of those for whom He died; does not give the redeemed person any ground for complacency or lukewarmness toward sin, but should cause him to have an insatiable hatred of sin and never any satisfaction with it.
In the reconciling experience the old nature remains unchanged, and vehemently asserts itself against all that is holy and good. That is why Paul said: “O wretched man that I am! ...” (Romans 7:24),and it is why the Publican said: “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Both Paul and the Publican knew, being made free from the condemnation of the law does not make the holiness and justice of God less exacting. However, both men knew, while they were not beyond the reach of sins contamination, that Christ on their behalf had eternally nullified sins power of damnation.
The law is a spiritual mirror reflecting the corruption of human nature. It has no life giving element in it, and is referred to by Paul, as the “Ministration of death and condemnation” (II Corinthians 3:7, 9). However, the good news is, there is a ministration that is antithetical to the ministration of death. It is a new and living way, wherein the reconciled sinner reflects the glory of Christ (II Corinthians 5:18; Hebrews 10:20). God’s reconciling grace never stops with regeneration, for if regeneration was the sum of God’s reconciling work, then the Antinomian would have the truth, and we the lie; but Paul unveils the heresy of antinomianism by saying: “Christ liveth in me,” and by praying Christ would be formed in the Galatians (Galatians 2:20, 4:19). No mortal man reflected the life of Christ more than Paul, but he knew he had not attained unto the perfect image of Christ, so he pressed on toward that glorious and consummate end (Philippians 3:14).
Reconciliation is an inclusive term, wherein is found propitiation, and the terminus of sins condemnation. But let us not read into this divine superlative, the irresponsibility of God’s elect, for both angels and men are forever answerable unto God’s decree of holiness. While God has never been at enmity with His elect, His reconciling of them did not in any sense diminish His anger against sin. Notwithstanding, God’s anger against their sins committed in violation of His holy law was judicially atoned for in the person of Christ, and in so doing, the throne of His advocacy was established; whereby the post regenerative sins of His people may be mediated (I Timothy 2:5; I John 2:1).
Howbeit, let it be clearly understood, forgiveness of sins cannot be merited by the elect before nor after their regeneration, for all remission of sin has a singular ground, and that is the shed blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:22). The atoning power of the blood of Christ did not stop at Calvary with the redemption of God’s elect, but perpetually and effectually runs in it cleansing stream to the heart of every penitent saint (IJohn 1:7), and causes him to more perfectly manifest his heavenly sonship (Romans 12:1, 2; Hebrews 4:16).
(Baptist Herald - March, 1992)
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