God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to dress and to keep it, but he was
not to touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said, "For
in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:
17). We know the sad story of Satan contradicting what God had said and
Adam's wife, Eve, being deceived by the Devil's lie. He told her, "Thou
shalt not surely die." Eve believed Satan rather than God and sinned.
Both Adam and Eve ate of the fruit and were banished from the Garden of
Eden and its Tree of Life.
THE FIRST DEATH
Man died some kind of death the day he ate of the forbidden fruit or
Satan was right and God had lied. But, of course, "it is impossible for
God to lie" (Hebrews 6:18). When we understand that "death" means
separation, we can see that being cut off from the presence of God is
the "death" of which He had spoken. Although Adam lived nine-hundred
thirty years on earth after his banishment from Eden (Genesis 5:5), he
died a spiritual death the very day he ate of the forbidden fruit for he
was separated from God.
In Romans 5:13,14 the Scriptures say, "For until the law sin was in the
world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death
reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the
similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to
come." To understand the argument made here we need to realize that God
gave a law of life and death to Adam and did not give another like it
until He gave the Law of Moses.
From the point of the first man's sin, mankind stood in need of a
savior, and yet God, in His wisdom, postponed this for hundreds and
hundreds of years, "But when the fullness of the time was come God sent
forth his Son" (Galatians 4:4). The consequence of Adam's sin was
physical death because all men and women from then on were born outside
the gates of Eden. But the provision made by Christ was to give life
eternal and sweet communion with God which man lost in that place.
Did this mean that all men inherit Adam's sin? Not at all. It just meant
that we are born into the world with frail bodies which would eventually
die having no access to the Tree of Life.
Through years and events on earth man has proved the Truth that "all
have sinned and come short of the glory of God " ( 1 Corinthlans 15:22).
The promise of God to mankind is that the Tree of Life may be regained
by those who overcome sin and gain everlasting life. Revelation 2:7
says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Again, Revelation 22:14,
15 "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right
to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
It is foolish to sit around brooding over the fact that God created us
with the capability to sin. His plan was to create beings able to be
taught right from wrong, able to choose to serve Him or Satan. Evidently
it was not God's will to create mindless robots which could do nothing
but bow and submit to His will. He, instead, created "free moral agents"
with the capacity to do wrong but also who could choose to do right, and
in so choosing and serving God as He directs, THE LORD IS GLORIFIED!
Today, God's appointed way is to be a Christian, to serve him in the
church of Christ-to believe that "Jesus is the Christ, the son of the
living God," become a member of His church (Matthew 16:16-18) and to
worship and serve Him. This is the way men glorify God today. The
Scripture says, "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end, Amen" (Ephesians 3:21).
Christ's cleansing blood was shed for salvation of all who sought to
serve God in time past as well as those of us living today (See Hebrews
ADAM'S SIN CAUSED DEATH
Adam, as the head of the human family by his transgression, involved all
men in natural death without any hope of resurrection. Christ, as the
Son of God, redeemed all men from the conseguence of this natural death
by His resurrection. Speaking of physical death, the Scripture says,
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1
Corinthians 15:22). Adam's sin brought natural death upon all mankind
but nothing more. We suffer spiritual death due to our own sins, not
Human beings commit sins of their own choice. James 1:14 and 15 says,
"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and
enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:
and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." The choice to sin
brings spiritual death.
SIN IS DECEPTIVE
A little child knows nothing about sin, or the will of God. But when the
child grows older and finally reallzes that some thoughts and deeds are
sinful and what the consequences of sin are, he dies spiritually. This
is illustrated in Paul's description of his once ignorant state. He
said, "For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law
once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the
commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For
sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me"
Paul goes on to say that when he finally realized his sinful state he
found himself powerless to overcome his own sin. And so it is with all
men. His only solution was (and ours is)-"O wretched man that I am! who
shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus
Christ our Lord.... There is therefore now no condemnation to them which
are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit"
(Romans 7:24; 8:1).
TODAY'S HONEST SOULS
When honest souls hear and believe the Gospel of salvation through Jesus
Christ, they are brought to repentance-they feel sorrow in their hearts
for their sins. Had they not heard God's truth they would never realize
the seriousness of their sin (Romans 2:5; 7:7-9). When they see how
awful their sins are in the sight of God, they want to turn away from
wrong and do whatever the Lord expects of them to gain His forgiveness.
When this Good News is preached to sincere souls who seek the truth it
is believed and willingly obeyed.
When honest souls are brought to repentance by the preaching of the
Gospel they willingly confess Jesus before men (Matthew lO:32), even as
the Ethiopian in Acts 8 who said, "See, here is water; what doth hinder
me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine
heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God." The record says, "And he commanded tne
chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both
Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him" (Acts 8:36-38).
In the beginning of the Christian age, on Pentecost Day in A.D. 33,
those who heard the preaching of the apostles were told to repent and be
baptized for the remission of sins (verse 38). Verse 42 tells us that
"they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day,
there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Their baptism
was immediate; there was no hesitation. This, of course was the
beginning of the church. That day there were added to the apostles about
three thousand souls, but the church continued to grow for "the Lord
added daily to their number those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47 RSV).
It is beyond reason to think that an honest soul would argue, "It
doesn't matter what I confess." - "I don't think baptism saves anyone."
- "I believe in God and Christ and I know I'm saved, no matter how many
Scriptures you show me." Remember Jesus said "The kingdom of heaven is
like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he
hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he bath, and
buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant
man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great
price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it" (Matthew 13:44-46).
These men Jesus spoke of didn't set their own terms or name their own
price on the prize they had found; they simply sold all they had and
Likewise, honest souls genuinely seeking forgiveness from God do not try
to bargain with the Lord on "why they need salvation," "how much it will
cost them," or "if they can set their own terms." No, all the honest
soul needs to know is "how can I gain salvation and everlasting life,"
and when they hear it they rejoice, receive it and obey. There is no way
to make "a seeker" out of a "stubborn disputer." If a person
persistently refuses the Truth he will never be saved (2 Thessalonians
2:10-12), but Jesus promised, " Ask, and it shall be given you; seek,
and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matthew
THE DEAD COME TO LIFE
But how are the spiritually dead able to come to the Lord? Jesus
addresses this by saying, "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 5:25) . The Christians in
Ephesus were told, "And you hath he quickened [MADE ALIVE], who were
dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to
the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the
air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience"
This is precisely how the Gospel of Christ works today.
Romans 10:17 tells us, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by
the word of God." The Gospel message is the "seed" of the Kingdom of
Heaven. In Luke 8, Jesus pictures the message as seed being broadcast
across different kinds of ground. For various reasons most of the seed
was lost, nevertheless, that which fell on the good ground brought forth
fruit. This final result pictures sincere souls whose hearts are
receptive to the Gospel of Christ, they are saved and do God's will.
How does one get into Christ? One who believes and repents of his sins,
confesses Christ before men and is baptized, is thus baptized into
Christ. The Scriptures say, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were
baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized in to his death?" (Romans 6:3).
We receive the benefit of Jesus' blood which was shed in His death when
we are baptized. It is at the point of baptism that we are added to the
body of Christ-"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ
have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27). All those who are in the body of
Christ and walk after the Spirit are saved.
All who obey the Gospel according to the will of God are in the church
of Christ. They and they alone receive God's spiritual blessings. The
Scripture says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in
Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one
body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and
have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:13).
The Lord's church includes all the saved and therefore God has no need
of many churches. Are you in the church of Christ? Have you overcome the
sting of death which is sin? If you should die today, will you be lost?
These are serious questions you must answer.