Salvation: Man and the Fall
This is the first in a series of studies on our salvation. When we first come to the Lord Jesus and ask Him to save us and be Lord over our lives we perhaps have little idea about the real depths of the glad tidings and what was done on our behalf. The Epistle to the Romans is the book where Paul goes into great detail concerning the wonder of the salvation God has provided. First, we must understand why we need salvation in the first place and the depths to which our race has fallen in God’s sight.
How much changed between Man and God in ‘the Fall’?
First we must consider the account of what I shall call ‘The Fall’ where man and his wife fell from the high estate that had been given to them over creation. “To the woman he said, I will greatly increase thy travail and thy pregnancy; with pain thou shalt bear children; and to thy husband shall be thy desire, and he shall rule over thee. And to Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed be the ground on thy account; with toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; and thorns and thistles shall it yield thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return to the ground: for out of it wast thou taken. For dust thou art; and unto dust shalt thou return. And Man called his wife's name Eve; because she is the mother of all living. And Jehovah Elohim made Adam and his wife coats of skin, and clothed them. And Jehovah Elohim said, Behold, Man is become as one of us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever …! Therefore Jehovah Elohim sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. And he drove out Man; and he set the Cherubim, and the flame of the flashing sword, toward the east of the garden of Eden, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:16-24).
Before this point, Man and his wife had been living in the Garden of Eden. Every possible need was given to them. They had abundance of food and comfort. They were not affected by lust or temptation for they were in a state of innocence. They had no knowledge of right and wrong but lived in dependence on God and His provision. They had been given one commandment. There was one test to see if man would be content to serve God in innocence. Alas, Man sinned and disobeyed God.
In that moment Adam and Eve became affected with lust and temptation. They were more concerned with their outward appearance rather than their inward contentment. They felt the effect of sexual temptation when they realised they were naked and sought to remove the effects of it by making fig leaf garments. Then when they heard God in the garden they fled from His presence and tried to hide from Him. Suddenly, Man was afraid in the presence of God where he had only known contentment before.
The result of sin
God spoke man’s fate and from that day to this every descendent of Adam has succumbed to death (with the exception of Enoch and Elijah). “For this cause, even as by one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death; and thus death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Every person from Adam down to the present day has not only been affected by sin but has also enjoyed engaging in it. Self-will that has little interest in fulfilling only God’s will is the basis of that sinful nature. Man does not want to enter God’s presence but would rather desire to do his own will according to his own pleasure rather than obey the God who has shown the way of blessing.
The Bible is quite blunt in describing the state of Man without God. Just a few are given here:
“Because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God; for neither indeed can it be” (Romans 8:7).
“According as it is written, There is not a righteous man, not even one” (Romans 3:10).
“And you, being dead in your offences and sins— in which ye once walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience: among whom we also all once had our conversation in the lusts of our flesh, doing what the flesh and the thoughts willed to do, and were children, by nature, of wrath, even as the rest” (Ephesians 2:1-3).
We are described as dead, unrighteous and enemies of God. It is impossible for us, while engaged in sin to be subject to God for our minds cannot be subject to God. Man has fallen from the place that God gave him and his descendants have done no better but have possibly been worse. We cannot even consider what a hopeless and worthless sight we are before God’s pure and holy gaze. Yet He has placed a value on us, not because we are worth anything, but because He knows what He can make of us. He has in mind that we should be worshippers and sons in His presence and, just as a potter can make a vessel out of a lump of worthless clay, so can He make worthless sinners into worshippers.
After innocence was lost God allowed Mankind time in unrestricted self-will, but still Man failed to serve God and were destroyed in the Great Flood, all except for Noah and his family. God then gave the Law and God has given us the ‘day of grace’ at the present time. In every circumstance where our race has been tested we have failed. However, God in His mercy has at every time drawn certain people to Himself. While mankind rejects Christ and the way of salvation open to Him today there are those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus and to these that have “received him, to them gave he the right to be children of God, to those that believe on his name; who have been born, not of blood, nor of flesh's will, nor of man's will, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
Man is unable to save Himself. We are unable to save ourselves but instead wallow deeper and deeper in sinful self-will and pleasures. We are, as the Bible says, “bondmen (or slaves) to sin” (Romans 6:17) before we are saved. It is only God’s mercy that enables us to be washed from our sins in the blood of Jesus Christ, His beloved Son and be transformed into a new creation that is set free from sin and now become a bondman to righteousness and God instead.
“Now, having got your freedom from sin, ye have become bondmen to righteousness” (Romans 6:18)
“But now, having got your freedom from sin, and having become bondmen to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end eternal life” (Romans 6:22).
“Christ has set us free in freedom; stand fast therefore, and be not held again in a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1).