Saturday, May 28, 2005

In Due Time Christ Died For The Ungodly

Abel's works were called righteous but Cain's works were rejected as evil. How is this possible if there was no law or idolatry in this pre-flood world? To understand this question, we must look at The Book of Romans
Romans, chapter 4
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.
Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary
  • Because the law worketh wrath - has nothing to give to those who break is but condemnation and vengeance.
  • for where there is no law, there is no transgression - It is just the law that makes transgression, in the case of those who break it; nor can the one exist without the other.
  • Therefore - A general summary: "Thus justification is by faith, in order that its purely gracious character may be seen, and that all who follow in the steps of Abraham's faith - whether of his natural seed or no - may be assured of the like justification with the parent believer."
Romans, chapter 5
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

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. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
John Gill's Exposition of Romans 5:13
For until the law, sin was in the world This is a proof of sin's having entered into the world, by one man's transgression of the positive law of God, which forbid him the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; since it was in the world before the law of Moses was given: the sin of Adam and the guilt of that were in the world before, and came upon all men to condemnation; the general corruption of nature appeared before; and actual sins, and transgressions of all sorts were committed before; as by the immediate posterity of Adam, by the men of the old world, by the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, by the patriarchs and their posterity, by the Egyptians, Canaanites, and others. They were all guilty of sin, corrupted by it, and under the dominion of it, except such as were released from it by the grace of God: now when sin is said to be until this time, the meaning is not that it existed and continued until the law of Moses took place, and then ceased; for that law did not, and could not take away sin, it rather increased it, at least it became more known by it; but that it was in being before it, and had influence and power over the sons of men, so as to subject them to death:

but sin is not imputed when there is no law. This looks like an objection, that if there was no law before Moses’ time, then there was no sin, nor could any action of man be known or accounted by them as sinful, or be imputed to them to condemnation; or rather it is a concession, allowing that where there is no law, sin is not imputed; but there was a law before that law of Moses, which law was transgressed, and the sin or transgression of it was imputed to men to condemnation and death, as appears from what follows.
The Apostle Paul states that sin was in the world before the law was given: The law of Moses (Lev:26; Ex:20:1). Here, the Apostle Paul refers back to the beginning when sin came forward through Adam and Eve. As a result, death was the consequence.

We have two types of the manifestation of sin presented.
  • They failed to believe God - sins of omission. Adam to Noah
  • They had broken God's law - sins of commission. Noah to the Canaanites, Israelites
Sin of Omission
Whether a sin of omission is more grievous than a sin of transgression
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI Copyright © 1911
From Adam to Noah, there was no law. The first law given came after the flood and was against murder (Gen:9:4-6). Moreover, there was no transgression of The Law when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit. Their sin was a lack of faith, disobedience; the sin of omission.

We find that Abel's works are declared righteous; because of his visual faith in God, his works. We find that Cain's works are declared evil and rejected; because grace was offered yet his faith was not manifest. We shall find that God will work with our founding parents because of their sin of omission. Sin, because it reveals that which is already in the heart. Because it is now omitted, this is transgression, and so they caused their rightful fall from eternal life into mortal death. They lived as eternal human beings prior to eating the fruit, for death did not reign (Gen:2:17) Death was the result. The manifestation of Adam and Eve's moral transgression.
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15
The Lord Jesus will now teach to them they will have to be redeemed by God' grace and mercy. It will be through faith that they will have to come unto God, the same way which all people must come unto God. Paul teaches this basic doctrine, starting with Abraham.
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; Romans 4:16
This doctrine begins with Abraham, the patriarch father of the Jews and Gentiles, still in the distant future for Adam and Eve, but also the distant past for us living today. This doctrine was given to the Apostle Paul, a man chosen by God to build His Church among the Gentiles nearly 2,000 years ago, to put on paper the words which stand as God's true doctrine.

The world in which the first humans lived reached only nine generations and came under God's judgment because of violence and wickedness. That world was totally destroyed by water, delivering eight righteous souls who had faith in God, through the flood waters to redeem and continue the human race. Here we see the grace and mercy of God made manifest, so that, faith, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Heb:11:1). We find in scripture, still yet in the future, that this current world will be judged as well, because of the same transgressions of sin. That judgment will come by fire (2Peter:3:7).

Paul starts with Abraham, the father of all. He was the 11th generation from Noah through the line of Seth. We will look more closely at Abraham later in this series. For now though, we are looking at the justification of mankind through faith in the world that was before Abraham, from a beginning when innocence fell to knowing evil. They had transgressed God's moral instruction. They fell into sin from their desire to know good and evil. God says; the wages of sin is death... So then, death came into the world.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh Hebrews 11:4
At the beginning stages of humanity, we see Grace beginning to work in the world because of their transgression. God demonstrated his love towards them by making redemption possible. The same way as all who choose God, through faith. Salvation came because of God's love, which is the manifestation of His grace and mercy (his works). The gift of grace is given through the gift of faith.
Faith is the means by which justification is received, not its source, which is Jesus Christ. The Theme of Galatians - Justification by Faith by Robert Hunter
Even though Adam and Eve knew the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ (The Lord God) and even though they had walked with him for a period of time which we do not know, they did not know or comprehend what transgression meant. They did not know sin. This is to say; they did not know they were now separated from God because of their willful transgression. What we see is a picture of God revealing his grace because of mankind's intentioned and wilful disobedience - sin. In this day, we accept Jesus Christ through the work of his death, taking away our willful sin, our transgression against God's law. This is acheived through the demonstration of God's grace and mercy, that of the Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the Cross.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Romans 5:10
We see the glory and magnificence of God's love towards his creation. The Lord Jesus must now show Adam and Eve that He must go forward, in a future time, and conquer death, in order to redeem them for their transgressions, which was death - eternal separation. For it is here that Adam and Eve learned, that the One they knew and walked with in the cool of the day, that He would take Adam's place in death, as to redeem him from death, bringing him into eternal life. Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death. He is called; the last Adam.
So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being ; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. 1Corinthians 15:45
It is important to see that Adam and Eve did not have a mediator between them and God, as the Israelites had with Moses, as we do today because his death nearly 2,000 years ago. They will have to go full circle to reach the place in which they started, through faith in Christ. Clearly, the Gospel was given to Adam and Eve, and all their children. Abel testified to God through his faith, who was murdered by his brother, because of his rage, because of sin that entered his heart.

Notes and Outlines The Book of Romans: by J Vernon McGee

Justification by faith
  • Justification is the act of God that declares a sinner righteous by faith on the merit of Christ's sacrifice. It is the addition of the righteousness of Christ as well as the subtraction of sins.
  • Reconciliation is toward man. Change from enmity to friendship. Justification by faith is an act of God which is permanent.
Federal headship of Adam and Christ
  • Headship of Adam: Death - sin
  • Headship of Christ: Life - righteousness
Offense of Adam vs. righteousness of Christ
  • Disobedience vs Obedience
  • Judgment vs Free Gift
  • Sin vs Grace
  • Condemnation vs Justification
End of part 3
In Due Time Christ died For The Ungodly


Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain

part 1 They Were Morally Corrupt and Destitute
part 2 The Two Divisions of Mankind
part 3: In Due Time Christ Died For The Ungodly
part 4 The Revelation of Two Mysteries
part 5 Am I My Brother's Keeper?
part 6 Thy Brother's Blood Crieth Unto Me


Copyright Wendell Leahy
published by Suite101.com

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