RPM, Volume 12, Number 52, December 26, 2010 to January 1, 2011

The Fall of Man, And His Recovery By Grace

By Thomas Reade

"O Israel, you have destroyed yourself; but in me is your help." Hosea 13:9

God is the Almighty Sovereign of the universe! He made all things by the word of his power; and for his pleasure they are, and were created. Contemplating the Sovereignty of Jehovah, Solomon declared, "Whatever God does, it shall be forever; nothing can be added to it, nor any thing taken from it; and God does it, that man should fear before him." Nebuchadnezzar, when humbled under the mighty hand of God, confessed: "His dominion is an everlasting dominion." "All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what do you? Let all the earth, then, keep silence before Him. Let all the world stand in awe of Him who has said: My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."

Those angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, God has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day, without one single ray of hope, or promise of forgiveness. Who dare deny their righteous condemnation- their just punishment, torments without mitigation, and anguish without end? Their expulsion from heaven was not an act of arbitrary power. They sinned- therefore God spared them not, but cast them down to hell- into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Man, created in the image of God, fell from his state of holiness and happiness, through the deceitful wiles of the old serpent, Satan, the adversary of God and man. By the righteous judgment of Jehovah he was doomed to die. "Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return." None of the children of Adam have been exempted from this sentence, for "Death passed upon all men, for all have sinned;" none, but Enoch and Elijah, who were translated, that they should not see death, as types of the ascending Savior. The Lord of life and glory, bowed his head, and died. His precious body was laid in the tomb, but death could not hold him; He saw no corruption; He burst the barrier of the grave, and rose triumphant, the Victor of death and hell. He is the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in him, though he dies, yet shall he live; and whoever believes in him shall never die. Oh! glorious revelation of grace and mercy!

The moment our unhappy parents ate of the forbidden fruit, thus rebelling against the Sovereignty of Jehovah who had a right to command, while it was their duty and happiness to obey, they became spiritually dead. The Spirit of God forsook them; the image of God departed from them. Thus forsaken by God, Satan made them his prey, and filled them with all unrighteousness. They were lost to every holy disposition, to all heavenly joy. They became the willing slaves of every sinful affection, of every hateful and hurtful lust. Such is man by nature. Such is the effect of the fall.

Grace alone can counteract the evil, and produce a new creation. Do we find mankind, at this moment, different from the awful picture drawn by the pencil of Truth: "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually," "evil from childhood." Is not the world still filled with Cains, and Nimrods, yes, with giants in iniquity? Ah! then let not pride deny the solemn truth, that we are shaped in iniquity, and conceived in sin; that we drink in iniquity like water, and have turned every one to his own way. O my soul, with deepest self-abasement acknowledge the justice of that sentence: "You shall surely die."

The moment Adam sinned, he not only became a dying creature, "dying, you shall die;" he not only lost the image of his Creator, but he was every moment liable to eternal death. Nothing but the breath he drew, formed the barrier- slender indeed! between time and eternity, between earth and hell!

Angels sinned and fell to rise no more. Man sinned and fell, but oh! to grace how great a debtor, daily, I am constrained to be! The hand of mercy was stretched out, the voice of mercy was heard in sweetest accents- "the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." From that moment a door of hope was opened; a ray of consolation beamed on the souls of our fallen parents. "The seed of the woman" was the Gospel sound- the glad tidings of great joy- the source of hope and peace. "When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons; and because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Thus writes the great Apostle to the Gentiles, when expatiating on the love and faithfulness of God. Be deeply humbled, O my soul, while contemplating the Sovereignty of God. Let every unhallowed feeling be subdued, while looking into the deep profound.

In strictest justice, the Almighty might have left the whole human race to perish. He was therefore under no obligation to save any. The prohibition in Paradise was clear, the sentence definite- "You shall not eat of it, lest you die." Our first parents did eat and died. Adam, being the federal head of the human race, all his posterity fell in him. "In Adam all die," all, to the end of time. Thus, in strict justice, God is bound to save none; for all have sinned, and come short of his glory. But God is pleased to save some, therefore their salvation must be all of grace. None can claim this mercy as a right; all may petition for it as a free gift, through Jesus Christ.

The offer of salvation is as extensive as the human race. The seed of the woman, the adorable Jesus, when he had wrought out a full redemption for us, commanded his Apostles just before his ascension into heaven, to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; assuring all the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, that whoever believes, and is baptized, shall be saved; but that whoever believes not, shall be damned. Thus mercy and judgment, life and death, heaven and hell, were to be set forth by a preached Gospel, to animate the hopes, and awaken the fears of the sons of men.

All men have not faith, therefore all men will not be saved; they reject the counsel of God against themselves; they refuse his offers of mercy; they will not accept Christ as their Savior; they will not submit to him as their king: therefore, if they perish, they perish justly, and in the day of judgment they shall stand before the Lord of glory, speechless and self-condemned. Are any saved? it is through the grace of God- through the love of a dying Savior, through the operation of the Holy Spirit producing faith in their hearts to lay hold of, and delight in, the ever precious Jesus.

Have you received this gift of grace, a saving faith in the adorable Redeemer? Then, cease not, O my soul, to extol the Giver of such sovereign mercy. Why should the Sovereign of the universe condescend to visit you? Why should he pour this oil of grace, this unction from the Holy One, on you? Why convert you into a vessel of mercy fitted for the Master's use, while thousands around you are vessels of wrath, fitted to destruction, through their own willful transgression? Why is this? Amazement seizes on my mind! Love and praise should fill my heart! O why is this? Because he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. I must resolve all into the sovereign will, the electing love, the free grace of the Great Jehovah.

If I choose Him as my portion, it is because he has first chosen me. If I love him, it is because he has first loved me. If my heart is given to him, it is because he loved me and gave himself for me. If I am united to him, it is because he drew me with the bands of a man, with the cords of love, in fulfillment of his own most precious word: "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself."

Many reject this blessed truth. The pride of man cannot bear this humiliating doctrine, so subversive of human merit. But what are its genuine effects? It humbles the sinner, it exalts the Savior, and promotes holiness. That doctrine must be true, which places Christ on his throne, and the creature in the dust; which opposes the evil of sin, and delights in holiness!

To all who are taught of God Christ is precious. He is their All, in All. They receive him as their Prophet, Priest, and King. They trust in him as their Atonement, Righteousness, and Advocate with the Father. They receive the gift of the Spirit through his intercession, to renew them after the divine image; to give them persevering grace; to make them conquerors over sin and Satan; to bring them in triumph into the realms of glory, and there to place them before the throne of the Eternal, as monuments of redeeming love.

O all-glorious Jehovah! guide me into all truth. Make me to know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Enable me to perceive and relish the Gospel of your grace. Take away the scales of error and prejudice from the eyes of my understanding. Remove pride and the love of sin from my heart. Give me grace deeply to bewail the corruption of my nature, as well as the transgressions of my life; to acknowledge your justice in the destruction of sinners, as well as your mercy in the glorification of your people. Impress my soul with an abiding sense of the evil of sin; and with an increasing conviction of the beauty of holiness. Cause me to abound yet more and more in faith, and love, and every grace, until rising, as on seraph's wings, my liberated soul shall mount aloft to your abode.

When I consider how soon the mind is disturbed by earthly cares, and delighted with worldly comforts; how soon the imagination is filled with scenes of promised pleasure; and how easily the affections are borne away on those painted bubbles which burst and vanish into air— I might be amazed that cares, and comforts, and pleasures of so superior a nature as those which the Gospel reveals, should make such little impression, yes, be even forgotten gotten by myriads of professing Christians, did not the Bible unfold the awful truth.

The care of the soul, which is the one thing needful; a solicitude to obtain the favor of God through the atoning blood and all-prevailing intercession of the Lord Jesus; a thirsting for the consolations of the Spirit, which flow from communion with God through Christ, and which are the foretastes of those pleasures which are at his right hand forevermore, would be the daily desire of our hearts, if sin had not so entirely blinded the judgment, debased the affections, perverted the will, and turned the whole soul out of the way of holiness into the broad road of destruction.

This is the case, not with a part, but with the whole human race without exception. All flesh has corrupted its way before God; there is none righteous, no, not one. My heart bears its own sad testimony to this scriptural truth. Everything within me bespeaks my condemnation. There is not one spark of goodness in me. As a shipwrecked mariner, I must sink beneath the waves, if help is not provided. But oh! how wonderful is the love of God against whom I have sinned. He stretches out his arm of mercy to save me from perishing. He speaks with melting kindness: "You have destroyed yourself, but in me is your help." Placed on the Rock of Ages, on Jesus, the sure Foundation, my soul is penetrated with gratitude while I listen to the gracious voice of my Redeemer— "I, even I, am the Lord, and besides me there is no Savior." "I, even I, am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins." "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Such are the expressions of Infinite Love to encourage, and comfort, every lost sinner who is enabled by grace to lay hold upon Christ crucified as his hope of glory. Exclaim, O my soul, with the enraptured Prophet: "Where is another God like you, who pardons the sins of the survivors among his people? You cannot stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing mercy. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!" Strike your harp with David- "You Lord are good and ready to forgive and plenteous in mercy unto all those who call upon you." "I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; and I will glorify your name for evermore. For great is your mercy towards me, and you have delivered my soul from the lowest hell." Join in the chorus of the saints around the throne: "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever!"

This article is provided as a ministry of Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill). If you have a question about this article, please email our Theological Editor.

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