Identification Truth – The Foundation for Eternal SecurityRomans 5:12 • Dr. Jim McGowan • June 19, 2016 • Soteriology - Sp. Anatomy
SUGAR LAND BIBLE CHURCH
Dr. Jim McGowan
Identification Truth – The Foundation for Eternal Security,
Good morning, welcome to our Sunday School class. Of course you notice immediately that Pastor Woods is not here speaking this morning. He happens to be in Australia, ministering and he asked me to fill in for him this morning on the issue of eternal security. That’s been the topic under his soteriology lessons. So I’m going to just this morning give you a little bit different perspective, if I could, and my hope is that as we go into this study and we talk about these things that you’ll come away this morning with a real sense of the assurance of your salvation and also an understanding of who you are in Christ perhaps a little bit better. With that said let’s go to the Lord in prayer
Heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your great mercy, Your lovingkindness. Thank You,
Father God, that you didn’t leave us orphans but Father, You live and breathe in and through us
Lord. Thank You for the privilege that we have to allow the Lord Jesus to make himself manifest
in our mortal flesh. As we consider the issue of eternal security this morning our prayer is that You might be glorified, exalted and uplifted and that the hearts of your people would be challenged, encouraged and motivated to believe and find steadfastness in Your promises. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Now there was a handout, I hope you got one of those, if you didn’t, wave at somebody back there and they’ll probably get one to you. This morning we’re talking about eternal security. This morning we’re talking about identification truth and we’re going to specifically refer to this in terms of it being the foundation for eternal security. Our outline for this morning, we’re going to first of all talk about our personal history in the first Adam and what I discover as I teach this lesson and I’ve taught it a number of times is that people are not always really familiar with this aspect of their spirituality. So I find it’s a very important thing to go over; it helps us as we begin to understand who we are in Christ. We’ll be talking this morning about our position in Adam, our nature received from Adam and what we’ll call our “Adam practice.” All of this, of course, is before we become a believer. Then we’ll talk about the solution that God has provided and then we will sum up.
So let’s start off this morning with Psalm 11:3, you probably are familiar with this verse, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” It’s a great statement. If we don’t understand our heritage, if we don’t understand where we came from we don’t really understand where we’re going. I have to axioms here for you; an axiom is just a self-evident truth. Number 1, and I want you to really think and reflect on this this week, we cannot become what we already are in Christ until we know what we were in Adam. And second, everything in Adam is the ground of sin and death; everything in the Lord Jesus is the ground of growth and life; two very important axioms.
So again here’s our outline, we’ll start with our personal history in Adam. When we talk about Adam most of us have an idea from our understanding and reading of the book of Genesis something about Adam and Eve but I’m not so sure we’ve ever taken the time, most of us, to seriously go back and reflect on who Adam was and what that really means to us as believers today. So we’re going to start out here with who and what was Adam? He was the first man and he was the seminal head of the human race into which we were born. Not that word seminal might throw you a little bit but here’s a bit of a definition: Since all humanity was “seminally present” in Adam, when Adam sinned, each person of the entire human race to the end of time was judged guilty as having individually participated in the first sin.
So when we say that we were seminally represented, or present in Adam what we’re saying is when Adam sinned we too sinned. Now for some people this is an eye-opening statement and they think well, gosh, that seems rather strange. But let me throw a couple of verses up here; one is Romans 5:12 where Paul as much as says this. He says, “Therefore, just as through one man,” that is the First Adam, “sin entered the world, and death through sin; and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
We can see a similar parallel in Hebrews 7:9-10, where you may recall that when Abraham went to battle against the Canaanite kings and he returned, Melchizedek met him along the way. And if you remember the story he offered tithes to Melchizedek. And it’s interesting that when we come to Hebrews that the author of Hebrews uses that event as a way to help us understand this idea of seminally being present, because he says here: “Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak,  for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”
Now we’re talking about literally hundreds and hundreds of years of separation between the time of Abraham and the time of Levi. And yet the author here tells us that when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek Levi himself was paying tithes to Melchizedek. And that’s because the race that would become the Hebrew race was seminally present in Abraham. So that gives you kind of an idea what we mean when we say that we were seminally present in Adam when Adam sinned.
So that immediately confronts us with a problem here, doesn’t it? Adam is the one from whom humanity has inherited its sinful self-oriented nature and condition of life, and this nature and condition continually wars against the Holy Spirit for control and certainly even in the lives of believers. We know that’s true, all you have to do is go read Romans chapter 7 and the apostle Paul makes that very evident. Point number 3, Through Adam we were all born into sin, judgment, condemnation, and death. All right, we need to reflect on that a little bit.
There are some people that want to teach that all we have to do is sort of pull ourselves up from our bootstraps, you know, and go get the latest and greatest self-help book and if we just follow the principles that are outlined in those books or if a certain TV personality has it in her book club then we know we’re going to be okay. All right… but notice here we’re saying that there’s judgment, condemnation and death associated with being seminally present in Adam.
Point number 4, This death not only entered the world and the human race, but notice, it reigned as a tyrant king. I would refresh your memory to your life before you were a believer and you may not have been the worst sinner on planet earth but I think if you’re honest in your reflection of your life then you would recognize the fact that you really didn’t have any way to not sin. You could really try hard but did you notice, or remember, that no matter how hard you tried you found that you were still sinning fairly regularly.
And of course, as believers are we somehow put in the position where we never sin? No! That’s not what we’re saying. But there’s a great distinction before we became a believer and after we became a believer, and we’ll talk some more about that in a little bit. So there’s this tyrant who’s reigning over all of those who are unbelievers. Does that in any way, in your mind, give you any point of reflection for what’s happening in our world today? When you think of what just happened down in Florida? When we think about the different issues going around in the world? It really shouldn’t surprise us at all because we’re talking about “the world.” Right? When we talk about “the world” we’re talking about unbelievers. And of course, they have this tyrant reigning in their lives.
Romans 5:17-18 says, “By one man’s offense” and it’s referring to the First Adam, “death reigned by one … Therefore as by the offense of one” that is again the First Adam, “judgment came upon all men to condemnation.. Again, sometimes people say well, you know, I’m not a bad person, an unbeliever will say I’m not a bad person. It has nothing to do with whether you’re good or bad, the Bible says that because of the fact that you’re seminally present in Adam when he sinned that you’re under condemnation. And that’s a very important point when we are evangelizing people; we need to help them understand that it’s not their perception of themselves that matters, it’s God’s perception of them based upon His Word.
Let’s look for a moment at three fundamental aspects of this historical relationship that we all have in Adam. Now notice the wording I’m using here. It’s a historical relationship; for the believer this means that it’s something in the past, it’s historical. It’s not something that currently is our condition. But in order for us to understand who we are in Christ we have to lay the groundwork here first with who we were in Adam.
So three fundamentals; this issue of being seminally present in Adam has to do with our position in sin, and we can refer to that as the Adam-source. Our nature of sin, which we can refer to as the Adam-nature, and our personal sins which we can refer to as the Adam-practice. Just a couple of ways to look at that. And I have a little paragraph here, “Understanding these 3 facts is the essential key to progressing in spiritual growth. Ignorance of neglect of these 3 facts guarantees spiritual defeat throughout the life of the believer.
So Jim, why are we talking about all of this, I mean if we’re not in Adam any more, if we’re now in Christ why do we even care about all of this? Well, I’m hoping to point out to you that you’ll understand that we really need to understand what it is that God did for us when He saved us. It’s very important we understand that.
Here’s an interesting picture, a couple of interesting pictures, that first picture on the left is representative of God casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden, and of course when He did that since were seminally present in Adam what was happening to us at the same time? We were also being cast out of the Garden. And so what happened when Adam and Eve sinned is represented by this picture on the right hand side. When we were in Adam, if you’ll look at this you’ll see this egg shaped oval here, when we talk about being in Adam what we’re referring to is the fact that we were the old man. And what is the “old man”? The old man is all of who we were before we became a believer; all of who we were in Adam. And notice that contained within the larger oval we have a smaller oval in red, does anyone recognize that? That’s that old sin nature. And the thing that you should notice about this picture is that the sin nature is within and a part of who we were in Adam. So when Adam sinned we too, because we were seminally present in him, we receive that sin nature that he and Eve received at that point in time.
Continuing on this is the problem of being in Adam, is we have all these issues, we have this baggage that we bring to the cross. And God has to deal with it for us. So if you notice here again we have three fundamental aspects. The first one we refer to was our position in Adam, or our Adam source. Now what do we know about our position in Adam. Well, we have some verses that we’ll talk about here in a second but we know that from the Word of God it says that we were born into a doomed humanity.
Again I would draw your attention to what is it that the world is saying? God says that humanity without Christ is doomed. What is the world saying? The world is saying oh, you don’t need that Jesus stuff, you know, that’s old antiquated out of date old thinking. What we really need to do is come together as a world group of individuals and we just need to make this world a better place.
Of course we as believers understand that we’re not of this world, are we; we’re merely, I love the old King James expression, we’re just passing through. Unfortunately though sometimes we forget that and we try to find some way to sort of nest here, don’t we. Well, that’s what the world is doing, of course, but we’re in a doomed humanity.
The second one here says that also because of our position in Adam we are dead unto God and alive unto sin… dead unto God! Well, I just don’t understand it, why is it that the world is just going to hell in a handbasket? What’s happening here, don’t people, can’t people understand that there’s a better way and the answer, of course, is no, they can’t understand because they’re spiritually dead and it’s not until God the Father, through the emphasis and power of the Holy Spirit, saves you and enlightens you to the truth of His Word that you will finally once and for all understand that there’s this tremendous thing happening, spiritually speaking, throughout the world.
Let’s look at these passages. David said, “in sin my mother conceived me.” Now he didn’t mean that it was a sinful act when she was procreating him, that’s not what she’s saying. But what he is saying is that he’s recognizing the fact that when he was consummated, when he was conceived in the womb that the sin nature was transferred to him; that that being seminally present passed through the bloodline to him. Paul in Ephesians 2:1 says this, he says that all men are dead in trespasses and sins. [Ephesians 2:1, “And you, being dead in your trespasses and sins—“] And
1 Corinthians 15:22, notice what it says: all who are “in Adam” what, “all die.” “In Adam all die.”
So this is important, isn’t it. We need to be able to articulate to the unbeliever why there’s an urgency, if you will, for them to acknowledge their need for Christ, because “in Adam all die.” This is referring to spiritual death.
The second point here of our three fundamental aspects is that not only did we find ourselves positionally “in Adam” but now also we’ve received this (we’ve alluded to it already somewhat) we’ve received a nature also; this nature was passed down, the nature of sin, or sin nature, and the first point we have here is our position in Adam resulted in our being sinful beings by nature, with a natural inclination or tendency for a life that is sinful.
Isn’t it interesting and Pastor Woods has alluded to this many times from the pulpit, but isn’t it interesting that when you bring that newborn baby home it’s not very long before that newborn baby begins to exemplify what we might call a self-centered attitude and mentality. Right? And to be perfectly fair, we kind of nurture that, don’t we? I mean, in some sense there’s no way around that, when a baby wants to be fed you’ve got to feed it, right? When it wants its diaper changed you’ve got to change that diaper… well, I guess you don’t have to but you probably ought to, right? But in any case, we’re sinful natures, sinful beings by nature. And again we need to convey this to the unbeliever, that God says no matter how many self-help books you have it doesn’t matter because you’re a sinful being by nature.
Does that mean that you’re as evil as you can possibly be? No, not at all… not at all! In fact, there are some people out there who are unbelievers that from the standpoint of the human looking at their lives we go wow, man, look at all the money they give to good causes and look at how they’re involved in the community and doing all these wonderful things. Right? And of course, what’s another word for “wonderful things?” It’s works, isn’t it? Right? And we know that “by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.” [Romans 3:20, “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”]
The next point, “in Adam” we are natural, fleshly, and carnal, separated from God. It’s important for me to point out to you that often times when the Bible refers to death what it’s referring to is separation. And let’s think for a moment about that in regard to Adam and Eve. God told them, or they died the moment they sinned, did they not. If we go back and read Genesis they died immediately. And yet they continued to walk around; in fact, they procreated, they filled the earth, so wait a minute, something’s not quite right here, I thought they were dead. Well, the Bible talks about death as being separation and what was happening there was the moment they sinned they were separated, dead, they were spiritually dead, separated from God. And of course what was the evidence? How do we know that was true. Well, when God came walking and looking for them in the Garden what did they do? They ran up to Him and said oh Daddy, it’s so good to see you? NO, what did they do? They went to hide themselves and then God, of course dealt with that by covering them, taking the initiative Himself to provide a covering for them.
The third fundamental here is that… excuse me, we’re still on the second one, the nature of sin. Our Adamic nature and boy, really listen to this, look at this, read this, let this sink into your heart, let this get down deep, our Adamic nature can never change, never be improved, never be reformed, never be rehabilitated, because in Adam we are entirely self-centered, totally and irreparably against God. Wow! That’s pretty powerful, isn’t it. But so and so seems to be such a good person. Are they a believer? No, but they just seem to be such a good person. The Word of God makes it very clear that there isn’t anything that we can do outside of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ; there’s nothing that we can do to in any way make our self worthy to be in the presence of a holy God. There’s no way we can restore that broken fellowship, if you will; in Adam, we are “by nature” the “children of” look at that word, we were what? we are “by nature of wrath”. [Ephesians 2:3, among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”]
But wait, I thought God is love? Have you ever witnessed to somebody and you try to talk to them about sin or behaviors and such that they come back at you, well, wait a minute, I thought God was a God of love! Or they’ll use that when something bad happens in the world, I’ll never believe in God because God’s a God of love. Well, He is a God of love, but He’s also a God of wrath, and His wrath is poured out against the children of disobedience, the Word of God says. Wow!
Let me give you a little information here that might help you. When it comes to the attributes of God, when we use that term “attributes of God” all the things we think about, right, omnipresent, omnipotent, etc. etc. etc. when we think about all of those attributes of God we can never pull one out from the group and single it out as if it’s its own entity. God is all those things all the time. Okay. He’s not more love than He is more wrath. He is not more mercy than He is more judgment. All of those things are operating in His person all the time. He’s all of those things. All right!
1 Corinthians 2:14 says “the natural man” now in context here this is referring to the “in Adam” person, “in Adam” man, that would be an unbeliever, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” I don’t know about you but I can remember a time in my life where people tried to share the Word of God with me and I heard it but I didn’t hear it. And then a while later, sometime later, they would share the same thing with me and all of a sudden, oh, oh yeah, I see that now, wow! Well, the Spirit of God has to enlighten you to understand His Word. For the unbeliever, of course, he has to come to the place where he’s willing to accept what God has said and the moment he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ then all of a sudden the scales, as it were, just like the Apostle Paul, are removed from their eyes and they begin to see and understand spiritual things that they never saw or understood before.
John 3:6, “That which is born of flesh is flesh.” All right, and that shouldn’t surprise us, again if we go back to the first chapter of Genesis one of the things that’s predominant there is God said that everything that produces, how is it going to produce? Monkeys are going to produce giraffes, right? Hippos are going to produce crocodiles? No, everything is going to produce after its kind. So if I’m fleshly, if I’m carnal, if I’m “in Adam,” anything that I produce is going to be in the same state, same condition. All right.
So we do have a problem. Does everybody see we have a problem here, being “in Adam”? A couple of more Scriptures here; Romans 7:14, Paul is talking here, he says, “I am carnal [in Adam], sold under sin,” and he was talking there about his life before he became a believer, that he was carnal, “sold under sin,” remember we said that sin is a tyrant master? That’s only true of the unbeliever. Romans 8:5, “For those who live according to the flesh* set their minds on the things of the flesh …” Well surprise, surprise, surprise, why is it that people just wrap themselves in things that are hurtful to them all the time? Why is it that people do things that ultimately, if they thought it through they would recognize that, you know, if I follow this path it’s going to lead to destruction. Why do they do that anyway? Because they can’t help it, they have the mind of the flesh, therefore they follow after the things of the flesh.
Romans 8:7-8 here, the Apostle Paul says, “Because the carnal mind, that is the Adamic thinking process, “is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Now this is specifically true about the unbeliever but it’s also true about the believer. If we as believers choose to operate as if we were in Adam when we’re actually in Christ, what are we doing? We set ourselves against what it is God is going to do in our lives. I don’t know about you but I find myself in that position sometimes, where my will becomes the more important will. Do you ever experience that? You know God, I know I really shouldn’t do that but you know I really want to, and I go ahead and do it and then of course there are repercussions to that. I can tell by the silence that you’re all on the same page with me.
All right, let’s look at the third point here; we mentioned the fact that the three fundamentals were we have an Adamic position, Adamic nature, and now we have this issue of the Adam practice. In Adam we’ve grown up to be sinners by choice and practice, because the inherent product of a sinful nature is sinful behavior. The practical result of our being “in Adam” is stated in Scripture. Romans 3:23, everybody knows this verse, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Everyone, everyone has fallen short. That’s the bad news, now we need some good news, don’t we. Let’s talk about some good news.
Fortunately, because God is a God of love He saw our wretched condition of being in Adam; He saw our position, He saw this sin nature, He saw the sinful practice that dominated our lives. And He recognized, of course, that there was nothing that we ourselves could do to rescue ourselves. And this is the big issue, isn’t it? Right? This is the most difficult thing for the unbeliever to come to grip with, is the fact that if they’re truthful, if they’re honest, they recognize that something is missing in their life.
One person put it that there is a God-shaped void in the life of every unbeliever and I think that’s really true. Why do I think that? Because look at what happens in the life of the unbeliever? What do they do? They endeavor to find things to fill themselves with to make them feel better about themselves. Some people take it to the extreme and they get involved in all kinds of addictions, don’t they? Other people find other things that they fill their lives with, and all these things are there, through their effort they are endeavoring to fill a void that they can never fill.
The Bible in the book of Romans, the first chapter, talks about the fact that there is this God consciousness amongst even believers. Why is it that when we go anywhere in the world, any culture you can think of, why is it that they have gods? Why is it that they have idols? What’s the reason for that? I mean, come on, anybody with a brain knows that an idol made out of wood, what in the world is that? That’s nothing, right? We all acknowledge that but why do that? Because they’re trying to fill themselves up with a sense of spirituality but they’re rejecting the God of spirituality, if you will, the God who loves them.
So God recognizes this terrible problem that we have and He’s determined that because of His love He is going to take the initiative. We can’t do anything to move toward Him so He has to take the initiative and he moves toward us; just exactly the picture of the type we see in the third chapter of Genesis I guess it is, where Adam and Eve had sinned, right? And God… isn’t it interesting, God comes looking for them. Isn’t that amazing? You would think that before they sinned, well yes, God would come looking for them, He wants fellowship with them, and after they sinned against Him that He would just write them off… ah, well, you know, I tried to start this thing off the right way and boy, they just blew it so maybe I’ll just get rid of them and start over again. But He didn’t do that. Isn’t it interesting that God came seeking them in their sin? I have news for you and it’s good news, God did the same thing for you and I, you and me. He came seeking us and what a wonderful thing it is to understand that.
So what did God do to bring us back to Himself? Well, you see on this slide here, God did a couple of things. He judged Adam, He condemned Adam and He terminated Adam. What in the world do I mean by that? Let’s talk about that for a moment.
God’s solution was that He would judge and condemn Adam in relationship to the dispoisition. So we all know that as an unbeliever we had this position in Adam. Our position in sin (notice this, this is very important) our position in sin could not be forgiven; it couldn’t be forgiven. God, being the holy, righteous God that He is He couldn’t just wink at it, He couldn’t just… you know, say well, okay, you blew it, I understand, do better next time. NO, because sin is an affront to the holiness of God. So he couldn’t be forgiven.
On the cross how did God deal with sin? Well, on the cross in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ our heavenly Father once and forever cancelled our position in sin. This is really good news. When we think about this in terms of… remember, we’re talking about eternal security, when you think about the solution as we talk about that, think about that in terms of your eternal security. God has forever cancelled your position in sin, in the first Adam. That’s good news. Romans 8:3, “For what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh,” notice this, “God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh on account of sin. HE [God]” did what? He “ CONDEMNED SIN , that is our Adam-source, “in [Christ’s] flesh…” When Christ died on the cross God condemned sin once and for all.
2 Corinthians 5:21, “For [God] made Him” that is the Lord Christ, “who knew no sin to be sin for us…” This is mind-boggling. When you try to wrap your mind around the fact that the Second Person of the Trinity willingly and voluntarily elected to be your and my substitute on the cross, that He took your and my sin, my guilt, my penalty, He took it for me. That’s just mind-blowing, it’s just…. You remember when Jesus was on the cross and He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me,” have you ever thought that was the first time in all of eternity past and present that the fell between the Trinity was broken. That’s amazing. And God did that for you and for me! He said I am willing to break fellowship with My Son in order to bring many sons to Myself. What an awesome God!
Our position in sin, again, our position in sin cannot be forgiven; I think we said that already… here we go, our nature of sin, so he dealt with our position in sin, or our position in Adam, what about this sin nature issue? Well, our position in sin could not be forgiven, neither could our sinful life and nature be forgiven. They too were taken into the judgment death of the cross. Romans 6:11 is very interesting. And if you’re not familiar with this passage I would encourage you to take this passage and put it up on your refrigerator, look at it every day, meditate on it, think about it. “Even so” Paul is saying to us as believers, “Even so consider” or the King James Version says “reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Now in the book of Romans more often than not when you see the term sin it literally means the sin nature. All right. Let’s look at this word consider or reckon here for a minute. I’ve given you the definition, down here, this is a mathematical and an accounting term and my wife being a math teacher just went woo-who, it’s a term of cognitive processes, think about what that means, it’s something you think about, it’s something you meditate on, right? It mean to reckon, to value or esteem, to put down to one’s account. So what it says here is we are to reflect on, to meditate on, to cognitively embrace the idea that we’re dead to the sin nature. We’re dead… now what did we say dead means? It means separated from, we’ve been separated from the sin nature. It doesn’t mean it’s gone, I want to make sure you hear me carefully, we’re not saying that the sin nature has vanished or disappeared, but it is no longer a tyrant in the life of the believer unless we let it be.
This is a long quote but it bears reading. This is from Kenneth Wuest, he has an excellent commentary series for those of you that like those kinds of things, and let me fast forward, it’s called the Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament. I have all of this posted online if you want to go back and look at that later. But let me read this here and see what you think.
“Here Paul” he’s talking about this verse we just looked at, Romans 6:11, “Here Paul is exhorting the saints that in their endeavor to live a life in accordance with the Word of God, they should take into account the fact that they are dead to sin, that they have been disengaged from the evil nature, that it has no power over them anymore,” did you hear that? Let me read that one more time, “that it has no power over them anymore, that they are scot free from it and can say a point blank NO to it, also to take into account the fact that they are alive to God, that is, that the divine nature has been imparted with the result that that nature gives them both the desire and the power to regulate their lives in accordance with the Word of God. Now, reckoning one’s self dead to sin and alive to God does not make one so,” notice that carefully, just because you think that’s true that’s not what makes it so. But the act of reckoning brings into better operation with beneficial results, the working of this inner spiritual machinery
“The Christian who does not count upon the fact that the divine nature is implanted in his inner being, goes on living his Christian life” notice this, “as best he can more or less in the energy of his own strength, with the result that he exhibits a mediocre Christian experience. But the believer who counts upon the fact that he is a possessor of the divine nature, ceases from his own struggles at living a Christian life, and avails himself of the life of God supplied in the divine nature. So the first adjustment” notice what this says, “the first adjustment the Christian should make is that of counting upon the fact that the power of the indwelling sinful nature is broken and the divine nature imparted, and order his life on that principle.” [Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Ro 6:11). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.]
Now that’s a long, long excerpt right there and I would strongly encourage you to get that off the internet and go back and re-read it over and over and over and over again until it becomes a reality in your heart and life, because what happens is that the world, the flesh and the devil are trying to get us to do what? To reflect back on who we were in Adam. The world, the flesh and the devil is trying to get us to reflect back on the desires of the sin nature and because we’ve not had good teaching or we have not taken good teaching and applied it in our lives, that can happen, if that’s the case what happens is we fall for what the world, the flesh and the devil is telling us and we buy back into what it is or who it is we were when we were in Adam.
All right, still talking about God’s solutions, so God dealt with our position, or our nature, what about our personal sins? Did God deal with our personal sins, which is our Adam-practice? Once our sinful position and nature had been condemned and judged God was then justified in forgiving our personal sins, past present and future. How did He do that? By means of the shed blood of Christ on Calvary’s cross. Hallelujah for that, right!
In fact, notice this, all that we inherited from Adam suffered the same fate, death at the cross. What did we inherit from Adam? A position, a nature and a practice. This says all of those things were dealt with at the cross… all of those were dealt with at the cross. God took the initiative in sending His Son, the Lord Jesus, and when He spilt His blood on the cross God said judged and condemned and we stand forgiven in Christ. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “[Christ] Himself bore our sins” notice that’s plural there, He “bore our sins in His own body” where did He do that? “on the tree…” Revelation 1:5, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins” plural, “in His own blood,” who is that? The Lord Jesus. Colossians 1:20 “[Christ] …having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
Remember we said a minute ago that when we were “in Adam” we were at enmity with God. Another translation says we were God’s enemies. [Romans 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”] That’s a great translation, we were God’s enemies, and yet God, through the blood of Jesus’ cross, right, the blood on the cross, He brought peace to those of us who stood under the wrath of God and we are no longer the children of wrath. And that’s something that deserves a mighty big AMEN!
Continuing on, what about this positional relationship? It too has been terminated; it’s okay to snicker, I put that up to kind of alleviate the tension in the room a little bit, right? Yeah, what happened? God dealt with our nature and our practice, here’s our positional relationship to Adam. Remember we said we were seminally present in Adam. Guess what? God has terminated that relationship as a believer, He’s terminated that relationship.
There’s our picture again of what it means to be “in Adam,” and there are HASTA LA VISTA. ADAM! At the cross we finally come to the very end of our spiritual history in Adam. Now I don’t know about you but I find in my life that I yearn to have spiritual victory. Are you that way? Do you find yourself going through your life as a believer and you just think oh, man, I just fail all the time, I just falter all the time and Lord, I just desire with all my heart to live for you, to be the person You want me to be, and God is saying you already are that, believe it! Look what I’ve done for you, trust that! I’ve terminated, I have terminated every association that you had with Adam and now you’re “in Christ” and what that means we’ll talk about at another time more thoroughly.
So here we are, what did God do for the believer when He sent the Lord Jesus Christ? He terminated our position in Adam. He terminated our nature of sin; does that mean that it’s gone and eradicated? NO, it doesn’t mean that; it’s still hanging around. When are we going to no longer have to deal with the sin nature by the way? Well, either through death or rapture. How many are looking for rapture? Two or three out there, okay. I’m looking for the rapture, I hope that comes quickly. And He dealt with our personal sins; all those sins, past, present and future.
Here’s a great definition of eternal security. I like this, Pastor Woods has put this up before, “Eternal Security means that those who have been genuinely saved by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone shall never be in danger of God’s condemnation or loss of salvation but God’s grace and power keep them forever saved and secure.” [Dennis Rokser, Shall Never Perish Forever, p. 11]
I learned a long time ago that there is a distinction between condemnation and conviction. Have you thought about that? What I’ve discovered in my reading of the Word of God is that condemnation either comes from God when I was an unbeliever because I’m under condemnation, right, I’m a child of wrath as an unbeliever, so condemnation can come from God on the unbeliever, but where does conviction always come from? It always comes from God on the unbeliever to do what? To drive him to Christ. Does conviction come on the believer for any reason? Isn’t it interesting, it’s the same reason, conviction comes on the believer to drive them to Christ. Do you know that the Bible says in Romans, “There is therefore now no” what? “condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
And the only reason I mention this and why it’s important to get this distinction is because as a child of God if you’re feeling condemnation what should be the first thing that comes to your mind? Well, the world, the flesh and the devil is acting in my life to pull me away from who I am in Christ and make me reflect on who I was in Adam. You see? Condemnation is over all those in Adam. There is no condemnation for those who are “in Christ Jesus.” Conviction—yes, conviction—yes! And thank God for it; isn’t it wonderful to know that God loves us as believers so much that His Word says He disciplines us as a father does his children. Now I don’t know about you, maybe you had good parents, maybe you had bad parents, so don’t put that in a sense of your parents, but that in the sense of God’s ideal parent. Right, He’s the ideal parent, and as a loving Father He will always discipline you and He’ll use conviction in your life to bring you to a point of growth and maturity in you walk in Christ.
I love the fact that this says that we’re genuinely saved how? By God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. For those of you that struggle with assurance of your salvation there can be no greater passage than Ephesians 2 where it deals with this. Look what that says there again, we’re saved “through faith alone, in Christ alone.” What did you do to get yourself into the kingdom, or rather into the family of God? What did you do? Only one thing and the pastor has been preaching on it now for a long, long time. What was it? You believed. You believed! All right. When you believed you immediately became a child of God.
Now, did works factor into that? Let’s see, if I do ten or fifteen works that will be my belief? No, NO, not at all, belief is faith, or confidence or trust, reliance upon what God has said in His Word and what Jesus has done for you. This is a point of assurance of salvation, if I understand that then I recognize there’s not anything that I can do. There’s nothing that I can do in any way, shape or form that could ever pull me out of Christ; I can’t be taken out of being “in Christ.” I can never be put back into Adam, it can’t happen! What’s standing between in Adam and being “in Christ”? What is between those two? It’s the cross… it’s the cross! Praise God for that.
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Do you believe that? Do you take God at His Word. God says if you believe you have eternal life. I don’t know about you but you know, I sort of sometimes talk to myself and sometimes I talk to the enemy a little bit too, I try not to talk to him too much, I don’t like to give him too much credit, but you know, whenever I, in my early life as a believer I had terrible times of insecurity because I didn’t know God’s Word. And I had terrible struggles with assurance, God, how could You really love me? Lord, you know, look what I did, I’m supposed to be a believer, look what I just did. How can I possibly be a believer when I’m acting this way. Well, I’m not trusting in what God says about me, see? I’m listening to the world, the flesh and the devil.
John 5:24, Jesus is speaking here, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has” what? “eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 10:28, oh my goodness, if you don’t have this marked in your Bible, please mark this in your Bible, if you’re taking notes take notes, if you’re not taking notes get the notes, this is so important.
Look what this says, John 10:28, “And I,” this is Jesus speaking, “give eternal life to them and they will never perish.” We read this verse in the English all the time but let’s look at it for a second and see what it really breaks down to mean. This word “perish,” the one I have underlined down in the lines below, that’s Greek, and I know we have some Greek scholars sitting out here but I’m not going to call upon you to come forward and read this for us, the word ἀπόλωνται [apolōntai] is the word that’s being translated “perish” here. And this, for those of you that care, I’m kind of a language guy, I get into this, right, but this is a third person plural, aorist middle subjunctive. Okay Jim, so what? Who cares? Right?
Well, let’s go on a little bit more; let’s talk about this. There happens to be this thing in Greek and sometimes grammar is really, really, really important. In Greek there’s this thing called an emphatic negation; an emphatic negation is indicated in the Greek text when you find this expression οὐ μὴ [ou mē] plus the aorist subjunctive. Wait a minute, I think I heard about that before, let’s see, third person plural, aorist middle subjunctive. Okay, so here we have a qualifying passage… you’re way ahead of me, you’re telling me I’m done? I can’t see anything you’re showing me. Three minutes, okay, speed it up Jim. I’ll leave you to read this but bottom line is, let me come over here, the fact this is in the middle voice what this ultimately is saying is that this passage is telling you that there is not even the potential for you to be able to destroy yourself; you can’t pull yourself out of God’s hand. And then it goes on to say in the passage that not only can you not do it but nobody else can do it. And that’s what verses 28-30 say. I’m going to skip through that quickly because I’m getting waved at.
All right, so we’ll finish up with this, we said then our two foundational axioms are we cannot become what we already are in Christ until we know what we were in Adam. And we talked a little bit about that this morning; everything in Adam is the ground of sin and death; everything in the Lord Jesus is the ground of growth and life. This is the picture that we will see at a later date and time when we’ll talk about what it means to be “in Christ.” The one thing I want you to see on that picture, notice where the sin nature is; in the unbeliever the sin nature is a part of him. In the life of the believer the sin nature is no longer a part of him, but still exists. Ah, that should peak your curiosity. Let’s close in prayer.
Father, thank You so much for this day, thank You for the Word of God which is faithful and true, and always sets us free, and we give You the honor and the glory, may this be meted out to our hearts, our minds, our souls; may You receive the glory and my we walk in assurance of our eternal life, in Jesus name, Amen.