(These are some notes to work out a study or sermon)
Genesis 1:26–27 (NASB95)
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Humanity was granted a universal kingdom. That was our original state.
Genesis 3: Adam sins is driven from the Garden.
Adam forfeits that kingdom – even though exercising that Kingdom was the purpose of man (Son of Man).
Romans 5:12 (NASB95)
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—
The only Kingdom which mankind possesses of itself is being a subject to the kingdom of death.
Psalm 8 (NASB95)
For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David.
1 OLord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
9 OLord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Here the issue is raised: We are insignificant – and yet we were created to exercise a kingdom. It says here – after Adam’s fall – that man exercises a kingdom. This is a paradox: it is not true for us. Thus, it is true as a prophecy.
Daniel 7:13–14 (NASB95)
The Son of Man Presented
13 “I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14 “And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of everylanguage
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.
The Son of Man is a king and receives a kingdom which is (1) universal; (2) eternal; and (3) indestructible.
(Adam and Jesus are perfect parallels in a number of ways. Both are also called the Son of God, because they came directly from God. Everyone else comes from another human being.)
Jesus calls himself the Son of Man.
John 3:14–15 (NASB95)
14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
Here is another level of irony. The Son of Man will be “lifted up”: this was both a straight ahead statement: to be exalted. It was also a euphemism for crucifixion: lifted up on a cross.
So, the Son of Man – the one who was to obtain a universal kingdom – will give eternal life (rather than leaving human beings to being subjected to a kingdom of death), by dying.
Hebrews 2 explains that Jesus restores and fulfills what Adam lost (kingdom, life) by means of his death:
Hebrews 2:5–15 (NASB95)
5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.
6 But one has testified somewhere, saying,
“What is man, that You remember him?
Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him?
7 “You have made him for a little while lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And have appointed him over the works of Your hands;
8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father;for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
“I will proclaim Your name to My brethren,
In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”
13 And again,
“I will put My trust in Him.”
“Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.”
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
Thus, God in Jesus Christ, fulfills what was originally intended for Adam. Jesus is born into the world under Adam’s curse. He through death conquers death and thus restores to humanity what was lost in Adam. He is subjected and overcomes – and therefore, he receives an everlasting kingdom. See also, Psalm 2.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
Paul has developed the doctrine that (1) human beings are accountable to God; (2) that humans beings are rebellion against God, and that no good acts can atone for the rebellion; (3) but God has graciously made provision for our reconciliation by giving Christ in our place:
Romans 5:8–11 (ESV)
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
This then leads to a possible conclusion: If God gets glory by graciously forgiving me of my sin, then would it not make sense to continue sinning so that God can continue to forgive with the result that he will bestow more grace and thus get more glory?
Paul answers the question with the Greek words, “μὴ γένοιτο”. It is difficult to get exactly the correct tone and translation: This is something that could not possibly be true, it is not a possible state of affairs — maybe better: “How irrational!” (I recall reading a book about the translation of the Bible. The author tells a story about translating this passage in a class in Britain. One student “adventurously” translated it, “not bloody likely” — which some of the feel.
Now Paul will provide a number of arguments for why sin is not a possible response to grace. But I want to draw out the sheer irrationality of that question. Sin from grace is reckless, thankless, evil, spiteful, a denial of forgiveness in the first place, illogical, unnecessary — but it is sheer irrationality at heart.
There is a passage in Bunyan’s Holy War which shows the irrationality of sin from grace. We come to a portion of the story where the Prince has retaken the Town of Mansoul, that had been in rebellion and under the sway of Diabolus. The rebel leaders are captured and brought to the Prince:
And thus was the manner of their going down. Captain Boanerges went with a guard before them, and Captain Conviction came behind, and the prisoners went down bound in chains in the midst; so, I say, the prisoners went in the midst, and the guard went with flying colours behind and before, but the prisoners went with drooping spirits. Or, more particularly, thus: The prisoners went down all in mourning; they put ropes upon themselves; they went on smiting themselves on the breasts, but durst not lift up their eyes to heaven. Thus they went out at the gate of Mansoul, till they came into the midst of the Prince’s army, the sight and glory of which did greatly heighten their affliction. Nor could they now longer forbear, but cry out aloud, O unhappy men! O wretched men of Mansoul! Their chains still mixing their dolorous notes with the cries of the prisoners, made noise more lamentable. f199 So, when they were come to the door of the Prince’s pavilion, they cast themselves prostrate upon the place. Then one went in and told his Lord that the prisoners were come down. The Prince then ascended a throne of state, and sent for the prisoners in; who when they came, did tremble before him, also they covered their faces with shame. Now as they drew near to the place where he sat, they threw themselves down before him.
When questioned, they admit their guilt, their inability to make restitution and the fact they deserve death. Then something wonderful happens:
Then the Prince called for the prisoners to come and to stand again before him, and they came and stood trembling. And he said unto them, The sins, trespasses, iniquities, that you, with the whole town of Mansoul, have from time to time committed against my Father and me, I have power and commandment from my Father to forgive to the town of Mansoul; and do forgive you accordingly. And having so said, he gave them written in parchment, and sealed with seven seals, a large and general pardon, commanding both my Lord Mayor, my Lord Will-be-will, and Mr. Recorder, to proclaim, and cause it to be proclaimed to-morrow by that the sun is up, throughout the whole town of Mansoul.
But forgiveness was not the end of the Prince’s pardon:
Moreover, the Prince stripped the prisoners of their mourning weeds, and gave them ‘beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness’ (Isa. 61: 3) Then he gave to each of the three, jewels of gold, and precious stones, and took away their ropes, and put chains of gold about their necks, and ear-rings in their ears. Now the prisoners, when they did hear the gracious words of Prince Emmanuel, and had beheld all that was done unto them, fainted almost quite away; for the grace, the benefit, the pardon, was sudden, glorious, and so big, that they were not able, without staggering, to stand up under it.
Having received grace, pardon, restoration and elevation from their Prince — against whom they willfully and shamefully rebelled — would it not be complete madness to think that further rebellion would be fitting? Rebellion after restoration would be the act of a madman.
If you were to receive a priceless gemstone and then were to take it and fling it into the ocean, you would accounted insane. It would be irrational to destroy great wealth. How much more irrational would it be for the forgiven prisoners to rush back into town and burn it down. Sin is irrational in at all times. It thrice irrational to rebel against grace.
Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1538
In his sermon on Romans 6:5,6, Dr. Lloyd-Jones considers the issue of what is meant by the “old man” who has been crucified. He rejects one common understanding that the old man is “the carnal nature and all its propensities”. Rather, the old man “the man that I used to be in Adam” (Rom. 6, p. 62). “As a Christian I am no longer in Adam; I am in Christ….It is not my carnal, sinful nature. That is still here, but the old man has gone, he has been crucified.” (Rom. 6, p. 63).
That is why those who are in Christ are no longer under condemnation. Rom. 8:1. The condemned man has been crucified; I am someone else.
And here is the implication:
We are never called to crucify our old man. Why? Because it has already happened — the old man was crucified with Christ on the Cross…nowhere does the Scripture call upon you to get rid of your old man, for the obvious reason that he is already gone….What you and I are called upon to do is to cease to live as if were were still in Adam. Understand that the “old man” is not there The only way to stop living as if he were still there is to realize that he is not there. That is the New Testament method of sanctification. the whole trouble with us, says the New Testament, is that we do not realize what we are, that we still go on thinking we are the old man and go on trying to do things to the old man. That has already been done; the old man was crucified with Christ.
Romans 6:3–4 (ESV)
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
I As an objective fact we are joined to Christ in his death: “We He did we have done; because we have been baptized into His death, we died with Him. As we sinned with Adam, we died with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
A He then makes a note of how we tend to miss the objectivity of this event. In part this is because our singing emphasizes the subjective side of the Christian life.
B “We are so subjective that we miss his glorious truth, this objective truth, this great thing that has happened outside of us — our position.”
C. It has happened to us. “You cannot be a Christian without this being true of you.”
D. “The Apostle’s statement has nothing to with sanctification as such; it is purely a question of that which is true of every Chritian, and, as it were, an aspect of his justification.”
E. “His death means the end of the relationship to the realm and reign of sin, therefore we have died to the real and the relationship and reign of sin.”
II. Joined to his resurrection.
A. “So the first thing we have to hold on to is that God raised him from the dead by His own eternal glorious power. The first thing the resurrection proclaims is the tremendous power of God that was exercised and revealed.”
B. “All sin can is to kill us and bury us; but it cannot go further. That is the ultimate of its power. Our Lord resurrection proclaims that, and establishes it. He has finished with it, He is out of it, He has no more do it with it.’
III. What this means.
A. “The same glorious power of the Father that raised Him fro the dead has done th same to us.”
B. We are in the newness of life: “The Apostle is not saying that we ought to do so, he is not saying that we ought to strive to do so, that we out to strive to crucify ourselves and to die. No! It has happened already, we are in this new position.”
IV. “We shall not be allowed to live a life of sin; it is not only unreasonable as a suggestion, it is in a final sense impossible.”
Dr. Lloyd-Jones in his sermon on Romans 6:1-2 comes to the point where he says, “That is what Paul is saying, that we died to the reign and the realm and the rule of sin.”
‘But wait a minute,’ says someone, ‘I still have a final objection. If what you say is true, it if it is true, as yo have been emphasizing so much, that in Christ we are really dead and have finished with the rule and the realm of sin once and forever, how is it that we can still fall into sin?…’
He then gives three analogies: First to slaves freed during the American Civil War. “They were free, they were no longer slaves; the law had been changed, and their status and their position was entirely different; but it took them a very long time to realize it. You can still be a slave experimentally [in experience], even when you are longer a slave legally.”
He gives the example of a child and servants.
Finally, he gives the example of someone moving from one field who then crosses a boundary and live in another parcel.
The whole object of the Apostle in this sixth chapter is to get us to realize it. ‘Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin.’ You are therefore to realize it, to reckon it. Realize also that you are alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ It in not yet true perhaps in your experience; but though it is not yet true in your experience it is true as a matter of fact. We have got to believe it…
‘But I cannot believe that,’ says someone, ‘it is too staggering, it is almost incredible. Here am I on earth, and I listen to the voice of Satan, and fall into sin; and yet you tell me that I am dead to it.’ You are! And I ask you to believe it. I know it is staggering ….Whatever you may feel, whatever your experience may be, God tells us here through His Word, that if we are in Christ we are not longer in Adam, we are longer under the reign and rule of sin. We are in Christ, we are under the rule and under the reign of grace.
There is a sense in which the doctrine of justification by faith only is a very dangerous doctrine; dangerous, I mean, in the sense that it can be misunderstood. It exposes a man to this particular charge. People listening to it may say, ‘Ah, there isa man who does not encourage us to live a good life, he seems to say that there is no value inner works, he says that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Therefore what he is saying is, that it does not matter what you do, sin as much as you like.’ There is thus clearly a sense in which the message of ‘justification by faith only’ can be dangerous, and likewise with the message that salvation is entirely of grace. I say therefore that if our preaching does not expose us to that charge and to that misunderstanding it is because we are not really preaching the gospel.
Martin Lloyd-Jones, Romans 6, The New Man (Sermon One, Romans 6:1,2), p. 9. But it is precisely that “misunderstanding” which leads to the question and answer of Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead in sin live any longer in it.”
What is the business of grace? Is it to allow us to continue in sin? No! It is to deliver us from the bondage and the reign of sin, and to put us under the reign of grace. So when a man asks, “Shall we therefore continue in sin that grace may abound?” hr id merely showing that he has failed to understand either the tyranny or the reign of sin, or the whole object and purpose of grace and its marvelous reign over those who are saved.
Romans 5:1–5 (ESV)
5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
This is a seemingly confused passage: why and how does Paul jump from justification to suffering?
Note the argument:
A.Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have
B. peace with God
C. through our Lord Jesus Christ.
C’. Through him we have also obtained
B’. access by faith into this grace in which we stand,
A’ and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God — being justified — is the subjective state of the one justified. Col. 1:27. This hope of glory is a great subjective benefit of the Christian life. Paul next turns to, how does one have more of this hope? The next section which discusses suffering, actually answers the question of “So how then do we obtain more hope, now?”
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings,” — but not because suffering is good (it is not, if it were “good”, it would not be suffering), but because of what suffering does:
suffering produces endurance, 4
and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,
This, however, is not the sum total of Paul’s argument. Paul makes a similar argument in chapter 8, but this time he develops more of the psychology which produces home. Using language deliberately allusive to Ecclesiastes (all is vanity), Paul explains that present suffering is unavoidable in this world (the creation has been subjected to futility), but this suffering can cause us to long for the age to come (glory):
Romans 8:18–25 (ESV)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Therefore, because God has put us in this world as in a theatre, to contemplate his glory, let us acknowledge him to be such as he declares himself to us, and because he gives us the second instruction which is even more familiar in his word, let us be more confident and stirred with a burning zeal to aspire unto him until we reach that goal, and let us be aware that this world was created for that purpose and that our Lord has placed us here and has favored us with living here and enjoying all the things he has created.
Now, the sun was not made for itself and is even a creature without feeling. The trees, the each, which produces food for us — all of that works for man. The animals, although they move and have some feeling, do not do for all that have this high capacity to understand what belongs to God, for they do not discriminate between good and evil. We also see that their life and death are for men’s use and service.
Jean Calvin, “The Triune God at Work (Gen. 1:1-2)” in Sermons On Genesis, Chapters 1:1-11:4: Forty-Nine Sermons Delivered in Geneva between 4 September 1559 and 23 January 1560, trans. Rob Roy McGregor (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, ©2009), 6.
However, we need note here that we are more than cursed and abominable if we, being masters and possessors of all the good things God has bestowed upon us, do not at least show gratitude as we worship him and confess that everything comes from.
Id., at p. 10. This is the great indictment of humanity:
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Romans 1:21–25 (ESV)
I will post a review of the remarkable book Did God Really Command Genocide by Paul Copan & Matthew Flannagan. For the moment, I offer the following addendum to a discussion and objection to the Divine Command Theory of ethics (the understanding that something is morally obligatory because God commands it to be so, whether or not human beings understand the source of that obligation).
An objection discussed on page 155 of the book raise by philosopher Wes Morriston:
In order to successfully issue a command, one must deliver it to its intended recipients. This brings us back to the problem of the reasonable nonbeliever. On the fact if, God has not succeeded in speaking to her. And since she is a reasonable non-believer, God has not even succeeded in putting her in a position in which she should have have heard a divine command. How then, can she be subject to God’s commands? How can her moral obligations be understood by reference to what God has commanded her to do?
Copan and Flannagan respond to the argument in terms of its philosophical merits. What I propose to add to their argument is a Scriptural response. Paul in Romans 1 & 2 directly addressed Morriston’s argument. In Romans 1, Paul explains that human beings actively seek to suppress the knowledge of God and his ethical condemnation of human sin:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:18–21 (ESV). Yet, despite the fact that human beings (the “reasonable nonbeliever”) deny any knowledge of God or God’s moral communication, human beings are well aware of the moral content of God’s communication: “Though they know God’s righteous decree” (Rom. 1:31). The “reasonable nonbeliever” apprehends God’s moral communication (“righteous decree”) in their conscience (which is exactly the basis upon which Morriston and other atheists seek to condemn the God of Scripture for being immoral). Paul makes clear that God’s moral authority is not premised upon the unbeliever being consciously aware of God having issued the command. The unbeliever’s moral conscience is a sufficient ground:
12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
Romans 2:12–16 (ESV). Francis Schaeffer in his book The Church in a Post Christian Culture puts it this way:
Let me use an illustration again that I have used in other places. If every little baby that was ever born anywhere in the world had a tape recorder hung about its neck, and if this tape recorder only recorded the moral judgments with which this child as he grew bound other men, the moral precepts might be much lower than the biblical law, but they would still be moral judgments. Eventually each person comes to that great moment when he stands before God as judge. Suppose, then, that God simply touched the tape recorder button and each man heard played out in his own words all those statements by which he had bound other men in moral judgment. He could hear it going on for years—thousands and thousands of moral judgments made against other men, not aesthetic judgments, but moral judgments. Then God would simply say to the man, though he had never heard the Bible, now where do you stand in the light of your own moral judgments. The Bible points out in the passage quoted above that every voice would be stilled. All men would have to acknowledge that they have deliberately done those things which they knew to be wrong. Nobody could deny it.
Francis A. Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview, vol. 4 (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 41–42.