“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23)
“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” (Rom. 5:12-14).
So far we have touched on God’s foresight and provision for Adam’s deviation from the path of glory set before him, I would like us to briefly look at the circumstances that surrounded Adam’s fall and will do this by looking at a section of Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Life:
The Choice That Confronted Adam
God planted a great number of trees in the Garden of Eden, but "in the midst of the garden"--that is, in a place of special prominence--He planted two trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam was created innocent; he had no knowledge of good and evil. Think of a grown man, say thirty years old, who has no sense of right or wrong, no power to differentiate between the two! Would you not say such a man was undeveloped? Well, that is exactly what Adam was. And God brings him into the garden and says to him, in effect, Now the garden is full of trees, full of fruits, and of the fruit of every tree you may eat freely. But in the very midst of the garden is one tree called "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil"; you must not eat of that, for in the day that you do so you will surely die. But remember, the name of the other tree close by is Life.' What, then, is the meaning of these two trees? Adam was, so to speak, created morally neutral--neither sinful nor holy, but innocent--and God put those two trees there so that he might exercise free choice. He could choose the tree of life, or he could choose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Now the knowledge of good and evil, though forbidden to Adam, is not wrong in itself. Without it however Adam is in a sense limited in that he cannot decide for himself on moral issues. Judgment of right and wrong resides not in him but in God, and Adam's only course when faced with any question is to refer it to Jehovah God. Thus you have a life in the garden which is totally dependent on God. These two trees, then, typify two deep principles; they represent two planes of life, the Divine and the human. The "tree of life" is God Himself, for God is life. He is the highest form of life, and He is also the source and goal of life. And the fruit: what is that? It is our Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot eat the tree but you can eat the fruit. No one is able to receive God as God, but we can receive the Lord Jesus. The fruit is the edible part, the receivable part of the tree. So--may I say it reverently?--the Lord Jesus is really God in a receivable form. God in Christ we can receive.
If Adam should take of the tree of life, he would partake of the life of God and thus become a 'son' of God, in the sense of having in him a life that derived from God. There you would have God's life in union with man: a race of men having the life of God in them and living in constant dependence upon God for that life. If on the other hand Adam should turn the other way and take the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then he would develop his own manhood along natural lines apart from God. Reaching a peak of attainment as a self-sufficient being, he would have the power in himself to form independent judgment, but he would have no life from God.
So this was the alternative that lay before him. Choosing the way of the Spirit, the way of obedience, he could become a son' of God, living in dependence upon God for his life; or, taking the natural course, he could put the finishing touch to himself, as it were, by becoming a self-dependent being, judging and acting apart from God. The history of humanity is the outcome of the choice he made.
Adam's Choice The Reason For The Cross
Adam chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and thereby took up independent ground. In doing so he became (as man is now in his own eyes) a fully developed' man. He could command a knowledge; he could decide for himself; he could go on or stop. From then on he was "wise" (Genesis 3:6). But the consequence for his was death rather than life, because the choice he had made involved complicity with Satan and brought him therefore under the judgment of God. That is why access to the tree of life had thereafter to be forbidden to him.
Two planes of life had been set before Adam: that of Divine life in dependence upon God, and that of human life with its independent' resources. Adam's choice of the latter was sin, because thereby he allied himself with Satan to thwart the eternal purpose of God. He did so by choosing to develop his manhood--to become perhaps a very fine man, even by his standards a perfect' man--apart from God. But the end was death, because he had not in him the Divine life necessary to realize God's purpose in his being, but had chosen to become instead an independent' agent of the Enemy. Thus in Adam we all become sinners, equally dominated by Satan, equally subject to the law of sin and death, and equally deserving of the wrath of God.
From this we see the Divine reason for the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. We see too the Divine reason for true consecration—for reckoning ourselves to be dead unto sin but alive unto God in Christ Jesus, and for presenting ourselves unto Him as alive from the dead. We must all go to the Cross, because what is in us by nature is a self-life, subject to the law of sin. Adam chose a self-life rather than a Divine life; so God had to gather up all that was in Adam and do away with it. Our old man' has been crucified. God has put us all in Christ and crucified Him as the last Adam, and thus all that is of Adam has passed away.
Then Christ arose in new form; with a body still, but in the Spirit', no longer in the flesh'. "The last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45). The Lord Jesus now has a resurrected body, a spiritual body, a glorious body, and since He is no longer in the flesh He can now be received by all. "He that eateth me, he also shall live because of me", said Jesus (John 6:57). The Jews revolted at the thought of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, but of course they could not receive Him then because He was still literally in the flesh. Now that He is in the Spirit every one of us can receive Him, and it is by partaking of His resurrection life that we are constituted children of God. "As many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God... which were born... of God." (John 1:12, 13).
God is not out to reform our life. It is not His thought to bring it to a certain stage of refinement, for it is on a totally wrong plane. On that plane He cannot now bring man to glory. He must have a new man; one born anew, born of God. Regeneration and justification go together.
He That Hath The Son Hath The Life
There are various planes of life. Human life lies between the life of the lower animals and the life of God. We cannot bridge the gulf that divides us from the plane above or the plane below, and the distance that separates us from the life of God is vastly greater than that which separates us from the life of the lower animals.
In China one day I called on a Christian leader who was sick in bed, and whom, for the sake of this story, I shall call Mr. Wong' (though that was not his real name). He was a very learned man, a Doctor of Philosophy, and one esteemed throughout the whole of China for his high moral principles, and he had long been engaged in Christian work. But he did not believe in the need for regeneration; he only proclaimed a social gospel.
When I called on Mr. Wong his pet dog was by his bedside, and after speaking with him of the things of God and of the nature of His work in us, I pointed to the dog and inquired his name. He told me he was called Fido. Is Fido his Christian name or his surname?' I asked (using the common Chinese terms for personal name' and family name'). Oh, that is just his name', he said. Do you mean that is just his Christian name? Can I call him Fido Wong?' I continued. Certainly not!' came the emphatic reply. But he lives in your family', I protested, Why don't you call him Fido Wong?' Then, indicating his two daughters, I asked Are your daughters not called Miss Wong?' Yes!' Well then, why cannot I call your dog Master Wong?' The Doctor laughed, and I went on: Do you see what I am getting at? Your daughters were born into your family and they bear your name because you have communicated your life to them. Your dog may be an intelligent dog, a well-behaved dog, and altogether a most remarkable dog; but the question is not, Is he a good or a bad dog? It is merely, Is he a dog? He does not need to be bad to be disqualified from being a member of your family; he only needs to be a dog.
The same principle applies to you in your relationship to God. The question is not whether you are a bad man or a good man, more or less, but simply, Are you a man? If your life is on a lower plane than that of God's life, then you cannot belong to the Divine family. Throughout your life your aim in preaching has been to turn bad men into good men; but men as such, whether good or bad, can have no vital relationship with God. Our only hope as men is to receive the Son of God, and when we do so His life in us will constitute us sons of God.' The Doctor saw the truth, and that day he became a member of God's family by receiving the Son of God into his heart.
What we today possess in Christ is more than Adam lost. Adam was only a developed man. He remained on that plane, and never possessed the life of God. But we who receive the Son of God not only receive the forgiveness of sins; we receive also the Divine life which was represented in the garden by the tree of life. By the new birth we receive something Adam never had; we possess what he missed.
I our next post we shall look at the "only Begotten Son" the "Tree of Life" through whom we have divine life. What a wonderful foresight the Master Planner has, to percieve that Adam's choice could only count for disobedience. for now we pray:
Holy Spirit, help us in our realisation of, or analysis of “being in Christ Jesus," to look more to that wondrous secret work of The Father by which we were united to Christ.. Quicken our mind to see that, at the back of our turning, and believing, and accepting of Christ, there was God's almighty power doing its work--inspiring our will, taking possession of us, and carrying out its own purpose of love in planting us into Christ Jesus. Help us to enter into the divine side of the work of salvation, where we learn to praise and to worship with new exultation, and to rejoice more than ever in the divineness of that salvation we have been made partaker of. So that at each step we review, the song will come, "This is the Lord's doing"--Divine Omnipotence working.
You might say – "how do I; and Why do I have to know and experience this Father you are going on about" Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.
Admit your spiritual need.
We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
What is the result of sin?
In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.
Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.
John 3:16-17. In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.
What must a person do to accept this gift?
Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.
If you haven't already received Christ as your Saviour, don't put it off another day! Take time right now to invite Him into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You might pray something like this:
Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.