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May 12, 2022 12:01 am
All that Adam lost by breaking the creation covenant has been gained for us by Christ in the new covenant. Today, R.C. Sproul articulates the effects of Adam's sin on mankind and reveals our only hope in a fallen world.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. What happens to our condition and our status was God. After the fall of Adam and E are we still in the image of God in the garden, God made a covenant with Adam tree and things will go well will be blessed even if it you will buy what we know the outcome of Adams test but do we fully understand how his failure affects the rest of us. Today we continue Dr. Darcy's groceries on the God of the covenants, what did we lose when Adamson and is there any way to recover from it. In our last session on the covenants of the Bible we looked at the first covenant that God made with the human race, and I mentioned at the time that there are three ways in which that covenant is frequently designated, one being the Adamic covenant, the other being the creation covenant and the third one in the most controversial designation is the covenant of works and in that frame of reference the covenant of works is so named in distinction from the covenant of grace may read again. Part two of the seventh chapter of the Westminster confession that reads the first covenant made with man was a covenant of works where in life was promised to Adam and in him to his posterity upon condition of perfect and personal obedience, and then it goes on to say in section 3 man by his fall. Having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second commonly called the covenant of grace. And then he goes on to define that further. So in the categories of this distinction that I've just made. Here's the way reformed theology historically looks at redemptive history we see in the confusion that exists between the phrases old covenant and new covenant Old Testament and New Testament now are going to make a different distinction.
We have the covenant of works and then the covenant of grace. And then in reformed theology. The way we view the unfolding of redemptive history is this that under the covenant of grace you have the old covenant and the new covenant, that is the distinction between old covenant and new covenant is an economic distinction or a difference in the historical dispensation.
The way in which God worked out the covenant of grace. The old covenant refers to the original unfolding of the covenant of grace, that we read in the Old Testament and then we moved to the new covenant, which is also a manifestation of the covenant of grace.
However, even though we make this distinction will have to remember that there still is a connection as we will see between the covenant of works and the new covenant, but the basic differences. This is that in the covenant of works.
The human race is put on probation in his promised life eternal on the condition of obedience to the commands of God. If and when that fails, God then in his grace and in his loving kindness creates a second covenant based upon that grace by which the terms of the covenant of works are not set aside but they are fulfilled in a different manner.
As I trust we will be able to see, but again, the first thing we have to establish is that there was such a thing as a covenant of works and how we are to understand the covenant of works in creation. We are told that when God creates the heavens and the earth at each step of the creation he looks at what he has created and he pronounces his benediction saying that's good. So the question were asked frequently is what was the moral state of Adam and Eve before the fall. In other words, in what way were they made in the image of God word they perfect where they perfectly righteous or what. What was their condition and that has sparked an enormous amount of debate. Historically, when we had our study of the doctrine of man and we looked at the concept of being made in the image of God. We remember that in the Genesis account of being made in the image of God, we read that God said, let us make man in our image, or, in our likeness, and God made man in the image and likeness of God. And so the question was when the Bible speaks about the image and the likeness of God is the Bible referring to two separate things. One of which is the image and the other of which is the likeness or is the Bible using a grammatical technique called a hen diocese where two different words are used to describe and define the same thing so that there is no difference essentially between image and likeness.
The Roman Catholic Church historically has distinguished between image and likeness and historic Protestantism has not historic Protestantism has seen image and likeness as both referring to the same thing. The way in which there is some similitude between the creator and the creature.
Part of that problem is driven by the question, what happens to our condition and our status with God. After the fall of Adam and Eve are we still in the image of God. While the Scriptures make it clear that even though we are plunged into a rule in the state of corruption by the fall of Adam and Eve. However, serious. That fall is it does not completely destroy are being made in the image of God.
So theologians have wrestled with this over the ages, and perhaps in the ancient church the deepest insights on it came from St. Augustine were Augustine talked about in creation that Adam and Eve, in addition to their basic human nature were given a special gift, a donor super addict and a kind of a plus. That was not absolutely inherent to their humanity. That is, they could lose this gift they could lose this edition and still maintain their humanity, and that gift is called the gift of original righteousness, not again, there's another distinction here and this is how theologians deal with these questions.
What's the difference between innocence and righteousness.
There is no doubt that Adam and Eve in creation are innocent to be innocent means to be free from any sin or any impurity when God made Adam and Eve. They were not guilty creatures.
At the time he set them in paradise and in the garden of Eden when which he fellowship with them at that place and at that time they were innocence of sin.
Well, that's not the same thing as having positive righteousness, positive righteousness is manifested by actually performing a behavioral pattern in agreement with the commandments of God. Righteousness is established through obedience. And so there are those who say no there was no added gift of righteousness in the garden before the fall. That was then lost. There was only innocence and what was lost was innocence and it was filled by corruption that we can debate about that forever.
But the point that Augustine was so jealous to maintain. Was this that man was created good, but he was created immutably good, not immutably good.
That is, his goodness was something that could change his constituent nature was open and capable of changing and in this case, either for the good or for the bad that is that Adam and Eve in their created status could improve their standing before God through their obedience or they could worsen their status with God through disobedience.
And that's a very important though maybe perhaps subtle distinction for us to hold onto his will think about Milton's epic work paradise lost where Adam and Eve because of their transgressions lost paradise and we have the tendency to think that what happens to us in our redemption through the ministry of Christ. The second Adam, is that because of Christ's obedience. We are restored to paradise. We regain paradise but that's not the biblical view if all we did by our justified by faith is the be placed back into the condition that Adam and Eve were before the fall, we still would not have the positive righteousness necessary to have eternal life.
Because Adam leave at the time of the fall did not possess that they were innocent.
You might could say that they were righteous in the sense that they had no impurities on them, but they had not yet been given permission by God to partake of the tree of life. So the symbolism that we find in the garden of Eden is very important for us to understand this whole basic covenant of works and of grace and historically most biblical Christians and certainly reformed faith has always maintained that the state of Adam and Eve in the garden prior to the fall was a state of probation. That is, they were created and placed on the state of probation and that probation was to be judged and evaluated in terms of their obedience or disobedience to the first commands and restrictions that God placed upon if they obey, they get the tree of life. If they disobey they suffer the consequences of the curse and of death is a reason why that's so important is because when we turn to the New Testament to the new covenant and we look at the ministry of Christ as the second and we see that Christ wins what Adam failed to win.
He wins the tree of life, and he gives that gift to his people, so that we now inherit the benefits that Adam and Eve would've had had they passed their probation had they met the terms of the covenant of works.
Had they passed the probation and been obedient. They would've had eternal life, but they failed and lost it by their sin. Now, in his classic work, biblical theology, the late Princeton theologian Gerhard's boss when he examines the Adamic covenant worth what we call the covenant of works he finds in the biblical account for principles or elements that are very important for us to understand what was going on during this probationary situation in the first is the tree of life. When the Bible describes the ED next situation there describes paradise where was like in the garden of the there are two particular trees that are named and designated distinguished from all the rest of the trees in the garden. There was the tree of life and there was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life according divorce and I think he's right represents Principi a lady in the creation account. The highest possible potency of life for human day of that's important because remember when Jesus comes in the New Testament, and he speaks of his people. He says that I come that you may have life and have it more abundantly that he didn't preach that message at the cemetery the people to whom he spoke, had BRS biological life, or vital signs were fine. They were alive and well, but they lack this different special kind of life that the Greek goes away that life that Christ comes to give, which is a higher order a higher level of life than anybody was enjoying at that time.
And of course when the Bible speaks of our eternal life, and what we will be like in heaven is not like we would simply be restored to the biological state that Adam had but we are going to be elevated to a higher level of life that is eternal and that is a life in which there is no sin, no sorrow, no death.
No suffering. None of those problems as we get the description of our futuristic from the teaching of the New Testament and that's what the new Adam, the second Adam comes to do for us to provide for us. What Adam and Eve failed to provide for us. That is, we will get the tree of life and only just to keep couple of references to that in the New Testament in the second chapter of the book of Revelation when we get the message to the seven churches, and Jesus is addressing the seven churches, and he addresses the church of Ephesus, and after he gives his evaluation of the pattern of behavior of the church at Ephesus in verse seven chapters as he was in ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To him who overcome. I will give to eat from the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God so that we find in the New Testament that the one who has the authority to dispense the benefits inherent in the tree of life that appears in the garden of Eden is the new Adam by his victory by his obedience to gains the authority to distribute to his people. Those who persevere. The right and the authority to eat from the tree of life, and then we go to the very end of the book of Revelation the end of the New Testament and we come to chapter 22 that describes the glory of the new Jerusalem. We read in chapter 22 and he showed me a pure river of water of life.
That's another symbol that we hear frequently through the teaching of Jesus.
This living water, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and from the land.
So, in the vision John is seeing the throne of God and out of that throne is flowing the Crystal River minutes. Is this in the middle of its street, and on either side of it was the tree of life, which bore 12 fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations and there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him and they shall see his face and his name shall be on. Therefore, it's is to be no night there. They will need no lamp or light of the sun for the Lord God gives them light and they shall reign forever and ever. So in this magnificent vision into the final state of redemption of God's people you see coming from the very throne of God.
The tree of life and its leaves, bringing healing and bringing the end of all of the dimensions of the curse and that curse of course is rooted and grounded in the original fall from any so again that the tree of life represents something that Adam and Eve had not yet participated in is basic to our understanding of the creation account and that's what it is that signifies this principle of improvement over the natural state of creation. The second principle or element is this tree of the knowledge of good and evil may read back in Genesis 2 verse eight we read the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden and here he put the man whom he had formed, and out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the site and good for food, the tree of life was also in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and then down in verse 15 we read then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to attend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat for the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. So there's this tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That certainly represents this principle directly. This principle of probation you have the tree of life that is not accessible to them. They haven't yet participated in it and that suggests that they are not at the fullest state that they could potentially have in life which indicates that there in a state of testing his comment briefly on this in the Bible sometimes we get confused between the word to attempt and the word to test James tells us in his epistle, let no man say when he is tempted, that he is tempted by God because sin begins. What inwardly as it is formed within our sinful desires and then we succumb to that. So would usually rumor talk about tempted remain. While I was really almost persuaded to engage in that particular action in doing that I was sure tempted to do it. Were talking about an internal condition.
On the other hand, we can be tempted externally.
If somebody comes to us and tries to coax us to participate in sin or entice us to sin. That's an external temptation and that's what Satan does all the time and will see how that happens in the creation account in the fall in the garden, Satan comes and tries to persuade Eve to eat from the tree. He's operating as the tempter, but God never tempts anybody in the sense of trying to seduce them or entice them or coax them to sin. But what he does do is puts us to the test. Just as Christ was driven into the wilderness, not by the devil to be tempted. It doesn't say that the devil drove Jesus in the wilderness to be tempted by the devil know it was the Spirit who drove Jesus into the wilderness in order to be tempted by Satan. That is God is putting his son to the test. And here we see again the relationship between the first Adam and the second Adam, both of them are subjected to the assault of Satan. Both of them are being put to the test by God.
God subjects Adam and Eve to the temptation of the serpent, not because God is enticing them, putting them on trial. This is what we mean when we talk about the probation of Adam and Eve, just as Christ had to be put to the test as the new Adam. To be qualified to perform his work of redemption through his trial, Jesus proved that he is indeed the Savior of the world. We see the depth of our sin and then realize that there is no way will ever live up to God's standard.
We look to Christ. The second Adam did pass the test, we heard a message from Dr. RC Sproul today here on Renewing Your Mind and were glad you could be with us this week. Dr. Sproles explained some of the covenants that God made with his people in both the old and the new Testaments limiting courage and request a series. It's titled the promise keeper the God of the covenants to find an enormous amount of detail packed into these 14 messages and will be happy to send you the two DVD set when you contact us today with a donation of any amount to leader ministries.
You can do that email@example.com or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343, I have to tell you that this was life-changing truth for me more than three decades ago when I was first exposed to reformed theology and Dr. Sproles teaching reality that we worship a covenant keeping God that from the beginning. All things pointed to the one who would secure our salvation covered many of you say as I have that RC's teaching help you connect the dots in your theology in this series does just that.
So again, we invite you to request this series.
The promise keeper the God of the covenants with your donation of getting about our number again is 800-435-4343 will tomorrow. We're presenting something that the entire family will enjoy. Join us to hear RC read one of his beloved children's books.
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