The Fall and the Law
Ps. 12:6,7; Re. 22:18,19
What “words” is God referring to in Ps. 12:6,7? I believe the words I hold in my hand. In every use of the word “word” or “words” with a small “w” in the KJV; it is a reference to God’s spoken or written word or words. In every use of the word “Word” with a capital “W,” the reference is to the Lord Jesus Christ.
What “book” is He referring to in Re. 22? Look at it. You will find the word “book” eight times. One refers to the “book of life,” but in seven verses 7,9,10,18 (2x),19(2x); I believe he is referring to this book I hold in my hand. And I don’t mean just the book of the Revelation, as some people do, I believe he is referring to the entire Bible.
Let’s look at some key verses to lay the groundwork for this study in what Baptists believe about the fall and the law.
Jeremiah 17:9 – Shows the condition of our hearts.
Romans 5:8 – Shows, despite our condition, God’s love towards us.
Gen. 3:1-12 – Gives the account of the fall of man.
Rom. 1:18-32 – Gives the account of the downward course of man – from creation to depravity.
Rom. 5:12-19 – The reign of sin and death – universal condemnation and universal Grace (v17).
By Adam’s offence all die, but through Jesus Christ all may live.
Jer. 13:23 – Shows the spiritual bondage we are under and our inability to do anything about it without God.
James 1:14-15 – Satan provided the temptation, but Eve’s own lust was her downfall, and also Adam’s.
Ex. 20-24 – We have the Law given to Moses and the Israelites.
Gal. 3:10-25 – We learn of justification by faith: that we are no longer under the Law, but we are under Grace.
Rom. 6:14-17 – We learn also that we are free from sin, not free to sin, as some might suppose.
Rom. 7:1-9 – We see marriage used as an illustration of Christ’s relationship to the Church and how that now we are delivered from the law.
God originally created man upright and perfect. Man was created in the image of God and had a moral likeness to God (positive holiness, not just innocence). In his personality man had a natural likeness to God. Personality may be defined as self-consciousness and self-determination and when they are related to moral matters, they involve conscience. It is personality that distinguishes man in a natural way from the brute. The brute beast has consciousness, but not self-consciousness.
Man’s original holiness was not immutable. Being mutable Adam could remain steadfast in his original state only by the power of God. God withheld His sustaining power from Adam and Adam’s moral nature became disordered, just as the whole universe would fall to pieces if God were to withdraw His sustaining and preserving power for one instant.
Gen. 3:1-7 tells the story of man’s sin and fall. Study the statements of God versus Satan’s statements. Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who without any compulsion, did willfully transgress God’s command (Gen. 2:17; 1Tim. 2:14). The root source of all questioning and doubting the Bible is Satanic (see Re. 22:18,19). Sin on this planet begins with subtracting from and adding to the word of God. Man’s present desire to be “godlike” in knowledge is Satanic. Food that was: good, p1easant, wise…what could be wrong with that? What’s wrong with the sins of the world? Who are we going to follow? This serpent does not look like a serpent when he appears (2Cor. 11:12-14). What Eve deals with is a nice, shining gentleman. As the serpent was cursed above the cattle - study (Satan was a Cherub; Ez. 1:10; Ez. 28:14; Rev. 4:7; Baal worshippers - Hos. 13:2; 1Ki. 17-19). Did you know Baal was represented by a calf? In Genesis 32, the Israelites made and worshipped a golden calf!
Now, I am not saying that when Satan appeared to Eve in the form of a serpent, that he was exactly what we know today as a calf or ox. But it was a creature like a calf or ox, and to expand on that thought, I give the following:
1. In Gen. 3:1 we read, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field.” Not any fowl (1:20), nor any creeping thing (1:24), nor any fish of the sea (1:26). We have four classes of creatures mentioned in verse 26 - Fish of the sea, Fowl of the air, Cattle, Creeping things – and the serpent is mentioned as being more subtle than any “beast of the field.” Unless, of course, snakes were more subtle than cows at that time- but…
2. The serpent was not a creeping thing when he came to Eve, for that was his curse; to become a creeping thing (3:14). Also, he was “cursed above all cattle,” not above all fowl, fish, or creeping things.
3. Why cattle? Well, Satan was a Cherub (Ez. 28:14) and a Cherub is defined as a calf or ox (Ez. 1:7,10). Have you ever heard the expression “old split foot” for the Devil? Have you ever noticed the Devil pictured as having Hooves, horns, and a tail like a cow?
4. Aaron made a golden calf for the people of Israel to worship (Ex. 32:4), and when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he saw the people dancing naked around the calf. The calf has always been associated with Satan and pagan worship. Today in India they consider cattle sacred.
5. As a split-foot beast with horns, he is represented in Egypt by a golden calf with the sun disk between his horns.
6. Baal worshippers recognize the ox and the serpent as sacred (Hos. 13:2).
The reasons that we have in the past believed that the serpent that Satan took on the form of when he appeared to Eve was a snake as we know it today are:
1. Today we know the serpent or snake as a creeping thing, and automatically think of the serpent in Genesis 3 in that way.
2. The Catholic Church through it’s teaching and art has propagated that viewpoint and we have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Just like their teaching that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an apple tree, when we know from a study of scripture that it was a vine tree, and the fruit was not an apple but grapes.
If you ever read “The Two Babylons” by Alexander Hislop and/or “Babylon Mystery Religion” by Ralph Woodrow, you would see how the Catholic Church has injected paganism into “Christianity” and you might be surprised at your own ignorance. I was when I read them.
The result of the fall upon Adam (as natural head of the race) and Eve was that they suffered the corruption of their nature, which brought both natural and spiritual death upon them. The total effect of the fall upon the human race is the corruption of the race, which brought the race into a state of spiritual death and made it subject to physical death (Rom. 5:19; Isa. 53:6; Eph. 2:1-3; Ez. 18:19-20; Rom. 3:19). We are not personally responsible for the overt act of Adam, but our nature, being one with his, did corrupt itself in the apostasy of his nature.
Why did God permit the fall? He could have preserved man from sin without the violation of man’s will, if He so chose. God permitted the fall in order to provide the way for the glorification of His Son in the redemption of mankind. Finite man cannot understand how a Holy God could permit sin but God is not like man - He is Holy and responsible to no one.
We see the universality of sin in the human family therefore the universal need of repentance, faith and regeneration (Lu. 13:3; Acts 16:30-31; Jn. 3:3; 1Ki. 8:46; Prov. 20:9). Although we say that man is totally depraved, it does not mean that he is void of all good. He still has a conscience. He is not yet as corrupt as he might be (Rom. 2:15; 10:21; 2Tim. 3:13). Total depravity means that every faculty of man’s soul has been perverted, and God demands absolute total perfection to come into His presence. Proof of total depravity is given in Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Tit. 1:15; Rom. 3:13; Ps. 51:5. As no remnant of good remains in man by nature, he cannot subject himself to the law of God (Rom. 7:18, 8:7-8). Man is by nature spiritually dead, therefore he cannot comprehend spiritual things (1Cor. 2:14). Man does not have the ability of himself to come to God, as he is spiritually dead (Eph 2:1; Jn. 11:39-44). Hence he cannot, until quickened by the Spirit of God, turn from sin to God in repentance and faith (Jer. 13:23; Jn. 6:44,65, 12:39-40).
Although man has a sinful nature he is still held accountable to God for all his actions. He is commanded to repent and believe (Acts 17:30). Now, if man cannot come to God, how can God in justice hold man responsible (Rom. 9:13-24). Because, man sins of his own free choice and loves darkness rather than light. God has given us a standard (law) and we refuse to follow His perfect way.
Because of man’s sinful nature God gave to His chosen people (the Jews) a law to show man his need for a righteousness that he could not obtain on his own (Lu. 1:6; Phil. 3:4-8; Gal. 3:10-11). The law is the “schoolmaster” to lead us to Christ (Gal. 3:16-25; Rom. 10:1-4). The law is holy, spiritual, and good (Rom. 7:12), but the sinner is unable to keep it (Rom. 8:3; Jn. 7:19), and if the best religious leaders of Orthodox Judaism didn’t keep it, don’t kid yourself - you never have. The Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others have not kept the law either. We can be thankful that we are Bible Believing Baptists who follow God through the King James AV 1611 Bible rather than following a man or a religion.
Obedience to God’s revealed will is the duty required of man (Ec. 12:13; Lev. 18:4). Obedience must be sincere and willing (Isa. 1:19; 1Cor. 10:31). Cain brought his sacrifice, but not his heart. Under the law in the O.T. there were many sacrifices to be made; ceremonials to be performed; and duties to be observed. It was like the fire on the altar, which was always kept burning (Lev. 6:13). The sum of the Ten Commandments is LOVE (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37). The Grace of God alone can make a man’s stony heart melt in love.
Because God said that He is the Lord our God, we can have no other gods (idols-good or bad). You are not to put anything or anybody before God (Col. 1:18). The great neuter “deity” (“Thing” 1Sam. 4:3) of paganism will be found in the writings of every educator or philosopher of the last 200 years (Jer. 10:10-11). All Eastern or Western systems of education lead to a neuter deity, in spite of the plain revelation of God (Deut. 30:20; Matt. 1:21).
In the first commandment worshipping a false god is forbidden; in the second, worshipping the true God in a false manner is condemned (Acts 14:11-15, 17:30). An image lover is a God-hater (Rom. 1:21-25; Deut. 16:21-22). Millions of Americans bow down to images in every city (Roman Catholic groves). Can you make an image of that which you never saw? Would it not be absurd to bow before the picture of the king when the King is present in our midst? As looking on a harlot draws to adultery, so looking on the popish gilded pictures and statues may draw to idolatry.
No mere man, since the fall, is able in this life to keep the commandments of God even partially (James 3:2). Even the regenerate man, in his own strength, cannot keep the law (Ec. 7:20; Rom. 7:18). Though man has lost the power of obeying, God has not lost his right of commanding. We not only want strength, but we want will to do that which is good (Rom. 5:6). But God, in Phil. 2:13 says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” You and I are law-breakers and we need to flee to Christ for mercy as soon as possible. May God help us to acknowledge that we are separated sinners and that Christ alone can redeem us (Jn. 1:11-12).