“Thus far did I come laden with my sin,
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in,
Till I came hither. What a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss!
Must here the burden fall from off my back!
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack!
Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me!”

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This, then, is original sin; or, the offense that Paul will continually bring up throughout this passage.  But he brings up the offense for the distinct purpose of contrasting it with the free gift.  This begins in verse 15, where he begins to explain that there are similarities, yet strong differences, between the offense and the free gift.  Both operate under the principle of federal headship; Adam, the head of all his posterity, to whom his guilt is imputed; Christ, the Head of all His elect, to whom His righteousness is imputed.  The great difference is that one headship results in condemnation, while the other results in justification and life.

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This is the great contrast which Paul begins to describe in verse 15.  He first states that through the offense of one, many are dead.  Reading the passage carefully, with all that follows it, it becomes abundantly clear that he is showing how Adam and Christ represent two groups of people.  Adam represents all of his posterity, who partake of the guilt of his first sin, and also of the sinful nature which came upon him as a consequence of tasting the forbidden fruit.  Through this offense, “many” are dead.  Paul seems to use the words “many” and “all” interchangeably in this section, to describe the two collections of individuals under each particular headship, Adam’s and Christ’s.  Many—in fact, all of his natural descendants—died in Adam, the sentence of guilt and death being passed upon them.  They come into the world dead in trespasses and sins, and children of wrath, and are also subject to the penalty of bodily death, from which none save Enoch and Elijah have escaped.

 

Pray much for self-denial. Prayer sets God to work, Psalm 10:17. Some pray for assurance but lack self-denial, as if God would set seal to a blank. Let this be your grand request, a self-denying frame of heart. Self-denial does not grow in nature, it is a fruit of the Spirit. Beg God that he will plant this heavenly flower in your soul. Say ‘Lord, whatever Thou deniest me, deny me not self-denial. Let me rather lack great parts, nay, let me rather lack the comforts of the Spirit than self-denial.’ There may be going to heaven without comfort, but there is no going there without self-denial.

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There will probably never be perfect harmony among commentators as to the meaning of this statement.  We could with reason understand the apostle to be saying that death reigned over men who had not sinned against an orally expressed law, as Adam did.  However, I am inclined not to accept this explanation, simply because of the record of Genesis, as referenced above.  I am persuaded that sinners such as Cain and the Sodomites were just as conscious of the wrongfulness of their actions as was Adam when he received the forbidden fruit from his wife.  Therefore, the people Paul refers to here appear to me to be those who died in infancy, or even before leaving the womb.  Death reigned even over these who on a human level would be considered perfect innocents.  We ourselves might have thought that they should not be subject to the penalty of death, not having openly violated the law of God as Adam did.  The justice of God decreed otherwise, and indeed sometimes still does to this very hour.

One might be tempted to question why we should offer such an interpretation, that may on the surface seem somewhat strange.  However, I would contend that when verse 14 is understood this way, we will see that the apostle is saying something very powerful about original sin.  What he is attempting to do is prove Adam’s federal headship, whereby his transgression is imputed to the account of his descendants.  We would all be able to agree that infants are not guilty of having looked the law of God squarely in the face, and intentionally broken it, simply because they wanted their own way.  Not having sinned, then why and how are they subject to the penalty of death?  The only answer is that sin is upon them by imputation, which makes them liable to the penalty God has prescribed against sin.  If it were not so, it would be difficult to argue that God is not guilty of injustice in slaying those who are pure from sin.  But when we understand that the guilt of Adam’s transgression is imputed to every human being conceived in the womb of a mother, then we understand that from the moment a living soul takes up residence in those few cells, that sin is charged upon them.  Therefore, from the very moment of conception every one of us is subject to the penalty of death.  In the inscrutable wisdom of God, He has ordained that many perish before ever seeing the light of day.  Because sin is charged upon even these tiny and helpless ones, we can in no way impugn the justice of the Almighty for paying them the wages of sin, which is death.

 

What the Civil War Was Really All About

This one was just too good to pass up.  Chuck Baldwin lays out an airtight case as to why the so-called “Civil War” was not about slavery, but an brutal war of aggression by a man who was more of a tyrant than an emancipator (Abraham Lincoln).  This is history you won’t get from mainstream media or schools of television programming, because the facts presented don’t fit in with the agenda that is being driven down our throats.

My only quarrel with this article is a very minor one, but I think it is worth pointing out that Mr. Baldwin is almost certainly in error as to why the Confederate armies did not pursue and capture Washington after the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas).  This decision, or error, was based on calculations about the inexperience and exhaustion of the troops, not out of an altruistic desire not to wage aggressive war.  That is an easily excusable mistake, however, and the rest of the article greatly deserves to be read and lodged in our memories.  It is a perfect companion piece to the Buchanan column I linked to the other day.

In spite of the fact that no law had yet been formally issued, death reigned during the long period from Adam to the time when Moses received the law from God.  This shows that sin was still a great reality, and the judgment threatened to Adam upon the breach of the law was still in force upon all the human race.  The fact that they did not have a formal declaration of law, as Adam had in paradise, or as Israel would receive at Mount Sinai, did not except the old world from the punishment decreed against sin, which is death.  They knew enough of God, and had a strong enough impression of His standard of right and wrong written upon their consciences, to be well aware of their own wrongdoing.  A cursory study of the book of Genesis makes very plain the reality of a consciousness of right and wrong that was extant even among the heathen, long before the law was given.  Was not Cain fully conscious of the wickedness of murdering his brother? Would God have destroyed the world by a flood for their violence and wickedness, had their sins merely been crimes of ignorance?  Assuredly not.  We find that Pharaoh and the two Abimelechs knew that it was sin to take another man’s wife, and these heathen rulers rebuked Abraham and Isaac for having exposed their wives to the lusts of other men.  We cannot believe that God would have rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah if their sins were committed merely because there was no law to teach them better.  They were “wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” precisely because they intentionally gave themselves up to infamous practices which they knew to be offensive to God.  We cannot but think that Potiphar’s wife knew the evil of her attempts to seduce Joseph; that even in Egyptian culture rape and adultery were considered evil is seen by the fact that she branded Joseph with accusations of those very crimes.  And, of course, historical evidence shows that many societies even predating the Decalogue had their own codes of morals and conduct, such as the Code of Hammurabi.  In many instances, these heathen statutes correspond quite closely with the biblical commandments, which, rather than showing that Moses borrowed from the heathen, instead shows simply that there is a universal consciousness of right and wrong imprinted upon the consciences of men by the God in Whose image they are made.

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But death reigned not just over men who sinned against the light of conscience, but also over those who never had sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.  By Adam’s transgression, the apostle of course refers to his sin of eating the forbidden fruit.  What was this transgression?  It was a willful act of disobedience, whereby our first father intentionally did a thing which God had expressly forbidden him.  It was a sin against law.  However, following the time of Adam, and even up to the time of the giving of the law and beyond, death reigned even over countless numbers who never sinned so flagrantly against light.

 

Buchanan on Cultural Genocide

One of the many big items making news lately is the tearing down of Confederate monuments, with a corresponding reaction that has been remarkably peaceful.  As Buchanan clearly shows in this article, it is nothing but an act of cultural genocide by fanatical Marxists, who want to wipe out everything that is in any way opposed to their racial/feminist/socialist agenda.  The statues of Confederate heroes, because of the association of the Confederacy with slavery, are an easy target.

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One of Buchanan’s last statements is very sobering: the people tearing down Confederate statues are like ISIS and Boko Haram; they can destroy a civilization, but they certainly could never build one.  That leaves us to ponder what kind of world these people are making for us.