Saviour of the World
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

Chapter 18 — The Fall and Restoration of Man

In this chapter, we will examine the threefold aspect of salvation realized in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord.  Only in this context — the full and complete salvation Christ accomplished for the sinful human race in His earthly mission — can we appreciate the true meaning of His humanity and the redemptive work He wrought out in our corporate, sinful human nature.

In Adam, the foundation was laid for everything we experience in the realm of sin, the realm which culminates in eternal death.  Likewise, in Christ, the foundation was laid for all that God intends us to experience in the realm of redemption, the realm which culminates in eternal life:

1 Corinthians 3:11
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

As the apostle Paul so clearly summed it up:

1 Corinthians 15:21-22
For since death came through a man [singular], the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man [singular].  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

Christ came to reverse the damage brought about by the fall of Adam.  Everything necessary for the restoration of fallen humanity has already been prepared in the holy history of Christ so that there is nothing the believer receives or experiences in this life or in the world to come that has not been accomplished in Christ.  For this reason, our faith must be built on the foundation already laid, namely Christ Jesus and Him crucified.

As the result of Adam’s sin, the human race has become a ruined species.  The effects of Adam’s sin are passed on from generation to generation, so that all mankind is hopelessly lost apart from God’s redemptive act in Christ.  Adam’s sin has alienated us from God and, thus, we are all born into a realm over which sin and death rule.  This is how Ellen White describes it:

Review and Herald, 16 April 1901
Through the medium of influence, taking advantage of the action of mind on mind, he [Satan] prevailed on Adam to sin.  Thus at its very source human nature was corrupted.  And ever since then sin has continued its hateful work, reaching from mind to mind.  Every sin committed awakens the echoes of the original sin.

In order to fulfill the plan of salvation, as planned by God from the foundation of the world, Christ assumed this sinful condemned humanity at the Incarnation in order to save fallen humanity.

To benefit fully from such a great salvation, we must first understand the effects of the Fall.  Scripture tells us that Adam’s sin affected mankind in three ways:

  1. spiritually,
  2. morally, and
  3. physically.
Let’s briefly examine each of these as the basis of appreciating the fullness of Christ’s redemptive work.

  1. Spiritually.  Unlike the animal kingdom, man was created a spiritual being.  Modern studies in anthropology have demonstrated that, even among the most primitive societies, human beings seek to worship some form of a god.  It was God’s original purpose to dwell in man, and to reveal His glory through him.

    The Desire of Ages, Page 161
    From eternal ages it was God’s purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator.

    But when Adam turned his back on God, this purpose was brought to nought.  The Holy Spirit immediately left him, and Adam’s life was plunged into darkness.  Thus was fulfilled the warning God gave our first parents:

    Genesis 2:17
    “...But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

    The immediate result of the Fall, therefore, was spiritual death.  And this death was passed on to all men and women; all of us are born in this world spiritually dead and alienated from God:

    Ephesians 2:1,5
    As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins....  [But ...  God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.
    Isaiah 59:2
    But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

    Ellen White goes on to say in the quotation given above:

    The Desire of Ages, Page 161
    Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple of God.  Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One.
  2. Morally.  In sinless Eden, God created Adam in His image.  This meant that Adam’s nature was controlled by selfless agape love.  There was perfect harmony between God’s holy law and Adam’s moral nature, so that, for Adam, keeping the law was spontaneous and natural.  Our first parents were not given the moral law in writing, for the simple reason that it was very much part of their nature.  In other words, the law was written in every fiber of their being so that obeying it was spontaneous.

    However, at the Fall, that sinless nature became sinful.  Adam’s nature was now dominated by the law of sin, the love of self.  Ellen White says:

    Steps to Christ, Page 17
    Through disobedience, his powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love.  His nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him, in his own strength, to resist the power of evil.

    Before the Fall, Adam loved God supremely, and he loved Eve unconditionally.  But when Eve sinned, she separated herself from God and entered Satan’s camp.  Once this happened, the enemy of souls could use Eve as his agent to secure Adam’s fall.  When this happened, he got the whole world because:

    Acts 17:26a
    From one man he [God] made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth....

    This was how the Fall affected all humanity.

    Eve was deceived, but what made Adam deliberately sin?  When Eve brought the forbidden fruit to Adam, the choice he had to make was not between himself and God, but between God and Eve, since she had now moved to Satan’s side.  Adam knew the fruit his wife brought to him was the forbidden fruit, for “Adam was not deceived” says Paul:

    1 Timothy 2:14
    And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

    He knew that eating the forbidden fruit could not save Eve whom he loved dearly.  And he also knew that eating the fruit would mean death to himself.

    So what caused Adam to eat that forbidden fruit, knowing it could not save Eve and would bring eternal death to himself?  Obviously Adam loved Eve more than himself and, therefore, chose to die with his beloved wife.  His sin was not putting self first, but putting Eve first before God.  When he said good-bye to God, he naturally said good-bye to life, since God is the source of life.

    The moment Adam sinned, not only did the Holy Spirit leave him, not only did he became spiritually dead, but his very nature made a U-turn toward self.  No longer was it controlled by agape love which “is not self-seeking”:

    1 Corinthians 13:5
    It [Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

    Hence, when God visited him that evening, after the Fall, and asked him why he had eaten from the forbidden fruit, Adam blamed God for giving him a defective wife!  Ever since then, we, too, have followed Adam in blaming everybody else for our problems except self.  Surely, as Ellen White says:

    Review and Herald, 16 April 1901
    Every sin we commit is an echo of the original sin.

    This is what Isaiah meant when he said:

    Isaiah 53:6a
    We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way....

    It is this bent to self-love that the Bible calls “iniquity.”  The literal meaning of the Hebrew word iniquity means “crooked.”

    Psalm 51:5
    Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

    It makes all our good works polluted with self and therefore condemned as “filthy rags” in God’s eyes:

    Isaiah 64:6
    All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

    In this sense, mankind’s moral nature, since the Fall, is totally depraved.

    Although the natural person is capable of doing a lot of good, all our good works, apart from what we do by grace, are motivated by self, even though this self is often hidden from our consciousness.  As the prophet Jeremiah says:

    Jeremiah 17:9
    The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?

    That is why, without a clear understanding of the gospel and the truth of justification by faith, Christian living will always be motivated by either fear of punishment or desire for reward — which is no different from the motivations of any pagan religion.

  3. Physically.  As long as our first parents had access to the tree of life, their physical nature knew no degeneration.  But, after being expelled from the Garden of Eden, humanity became prone to sickness, fatigue, and aging, culminating in death.  All men and women have become, “all their lives ... held in slavery” to the fear of death:

    Hebrews 2:15
    ...And free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

    This is the wages of sin we inherited from Adam:

    1 Corinthians 15:22a
    For as in Adam all die....

    Christ came to this world as Saviour to redeem us from each of these three consequences of the Fall.  But, in order to do this, He had to be “made like them, fully human in every way”:

    Hebrews 2:17
    For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

With this in view, let us observe how fallen humanity was redeemed from this threefold effect of sin in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

  1. Spiritually.  At the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit mysteriously united Christ’s divinity to our corporate humanity in the womb of Mary.  This humanity, which Christ assumed through Mary, was in and of itself spiritually dead like that of all mankind.  The Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is an attempt to avoid this conclusion, but that doctrine is unbiblical and a heresy.

    The moment our humanity was united to Christ’s divinity, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, it became spiritually alive.  As a result, Christ’s humanity was spiritually alive from His very conception.  And since His humanity is our corporate humanity, what is true of Christ also became true of us in Him.

    Ephesians 2:5
    [God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.

    When Paul told the Ephesians that they were made spiritually alive together with Christ, while they themselves were still dead in trespasses and sin, he used the aorist tense, a past historic tense, to indicate an objective truth realized in Christ at the Incarnation — not the Ephesians’ subjective experience which took place at their conversion.

    Thus, we must never equate Christ’s humanity with that of unbelievers who are still spiritually dead.  Although no distinction exists between the flesh — the sinful human nature — of the believer and the unbeliever, there are two major differences that do exist between believers and unbelievers:

    1. A true believer has repented with all that the Greek word for repentance implies — a change of mind so that the will is in harmony with God and His law:

      Romans 7:22, 25
      For in my inner being I delight in God’s law....  Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

      Paul refers to this converted mind as the inner or new man:

      Ephesians 3:16; 4:24
      I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being....  ...And to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

      This is not true of the unbeliever whose mind is still unconverted and in harmony with the self-principle of the flesh:

      Ephesians 2:3
      All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
      Romans 8:7
      The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
    2. Unlike the unbeliever, the believer who has been baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit has become spiritually alive through the new birth experience:

      1 Corinthians 12:13
      For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body — whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
      Romans 8:9-11
      You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

      This experience is based on the objective truth that our humanity was first made spiritually alive in Christ when divinity was united to our corporate sinful humanity at the Incarnation.

    Hence the new birth, the believer’s first experience of salvation that comes at conversion through justification by faith, is the result of a reality already prepared for all men in Christ.  It is this new birth, referred to as “rebirth” (or “regeneration”) that changes the believer’s whole situation, so that he or she not only has peace with God through justification by faith, but is also standing under grace:

    Titus 3:5
    He [God our Savior] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit....
    Romans 5:1-2
    Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

    This means that now holy living and law-keeping are brought within the believer’s reach.  For grace also means that the power of God is available to those who are justified by faith so that they may fulfill God’s purpose in their lives:

    1 Corinthians 15:9-10
    For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
    2 Corinthians 12:7b-10
    Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    Fallen humanity is totally depraved so that, in and of ourselves, none of us can be subject to the law of God (see Romans 8:7). 

    Romans 8:7
    The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

    But all those who are made spiritually alive through justification by faith in Christ, and who have God’s Spirit now dwelling in them, find victory over the sinful flesh and holy living a possibility:

    Romans 8:9-10
    You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness
    Galatians 5:16, 22-23
    So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  ...But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.

    To such converted persons, Christ’s holy life becomes their example and their goal in Christian living:

    Philippians 3:12-14
    Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
    Romans 13:14
    Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
    2 Corinthians 3:17-18
    Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

  2. Morally.  To be made spiritually alive does not mean that the moral nature has been changed in any way.  Thus, when Christ took upon Himself our humanity, even though that humanity was made spiritually alive, its nature was still bent toward self, still under the pressure of the law of sin.  Christ’s holy living, therefore, always involved the cross of self-denial:

    Luke 9:23
    Then he said to them all:  “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

    The incarnation did not cleanse humanity of its sinfulness; the cross did that:

    Romans 8:3
    For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh....

    Otherwise, the new birth would cleanse believers of their sinfulness.  But we all must confess that, although we Christians may have the mind of Christ, no change has taken place in our sinful natures; they remain sinful until death or the second coming of Christ.  This sinful flesh, as we all know, is the believer’s greatest hindrance to holy living.

    The mind of Jesus was fully surrendered to God’s will so that no propensity, or even an inclination, to sin rested there.  But His flesh was dominated by the principle that affects all mankind — the principle of self.  Consequently, to Him, holy living was not simply a matter of following the natural inclinations of His human nature, as was the case of sinless Adam.  Holy living for Jesus in His humanity involved a constant battle against “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”:

    1 John 2:16
    For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world.

    When He declared to His disciples:

    John 16:33b
    “But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

    ...He included in that statement His victory over the sinful flesh, for the apostle John defines the world as the evil desires and self love that draw us away from God:

    1 John 2:15-16
    Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world.
    James 4:4
    You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?  Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

    Such an understanding of Christ’s holy living gives a deeper, more complete meaning to His redemptive mission.  The International Critical Commentary makes an interesting observation referring to Paul’s statement that, in the likeness of sinful flesh, Christ “condemned sin in the flesh”:

    Romans 8:3
    For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh....

    It says, “But if we recognize that Paul believed it was fallen human nature which the Son of God assumed, we shall probably be inclined to see here also a reference to the unintermittent warfare of His whole earthly life by which He forced our rebellious nature to render a perfect obedience to God.”

    According to Peter, all the sufferings of Christ that resulted in His perfect character took place in His flesh:

    1 Peter 4:1
    Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.

    This could be possible only because His flesh was the likeness of our sinful flesh and was denied its sinful desires.  As the writer of Hebrews states:

    Hebrews 5:8-9
    Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him....

    We must not limit this suffering to the agony He experienced on the cross.  The same writer states:

    Hebrews 2:18
    Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

    And when we turn to Hebrews 4:15, we discover Christ was “tempted in every way, just as we are”:

    Hebrews 4:15
    For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin.

    But because Christ never sinned, His flesh was deprived of its selfish desires and, therefore, suffered:

    1 Peter 4:1
    Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.

    This, too, is an essential part of the good news of the gospel that must fill us with deep heartfelt appreciation, and make us willing, in turn, to suffer in the flesh that He may be glorified:

    Romans 8:16-18
    The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

    Having produced perfect obedience by completely and totally overcoming the flesh for thirty-three years, Christ then took this condemned flesh and surrendered it to the wages of sin on the cross.  Thus He "condemned sin in the flesh" both by His active and by His passive obedience and forever became the author and finisher of salvation to all who believe.  In this knowledge of full and complete salvation rests the hope of fallen mankind.  And this hope is twofold:  “Justification of life”...

    Romans 5:18
    Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

    ...as well as “sanctification of the Spirit”:

    2 Thessalonians 2:13
    But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
    1 Peter 1:2
    [To God’s elect] who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:  Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

    Both become effective by faith alone.

  3. Physically.  When Christ assumed our sinful humanity, not only did He identify Himself with our moral weaknesses, but He also took our physical infirmities.  Thus He became subject to fatigue, aging, and death.  But having redeemed and cleansed our sinful humanity at the cross, Jesus rose from the dead with a glorified body, physically as well as morally.  At His ascension, He took this redeemed body to heaven where it is reserved for us at the second coming.  This is the “blessed hope” of all born-again believers:

    Romans 8:23-25
    Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
    Philippians 3:20-21
    But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

In the light of this full and wonderful good news of the everlasting gospel, the humanity of Christ is indeed “everything to us” (Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, 1:244).  This perfect, complete message of salvation in Christ, which was once preached by the apostles, must again be restored to our doomed world before the end comes:

Matthew 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Hebrews 2:3
...How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?  This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.

When the earth will be lightened with the glory of Christ as the Three Angels’ Messages are accompanied with power from the fourth angel, then, and only then, will the Advent movement accomplish its divine mission.

Revelation 18:1
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven.  He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.

Only then can Christ come to take us home:

Revelation 22:17
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!”  Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

Key Points in Chapter 18
• The Fall and Restoration of Man •
  1. Adam’s sin affected mankind spiritually, morally, and physically.  Since Christ came to reverse the damage brought about by the fall of Adam, everything necessary for the restoration of fallen humanity in each of these three areas has already been prepared in the holy history of Christ.  There is nothing the believer experiences or receives in this life or in the world to come that has not been accomplished in Christ.

  2. Spiritually.  As a result of the Fall, death was passed on to all men and women; all of us are born in this world spiritually dead (see Ephesians 2:1,5, GNB).  At the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit mysteriously united Christ’s divinity to our corporate, spiritually dead humanity in the womb of Mary.  The moment our humanity was united to Christ’s divinity, it became spiritually alive.  And since His humanity is our corporate humanity, what is true of Christ also became true of us in Him.

    1. We must never equate Christ’s humanity with that of unbelievers who are still spiritually dead.

    2. Believers have repented and have converted minds; unbelievers have minds still in harmony with the flesh.  Believers have experienced the new birth; unbelievers are still spiritually dead.

  3. Morally.  As a result of the Fall, Adam’s nature was changed from one controlled by selfless agape love to a nature controlled by love of self.  This is the moral nature all of us are born with.  Apart from God’s grace, everything we do, no matter how good it may appear, is motivated by self-love.

  4. When Christ took on Himself our humanity, even though that humanity was made spiritually alive, its nature was still bent toward self.  The incarnation did not cleanse humanity of its sinfulness.  Jesus’ mind was fully surrendered to God’s will so that no propensity to sin rested there.  But His flesh was still dominated by the principle that affects us all — the principle of self-love.

  5. Having produced perfect obedience by completely overcoming the flesh, Christ then took this condemned flesh and surrendered it to the wages of sin on the cross.  Thus He condemned sin in the flesh and became the author and finisher of salvation to all who believe.

  6. Physically.  As a result of the Fall, humanity became subject to sickness, fatigue, and aging, culminating in death.  When Christ assumed our sinful humanity, He also took our physical infirmities.  But having redeemed and cleansed our sinful humanity at the cross, Jesus rose from the dead with a glorified body, physically as well as morally.  At His ascension, He took this redeemed body to heaven where it is reserved for us at the second coming.

Home
Study Materials
 
Back
 
Next