by A.T. Jones
You will remember the point that was made in one of Brother Prescott's lessons, when he called attention to the book of Ruth [Read Bulletin, p. 189].
Who was the redeemer in the book of Ruth? The nearest of kin. Boaz could not come in as redeemer until it was found that the one who was nearer than he could not perform the office of redeemer. The redeemer must be not only one who was near of kin, but he must be the nearest among those who were near, and therefore Boaz could not step into the place of redeemer until, by another's stepping out of the place, he became really the nearest. Now that is the precise point that is made in the second chapter of Hebrews.
In Ruth, you remember Naomi's husband had died, the inheritance had fallen into the hands of others, and when she came back from Moab, it had to be redeemed. No one but the nearest of kin could do it. This is the story also in the second of Hebrews. Here is the man Adam, who had an inheritance--the earth--and he lost it and he himself was brought into bondage. In the gospel in Leviticus it is preached that if one had lost his inheritance, himself and his inheritance could be redeemed, but only the nearest of kin could redeem. Lev. 25:25, 26, 47-49. Upon earth here is a man, Adam, who lost his inheritance and himself, and you and I were in it all, and we need a redeemer. But only he who is nearest in blood relationship can perform the office of redeemer. Jesus Christ is nearer than a brother, nearer than anyone. He is a brother, but he is nearest among the brethren, nearest of kin, actually. Not only one with us but He is one of us and one with us by being one of us.
And the one lesson that we are studying still and the leading thought is how entirely Jesus is ourselves. We found in the preceding lesson that He is altogether ourselves. In all points of temptation, wherever we are tempted, He was ourselves right there; in all the points in which it is possible for me to be tempted, He, as I, stood right there, against all the knowledge and ingenuity of Satan to tempt me, Jesus, myself, stood right there and met it. Against all the power of Satan put forth in the temptation upon me, Jesus stood as myself and overcame. So also with you and so with the other man, and thus comprehending the whole human race, He stands in every point wherever anyone of the human race can be tempted as in Himself or from Himself.
In all this, He is ourselves and in Him we are complete against the power of temptation. In Him we are overcomers, because He, as we, overcame. "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
And in noticing the other evening how he became one of us, we found that it was by birth from the flesh. He is "the seed of David according to the flesh." He took not the nature of angels but the nature of the seed of Abraham, and His genealogy goes to Adam.
Now every man is tempted, you know, "when he is drawn away of His own lust and enticed." James 1:14. That is the definition of "temptation." There is not a single drawing toward sin, there is not a single tendency to sin, in you and me that was not in Adam when he stepped out of the garden. All the iniquity and all the sin that have come into the world came from that, and came from him as he was there. It did not all appear in him; it did not all manifest itself in him in open action, but it has manifested itself in open action in those who have come from him.
Thus all the tendencies to sin that have appeared or that are in me came to me from Adam, and all that are in you came from Adam, and all that are in the other man came from Adam. So all the tendencies to sin that are in the human race came from Adam. But Jesus Christ felt in these temptations; He was tempted upon all these points in the flesh which he derived from David, from Abraham, and from Adam. In his genealogy are a number of characters set forth as they were lived in the men, and they were not righteous. Manasseh is there, who did worse than any other king ever in Judah and caused Judah to do worse than the heathen. Solomon is there with the description of his character in the Bible just as it is. David is there. Rahab is there. Judah is there. Jacob is there. All are there just as they were. Now Jesus came according to the flesh at the end of that line of mankind. And there is such a thing as heredity. You and I have traits of character or cut of feature that have come to us from away back--perhaps not from our own father, perhaps not from a grandfather, but from a great-grandfather away back in the years. And this is referred to in the law of God: "Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments."
That "like produces like" is a good law, a righteous law. It is a law of God, and though the law be transgressed, it still does the same. Transgression of the law does not change the law, whether it be moral or physical. The law works when it is transgressed, through the evil that is incurred, just as it would have worked in righteousness always if no evil had ever been incurred. If man had remained righteous always, as God made him, his descent would have been in the right line. When the law was transgressed, the descent followed on the wrong line, and the law worked in the crooked way, by its being perverted.
It is a good law which says that everything shall have a tendency to go toward the centre of the earth. We could not get along in the world without that law. It is that which holds us upon the earth and enables us to walk and move about upon it. And yet if there be a break between us and the earth, if our feet slip out from under us or if we be on a high station, a pinnacle, and it breaks and the straight connection with the earth is broken between us and it, why, the law works and it brings us down with a terrible jolt, you know. Well, the same law that enables us to live and move and walk around upon the earth as comfortably as we do, which works so beneficially while we act in harmony with it, that law continues to work when we get out of harmony with it and it works as directly as before--but it hurts.
Now that is simply an illustration of this law of human nature. If man had remained where God put him and as He put him, the law would have worked directly and easily; since man has got out of harmony with it, it still works directly, but it hurts. Now that law of heredity reached from Adam to the flesh of Jesus Christ as certainly as it reaches from Adam to the flesh of any of the rest of us, for He was one of us. In Him there were things that reached Him from Adam; in Him there were things that reached Him from David, from Manasseh, from the genealogy away back from the beginning until His birth.
Thus in the flesh of Jesus Christ--not in Himself, but in His flesh--our flesh which He took in the human nature--there were just the same tendencies to sin that are in you and me. And when He was tempted, it was the "drawing away of these desires that were in the flesh." These tendencies to sin that were in His flesh drew upon Him and sought to entice Him, to consent to the wrong. But by the love of God and by His trust in God, he received the power and the strength and the grace to say, "No," to all of it and put it all under foot. And thus being in the likeness of sinful flesh He condemned sin in the flesh.
All the tendencies to sin that are in me were in Him, and not one of them was ever allowed to appear in Him. All the tendencies to sin that are in you were in Him, and not one of them was ever allowed to appear--every one was put under foot and kept there. All the tendencies to sin that are in the other man were in Him, and not one of them was ever allowed to appear. That is simply saying that all the tendencies to sin that are in human flesh were in His human flesh, and not one of them was ever allowed to appear; He conquered them all. And in Him we all have victory over them all.
Many of these tendencies to sin that are in us have appeared in action, and have become sins committed, have become sins in the open. There is a difference between a tendency to sin and the open appearing of that sin in the actions. There are tendencies to sin in us that have not yet appeared, but multitudes have appeared. Now all the tendencies that have not appeared, He conquered. What of the sins that have actually appeared? "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6) "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree." 1 Peter 2:24. Thus it is plain that all the tendencies to sin that are in us and have not appeared and all the sins which have appeared were laid upon Him. It is terrible. It is true. But, O, joy! In that terrible truth lies the completeness of our salvation.
Note another view: Those sins which we have committed, we ourselves felt the guilt of them and were conscious of condemnation because of them. These were all imputed to Him. They were all laid upon Him. Now a question: Did He feel the guilt of the sins that were imputed to Him? Was He conscious of the condemnation of the sins--our sins-- that were laid upon Him? He never was conscious of sins that He committed, for He did not commit any. That is true. But our sins were laid upon Him and we were guilty. Did He realise the guilt of these sins? Was He conscious of condemnation because of these sins?
We will look at that in such a way that every soul in the house shall say, "Yes." I will say that another way: We will look at it in such a way that every soul in the house will either say "Yes" or may say "Yes" if he will, because there may be some in the house who have not had the experience that I will bring for the illustration, but many have it, and then they can say, "Yes." All others who have had the experience will say "Yes" at once.
God imputes righteousness, the righteousness of Christ, unto the believing sinner. Here is a man who has never known anything in his life but sin, never anything but the guilt of sin, never anything but the condemnation of sin. That man believes on Jesus Christ, and God imputes to that man the righteousness of Christ. Then that man who never committed a particle of righteousness in his life is conscious of righteousness. Something has entered his life that was never there before. He is conscious of it, and he is conscious of the joy of it and the freedom of it.
Now God imputed our sins to Jesus Christ as certainly as He imputes His righteousness to us. But when he imputes righteousness to us who are nothing but sinners, we realise it and are conscious of it and conscious of the joy of it. Therefore, when He imputed our sins to Jesus, He was conscious of the guilt of them and the condemnation of them, just as certainly as the believing sinner is conscious of the righteousness of Christ and the peace and joy of it that is imputed to him--that is, that is laid upon him.
In all this also, Jesus was precisely ourselves. Or in all points He was truly made like unto us. In all points of temptation He was ourselves. He was one of us in the flesh; He was ourselves, and thus He was ourselves in temptation. And in points in guilt and condemnation He was precisely ourselves, because it was our sins, our guilt and our condemnation that were laid upon Him.
Now another thing upon what we have said: "our sins"--how many of them? All were laid upon Him, and He carried the guilt and the condemnation of them all, and also answered for them, paid for them, atoned for them. Then in Him we are free from every sin that we have ever committed. That is the truth. Let us be glad of it and praise God with everlasting joy.
He took all the sins which we have committed; He answered for them and took them away from us forever and all the tendencies to sin which have not appeared in actual sins--these he put forever under foot. Thus He sweeps the whole board and we are free and complete in Him.
O, He is a complete Saviour. He is a Saviour from sins committed and the Conqueror of the tendencies to commit sins. In Him we have the victory. We are no more responsible for these tendencies being in us that we are responsible for the sun shining, but every man on earth is responsible for these things appearing in open action in Him, because Jesus Christ has made provision against their ever appearing in open action. Before we learned of Christ, many of them had appeared in open action. The Lord hath laid upon Him all these and He has taken them away. Since we learned of Christ, these tendencies which have not appeared He condemned as sin in the flesh. And shall He who believes in Jesus allow that which Christ condemned in the flesh to rule over Him in the flesh? This is the victory that belongs to the believer in Jesus.
It is true that, although a man may have all this in Jesus, He cannot profit by it without himself being a believer in Jesus. Take the man who does not believe in Jesus at all tonight. has not Christ made all the provision for him that He has for Elijah, who is in heaven tonight? And if this man wants to have Christ for his Saviour, if he wants provision made for all his sins and salvation from all of them, does Christ have to do anything now in order to provide for this man's sins or to save him from them? No. That is all done. He made all that provision for every man when He was in the flesh and every man who believes in Him receives this without there being any need of any part of it being done over again. He "made one sacrifice for sins forever." And having by Himself purged us from our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Thus it is all in Him and every believer in Him possesses it all in Him and in Him is complete. It is in Him and that is the blessedness of it. "In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the godhead bodily." And God gives His eternal Spirit and us eternal life--eternity in which to live--in order that that eternal Spirit may reveal to us and make known to us the eternal depths of the salvation that we have in Him whose goings forth have been from the days of eternity.
Now let us look at it in another way. Turn to Romans 5:12:
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.
Now, leaving out the verses in parenthesis for the moment and reading them afterward, read the eighteenth verse:
Therefore, as by the offence of one [that man that sinned] judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [that Man that did not sin] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience [that man that sinned] many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [that Man that did not sin] shall many be made righteous.
Now read the parenthesis:
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.
Adam, then, was the figure of Him that was to come. That one to come is Christ. Adam was the figure of Him. Wherein was Adam the figure of Him? In his righteousness? No. For he did not keep it. In his sin? No. For Christ did not sin. Wherein, then, was Adam the figure of Christ? In this: That all that were in the world were included in Adam, and all that are in the world are included in Christ. In other words: Adam in his sin reached all the world; Jesus Christ, the second Adam, in His righteousness touches all humanity. That is where Adam is the figure of Him that was to come. So read on:
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift: for if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
There are two men, then, whom we are studying: That one man by whom sin entered; that one man by whom righteousness entered.
And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgement was by one to condemnation but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one [that is, by the first Adam]; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ [the second Adam].
Read another text in connection with this before we touch the particular study of it. 1 Cor. 15:45--49:
So it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
The first Adam touched all of us; what he did included all of us. If he had remained true to God, that would have included all of us. And when he fell away from God, that included us and took us also. Whatever he should have done embraced us, and what he did made us what we are.
Now here is another Adam. Does He touch as many as the first Adam did? That is the question. That is what we are studying now. Does the second Adam touch as many as did the first Adam? And the answer is that it is certainly true that what the second Adam did embraces all that were embraced in what the first Adam did. What he should have done, what he could have done, would embrace all.
Suppose Christ had yielded to temptation and had sinned. Would that have meant anything to us? It would have meant everything to us. The first Adam's sin meant all this to us; sin on the part of the second Adam would have meant all this to us. The first Adam's righteousness would have meant all to us and the second Adam's righteousness means all to as many as believe. That is correct in a certain sense, but not in the sense in which we are studying it now. We are now studying from the side of the Adams. We will look at it from our side presently.
The question is, Does the second Adam's righteousness embrace as many as does the first Adam's sin? Look closely. Without our consent at all, without our having anything to do with it, we were all included in the first Adam; we were there. All the human race were in the first Adam. What that first Adam--what that first man, did meant us; it involved us. That which the first Adam did brought us into sin, and the end of sin is death, and that touches every one of us and involves every one of us.
Jesus Christ, the second man, took our sinful nature. He touched us "in all points." He became we and died the death. And so in Him and by that every man that has ever lived upon the earth and was involved in the first Adam is involve in this and will live again. There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. Every soul shall live again by the second Adam from the death that came by the first Adam.
"Well," says one, "we are involved in other sins besides that one." Not without our choice. When God said, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed," He set every man free to choose which master he would serve, and since that, every man that has sinned in this world has done it because he chose to. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not."--not them who had no chance to believe; the god of this world blinds no man until he has shut his eyes of faith. When he shuts his eyes of faith, then Satan will see that they are kept shut as long as possible. I read the text again: "If our gospel,"--the everlasting gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ which is Christ in you the hope of glory, from the days of the first Adam's sin until now--"if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." It is hid to them "in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds." And why did he blind the minds? Because they "believe not."
Abraham, a heathen, born a heathen, as all the rest of us are, and raised a heathen, grew up in a family of heathens, worshipping idols and the heavenly hosts. He turned from it all unto God and opened his eyes of faith and used them, and Satan never had a chance to blind his eyes. And Abraham, a heathen, thus turning from among heathens unto God and finding God in Jesus Christ in the fullness of hope--that is one reason why God has set him before all the world. He is an example of what every heathen on this earth may find. He is a God-set-forth example of how every heathen is without excuse if he does not find God in Jesus Christ, by the everlasting gospel. Abraham is set before all nations in witness of the fact that every heathen is responsible in his own way if he does not find what Abraham found.
Therefore, just as far as the first Adam reaches man, so far the second Adam reaches man. The first Adam brought man under the condemnation of sin, even unto death; the second Adam's righteousness undoes that and makes every man live again. As soon as Adam sinned, God gave him a second chance and set him free to choose which master he would have. Since that time every man is free to choose which way he will go; therefore he is responsible for his own individual sins. And when Jesus Christ has set us all free from the sin and the death which came upon us from the first Adam, that freedom is for every man, and every man can have it for the choosing.
The Lord will not compel any one to take it. He compels no one to sin and He compels no one to be righteous. Everyone sins upon his own choice. The Scriptures demonstrate it. And every one can be made perfectly righteous at his choice. And the Scriptures demonstrate this. No man will die the second death who has not chosen sin rather than righteousness, death rather than life. In Jesus Christ there is furnished in completeness all that man needs or ever can have in righteousness, and all there is for any man to do is to choose Christ and then it is his.
So then as the first Adam was We, the second Adam is We. In all points He is as weak as are we. Read two texts: He says of us, "Without me ye can do nothing." Of Himself He says: "Of mine own self I can do nothing."
These two texts are all we want now. They tell the whole story. To be without Christ is to be without God, and there the man can do nothing. He is utterly helpless of himself and in himself. That is where the man is who is without God. Jesus Christ says: "Of mine own self I can do nothing." Then that shows that the Lord Jesus put Himself in this world, in the flesh, in His human nature, precisely where the man is in this world who is without God. He put Himself precisely where lost man is. He left out His divine self and became we. And there, helpless as we are without God, He ran the risk of getting back to where God is and bringing us with him. It was a fearful risk, but, glory to God, He won. The thing was accomplished, and in Him we are saved.
When He stood where we are, He said, "I will put my trust in Him" and that trust was never disappointed. In response to that trust the Father dwelt in Him and with Him and kept Him from sinning. Who was He? We. And thus the Lord Jesus has brought to every man in this world divine faith. That is the faith of the Lord Jesus. That is saving faith. Faith is not something that comes from ourselves with which we believe upon Him, but it is that something with which He believed--the faith which He exercised, which He brings to us, and which becomes ours and works in us--the gift of God. That is what the word means, "Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." They keep the faith of Jesus because it is that divine faith which Jesus exercised Himself.
He being we brought to us that divine faith which saves the soul--that divine faith by which we can say with Him, "I will put my trust in Him." And in so putting our trust in Him, that trust today will never be disappointed anymore than it was then. God responded then to the trust and dwelt with Him. God will respond today to that trust in us and will dwell with us.
God dwelt with Him and He was ourselves. Therefore His name is Emmanuel, God with us. Not God with Him. God was with Him before the world was; He could have remained there and not come here at all and still God could have remained with Him and His name could have been God with Him. He could have come into this world as He was in heaven and His name could still have been God with Him. But that never could have been God with us. But what we needed was God with us. God with Him does not help us, unless He is we. But that is the blessedness of it. He who was one of God became one of us; He who was God became we, in order that God with Him should be God with us. O, that is His name! That is His name! Rejoice in that name forevermore--God with us!