THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF

THE FALL

A STUDY BY
GARY RAY BRANSCOME
Lesson 7
 


    While the record of Adam and Eve’s disobedience is history, the Bible sums up the spiritual significance of that disobedience in the words, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” (Romans 5:12). In other words, because of Adam’s sin we are all sinners, and “by nature the children of wrath,” (Ephesians 2:3).

MAN HAS LOST THE IMAGE OF GOD


    In order to understand the spiritual significance of the fall, it is important to know that God did not create us as “children of wrath.” On the contrary, Adam and Eve were created with a nature that was a reflection or image of God’s righteous nature (Genesis 1:27,31, Leviticus 19:2, Ephesians 4:24). In short, they were created in God’s own image. Because Adam bore the image of God, he knew God in a way that no sinner ever could, for his very feelings and emotions were in accord with the nature of God (Colossians 3:10). His sin changed all of that, for as a result of that sin we now have a heart that is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). We are born in the image of sinful Adam, instead of being born in the image of God (Genesis 5:3, Matthew 12:34 and 15:19, Mark 7:21. Psalm 51:5). And, because all unrighteousness is sin, the inherited corruption of our nature is the real sin, the sin by which all flesh is guilty before God (Romans 3:19). All specific sins — all evil inclinations, urges, desires, thoughts, words, and deeds — are simply the natural fruit and by-product of that sin. In other words, we do not become sinners only when we sin: we sin because we are sinners to begin with. And, because we are all sinners, “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). If we were not sinners we would not die (Romans 6:23).
    At the same time, we are all by nature blind to the truth of the gospel, lost in our sins, and totally unable to save ourselves. [Romans 3:10-23, Matthew 5:48, Acts 17:27, Acts 4:12, Galatians 3:21, Acts 8:22, Proverbs 24:9, Deuteronomy 5:21, Colossians 3:5, Romans 10:3,4, Genesis 6:5, John 8:44, Ephesians 2:3, 2Peter 1:4, Jude 18, Romans 8:6, Romans 5:12,17,18,19, Psalm 58:3]

ALL HAVE SINNED


    While the Apostle Paul deals with the spiritual significance of the fall (in the fifth chapter of his epistle to the Romans), every statement of Scripture that condemns sin or speaks of our inability to save ourselves also relates to the fall, for all such statements reveal our fallen nature. When the Bible tells us that, “There is none righteous, no, not one,” we know that there is none righteous because of the fall (compare Romans 3:10 and 5:18). Likewise, when the prophet Jeremiah tells us that the heart of man “is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked,” we know that our heart is that way because of the fall (Jeremiah 17:9). The same holds true for Christ’s words, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). All such passages reveal our fallen nature. However, the most important point to remember is that because we are fallen creatures, we need a Savior. [Genesis 1:31, 1 John 1:8, Ephesians 2:3, Romans 6:23.]

[Note: “By one man‘s offence death reigned by one… By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation… By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:17-19).]

WE ARE BY NATURE DESPERATELY WICKED


    Because of the fall, our nature is now in accord with the nature of Satan. Or, as Christ put it, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). As a result, millions see nothing wrong with killing babies in the womb or killing Christians, and we find it much easier to deny our sins than to admit our guilt (John 8:44, Proverbs 16:2). In fact, excusing our own wrongdoing while pointing out the faults of others seems to come naturally (Matthew 7:3). At the same time, the desire to deny guilt often seeks validation in false prophets. People want to believe that they are basically good and in no danger of going to hell, and they want to be told that the rules which they keep make them righteous. Therefore, they will flock to those who tell them what they want to hear (1Timothy 4:3).

    Racism, nudism, Darwinism, and Freudianism are all ways in which people deny guilt. Racists deny that their own race is a vile sin-corrupted race, nudists deny that their sinful nature makes clothing necessary, Darwinists deny that we are accountable to a creator, and Freudians see nothing wrong with immorality (Genesis 3:21). Many of the problems in our society are caused by the willingness of so many to call good evil and evil good. Those who butcher babies call themselves “advocates of choice,” those who pervert sex call themselves “gay,” those who lie call their lies diplomacy, and the enemies of God call themselves “liberal” (Isaiah 32:5, James 4:4). Contentiousness is called concern, murder of the aged and handicapped is called “good death” or “mercy killing”, and suicide (self-murder) is called “death with dignity.” It is hard to find anyone who is truly honest about sin (Isaiah 64:6, John 1:47).

    Because of sin, our natural tendency is to love ourselves, seek our own advantage at the expense of others, and grab the biggest piece (Philippians 3:21). At times self-love can become so intense that a person will actually hate himself because he is not as tall, handsome, or eloquent as he wants to be.

[Note: At the beginning of the twentieth century, a large segment of our society ascribed to the idea that “All men are basically good.” Looking back, the events of that century are the best refutation of that delusion that anyone could give.]

WE CANNOT SAVE OURSELVES


    At times I have pointed out the impure desires, wicked yearnings, and self-deception of the human heart only to be told, “That isn't sin that is just human nature. Everybody is like that.” However, that is just another way of denying sin. Of course everybody is like that! That does not make it right. On the contrary, that is why “judgment came upon all men to condemnation,” and why we need a Savior (Romans 5:18). In fact, such statements only serve to illustrate the blindness of the human heart, and the fact that it is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (2Timothy 2:23,26, Jeremiah 17:9).

CONCLUSION


    Far from being unimportant or insignificant, the Biblical record of the fall is basic to the salvation message. We need a Savior because we are lost and cannot save ourselves, and we are lost and cannot save ourselves because of the fall (Acts 4:12, Romans 5:12-19). When the Bible says, “All have sinned,” or, “By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation,” it means just what it says (Romans 3:23 and 5:18, 2Corinthians 1:13). If anyone, even infants, could get to heaven without faith in Christ (and the forgiveness that He died to obtain for them), then the Father would have never sent Christ to the cross (Acts 4:12, Galatians 3:21).
 

STUDY QUESTIONS


1. What is the sin by which all flesh is guilty before God?
2. What are we all by nature blind to?
3. Why do we find it much easier to deny our sins than to admit our guilt?
4. Name four ways in which people deny guilt.
5. What are many of the problems in our society caused by?
6. Why do people sometimes hate themselves?
7. What does Jeremiah 17:9 say about Human nature?
8. What is the Biblical record of the fall basic to?
9. Why do millions see nothing wrong with killing babies in the womb?
10.What do people want to be told?