On the 7th May 1949 a debate took place between Mr W.F.Barling and Mr E.Brady at Netherton upon the "Controverted Aspects of the Nature and Sacrifice of Christ."
The view supported by Mr Barling is that Jesus Christ had "sinful flesh" and therefore it was needful for Him to die because of it; this being representative of the death we all deserve.
This view was challenged by Mr Brady of the Nazarene Fellowship, who showed that Jesus Christ died solely for us as our Redeemer and Saviour and had no need to die for Himself; that His death was purely a voluntary sacrifice in the true meaning of the word, and that we were bought with His precious blood, purchased from the bondage of sin.
These three short Essays were written as a result of The Netherton Debate and were first published by the Nazarene Fellowship in the 1950´s.
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Scripture Teaching On Death
Legally Dead to Sin - Legally Alive to Christ
In Adam and In Christ
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Scripture Teaching On Death
Have you considered the word "death" in the Scriptures? Just take up a concordance and see how many times it is used and how applied. It is for this reason this short article is written, to bring to mind the various uses, so that a more enlightened view in general can be seen and so help the Bible student to a better understanding of what is not generally considered.
1. Natural Death
The Scriptures plainly teach that God's creation was first natural, with the purpose of developing character through the Grace of God - dust, earthy (Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:46,47). The natural order was not made to last for ever - it would sooner or later decay.
We will give the best definition that we have which agrees with Scripture: -
"Death and corruption, then, with reproduction is the fundamental law of the physical system of the six days. Adam and Eve, and all the other animals born of the earth would have died and gone to corruption if there had been no transgression, provided there had been no further interference with the physical system than Moses recorded in the history of the six days. The life and death of Adam and Eve were predicated, not upon any peculiarity of their animal constitution, but upon the relation they might come to sustain to the two trees in Paradise. From this we learn that they pleased themselves under the law which sentenced them to death. From these premises it will be seen that we dissent from our correspondent's notion that 'all creation became corrupt,' by which we understand him to mean, constitutionally impregnated with corruptibility at the fall. We believe that the change was moral, not physical." - Dr. John Thomas, "Herald of The Kingdom." - Volume 5, page 159.
The fifth chapter of Genesis repeats "and he died." This is natural death.
2. Judicial or Inflicted death
This death is distinguished from natural death, whichever way brought about, by law: whether a calamity such as a flood (Genesis 7); or fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:23, etc.), or upon individuals such as is described under the Law of Moses, "shall be put to death" (Exodus 21:12-17). This is judicial death, as in the present day case of a murderer; death by execution for breach of law. There is a second death for those who are responsible at the second coming of Christ for those who have died in their sins. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). This is not natural death - it is judicial, as was the case under the Law of Moses (Hebrews 10:28), or by being raised and suffered by infliction of the second death by Christ (Revelation 21:8; Luke 19:27).
Many incidents could be put, but it is quite evident to those who have eyes to see.
3. Federal Death, while Alive Naturally
||"By the trespass of one many be dead"
||- Romans 5:15.
||"Then were we dead"
||- 2 Corinthians 5:14.
||"Ye were dead in trespasses and sins"
||- Ephesians 2:1.
||"Dead in your sins"
||- Colossians 2:13.
This death can be termed a legal death, but it must not be confused with the violent death by execution for breach of law.
Adam is the father and the federal head of the human race. All federally died, or were dead, in Adam. "They were made sinners" (Romans 5:19); "Sold under The Sin" (Romans 7:14). "Without God, Christ and Hope" (Ephesians 2:12). God and Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that He might have mercy upon all through faith in His Beloved Son (Romans 3:9; 11:32; Galatians 3:22). Though the federal law concludes all under the one sin of Adam, it has to be recognised individually before any one can be doctrinally in Adam. (See No. 5 below).
4. Symbolic Death
This death is associated in two particulars. Under the Edenic and Mosaic laws the sacrifice of the animals pointed to the death of the Lamb of God. The offerers had to put their hands on the head of the animal. They understood that the death the animal suffered was their due. Thus they died a symbolic death in the death of the animal.
Under the Christian dispensation the believer must be associated with the sacrificial death of Christ in the waters of Baptism. "Buried with Him by baptism into His death" (Romans 6:4). They thus die in symbol or a figurative death and acknowledge the literal death of their Redeemer on the Cross. "Now if we be dead (died) with Christ (verse 8), likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin." (verse 11).
5. Spiritual death
A person cannot die this death who has not first been made alive unto God through Christ Jesus: they must be born again, from above; of the incorruptible Seed, the Word of God (John 3:3, margin; James 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:23).
"But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth (naturally)" (1 Timothy 5:6).
"I know thy works... that thou livest, and art dead (spiritually)" (Revelation 3:1).
These are those who say they are Jews, and are not; and will suffer the second death as wages. (They have trod underfoot the blood of Christ, and crucified the Son of God afresh) (Hebrews 6:6).
The parable of the Sower explains this very clearly. Endure for a time, pleasures, riches, temptations choke the word, so that no fruit is brought forth. They will be cast away (Luke 8).
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Legally Dead To SinLegally Alive To Christ
We feel that this subject could be enlarged and that we should not conclude it without mentioning the Blessed Hope - the Unspeakable gift - so we put a few passages for your consideration.
||"Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus."
||- Romans 6:11.
||"For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ."
||- Colossians 3:3
||"For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him."
||- 2 Timothy 2:11.
||"That we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness"
||- 1 Peter 2:24.
These had become enlightened and recognised that they were as "dead" in Adam under the federal principle and had individually obeyed from the heart the doctrine of baptism. They became alive to the fact that they were dead, and responsible, so they died to the Sin and became alive. Rose in Newness of Life; passed from, or out of, the death sentence into the life sentence. Again:
||"Let the dead bury their dead"
||- Matthew 8:22.
||"God is not the God of the dead"
||- Matthew 22:32.
||"Ye are become dead to the Law"
||- Romans 7:4.
||"I through the law am dead to the law"
||- Galatians 2:19.
Try and put these in their respective places. Study Romans 5 and see how the One Sin of Adam brought legal condemnation, and how the One Act of" Jesus removed the legal condemnation.
||"As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive"
||- 1 Corinthians 15:22.
||"For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge,that One died for all, then were all dead"
||- 2 Corinthians 5:14.
||"Put off the old man (Adam) and put on the New man"
||- Colossians 3:9,10.
Where the offence abound, grace did much more abound. Let us rightly divide the Word of God, which is able to make us wise unto Salvation, and is able to give us an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God through faith in the blood of the Lamb who died that we might live,
Read and study the Scriptures, because if we speak not according to these oracles there is no light in us.
"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" ("in whom" - margin) - Romans 5:12,
"For this reason - as through one man (the) Sin entered into the world (in whom all sinned) and through (the) Sin (the) Death; so also (the) Death passed upon all men" - Emphatic Diaglott - (the word "the" shown in brackets is in the word for word translation).
This twelfth verse of Romans 5 is generally understood and brought up to prove that natural death was the result of sin. We know of none other than ourselves who disagree with the majority. We say that it was a Violent Death. It is because of this disagreement that this article is written, in order to investigate which of the deaths is meant. The word "death" in the Greek or in the translations, of itself proves nothing, as a study of the following examples will show:
||1 Corinthians 15:56
||1 John 3:14
||1 Corinthians 15:55.
||1 John 5:16,17 (x4)
||Romans 5:12 (x2)
||1 Corinthians 15:21,54
Before we study the 12th verse of Romans 5 we feel sure that none will dispute that such passages as Romans 6:23; James 1:15; and Revelation 20:6 are quite decisive as to what kind of death is meant. Each proves that it is judicial as the result of sin as wages, and is none other than the Second Death.
There is no difficulty in seeing this second death at the end of the age by Christ as being executed upon sinners, as they are corruptible. "Bring hither, and slay them before me" (Luke 19:27). Hence our meaning of a violent death. I must confess that when I first studied the truth, as I understand it now, the 12th verse was a very obstinate difficulty. Therefore I can sympathize with all who, through the generally preconceived idea which is universally believed, experience the difficulty of not believing that natural death is meant.
The general way of interpreting any verse is by the context in which it is set. If this is unsatisfactory other Scripture must then be compared with the general teaching of the whole subject. It is plain that Adam is the man referred to, who was created out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7); or, in the words of Paul, "The first man Adam was made a living soul... The first man is of the earth, earthy" – 1 Corinthians 15:45,47.
Let us now consider the evidence of Scripture and reason with a view to ascertaining without any preconceived ideas.
Adam was called a "living soul." What is a living soul? The answer to this should be sufficient; the Hebraistic words means all creatures - man, beast, fish and fowl wherein is life. Who will say that the nature of all these creatures was different from what it is now? How many natures are revealed in Scripture? Two: corruptible and incorruptible. Are not the words "whose seed is in itself... be fruitful and multiply." Green herbs, and fruitful trees, meat for man and beast prove the necessity of a natural creation needing food to eat and reproduce?
A law was given to Adam "thou shalt not eat..." (Genesis 2:17). Why was a law given? It was given as a test to prove two things: free will, and a natural desire to do the contrary. This point should be uppermost in our minds; without law there is no transgression (Romans 4:15). Adam disobeyed and by so doing committed the first sin on record. We have no difficulty in knowing what sin is. "Sin is transgression of Law" (1 John 3:4).
It should be remembered that whatever nature Adam had it was in this nature that he committed his sin, so there was no need to give him another nature, to make him of a sinful character, to do that which he had already done with the nature he then possessed.
These are the facts of the case which prove that there was first a natural creation. There is no more difficulty here than in our own case as natural creatures. It is no use denying these facts and making such statements that are pure assumptions without any proof from Scripture nor reason, such as these:
"Adam's nature was changed."
"God infused in Adam the germs of corruption."
"The Tree of Life was to keep corruption away."
"It needed a miracle to reduce Adam to the nature of the beast."
So the preconceived idea that Adam and creation was not corruptible or corrupting before he sinned, in the face of all evidence, must be thrown to the four winds of heaven. This accepted and all is plain, that the sentence of the law could be carried out; as in present day hanging.
Without going into the study of the Hebraistic words "Muth Temuth" and "B'Yom," another proof in itself, let us continue to examine verse 12: Adam was the first man. He committed sin. Death is by sin. The animal was slain in God's mercy instead of Adam - which is the explanation of the violent death of Jesus (Revelation 13:2; Genesis 22:13; Matthew 20:28, etc.).
"So death passed upon all men..." As there are no plain words in Scripture to prove that this death is what others would have us believe, they have had to invent the above phrases. Let us see if these words are capable of being understood in harmony with the facts. "Passed upon" surely cannot mean either of the man-made ideas. Without any words of ours let us go to (he same chapter which proves that it was, and is, a sentence passed upon us by Law, and does not mean a physical change or any of the above assumptions.
"Therefore, indeed, as through One Offence, Sentence came on men to condemnation, so also through One Righteous Act, Sentence came on all men to Justification of life." - Verse 18. - "Emphatic Diaglott."
This verse alone proves (not contradicts) the meaning of those words. Will John 5:24 help you to see it? "But has passed out of the death into the life." Is this not a present legal fact that the death that was passed upon all men can be removed now? Is not this in harmony with the fact of the other half of this verse that the sentence of life came on all through the sacrificial death of Jesus?
"There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus" - Romans 8:1
If the sentence of death or condemnation means either natural death or infused corruption, to suit pre-conceived ideas, we have no hesitation in saying that these Scriptures are useless,
"For all have sinned" or, as in the margin "in whom all have sinned." We know that the marginal rendering is not acceptable to the natural death theory, but a little further thought, seeing that it in no way interferes with the sense of the verse, chapter, nor the whole Scripture that Adam and Jesus are two federal Heads (the Emphatic Diaglott has got in brackets), we ask, can these words "for all have sinned" mean that every soul born of Adam has literally sinned - transgressed law? No one will be so foolish as to say this. The non-responsible question proves it. Again let the chapter explain it.
"For as by One man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous" - Verse 19.
This verse, like the previous, gives the sense how all have sinned in a federal head - made sinners by law or constitution. While the many cover the all, we can see that strictly speaking it is only many, not all, are doctrinally in Adam, though all are under the law of sin and are corruptible.
The same can be seen and applied in the next half of the verse. By the sacrificial death of Christ - shedding of blood - the one act made many righteous. This gift is free to all, but it is only the many who will accept it, though corruptible.
Let us take another verse, which cannot be understood hut in the sense we have tried to explain it in harmony with the whole factual evidence.
"For if through the offence of one many be dead" (or, "died." R.V.) - verse 15.
Ask yourself this simple question: Are we literally dead, or have we all literally died? The answer should be enough for you to see that apart from the federal law, put into operation by God, there is no solution. Again, if natural death is the meaning of the 12th verse, we ask, Why should Paul say, "nevertheless The death reigned from Adam to Moses"? There is no sense in making such a statement if natural death is meant. Is not natural death still with us? Will natural death affect the saints at the coming of Christ? Can we make you think by adding another verse?
"The Law entered that the offence might abound" - verse 20.
The sin and The death entered into the world by Adam. The Law of Moses entered into the Mosaic world or economy that the offence of Adam might abound in two particular ways: the first that they by transgression of that law would be sinners, as was Adam, and second, it was to teach them the need of Redemption, as in Adam´s case. Eden and the whole sacrificial law was to bring them to Christ.
There is no need to say much on this verse from the Emphatic Diaglott, but we do ask you to study it, as no solution to the problem can ever be had from the writings of man-made creeds based on the Romish doctrine of the 9th Article of the Church of England. God would leave us in no doubt if He intended us to believe in His injustice.
Much more could be said but if what we have written is not enough to convince the reader, we will just use these strong words as a last resort to make you realise that it is pure blasphemy to uphold such a false doctrine which makes God renounce His Moral Law. Here are the words: God is punishing every creature for the one sin of Adam. After the suffering they, with Adam, pay his debt. Then you provide Jesus to pay the price of sin in a violent death, to release all those who have paid it already!
"The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father"
Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20.
"Being justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom, God hath sent forth... through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of him that believed in Jesus" - Romans 3:24-26.
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In Adam and In Christ
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall
all be made alive"
1 Corinthians 15:22.
This passage is very little understood because the general statement of Scripture is left out of account. The foremost reason is the preconceived idea of the fall of Adam which according to the 9th Article of Faith in the Church of England, is a physical change of nature ("Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, but it is in the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam"). Hence the following list of principles: the Justice of God´s Law; The Federal Principle: The Death that came by man; the Death that Christ died; these and the first quotation are left to the confusion of each other.
Of course there are many ways of getting round the difficulties. Here is one: That all in Adam is like a large circle which includes every soul from Eden to the end of the 1,000 years; that all in Christ is like a small circle within the larger one. While we agree that in comparison with the whole of the descendants of Adam the called, chosen or enlightened are few in number, we have no fear in saying that this idea does not meet the case.
If "in Adam" means the physical nature which is the condemnation passed upon all men, then we are in Adam when we are in Christ, because the condemnation is with us so long as we live and even after resurrection, as we are supposed to rise with it. Here we are faced with a flat contradiction of Romans 8:1 which states that "there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus," and the words of Jesus recorded in John 5:24, "He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from (or out of) death into life." Two passages which prove the justice of God's Law.
It is a general idea that natural death is the result of Adam´s sin and that he paid the price 930 years after he had been typically forgiven and redeemed. Also that irrespective of his death all have to pay it individually. Then, the greatest stumbling block of all is that our Beloved Master went through such an awful and dreadful ordeal to pay the price of sin, which could have been avoided if natural death would have sufficed, and each had a part to pay before Redemption could be accomplished. Thus the death of Jesus is made to be a mere side issue in comparison with the love and justice of God and the necessity of such a loving sacrifice which Jesus so willingly save for the sin of the world.
Referring to the context of the chapter (1 Corinthians 15) we read "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." Not to save us from dying. First natural; if natural death is the condemnation Christ died in vain and all have perished.
Is there a difference between "dying in Adam" and "the soul that sinneth it shall die"? (Ezekiel 18:20).
Is there any difference between:
1. The results of the death of the ignorant (Psalm 49:20; Isaiah 26:14; Romans 2:12; John 3:21),
2. The enlightened responsible (James 4:17), and
3. Those who die in Christ (1 Corinthians 15)?
How does a person get "in Christ"? Is this a physical change of nature? Can a person be in Christ before being made incorruptible after resurrection?
Here we give some evidence in harmony with Scripture:
"For an individual cannot be in a federal person unless introduced into him" - Dr. Thomas in "Elpis Israel" - page 134.
"Baptism is the means of the present (legal) union with Christ, There is a passing out of Adam into Christ" - Robert Roberts.
Are we unreasonable to think that there is a legal union with Christ and Adam as federal heads in contrast to the physical?
How does a person become "in Adam"? Is it not upon the same principle of enlightenment and realising that we have been introduced into him by law? Have we not got to die by law to Adamic relationship just as the Jew did to the law? (Romans 7:4). Did not Paul recognise that he was alive without the law, though a Pharisee and that (the) sin revived and he died? (Romans 7:10; Romans 8:2; Galatians 2:19). While the Laws of Death and Life are over all they are not operative until we are introduced or enlightened and responsible to such laws.
Adam and Jesus are our "Doctrinal Fathers," and only when we are cognisant of the facts are we related to the respective laws and consequences. The ignorant are not in either of these categories, and we have full confidence in the Justice of God as to His requirements. We have no doubt that no man dies because of Adam's sin, or responsible for it (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20).
Cannot we now see that there is a big difference between God "winking at the ignorant," who perish like the beasts, and the just punishment of those who know and obey not His commandments (Mark 16:16; Luke 19:27).
To sum up; all in Adam die as the wages of sin is the second death, and natural death will not be taken into account. All in Christ shall be made alive (Greek Zoe) irrespective of being naturally dead. The "all" in each case is the "all" in their respective category, with the exclusion of the ignorant. So it should be plain from all angles that this verse means exactly what it says, without any confusion or contradiction.
"Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and His wonderful works to the children of men" - Psalm 107:8.
What wonderful wisdom and Divine justice in Mercy and a glorious solution to a problem so simple which the babes can see, and yet is hid from the wise and prudent of this world.