“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We can look at the world around us and see that sin is embedded in the fabric of humanity. How did we get here? The Bible teaches that man was created in the image of God and given the breath of life (Genesis 1:26). Being created in the image of God means that humans were created with “a spiritual essence, after the nature of God”. This is why humans have a moral compass unlike the beasts of the field or the birds of the air.
God made humanity and prepared us for fellowship with Him, and His laws were given to prevent breaking that fellowship. Commanding Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree was given to “teach and enforce” God’s authority over Adam. Though we may ask why God didn’t restrain Adam, we must never question God’s goodness in giving him the command not to eat from the tree.
Sin and Death For All
We know the rest of the story. Adam and Eve ate the fruit, and sin entered the world (Genesis 3). Death is not merely the absence of physical life but also separation from God, thus “to leave God is not to be with him, and he only is the Life, as well as the Father of spirits.” Adam and Eve followed the path to death. Boothe says, poignantly:
“There is but one unlocked ‘trapdoor’ to hell, and that is unbelief in the true God. Eve and Adam fell through this door. All who have fallen in all ages have fallen through this door. This still is the direct route to the ‘outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.’”
Through their sin, sin and death spread to all people. The situation following Genesis 3 seems very bleak. Yet God was already working on a plan to conquer sin and death through His son. Boothe reminds us that “before the Lord God compels them to go [out of the garden] he graciously set a star of hope in their dark skies”. He promises that Eve’s seed will bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). He also gives them skins to cover themselves (Genesis 3:21).
Hope In A Dark World
Boothe makes the connection between the animal skins and a sacrifice for sin. Where Adam and Eve covered themselves with leaves that wither, God took the life of a beast. He hints at the possibility of a previous preparation of the animal skins to cover Adam and Eve. Even apart from this speculative meditation, he points to God’s sovereign plan of redemption from before the foundation of the earth (Ephesians 1:3-9; 1 Peter 1:18-20; 2 Timothy 1:9; Revelation 13:8; John 17:24). The Scriptures speak for themselves regarding these deep matters in the mind of God.
God’s previous plan of redemption may seem offensive to some of us, but we ought to respond with reverence, for “the more we think of the sinfulness of sin, the more wonderful the love of God will appear to us.” We don’t know why God would love such sinful people, but we ought to be very thankful that He did (1 John 4:9-11)!
The work of redemption is complex, for God desired to show His perfect love while also being perfectly just and righteous. In humility, we can say with Boothe that “perfect is the plan of salvation.” God sent His Holy and innocent Son to die a gruesome death and endure much suffering in order that we should be saved (Philippians 2:7-8). Only the Son of God, in the flesh, could come and pay for our sin. This is a glorious plan that upholds the glory of God (Acts 2:23).
Who can receive such a great salvation? All who believe (John 3:16). Every man or woman who has ever lived, other than Jesus Himself, needs salvation, and “no one who really desires to be made a partaker of its blessings shall ever be turned empty away.” Those who think they can work their way to God won’t make it, and neither will those who think they’re too far gone.
We must believe and preach justification by faith alone (Galatians 2:15-16), for “without the salvation that God has provided they must inevitably perish.” Romans 3:9-12 is emphatic that there are no righteous people in the universe, and we have nothing to offer God for our salvation. The only person fit for salvation is the one who can cry out for the grace and forgiveness of God in Christ alone. Only when we know we need Jesus can we be saved.
Saved from what? Eternal death. Boothe says that spiritual death is “the end of everything that can make existence desirable. It is total and final separation from God...” He doesn’t mean the end of God’s presence, for we have already seen that God is everywhere. Rather it is a final separation from anything remotely good or gracious from God toward men. He drives the picture of death home with this painful, but true statement:
“To be left forever, with all the love of sin and hatred of holiness and enmity to God that belong to the carnal heart, working within—that is a bottomless pit of utter misery. That is what it is to perish.”
Meditate On The Blessings Of Salvation
There are at least 4 blessings of salvation for us to consider and meditate on:
1. Salvation frees us from dirtiness, slavery, and penalty of sin (1 John 1:9).
2. Salvation brings us reconciliation with God, for apart from the gospel, we are enemies and rebels against Him (Romans 8:7, Colossians 1:21-22).
3. Salvation brings us into fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are also in fellowship with the worshiping angels and all believers throughout all time. We get to join together in communion with and worship of God.
4. Salvation brings adoption into a new family (Romans 8:14-17).
We’ve covered a lot of ground today, but as you can see, Boothe takes two massively complex biblical and theological doctrines and lays them out with simplicity and brevity. We gain an understanding of the doctrines—even very deep doctrines—without wading too deep for the average Christian. Packed with plenty of Scripture, Boothe gives us plenty of rich doctrine to help us worship God as we chew on and apply what we’ve read.
Leave a comment with some of your thoughts and meditations on this deep theology!
Be sure to check out the other posts in this series if you haven’t yet! It’s not too late to purchase a copy of the book and work through it slowly, prayerfully, and meditatively. It’s a short volume and perfect to read in small chunks throughout the month.
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Be sure to check out the rest of the series here! I highly recommend that you purchase a copy of the book* and work through it slowly, prayerfully, and meditatively. It’s a short volume and perfect to read in small chunks throughout the month.
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