The First Man ever under Judgment in God's Account.

H. C. Anstey.

Christian Friend vol. 14, 1887, p. 176.

We learn what the cross of the Lord Jesus has effected when we learn that it has eternally settled for God the question of sin and sins. It has settled these two things, and it is most important to see how they have both been settled. We have the forgiveness of our sins in the work of the cross; but the nature which committed them, sin, is never forgiven. It has been eternally placed by God under judgment. As to the forgiveness of our sins, the following passages declare it is effected: 1 John 2:12; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14, Col. 2:13; Acts 5:31, etc. As to the nature that committed them, it is not forgiven, but the judgment of death is permanently recorded against it. The following passages bring this before us: Joshua 4:9; John 12:31; Romans 6:6; Gal. 2:20; Gal. 6:14; Col. 3:3, etc. In Joshua 4:9, death, not forgiveness, is before us. As to the twelve: Stones placed in the bed of the river, they were a figure of the twelve tribes. Over them roll the waters of judgment continually - those waters through which Israel passed dry-shod. But as to their permanence in the bed of Jordan, the word adds, "And they are there unto this day."

Now in order to make this simple to our understanding, the word of God, in the writings of the apostles, considers the Christian as if he were two men. He is solemnly warned and exhorted never to act like the one, while over and over again he is encouraged to act as the other. When the apostle says, "I am crucified with Christ," he is contemplating the judgment of God recorded in the cross as to the first man, and speaking of himself as that man. When he says, "Nevertheless I live," it is the new man, or the power of the life of Christ daily displayed in him, which he is contemplating. The difference is immense. There are two men in question. As to the first, who is controlled always by the evil nature, which Scripture calls "sin" (Rom. 7:18-21), that man is under the judgment of God, and never is anywhere else in God's account. As to the new man, "created in righteousness and true holiness," and "created unto good works" (Eph. 4:24; 2:10), to him death and judgment have nothing to say; against him they have no claim. Romans 8:1, as well as our Lord's own words, in John 5:24, both declare this to us.

For some it is unnecessary to adduce passages to prove that the Christian is addressed as if he were two persons; for others a passage or two may help. (Why he is so addressed is because he has still the old nature within him, as well as the new, and every action of his life comes from either the one or the other of these.) If then we refer to 1 Cor. 3:3, we read, "Are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" To walk "as men" is a reproach, because it is walking according to the old nature. So we read, "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk." (Eph. 4:17.) On the other hand, when we are addressed as having the new nature, we read, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Gal. 5:16.) "He that saith he abideth in Him, ought Himself also so to walk even as He walked." (1 John 2:6.)

Timothy is exhorted to "preach the Word," because the time would come when men would not endure "sound doctrine" (the Word). We hear from the WORD that our sins are forgiven; but that the old nature, the man that committed them, is not forgiven, but is placed under judgment. Is this "sound doctrine"? Is it to be practised, or only theorized about? Is it Christianity? And is the setting up (or trying to do so) again on the earth of the man under judgment a denial of Christianity or not? To own in our daily life that the cross of Christ has put away sins, and has also definitely placed the old man under judgment, I hold to be fundamental doctrine, without which there cannot be any true progress in the divine life. It is the second part of this truth which cuts at the root of all that is not of Christ, but, thank God, which separates me definitely from the world, to walk like Christ in it. We much more readily accept that in the cross we have the forgiveness of sins, than that in the cross we have also the judgment of sin - the nature of the first man. Both are true, and both together constitute what one called "a Christian" professes to believe, however short he or she may come as to the manifestation of the judgment of the first man practically. A word or two on this head.

Who is the man that God has definitely recorded His judgment against? It is the man who is what is called "trying to get on" in the world, trying to make his rest here, where sin defiles all around. It matters not to him who goes down; his only effort is to get up, trample upon whom he may. It is Genesis 11:4 reproduced every day among us. Now God has determined never to set that man up again. Strive as he may - and (if walking with this object) we may come nearer home, and say, "Strive as I may I have God against me, as to setting up that man again on earth In doing it, am I, or am I not, fighting against God?" Honours, dignities, riches, popularity, we naturally cling to them. We desire them to make something of us. But, my reader, do you in life and ways accept the judgment of God as to the man that covets them? Can you "endure sound doctrine?" or are you one of those, by no means uncommon, who say, "What do you want more than forgiveness of sins?" The desires ("their own lusts") of the natural heart still unbridled; for that is the condition of those who have "itching ears."

What is the sum of the matter, but that "having food and raiment, let us be therewith content"? I may not have what people call a "home;" I may have "food and raiment." "No certain dwelling-place." This the apostle could speak of; and if it is ours, it is but a portion of His path who had "not where to lay His head" when, in faithfulness to God, He trod this earth. Let me remember it, let it control me, that His path is my path if I walk like Him.

As to the second man, God will set him up here in power and glory over everything. (Eph. 1:9-10.) He may go to the wall today, and take cheerfully the spoiling of his goods "without resisting; for such is God's will for him who takes Christ's path." "The offscouring of all things" may register the world's opinion of him who is willing to be even accounted a fool for Christ's sake (1 Cor. 3:18); yet "the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand." (Prov. 19:21.) We see not yet all things put under Him, but we see Jesus (who for the suffering of death was made a little lower than the angels) crowned with glory and honour, a proof of what God will yet accomplish for Him. And as to the world, "the world passeth away, and the lust [desire] thereof." May the Spirit instruct us yet more and more in the great defect of the Christianity around us; and in the fact that the old nature, the first man, is in the cross definitely placed under the judgment of God, and never delivered from it. H. C. Anstey.