Five

Original Sin Not Biblical

Why then have those who believe in the post-fall nature been charged with making Christ a sinner? Simply because those who make the charge believe in the doctrine of original sin. Postlapsarians do not believe that sin is imparted by nature, but rather by choice. They hold that Jesus did not assume any guilt when He was born as a man. He inherited the same weakened nature that sin imposed upon all of Adam's descendants, but He never yielded to those weaknesses in a single instance. His life was absolutely holy and sinless. Filled with the Holy Spirit from His mother's womb and trusting the daily impartation of heavenly power, He lived a life of uninterrupted victory over every sin.

That same life of continual victory is available to every other descendant of Adam through the process of conversion and sanctification. Jesus simply chose something before His birth that we are only able to choose after our birth. He chose to submit His human life totally to His Father from the moment of conception. We make that decision at the time of conversion and begin to partake of the divine nature of God—the same nature that sustained Jesus for 33 years of holy living.

We are brought to the undeniable conclusion that this subject is not one on which we can be neutral. In the doctrine of the pre-fall nature of Christ, we not only lose the encouragement of having even one example of victory over sin in the flesh, but we abolish all possibility of Christ being our divine sin-bearer. God forbid that we should dishonor His name by holding such a limited, erroneous view of His substi-tutionary atoning death for our sins.

Some have subscribed to the idea that Jesus did not assume either the pre-fall or post-fall nature of man, but an entirely unique nature that has never been possessed by other human beings. They propose that He had the spiritual nature of unfallen Adam and the physical nature of post-fall Adam.

They feel it is necessary to do this in order to account for Jesus' sinless experience in His years of infancy and youth. But is it necessary to give Him a different nature because He had a different experience from other children? How different was His experience? It was a life of full surrender and obedience to His father. Is this accessible to other children? It is indeed, just as soon as they are old enough to make a total commitment to Christ. Because of His preexistence, Christ was able to make that commitment before He was born. If other human beings are able to appropriate the power of victory over sin at a later age, even with a fallen nature, then why couldn't Jesus do the same at an earlier age— with the same nature? We are talking only about a difference of time, not a difference of nature.

Someone might say, "Well, that gives Jesus an advantage over us." But wait a moment. What kind of advantage is it? If you accepted Christ two years before I did, then you had an advantage over me DURING THAT TWO YEARS. The truth is that Christ only had the same kind of advantage over us that we have over all others who enter the conversion experience later than we do. It is not a difference in nature except that which is common to every soul who surrenders the life unreservedly to Christ. By this I am not saying that Jesus needed or experienced conversion after His birth. He was filled with the Holy Ghost from His mother's womb, so His sinless experience was based on something that we can only experience at the time we are born again.

What are the objections to believing that Jesus had the spiritual nature of unfallen Adam and the physical nature of post-fall Adam? Three serious flaws seem to make it irreconcilable with biblical theology:

1. It conflicts with the wholistic Bible view of man's nature.

Where does the Bible teach that there is a dichotomy between body and spirit? Scriptural truth has always been in favor of a unified understanding of human nature, with body and spirit interacting together to produce total mental and physical health. But when we come to the nature of Christ, this wholistic concept is abandoned and some begin to talk in dualistic terms, with part of Christ's nature being sinful and part being sinless.

How could there be such a combination within Him as the unfallen spiritual nature of Adam and, at the same time, the fallen physical nature of sinful men? Are we trying to say that Christ's physical weaknesses had no impact on His spiritual nature? Would it not be true that Christ would be most prone to discouragement or irritation when His body was physically tired? If this is true, then Christ would have tendencies to sin in His moral or spiritual nature.

2. It suggests a hybrid nature possessed neither by Adam nor those who lived after him.

With no such combination known among human kind, this totally different nature could not be designated as "human nature" at all. It would be hopelessly at odds with the Bible requirement that Christ "also himself likewise took part of the same ... in all things ... made like unto his brethren" (Hebrews 2: 17). No one would contend that such a blend of unfallen and fallen natures would be in "all things" like his brethren! It would be unlike "His brethren" before the fall if He had a fallen physical nature, and it would be unlike "His brethren" after the fall if He had a sinless spiritual nature. What other "brethren" are left? Logic compels us to finally confess that if His nature was "in all things ... the same" as His brethren, then it would be required that some brethren be produced who had an unfallen spiritual nature and a fallen physical nature. If no such brother could be found, then Jesus would, by necessity, have to possess a human nature "in all things ... the same" as pre-fall Adam or "in all things ... the same" as postfall Adam. To do otherwise is to either deny the plain words of Scripture or deny simple logic.

3. It would nullify the possibility for Christ to be "in all points tempted like we are" (Hebrews 4: 15).

It seems inconceivable that Adam's holy, unfallen nature could be tempted in every way that we are tempted. He had no inward response to temptation whatsoever, and surely there is no one who will assert that our fallen natures are not strongly tempted from within. Good theology does not defy rationality. Whatever we believe on this point, it must be consistent with clear statements of the Bible. If Jesus was tempted in all points "like as we are," it could not have taken place in the physical arena alone.

Most of our temptations arise from a weakened spiritual and moral nature. If this source of our strongest temptations was absent in Jesus, then He never could have been tempted in all points "like as we are." It would be a self-contradiction to even suggest such a thing.

Now let us look briefly at the biblical evidence for the post-fall view. The second chapter of Hebrews contains an abundance of material on this subject. Consider these words: "As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Christ] also himself likewise took part of the same ... Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest" (Hebrews 2:14-17).

This verse is one of the most emphatic and definitive to be found in the Bible. A combination of words is used that leaves absolutely no doubt about what is being said. Any one of the words would express the clear thought being presented.

For example:

• He Himself took part of the same

• He likewise took part of the same

• In all things made like His brethren

Why did God choose to give a fivefold impact by putting all those expressions together in one Scripture setting? It almost sounds repetitive.

"He also himself likewise took part of the same." Surely the reason lies in the extraordinary importance of the truth being expressed. God wanted to leave no lingering question about the nature of the Lamb who was slain. Any misunderstanding here could cast a shadow over the entire plan of salvation. It could challenge the validity of Christ's substitutionary death on the cross and the adequacy of His imputed righteousness.

How is it possible for anyone to misconstrue the precise language used in these verses? The answer is obvious. Satan hates this truth. It is a dramatic illustration of his deceptive cunning that he is able to take the most unambiguous verse in the Bible and cloud its meaning. It is also an amazing example of the power of the mind to believe what it wants to believe.

I submit that if God had used ten or twenty ways of saying the same thing, it would still be rejected and denied by those who do not want to believe it. Would it be any more convincing by adding extra words and phrases? For example, "He also himself verily likewise in the same manner truly in all things exactly took part of the same." It would be useless to multiply adjectives and more rhetoric, for it could not make the matter any more clear than it is.

Look at that phrase carefully: "Took part of the same." What does it mean? The same as what? The previous verse gives the answer. The same as the children who are born of flesh and blood. By this illustration, the Bible writer closes every possibility for speculating about the human nature of Jesus. Nothing could be more convincing. since no children were born into the world before Adam and Eve sinned, it is beyond question that every child who has partaken of flesh and blood by necessity partook of Adam's fallen nature. So when the author of Hebrews wrote that Jesus "took part of the same" and was "in all things ... made like unto his brethren," it is an unanswerable assertion. Only by proving that some children were born of flesh and blood without a fallen nature could anyone rationally challenge the post-fall human nature of Christ. The very same verse declares that He took the same nature as all other children born in order that "he might be a merciful and faithful high priest . to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Only thus could He have been qualified as a suitable representative of the human family before the Father.

Someone might argue that Christ could do anything He wanted to do without limitations of any kind. Indeed He could have. He could have chosen to sin, but He didn't! He could have saved Himself from the pain of the thorns and the nails, but He didn't! He could have come in a nature that could not suffer death, but He didn't! Thank God that He did none of those things, but "humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." What a Saviour!

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