Church of Christ
Mission USA

The Fall and Redemption of Man

by Perry Sexton    

      Mankind was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27): free moral agents having the freedom to choose whether or not to serve God; having no sin and therefore in good standing [fellowship] with God. But Satan came in the form of a serpent with his subtleties and beguiled the woman (Genesis 3:13; 2 Corinthians 11:3).

      The inspired (2 Timothy 3:16,17) record is found in Genesis chapter 3, please read and keep it open for our text. Satan came to Eve while she was alone, no doubt knowing that mankind is more vulnerable in certain situations, such as while alone. For example: the false teacher (Satan’s worker) knows that if he will deceive a group of people who are walking with God, he must reach them privately and not before others who are of truth (2 Peter 2:1-3). This is why it is hard to get the false teachers to come out for public discussions on doctrinal matters.

      Satan’s tactic was to cast doubt in the woman’s mind by asking a question, and no doubt, in a scoffing manner (v.1). The false teachers use this same tactic today by causing people to doubt the very plain and easy to understand words of God. An example, Mark 16:16. How many have been deceived into believing the very opposite of what Jesus said? Are you among that number? Please consider that we can understand: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17). It is very easy for us to understand this verse, but friends, Mark 16:16 is just as plain and easy to understand – unless we have been deceived by Satan’s workers (2 Corinthians 11:13,14). Jesus said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). Will you doubt what Jesus said? Will you be swayed away from the truth which is able to save your soul (James 1:21; John 8:31,32)?

      Having laid the ground work, Satan plainly denies God’s word (v.4). Again, the false teachers are doing this on many subjects today. Then, Satan pulled out all stops and tried to make Eve discontented with her present condition (v.5). The false teachers appeal to people today in many ways: “God is not that strict;” “love is all that matters;” “one church is as good as another;” “just believe and you are saved;” “the commands are not important;” “you can continue in sin and be saved,” etc. etc. Look around, you can find just about anything you are looking for, but the only place for you to find the saving truth is from God’s word. Friends, God is strict (Romans 11:22), and His way is limited (Matthew 7:13,14), but it is the only way of salvation.

      Satan tempted Eve in every major category: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (v. 6 cp. 1 John 2:16). In like manner, Satan is tempting us today with every tactic that can be imagined: doctrinal error (sin) and fleshly sin. Can we withstand the attacks? Not unless we take the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:13). Most people want just a part of God’s word, but that is not enough. Jesus tells us that most people, while they are religious, are yet lost in their sins (Matthew 7:21-23). Satan tempted Eve and obviously intended to reach Adam through Eve, and it worked (Genesis 3:6). The false teachers today intend on reaching others through the many who are already following them.

      Thus was the fall of man: they were driven away from the tree of life (v.24). But in the account we have a glimmer of hope: To the serpent God said: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15). This is speaking of when Jesus was crucified: Satan would “bruise his heel” whenever Jesus died upon the cross. But in His resurrection, Jesus gave Satan a death blow to the head from which he can never recover (cp. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21). God provided a way for man to return to Him through His Son Jesus (John 3:16, etc.).

      Contrary to many false teachers, man is not born in sin, like Adam was not created a sinner. We have God’s word on the matter: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezekiel 18:20). Children are born without sin and thus are pure and safe in the arms of Jesus (cp. Matthew 18:3). As children grow up they soon learn to sin (cp. Psalm 58:3). As with Adam and Eve, sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1, 2). Thanks be to God, we have a way of escape from our sins: a way to return to God. That way is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). That way is by the truth (John 8:32). That way is restrictive (Matthew 7:13,14). That way is the only way of return for us in this Age (Ephesians 4:5). We will discuss that way in a moment. But now let’s go back and learn from the original fall of man.

      Note the steps of the fall: Eve had to hear the lie, but she did not fall just by hearing; she had to believe the lie, but she did not fall just by believing (friends that is a death blow to man’s doctrine of salvation by faith only).  

            Eve had to obey the lie in order to fall. That was the final step to be taken in the fall. See the chart below. In order for man to return to God, the same steps must be taken, only with the truth: Man must hear the truth (John 8:32; Mark 16:15); man must believe the truth (Mark 16:16; John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6); man must obey the truth (1 Peter 1:22,23; Mark 16:15, 16; Hebrews 5:8,9; Matthew 7:21).
      As in the fall, the fall did not take place until man acted upon the lie. So in the return to God, salvation is contingent upon our obedience to the word of God (Romans 1:5). A final step was required in the fall. So also in the return, a final step in required. Eve heard the lie, believed the lie, and then acted upon the lie. It took action for the fall of man to take place. Eating of the tree was the final step in the fall.

      To return to God man must hear the truth, believe the truth, and obey [action] the truth. Baptism is the final step in man’s return to God (Mark 16:16).  (continued next month)  ♥