(Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism, Vol.1. part 4)

The Dreadful Cause of Man's Misery
Lord's Day 3
Psalter No. 416 st. 4
Read Romans 5:12-31
Psalter No. 140 st. 2,3
Psalter No. 415 st. 8
Psalter No. 387 st. 5,6

    In Romans 5:4 the apostle Paul calls Adam a figure of Him who
was to come, namely, of Christ. In what respect can Adam be called a
figure of Christ? Certainly not in His disobedience and fall. No,
indeed, for the Messiah was that holy thing which was born of Mary
and learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebr. 5)
Adam was a figure of Christ as Covenant Head.
    As Adam was the head of the Covenant of Works, so Christ is the
head of the Covenant of Grace. In the Covenant of Works Adam
represented all men who were included in him as their father; Christ
in the Covenant of Grace represented all those who were included in
Him by virtue of election. There are those who teach that the
Covenant of Grace differs in nature and essence from the Covenant of
Redemption, and thus they teach the doctrine of the three, instead
of two, covenants, although Scripture teaches emphatically in Gal.
4:24, "These are the two covenants," and our Reformed fathers have
therefore taught likewise. It is therefore without doubt that Christ
as "the last Adam" is the Head of the Covenant of Grace. It was
demanded of Him that He fulfill all the conditions of the covenant
for all those that were given to Him by the Father, while all the
promises of the covenant are yea and amen in Him, because they were
promised to His elect in Him. It would certainly be no covenant of
grace if even one condition had to be fulfilled by the recipients,
and the promises of the covenant would never be fulfilled if they
were made dependent upon man's obedience. Because of the covenant
relationship, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to God's elect.
They are reckoned in Christ from eternity and they actually enter
the covenant by regeneration and by being grafted into Christ.
    In Adam, however, all men are included in and were brought forth
in the Covenant of Works; they were all reckoned in him, and in
their covenant head they all fell away from God. The origin of man's
misery lies in the fall, as the third Lord's Day of our Catechism
plainly teaches us. We would now ask your attention to that Lord's
    Lord's Day 3
Q. 6: Did God then create man so wicked and perverse?
A. By no means; but God created man good, and after his own image,
    in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know
    God his Creator, heartily love him and live with him in eternal
    happiness to glorify and praise him.
Q. 7: Whence then proceeds this depravity of human nature?
A. From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and
    Eve, in Paradise; hence our nature is become so corrupt, that
    we are all conceived and born in sin.
Q. 8: Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing
    any good, and inclined to all wickedness?
A. Indeed we are; except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.
    In this third Lord's Day the dreadful cause of man's misery is
shown, and we are told:
    I That the cause may not be imputed to God,
    II That the cause lies in man's willful disobedience,
    III That the cause does not make man's deliverance out of his
    misery impossible.
    By the law, then, as the second Lord's Day teaches us, is the
knowledge of sin, a knowledge which by the conviction of the Holy
Spirit discovers to us such a depth of misery that we must
acknowledge that we are prone by nature to hate God and our
neighbor. Yet that convinced sinner would never flee to Jesus if God
did not cut off every attempt to improve himself and to satisfy
God's justice by showing him the source of his misery so that he
must say with David, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin
did my mother conceive me." In this Lord's Day we must now consider,
the instructor comes to that source of our misery.
    In the first place the catechism removes all the blame from God.
The cause of our misery is not in God. He has made man good and in
His image, perfectly good, both as to soul and body. If anything had
been lacking in the creation of man, the blame of man's fall would
come upon God. But it is not so. All of creation, including man, lay
open for God's inspection. And what was the result? "And God saw
everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good." Even of
the angels it is not written that they were created after God's
image and likeness, although they are called "sons of God."
    Of the Son of God, Scripture says that He is the express image
of His person. He could say, "He that has seen Me has seen the
Father," because the full essence of God is in Him as it is in the
Father, and in the Holy Spirit. But man is created in God's image
and likeness. It has pleased the Lord to create some traces of His
attributes in the soul of man, although God's attributes themselves
cannot be communicated to any creature, because the full essence of
God is in each attribute. But in creation the Lord granted man some
likeness to His image. Likeness and image can, therefore, not be
separated; although man, having been created in God's image, can
ascend to the likeness of God. Image and likeness express the same
thought namely that man was created in the likeness of God's image,
consisting in knowledge, righteousness and holiness. Paul describes
it very clearly when in Eph. 4: 24 and in Col. 3:10 he says that
God's people are renewed after the image of Him that created him.
God's image then, as it was created in man, is renewed in the elect,
and that image consists, as the above mentioned texts show, in
knowledge, righteousness and holiness, "that he might rightly know
God his Creator, heartily love Him and live with Him in eternal
happiness to glorify and praise Him."
    By virtue of his divine creation then, man was a prophet, a
priest, and a king. As a prophet he rightly knew his Creator; he
knew Him as the only, true, Triune God; he knew Him in His
omnipotence, wisdom, righteousness and love. In the state of
rectitude man needed no grace; the knowledge of grace in Christ
could only be wrought in the heart of fallen man. God was not
unknown to Adam. He was the God of his joy and delight, whom, if he
had not fallen, he would have honored and praised to all eternity
with all his posterity.
    Furthermore, Adam was a priest who loved his Creator heartily
and sacrificed himself and all his affections, while already as a
king he reigned on earth, and one day would live with Him in eternal
happiness to praise and glorify Him without any possibility of
interruption. Adorned with God's image, man was therefore immortal,
created for the glory of God.
    The image was so much a part of the nature of man, that man in
his whole life showed himself to be an image-bearer of God. Men
speak therefore of this image in its narrower and wider sense. In
the narrower sense it is entirely lost by sin; but in the wider
sense there are left, after the fall, a few remains, consisting of
an inborn knowledge of God, so that every man, whoever he may be,
has a consciousness of the existence of God.
    The heresy of Pelagius then is utterly condemnable; for he
considered the image of God merely to consist in man's upright
posture and in his dominion over the animals, while he considered
man with God's image mortal. Does not God expressly state that death
is the result of sin? "The wages of sin is death" says Paul in Rom.
6: 23.
    The Roman Catholic Church also errs in seeing the image of God
as added to created man. The creation of man itself was done in the
image of God, and when that was lost the nature of man was marred,
and not merely something additional lost.
    We must emphatically reject the error of all Pelagians and
Semi-Pelagians, and their offspring, which states that man was
created neither good nor bad, but as a sheet of clean paper (tabula
rasa), so that what is put on that paper shall determine whether it
is good or bad. God created man in an active, moral righteousness.
By virtue of his creation he was good, perfectly good, an
image-bearer of God, placed in a glorious state, and living in
immediate communion with the Triune God. He was subject to neither
sickness nor death; he knew neither grief nor terror. Indeed in that
state he was able to obtain eternal life by being obedient, an even
higher degree of glory, and an everlasting confirmation of that
blessed state was possible for him, so that he could no more fall
from that state, neither he nor his posterity.
    Moreover the Lord descended so low that He, the eternal God,
made a covenant with His creature. With Adam God made the Covenant
of Works, in which He promised life upon obedience, but also
threatened death upon transgression. It is true Genesis 2 does not
relate in detail the establishment of that covenant, as Genesis 3
does not mention the Covenant of Grace explicitly. Moses, however,
does narrate the parts of the covenant. God did not want to be
served as a tyrant for fear of punishment, therefore the threat of
death, and the promise of life were included. Therefore throughout
all the Scripture life is promised upon the fulfillment of the law.
"Which if a man do, he shall live in them," said Moses in Lev. 18:5.
To the rich young man Christ said, "If thou wilt enter into life,
keep the commandments," and Paul speaks repeatedly of the obedience
that is of the law: see Rom. 3:27, 10:5, Gal. 3:12. All these places
refer to the fact that upon the fulfillment of the law, which fallen
man cannot attain to anymore, God promised life in the Covenant of
Works. Hoses also speaks of that covenant made with Adam and in him
with all his posterity, when he reproves Israel for their
unfaithfulness, saying, "They like men have transgressed the
covenant." (Hos. 6:7) In this covenant then, Adam was able to obtain
life which was irremovable. For although he was created perfectly
good, God had left him the possibility of falling which would have
been taken away, had he fulfilled the law.
    Hence it is quite wrong to say that the cause of man's misery
should lie in his creation, and yet it seems so natural for our
fallen nature to cast the blame upon God. This lay in the words of
Adam, "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me she gave me of the
tree." And those who dare not say it openly as the heretics we
mentioned, secretly cast the blame upon the Lord. Thus we seek to
hide behind our impotence. With our Reformed doctrine we feel sorry
for ourselves, but do not consider it our own fault. We acknowledge,
"Such is our miserable state", but we go on to hell with our eyes
open. "I did not make myself, nor can I convert myself," we say, and
with a false passivity and impotence we reject the invitation of the
gospel. Therefore this word of Jesus shall one day be applied to us,
"If I had not come and spoken unto them they had no sin, but now
they have no cloak for their sin." The false doctrine would never
have spread as it has from age to age, if the seeds were not in
everyone's heart. But whatever inventions men have sought out, God
has created man after His image and is not the cause of man's
misery. He was supplied with all the abilities to remain standing,
to lay aside all temptations of the devil and to keep the
commandment given in the Covenant of Works. That commandment was not
grievous. One would be more inclined to ask whether the commandment
not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not
too easy, in relation to the penalty of death that would rest upon
Adam and all his posterity eternally. We shall soon see that this
commandment was not too light, but it is evident that the Lord did
not demand of man something that he could not fulfill. He was
created to the glory of God, and in the state of rectitude it was
his delight and pleasure to glorify and praise his God and Creator,
and in eternity he would serve him perfectly in eternal blessedness,
if only he would acknowledge God as God. Who can describe that
glorious and perfect state in which God had created man! Hence God
is certainly not the cause of man's misery. Man is lost because of
his own sin, and lies lost because of his own sin. Now hear in the
second place how the Instructor explains this as he states
    that the cause of our misery lies in man's willful disobedience.
    This we are taught in Question 7:
    "Whence then proceeds this depravity of human nature?"
    Answer: "From the fall and disobedience of our first parents,
Adam and Eve, in Paradise; hence our nature is become so corrupt
that we are all conceived and born in sin."
    As we speak of man's fall, we must notice:
    (a) the work of God in His decree and government,
    (b) the work of the devil in his dreadful temptation,
    (c) the work of man in his willful disobedience.
    The fall was not outside of God's decree.
    God not only knew from eternity that man would fall, but He
decreed it. He knows all things by virtue of His decree, and with
assurance that it shall be so. Augustine already held over against
Pelagius that sin was preceded by God's decree. Has God then willed
the fall? Yes, although He hates and punishes sin, He has willed its
manifestation, so that He would glorify himself in rational
creatures both in His righteousness, and in His mercy. With holy
caution we tread into this realm, and we firmly aver above all that
God did not work sin, but man freely fell away from God and to
Satan. And yet what man freely did was not outside of God's counsel
but was determined by Him in eternity. "It is wicked to say that God
did foreknow the fall of Adam but had not foreordained it by an
eternal decree. The most insignificant things in nature do not occur
without God's will and decree. (Matth. 10:30) God has also decreed
such works as are sin." (W. Perkins Works, p. 416.) Or did the
crimes of Judas Herod, and Pontius Pilate occur without God's
decree? Certainly not. In Matth. 26:24 Christ Himself says not only
that He is going to die, but that He is going "as it is written of
Him." The prophets had described His death and the description was
made by the revelation of God's counsel to them. Judas had to betray
Him; the Sanhedrin had to lay hold on Him; Pontius Pilate had to
violate justice. All this had to happen for God had determined all
the details unchangeably in His decree from eternity. Who can still
have any doubt regarding God's decree determining sin? When Peter
was released by the Sanhedrin he said, "For of a truth against Thy
holy Child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius
Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered
together for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined
before to be done." (Acts 4:27, 28) All the dreadful things
therefore committed against the holy Child Jesus, which placed an
eternal burden of guilt upon its perpetrators, were done according
to the determinate counsel of God. If so, would not the fall of Adam
also be included in that determinate counsel? God not only foreknow,
but also decreed it. Yea, even in the fall we see God's permission
and guidance, for without these the devil could not have tempted
Eve, nor have made use of the serpent.
    The counsel of God determined how and in which ways and by what
means God would in His perfect sovereignty glorify Himself in His
creatures in time. His glory is the main purpose; but fallen man
rebels with all his might against giving God the glory. We cannot
and will not let God be God. Nevertheless He does according to His
will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.
Who has resisted His will? Would we find fault with God's eternal
decree, or challenge His sovereignty which decided to glorify His
justice in man, who, regardless of God's decree, willingly fell away
from Him, and His mercy in Christ in those whom He predestined to
salvation, and draws out of their fall in the time of His good
pleasure? Nay, but, O man, who art thou that replies against God? He
is sovereign in His work and in His decree. He decreed, I repeat,
the fall of man and did not allow it to come to pass without Him.
Nevertheless, not God, but the devil tempted man to eat from the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Let us then notice the work
of the devil in his dreadful temptation.
    Devils are fallen angels. God has created all the angels in one
moment, probably on the first day. They stood before God with their
thousand thousands and ten thousand times ten thousands, each for
himself, not represented in a covenant head. Not all, but a part of
the angels fell, and those fallen angels, the rejected ones, are the
devils whose leader is Satan. In order to strike at God he cast
himself upon man who was created after God's image. It would have
been easy to turn aside this attack, for the devil could use only
simplest means. In the form of a serpent over whom man had complete
dominion, Satan could come with his attack upon the testing
commandment, which was not heavy and which was known to man both as
to its content and its threat. Certainly the devil's position was
weak compared to that of God's image-bearer.
    A serpent was Satan's tool, a real created serpent, which was
more subtle than any beast of the field. It was not subtle in an
evil sense as we sometimes use the word, for the earth had not yet
been cursed, but it was subtle in the sense that it was not easily
surprised. This characteristic of the serpent was well-known to both
Adam and Eve, and made it a useful tool for Satan. The devil, then,
in the serpent, turns to Eve. Not Eve, but Adam was the head of the
Covenant of Works. Even before Eve was created Adam had received the
testing command, and Eve knew it through Adam. Although Eve had the
ability and the necessary gifts to remain standing, the devil chose
her as the most suitable prey, to cause Adam to fall through her.
    Satan first sought to stir up doubt regarding God's command by
asking, "Has God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
His first attempt seemed to have some success in that Eve in
answering him omitted the words "of the knowledge of good and evil"
which were necessary for the maintenance of God's justice. Upon
Eve's answer the devil dared to respond to God's expressed threat
with the brazen lie, "Ye shall not surely die," and he cast upon God
the accusation of uttering threats merely to keep man in submission,
saying, "For God does know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your
eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and
evil." What? Would man be as God? Independent of his Creator? He
himself the lord and master? And that to attain higher bliss?
Impossible! Loosed from God he must die. The devil's word is
entirely a lie. God knew what was good and evil for Adam and Eve,
and their greatest happiness lay in submitting to Him in perfect
obedience. They already knew good as distinct from evil; Eve knew
what God had commanded and forbidden, even of the punishment
threatened upon sin she was not ignorant. The word of the devil does
not simply mean, "Then you shall know also what evil is," but "ye
shall be as God, loose from His authority, you shall yourself
determine what is good and what is evil." But the temptation to be
himself is the seduction to man's deepest misery. Not being as God,
not standing beside, not being our own, but being under God, perfect
obedience to God, that is happiness for men. It is as the Catechism
says, "That I am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior
Jesus Christ."
    Satan first tempted Eve by stirring up doubt regarding God's
law, then by speaking a lie and finally by casting a false
accusation upon God's love. And he still works thus. What happened
in Paradise will never be repeated, man fell away from God only
once. But the devil still goes about with the same devices and lies;
he still portrays the service of God as tyranny. Many fell into his
snares and went into the public service of sin. Into many hearts he
still whispers, "Your eyes shall be opened," just to shut them for
God's Word and to draw them away from the pure doctrine of God's
testimonies. The devil is a murderer from the beginning.
    But how could God permit the devil to attack Eve, and that by
using a serpent, one of His creatures? Was God not setting a snare
for man into which he fell? No, the opposite is true. Unconsciously
all irrational and lifeless creatures obey God's will. Man stood
above them all. How would man's superiority above the rest of
creation be seen? In obeying his Creator, not because he could not
do otherwise, but freely, because of love to God. And that willing
obedience could only be shown when man was placed before a choice of
submitting to God or falling away from Him. Now then, man was given
that choice and he freely and willingly broke away from God and
chose Satan for his lord and master. That is the work of man in the
    "The depravity of human nature," says the instructor, "proceeds
from the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve in
    Eve gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. Instead
of correcting her, Adam committed the same disobedience, willingly,
against better knowledge. But was not the fall decreed? Yes, but
this decree did not influence Adam nor Eve to transgress, for they
did not know about the decree, nor did it take away man's
responsibility for his actions. Esau was a reprobate, but did not
that profane person, mocking about his salvation, willingly sell his
birthright for a pottage of lentils? Of Judas it had been prophesied
that according to God's eternal decree he should betray Christ, but
did he not confess in his despair, "I have betrayed innocent blood?
I, I have done it!"? According to the determinate counsel and
foreknowledge of God Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles and
the people of Israel crucified Christ, but Peter said openly to the
rulers of the people, "This (Christ) is the stone which was set at
nought of you builders." God's decree does not remove man's
responsibility for his deeds nor did it remove the responsibility
from Adam and Eve when they ate from the forbidden tree. Moreover,
we hope to mention it again in the fourth Lord's Day, God had given
man all the powers necessary to remain standing. He willingly fell
away from God.
    Do not think the eating from the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil was a minor sin; "a narrow split," as Pelagius ridiculed
it, by which sin came upon all men. No, indeed, it was not. In
transgressing God's command man made God a liar. Satan's word, "Thou
shalt not die", was in direct opposition to God's sentence, "Thou
shalt surely die." One of the two must be a lie, and now man
believed Satan, thereby making God a liar. Furthermore, man drew
himself away from God. "But being in honour, he understood it not,
neither knew his excellency, but willingly subjected himself to sin,
and consequently to death and the curse, giving ear to the words of
the devil." (Belgic Confession, Art. 14.) Our whole nature is
corrupt; we are all conceived and born in sin.
    The sin committed in Paradise did not affect only Adam and Eve.
The woman ate and fell for herself, but Adam was the head of the
Covenant of Works, in which he represented all his posterity. In him
they all stood, in him they all fell. Not by two, but by one man sin
came into the world, and death by sin, by one sin, as Paul says many
times in Rom. 5. Not all the sins of Adam's lifetime are imputed to
his posterity, but the one sin of one man. Therefore the imputation
of the fall is due to the covenant relationship. Our relationship to
Adam is two-fold, a natural and a covenantal relation. If the
imputation were because of the first relationship, then Eve's sin
would also be ours, and then sin would have come into the world not
by one man, but by two. Paul, however, teaches us it came by one
man, and in that one man our nature is corrupted, so that we are all
conceived and born in sin.
    It is very important to understand this for thus the imputation
of righteousness is also because of the covenant relationship. Where
then are they who deny Christ as the Head of the Covenant of Grace?
Yea, where are they? From the covenant relationship comes the
imputation of sin, as the imputation of the righteousness of Christ
to the elect also comes from the covenant relationship. Our nature
is corrupt; we are all conceived and born in sin; we are the objects
of God's wrath; yea, from the time of our conception, we lie under
the curse of God and in the power of sin, and thus we are born. And
when the Holy Spirit leads His people into Adam's breach of the
covenant, and teaches them more about it through deeper discoveries
of their state of misery, they lose all hope of improving themselves
to which end they were working day after day; but their hope was
continually put to shame. They are cut off from the expectation of
being saved by their works; they learn to know themselves as
condemnable before God and have no more expectation. Oh, they are
now totally lost.
    And still, as we shall finally consider:
    The cause of man's misery does not exclude the possibility of
his being saved out of that misery.
    We are incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all
wickedness. Already in the second Lord's Day we considered that "the
carnal mind is enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of
God, neither indeed can be." They who urge men to accept Jesus
should consider that John calls men darkness, and man is but a slave
of sin and can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven.
All our thoughts and words and deeds are enmity against God; we will
not and can not come to Christ to be saved in Him.
    And yet deliverance out of our deep misery is not impossible,
for the Catechism says, "except we are regenerated by the Spirit of
God." Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is a new
creation, a resurrection from the dead, which God works in us,
without our aid. (Canons of Dordt.) God wants to raise His elect
again out of their deep fall in Adam. He calls them from death. This
work of God is not done without man's knowledge. An unconscious
regeneration of which no one, not even the subject himself knows
anything, does not exist. Sin works in us, and we are aware of that,
"and would man then be unaware," asks Calvin, "of that great work of
God, by which he becomes a new creature in Christ?" That is
impossible. But that true regeneration without which no man shall
see or enter the kingdom of God is indispensable. It enlightens the
mind darkened by sin, it renews the will; it is a recreation
according to the image of Him Who has created us. With the renewed
faculties of the soul, God's people shall hate sin and flee from it
to be pleasing to God in Christ Jesus. Totally lost and miserable,
without any hope of improvement, brought to an end of his own
attempts to please God, they must cry out with the poet of Psalm 25:
(Psalter No. 415, st. 8)
        "Turn Thou unto me in mercy;
        Have compassion on my soul.
        I am sore distressed and lonely;

        Waves of trouble o'er me roll."
    My beloved, has the fall of Adam ever become your fall? You all
agree that God has made man upright, according to His image and
likeness, perfectly good, and by establishing with him a Covenant of
Works opened the way for him to obtain eternal life that can never
be lost, that salvation which would be no less than the salvation
now prepared for the elect in Christ. Man would then not be saved by
grace, but his perfect knowledge and his abiding in the immediate
presence of God would have caused him to partake of perfect bliss,
to the glory of God. It is true that some have denied that man could
attain to a higher plane of glory than that in which he was created,
but the promise of life in the covenant with Adam, given to him and
his posterity, shows the fallacy of denying the possibility of
attaining higher and incorruptible glory. It is our confession in
which we have been instructed according to the Word of God from our
youth, that the cause of our deep misery does not lie in God, but in
our willful disobedience. We all execute God's will, but we bear the
responsibility for our actions, also for our fall. For Adam's fall
is our fall; he was our covenant head, and we stood, but also fell
in him. I beg of you, hold to the true doctrine delivered to us by
our fathers. I would urge our young men and women especially to do
so. Search the old writers, become familiar with them. It is not too
much trouble and will benefit you greatly. Do not use your time
reading books that require no thought, that draw you away from the
truth instead of confirming you in it. The clamor for light
literature, either so-called Christian or non-Christian, has entered
the church. It is one of the signs that the quest for the old and
tried truth, and hence also for the salvation of our souls is
disappearing. Have we not a doctrine that not only teaches us death
in Adam by our own sin, but also the possibility to be delivered
from our misery? God will by means of His Word regenerate children
of Adam to life eternal. Peter calls this living and everlasting
Word, the incorruptible seed of regeneration. May the Lord bless it
to your soul. Although no one is too old to be converted, and no one
has sinned against God too long, it usually pleases the Lord to draw
His people from their deep fall in their youth and to work the new
life within them. Do not spend your precious time in the service of
sin. Consider always your guilt, your fall in Adam, so that you will
not rest in your works and historical faith, but may the realization
of the need of regeneration cause you to set your heart upon the
truth. May the Lord by the working of the Holy Spirit cut you off
from Adam, and give you an interest in Christ.
    That is His work in regeneration and the great privilege of
those that cannot keep alive their own soul. That regeneration is
not unconscious as we have shown in that sense that it has no
noticeable fruit, but it is difficult for some children of God to
know whether or not they are regenerated. Perhaps there are some
among us who, when the characteristics of that new life are set
forth, open their hearts before the Lord, and admit that they are
not strangers to godly sorrow for sin acknowledging the justice of
God in imposing three-fold death as the punishment of sin, and love
to God's people, though they be despised by the world. They cannot
humble themselves deeply enough before God because of their sin. But
how shall they be delivered from their sin and misery? They cannot
pay the ransom, and no man can save them. Is this not the burden of
your life, your worry that exceeds the cares of life, and causes you
to cry day and night for a way of salvation? Ask the Lord for
discovering grace. He will show you your fall in Adam, for there
lies the cause of your troubles and your wandering outside of
Christ, that you never saw yourself as cut off in your deep fall.
Certainly it is not possible to plant a graft into a stock before it
is cut off from the old stock. Likewise, no soul can be grafted into
Christ if it is not cut off from Adam. This act is done by the Lord
in the quickening; but for the consciousness of the soul the
discovering work of the Holy Spirit is indispensable. God's people
can not live on inferences nor determine their state by marks they
find within themselves. On the contrary, it becomes more and more
impossible to be saved. Even those to whom the way of salvation in
Christ was revealed, and to whom He gave His promises, so feel the
lack of their conscious assurance in Christ that they often lose the
ground upon which they could rest to meet God. Believe me, beloved,
the doctrine of the fall is an article of great importance,
doctrinally, but also experimentally. The church stands or falls
with this doctrine, and that which is confessed according to the
Scriptures, is experienced by God's people. Thus it is necessary to
know we are cut off from Adam. Then Adam's fall becomes our fall,
and Adam's willful disobedience becomes our willful breaking of the
Covenant of Works. Seek for the cutting off of your life that you
may be built up in Christ. Let the strict preaching that says you
are guilty in Adam please you, and the Lord grant you to glory for
your salvation in Him Who was dead and lives forever; the last Adam,
in Whom all shall live who are given Him by the Father; although,
reckoned in their first covenant head Adam, they are children of
wrath. May He make you perfect and establish you and cause you by
faith with gladness and appropriation to testify, "But now is Christ
risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of
the dead. For as in Adam all (that is all that are reckoned in him)
die, even so in Christ shall all (that is all that are reckoned in
Him) be made alive." Amen.

(continued in part 5...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc1-04.txt