Dr. S. Lewis Johnson describes the work of the second Adam as "the grace of God manifested in him as our representative who stood here in this scene of sin and death and degradation and misery and performed the one act that justifies his people."
[Message] This morning we want to study two of the verses of the 5th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, but since so much of this latter part of the 5th chapter is bound together in one long argument by the apostle, we’ll read again, as our Scripture reading, Romans 5:12 through 21. The apostle has finished his exposition of justification by faith, and he has spoken in the earlier part of chapter 5 on the certainty of our salvation. And now in effect, he says, since we have salvation through the one man, Jesus Christ, there exists this likeness between that one man, Jesus Christ, and the one first man, Adam. And so he will draw out, primarily, the contrasts between the works of Adam the first and the work of Adam the last.
“Wherefore,” the apostle says at the opening of verse 12, “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Now at this point you would expect that comparative statement, the protasis of it, to have an epitasis, so such and such, but if you have an Authorized Version, you’ll notice that there is a mark of a parenthesis at the beginning of verse 13 because this is a parenthetical thought. He wants to explain how all have sinned, and begin a further exposition. That parenthesis does not close until the completion of verse 17. So really verse 12 is connected with verse 18, but we are dealing with the verses 13 and 14 in the message so we notice now that this is the beginning of a parenthesis.
“(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one (that’s Adam) many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, (that’s Adam) so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Some might say, “Well Paul why the law?” And the apostle very briefly has a word concerning it in the last two verses. “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Let’s bow together in prayer.
[Prayer removed from audio]
[Message] This morning in our exposition of the Epistle to the Romans, we are turning to Romans chapter 5 verse 13 and verse 14, and the topic is, “All Under Foreign Domination.” It is the custom of many Americans to praise their ancestors. Many societies exist just to give them opportunity to do what they would like to do. We have such societies as the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Daughters of the American Colonists, Colonial Dames, Sons of the Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, the Society of Colonial Wars, the Society of the War of 1812, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Society, the Saint Cecilia Society, and I was reminded this morning after the message that I had overlooked the Sons of the Confederacy. Yes, the Sons of the Confederacy and, no doubt, some others. Now I never indulge in this. I always just state the facts. The Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet in Charleston, South Carolina to form the Atlantic Ocean. “Charlestonians,” it is said, “eat rice and worship their ancestors.” That’s a very vulgar remark.
We fail to remember, of course, that all genealogies run back to Adam. It’s possible for us always to say that. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “We are all omnibuses in which our ancestors ride, and every now and then one of them sticks his head out and embarrasses us.” I’ve heard it said, “But I’ve never seen a family tree yet that didn’t need some spraying.” So, nevertheless, we, in spite of all of this, like to think our ancestors were great. William Jenkyn, one of the Puritans, said a quaint remark. He said, “Our father was Adam, our grandfather was dust and our great grandfather was nothing.” Sir William Schwenck Gilbert said, “I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule. Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable. I can’t help it. I was born sneering.” John Steinberg said, “Glorying in our ancestors is like seeking fruit among roots.”
Now when we turn to the Bible, we all have a common ancestry. All of our lines through there devious genealogical diagrams reach back to Adam, who was son of God. In fact, even our Lord Jesus Christ is in that line, as we read in Luke chapter 3. The apostle who wrote Romans chapter 5 traced mans fall back to Adam’s one sin. And he said that resulted in the imputation of sin to the human race. So that when Adam sinned, we all fell. And we all had imputed to us the sin and guilt of Adam’s sin. That’s the first result of the fall, the imputation of sin. The second result is that we receive a corrupt nature. Theologians, generally, speak of that as original sin. And so we all possess the effect of original sin. We have a sinful nature. There is not a one of us that doesn’t have a sinful nature. And even the little children, they are developing their own sinful nature. We all have that.
Furthermore, we have, as a result of the fall, an inability to respond, in a saving way, to the Word of God. The apostle says in this very Epistle to the Romans, in a text or two that we shall look at later on, he says, “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” So it is clear that we are fallen individuals. We have sin imputed to us, and we shall die. We have a corrupt nature. We are totally unable of ourselves to respond to the word of God. And finally, as a result of the fall, we are on the way to eternal punishment, eternal death. These four great effects of the fall of man are true of every one of us, imputation of sin and guilt, corrupt nature, inability to respond to the word of God in a saving way, eternal punishment, and these great effects.
Now I think it’s fair to say that man is under foreign domination. He is under the domination of Adam’s one sin in the Garden of Eden. In spite of this, the Apostle Paul can say that Adam is a type of Christ. It’s clear that he’s a type of Christ by contrast primarily. And that’s seen in the master thought of this section, which is the unity of the many in the one, the unity of the many, all men in Adam, the unity of the many, the people of God in Jesus Christ. The apostle doesn’t develop all aspects of this, particularly with reference to our Lord. But he does develop this master thought of the unity of the many in the one, one Adam, last Adam. And that’s what we want to look at today.
Now, as we look at it, I want you to notice, first of all, the imputation of sin and death as is set forth in verse 12. And I think we need to do this in order to prepare for verses 13 and 14. We looked last week at chapter 5 verse 12, and to give a resume of what we said last week, we said that sin and death came by the sin of one man. And the apostle says that this sin which brought death is now diffused through the whole of the human race. Notice he says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men.” Sin and death have penetrated the whole of the race. It has diffused itself throughout the whole of the race for, or because, all sinned.
Now, one asks the question, “How did all sin?” And we discussed that last week, and we discussed the interpretations of it. That some have said, “All have sinned,” simply because we’ve all committed personal sins. Now, of course, that’s true. We all have committed personal sins. But if that’s all Paul meant, then the next words in verses 13 and 14 would not make sense. “For,” to explain, he says, what I’ve just said, “Until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses,” it’s obvious, he’s trying to show how men died when their sin, such as Adam’s sin, was not imputed to them, such as a sin like Adam was not imputed to them, or such as personal sins were not imputed to them. How did they die then? The idea that men die because of their personal sins is just not Pauline theology. Now, of course, all men do sin. All men do commit sin. All men commit sin and thus, would die if they were to die because of sin, but the facts are that men die because of Adam’s sin, as we shall see.
Pelagians are on to one thing. And that is that men do commit sin. They are not on to another thing because they believe that a man can save himself. In fact, most Pelagians have believed that there were some who did not commit any sin, in the Old Testament, among the great heroes of the faith. Well, that’s not what Paul meant. Then there are some who, seeing the error of that interpretation, have said, “Well if we are really to be guilty reasonably for sin, we must have sinned in Adam, physically. Adam is our progenitor. He’s our great ancestor. Our physical being was in him, and so, genealogically and physically, we were in Adam. And when he reached out and took the fruit, we reached out and took the fruit.”
Now we won’t go over, all of the reasons, why that is probably not true. I just mention this that that does not help us in explaining things because then someone will say, “Do you mean to say that I was guilty of an act before I became a person? I was not even a person, but now I’m guilty?” It doesn’t relieve us of the problem of explaining how we can be responsible for the sin that someone else committed. There are other reasons, and I refer you to the bulletin last week and also to the commentaries why that interpretation, while a reasonable interpretation, is probably not in Paul’s mind. A man who holds it is not a heretic. I used to hold it myself at one time. But in the light of this whole passage it’s likely that what Paul means is that all sinned in their federal head, Adam.
In other words, he was the covenantal representative of all men. The evidence of this is manifold, but if you’ll just remember that the promises that were spoken to Adam, and the threats that were spoken to Adam, and particularly, the threats because Adam sinned and lost his right to rule, but the threats were not only exacted in the punishment of Adam, but in the punishment of his descendents as well, and every one of us dies because of what Adam did. So, evidently, he was our covenantal representative, in the sense that he represented us. If he had succeeded, certain benefits might have accrued to us, since he did not, the threats that pertained to him have been exacted upon Adam and his descendents. That’s proof that he was our covenantal head. So, it’s likely that that is what Paul means, especially in the light of these next two verses because he explains how it is that individuals can die when they don’t have any personal sins imputed to them. Why do they then die if no personal sins are imputed to them? It’s obvious. They don’t die because of personal sin. They can only die because of Adam’s sin, as we shall see.
Now, I said, last week, that that’s a very reasonable way for God to deal with men. Now natural man doesn’t like that. Natural man, first place, doesn’t like salvation by Jesus Christ. He wants to save himself. He resents the fact that we have to be saved by grace. He resents the fact that we have to come and say we’re sinners and lost, and we have nothing with which to commend ourselves to God. We have to lean upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. The natural man doesn’t want to be saved by Christ, or by God through Christ. He wants to save himself by his own efforts because he thinks he’s good enough to do that and has the enablement from himself to do it. As you know, Paul says simply, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” So, it’s reasonable to expect that he would not like this idea of being represented by Adam, someone else. He wants to say, “I want to fall by myself.” But I’d like to say to you, first of all, that this representative principle is embedded in human nature. And even if we reject this in unbelief and rebellion, we still have to acknowledge this principle is here in human nature and human experience.
I mentioned last week, a father, he inherits a fortune from his father. But he wastes it, and his children don’t have any right to go back and say, “My father wasted my inheritance. I must have it back. It’s not fair.” No, our society says, “Your father lost it. You suffer for what your father did.” Every one of you born in this auditorium, were born in debt. Now you might want to take the position, “I should not be born in debt. I should be responsible only for the debts that I acquire, by my borrowing.” But every citizen in the United States is born in debt. He’s in debt now for thousands of dollars. Every one of you are debtors. I’d like to see what kind of response you’d get if you just made a little march to Washington and appealed to the government, and said, “Now, I’d like to be excepted from the national debt. I’d like to start out with just nothing.” You wouldn’t get very far. Or if Edward the eighth had had children and abdicated the throne of England, he would have abdicated for his whole line. But his whole line doesn’t have any right, legally, to demand the throne, saying that our father has squandered our inheritance. That’s a principle embedded in human life and human experience. God put it there, incidentally.
But now having said all of that, I’d like to say this, the fact that God dealt with men in Adam, and the fact that he has dealt with men in Jesus Christ, is the most beneficent way in which he could possibly have dealt with men. It’s the way that is best suited to us, and it’s the most gracious way in which he could have dealt with us. Now, I know you might say, “Well, where do you get that?” Well, the Bible doesn’t say that in so many words, it says this other, and now I’m seeking to understand how it is that God can do this.
You know I learned a long time ago, in my study of the Bible that you never come to the Bible and say, “Now why did God do that? That’s unfair.” The best thing to do, always, is, “Well, it looks like God has done it this way. That seems to be unfair, but there probably is some good reason underneath that I don’t understand because of the fact that my mind is affected by sin.” And so then, with that attitude, you seek to study the Scriptures, and most of the difficulties we have are, sooner or later, answered by the Holy Spirit, if we come in the right attitude. It’s like the man who said to Paul in Paul’s rhetorical dealing with this question, “Why does he then find fault,” if he pardons one and he has mercy on another one over here, how is it that God can find fault? “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?” The apostle doesn’t even bother to give you a good reason. He just refutes the rebellion that lies behind the question. That’s the real problem that men have. It’s their rebellion. If they come in the attitude of understanding what God has said, then things are unfolded to them.
I suggest to you there are several ways in which God might have dealt with men. He might have said, “I’m going to create a man and a woman, and I’m going to put them down here on the earth, and I’m going to confirm them in holiness, and they will never fall.” He might have done that. He did that with some of the angels. Some of the angels fell. Some of the angels were, evidently, confirmed in holiness from the beginning. They were the elect angels. But now if God had done it that way, how would we know him as a gracious God? If we have no sin, how can we know the grace of God? How would we know the justice of God if there is no sin and the punishment of it? How could we know the justice of God? We would have an incomplete understanding of God, that is, incomplete in comparison with what we have now. We would not be able to get down on our knees before the cross of Jesus Christ, and praise him for the wonderful manifestation of grace in that he saved this great sinner that I am, or praise him for being the righteous holy God that he is. I’m glad he didn’t deal with men that way.
Well a second way, he might have left men just in a natural relationship to God, temptable, they could be tempted, and peccable, that is they could sin, temptable and peccable, and put us down here and he should have just said to us, “Now this is your relationship to me eternally, and if you are obedient, you will remain in my favor. If you are disobedient, you will suffer eternal death.” He could have done that. Now what do you think would have happened? Well he put man in that status down there. He was temptable and he was peccable. That’s what Adam was. And Adam sinned in the most beautiful of environments.
What do you think you would have done coming along after many millions of people have already sinned and the environment affected by sin, how do you think you would get along? Well, you’d get along about an hour after you became accountable for your sin, maybe less than that, some of you, thirty minutes, some of you, I know, fifteen, only fifteen. [Laughter] Larry, up here, ten, on the front row, [Laughter] ten minutes, maybe. [Laughter] You see, the fact is, it’s inevitable that men would fall, and they would be instantly judged and instantly confined to eternal separation from God. And God would be left alone in his created universe, as one of the theologians has said, “A sun without a planet.” How would you like that? I wouldn’t like that because that’s the way I would be, consigned to eternal hell fire.
Well, there’s a third possibility. You might conceive of God as creating a man and putting him under a covenant of life for, say, only seventy years. Just say, “All right for seventy years, if you live in perfect obedience for seventy years, you will have life. You’ll be confirmed in life. And then, if you fail, you will be consigned to an eternal separation from God.” That’s what the Pelagians in effect say. Although the Pelagians do admit that the world is full of misery, sin and death at the present time. Well, you can see this wouldn’t work any better than the other. We couldn’t last seventy years, and so the end result would be that everybody would have sinned.
Now, the fourth, and so far as I can tell the only other way, is for some one person to stand for the body of people. In other words, let’s have the first man stand as a representative of men. Well that is exactly, of course, what has happened. And this man has stood as the representative of all but think for a moment, he was placed in the Garden of Eden, a lovely beautiful place, the most perfect of environments, in order to succeed. It was the goodness of God that put Adam in such an environment. That’s far better to have a man represent others in the best of all possible environments than for us to stand for ourselves and have to stand the test in the environment that we are born into now. If Adam had every opportunity to do that which was right, God gave it to him in that beautiful environment.
Not only that, but, evidently, Adam must have known that his act was going to affect his ancestors. And so he would have had the greatest of all motivations. A father has much greater motivation to do a certain thing that is for the benefit of both himself and his family. So the motivation of representing others, the motivation of representing a family, caring for a family, keeps many men out of much sin. Well, Adam had the motivation of being the head of the human family. So God, in effect, was being gracious in having one man in a perfect environment stand for the whole human race that would follow. It was the most gracious kind of environment possible. And the most beautiful form of motivation possible. This is the most beneficent arrangement that God could have done. We know that because that’s what he did, this all wise God.
And, furthermore, since he dealt with men by a representative here, the parallel of dealing with lost men by a representative is also set up, and, by virtue of the other representative, we may now have a representative for salvation. And so the last Adam comes as a representative standing for those who are in him. Now, frankly, I must confess when I hear someone say, “I don’t like this arrangement. God is unfair.” I cannot understand that. I think this is the most beneficent thing that a loving God could ever had done. And furthermore, it’s the wisest way in which to deal with men. I like representation. I love representation because Jesus Christ now represents me.
If Adam had succeeded, we would have praised Adam for the grace bestowed upon him, second only to the glory that we now give to the Son of God when we adore his name. But Adam failed. We don’t praise him for the grace that was manifested to him. But we do adore the last Adam. For the grace of God manifested in him as our representative who stood here in this scene of sin and death and degradation and misery and performed the one act that justifies his people. What a magnificent plan God had established. I find no difficulty with it at all. I love it. To me, it’s just like a man whose father strikes oil, and he’s the inheritor of his family’s estate. And as I said last week, we have hit a gusher in Jesus Christ. He stands for us.
Now the apostle, having said that, “For all have sinned,” explains why it is that we are responsible for Adam’s sin. He says, “For,” to explain, “Until the law, sin was in the world.” In other words, sin did exist from the time of Adam to the time of Moses when the Mosaic law was given. Sin existed then. Now he goes on to say, however, that sin is not imputed when there is no law. Therefore, the sin that existed from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, since the Law of Moses was not in existence, was not imputed to those people who sinned. Sin is not imputed when there is no law.
See Paul is trying to show that men die because of Adam’s sin. Sin’s not imputed when there is no law. Sin existed, but sin is not reckoned to men. But men died. Well if they died, they died as a penalty for sin, but since there is no law from Adam to Moses, the breaking of which could be reckoned to them, and yet they died, they must, therefore, have broken some law. What law is it that they broke? There’s only one. The same law that Adam broke, Genesis 2:16 and 17. Adam, “Of all trees of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” From the time of Adam to Moses, sin existed, no law, not imputed, but they died. Therefore, they must have died as a result of committing a sin against some law. What law, since there’s no law from Adam to Moses? It was the law of Genesis 2:16 and 17. That’s why men died. They died because they died in their representative, Adam. He sinned, and they are reckoned to have sinned in him. They are reckoned to have broken God’s express commandment in Genesis chapter 2.
This apostle, he’s a student of holy Scripture. So, death reigned from Adam to Moses, that’s the dominion of death. That’s conclusive proof of Paul’s viewpoint here, incidentally. Man violates the law of Genesis 2:16 and 17, and to prove it, he says, in verse 14, “Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” Now, wait a minute. “Even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,” course they sinned Adam’s transgression, but they did not sin after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.
In other words, they didn’t break some express law. Of whom is he speaking when he says, “Even over those that have not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression?” You would think everybody has sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression. He’s talking about infants. They don’t sin personal sins. They don’t break a known law, and even they die. The Pelagians say we die because of the acts of sin we commit. Infants don’t commit any sins, but they die. Why do they die? They die because of Adam’s sin. They are guilty of Adam’s sin. That’s what the Scriptures teach. “Death reigned, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” So we must have died in Adam’s first sin. And you say, “Well, that’s infants.” But everybody was an infant once. And if infants are liable because of Adam’s sin, everybody’s liable on account of Adam’s sin. We all were infants. I think this fellow, Paul, is a pretty good theologian.
Now he concludes by saying, “Who is the figure of him that was to come?” So, Adam is the federal head of the human race. And he’s a type of Jesus Christ. What an amazing statement. I wish it were possible, only ten or twelve minutes, how is it possible to talk about Adam as a type of Christ? Well, let me just suggest a few things for you. In the first place, Adam and Jesus Christ were common participants in humanity. Adam was created of the dust of the earth and of the breath of God. Adam was a man. Christ was the God-man. Adam was born to live but died. Christ was born to die but he lived. But he had true humanity.
There is a common participation in headship. Adam is the head of the race. Jesus Christ is the head of the people of God. They have a common participation in testing. Adam was tested in the probation in the Garden of Eden. Jesus Christ was tested in the wilderness, demonstrating by successful overcoming of the temptation, that he is able to be the savior. He’s able to be the high priest. He’s able to be the king who is to come. They have a common participation in death. Adam dies as a result of his sin. Jesus Christ dies as a result of the sins of his people, the sins that he bears.
They have a common participation in judgment. Adam dies the spiritual death, and he’s judged by being cast out of the garden. The Lord Jesus Christ bears our judgment upon him when he dies upon the cross at Calvary.
There is a common participation in separation from God. Adam is ushered out of the Garden of Eden, and the sword is placed there so that Adam cannot go back in. Everyday Adam came by the entrance into the garden. He was kept out by the sword that turned one way and the other. There was a country preacher one time that said, “Adam used to say, every time he went by the Garden of Eden with his boys, he’d say, ‘Now, take a good look in there boys, there’s where ya ma eat us out of house and home.’ ” [Laughter] But he could not return. And the Lord Jesus Christ was separated from the Father when he cried out, “My God. My God. Why hast Thou forsaken me?” But that separation is for the people for whom he dies. Adam’s ousted from paradise. Christ opens paradise. Adam closed an old way. Christ completed a new way.
And then isn’t it striking that in the Bible, Adam and Christ are alike in their common participation in a marriage, because the time came after the creation of Adam that he had to contend with the female? Some have said, “Adam was created first to give him a chance to say something.” [Laughter] Well, you know what the Bible says about Adam and Eve. It’s rather interesting, isn’t it that Eve’s creation is set in the context of the naming of the animals. Now, that’s not meant in any way to degrade the woman. But it was done for this reason. You see Adam was brought out and the animals were passed before him. I don’t know that there was any animal parade, but at least the animals came along, and Adam said, “There’s a tiger. There’s a lion. There’s a rhinoceros.” Someone has said when Adam came home she said, “Why did you call that big animal out there an elephant?” He said, “Well it looked like an elephant.” [Laughter] How it happened we don’t know, but at any rate, it was in this context that the creation of Eve is given.
Now the reason, I think, is this, you see those animals paraded along with male and female, the animal and its mate. But the monarch of the whole creation does not have a mate. It was to create within Adam the desire for a mate. And right in the context of that, Eve’s birth, or Eve’s creation, I should say, is described. And so, we read that God is the greatest surgeon who ever lived, and what he did was he gave Adam a little bit of heavenly anesthesia. He caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. And then he did was what a surgeon would call a rib resection. So, he took out his scalpel, and he just cut out a rib, with the flesh, incidentally, because Adam later says, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” And so as Adam is asleep on the operating table, God, operating, takes out a rib with the flesh, and out of that, he makes a woman, Eve. And so he brings Eve before Adam, and Adam says, “Wow, the mate.” [Laughter]
Now, actually, there was excitement on Adam’s part. If you read that in the Hebrew text, what it says is, “This, at last, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. My name is iysh. She shall be called ishshah.” And so the fact that she is a help meet for him, to correspond to him, and to complete him, complement him, is all stated right there, as well as the dependents, as well as the responsibility of the man to protect and keep, all set forth there. Now, out of Adam’s death like deep sleep, supernaturally, a bride is made for him. And so out of the deep sleep of death of Calvary’s cross, there is created, in the new creation for the last Adam, a bride, too, the church of Jesus Christ. So even in the Old Testament, we have illustrations of the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ for the bride. Eve is built from Adam’s side. The church is built from the last Adam’s side. Adam is the head of Eve. Christ is the head of the church. Eve is joined to Adam. The church is joined to Christ. He is a type of him who is to come. And if we’re not related to him, we are lost.
About a year ago, almost exactly a year ago, a very significant thing happened in the world of our airplanes. Many of you remember that on November 28, 1979, just one day before the fiftieth anniversary of Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s historic flight over the South Pole, to help celebrate that significant anniversary, Air New Zealand advertized a tragically apt three hundred and forty dollar ticket, which would be for a trip to the end of the world and back. Two hundred and fifty-seven persons, including twenty-one Americans, were aboard Air New Zealand’s DC-10. There was nothing wrong with the plane, DC-10, for this unusual and spectacular sightseeing flight over Antarctica. They went down to Antarctica, and came to Mount Erebus there, a twelve thousand plus mountain peak. And as they were going about that mountain, they entered into a cloud, and the pilot piloted that plane right into the side of the mountain, and everybody was killed. Later on, in discussing it, Mr. Roy Thompson [ph 42:38], the New Zealander who headed the recovery effort, said that there was nothing wrong with the plane, it was the pilot. He had been flying for eleven years, but this was his first trip to Antarctica, and he was on the wrong side of the mountain and didn’t realize it.
Now, I have a friend who is a Bible teacher and, using that incident, he drew some applications from it which I think are rather apt. Not one person who got on that plane that morning thought that would be the last day of their lives. It’s possible; you know that this is the last day for some of us in this auditorium. More than once, that’s happened to me, as a preacher. Many years ago, I remember, in a message saying something like that, and that night, a young man who had been in the audience was electrocuted. It’s possible this is the last day of the life of some of us in this auditorium. Not one of them thought it was their last day on earth, but we have an appointment with God, Hebrews says. And therefore, now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation. The pilot thought he was on the right side of the mountain. He thought everything was alright. The Scriptures tell us that, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end, thereof, are the ways of death.”
There are people who think that they are saved by the works that they do, but the Scriptures say we are saved by the work that Christ did. And it’s possible for us to think, really think, even in an auditorium like this, I’m perfectly alright, but be just as wrong as that pilot and just as sure to head to eternal death. The clouds, obviously, hid the mountain from him. He never would have flown into the mountain if the clouds had not been there. But there are clouds of biblical error that are swirling about the pulpits of our professing Christian churches today that make it possible for an individual who has sat in an auditorium where the Bible is placed on the pulpit and a so-called biblical message is given, but it will be the cloud behind which is the mountain, which means eternal death. For if the gospel of Jesus Christ is not preached, it is death.
We don’t live unto ourselves. The decisions that others make vitally affect us. We, at one time or another, trust our lives to others. We get in a plane and ride in a plane, trusting ourselves to the pilot and his helpers. We get in an airplane or a train or in a bus or even driving around with a friend, and we, in a sense, have put our lives into their hands. There is only one captain who is able to take us to heaven. All other captains, whether of Air New Zealand or American Airlines or Braniff, all are human and fail. There is only one captain of our salvation, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. And if you’re not on his plane, you’re not on the right plane. You’re on one that’s headed for death.
Well it does pay then to delve into our ancestry, to discover our relatives, to discover our destiny. And it’s one of the most wonderful things, in all of the word of God, to read in Scripture that by one man’s disobedience, death came to many, but by one man’s obedience life has come for those who belong to him. Or as the apostle puts it, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” We invite you to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and receive the benefits of his obedient work on Calvary’s cross. The first Adam came, and we were plunged into sin. The last Adam has come, and he, in the power of grace, has brought the salvation. He’s able to annul. He’s able to swallow up sin and death. He crushed, on Good Friday, the old serpent, the master of all, and made it possible for us to sing, “Oh loving wisdom of our God! When all was sin and shame, a second Adam to the fight and to the rescue came.” We invite you to put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, to renounce your human thinking, your human reasoning, and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive, as a free gift, the salvation that he freely offers to all men. If God, by his wonderful grace, has brought you to the knowledge of your sin, that you are a sinner, you may flee to the cross of Jesus Christ and lean upon his grace in his saving work and know that you have the forgiveness of sins. May God help you to come. Let’s stand for the benediction.
[Prayer] We are amazed, Lord, at the most beneficent, loving, wise way that Thou hast dealt with us. Surely, we have no complaints against heaven. How can the thing formed say to him that formed him, “Why hast Thou made me thus?” Oh God, help us to bow to our great, loving creator God and redeemer God. Bow in submission and receive the free gift of eternal life. Oh God, we pray that by the Holy Spirit Thou wilt strike and destroy the will of our human rebellion, and give us an obedient, submissive attitude to Thee through the spirit. If there are some, Lord, who have not believed in Christ, sitting in this auditorium and now standing, oh, through the Holy Spirit…
[RECORDING ENDS ABRUPTLY]