“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [the Deliverer] also himself likewise took part of the same” (Heb. 2:14). It was human nature—that being “flesh and blood”—needing to be delivered, and therefore it was human nature in which this deliverance was to be wrought. The Apostle Paul states in Romans 5:12-21, the sum of which is in verse 19: “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [’by one man,’ v.15] shall many be made righteous.” The same nature that transgressed must work out the remedy. This truth is reiterated in 1 Corinthians 15:21: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” Our ruin could not be restored, nor deliverance from our guilt be effected, except by one in our own nature.
It is also evident that the deliverance for having to accomplished by one whose substance was derived from the common stock of our first parents. It would not have met the exigencies of the case for God to create a second man out of the dust of the ground, or out of anything which was different in nature from ourselves; in such a case there would have been no relation between him and us, therefore we could have been in no way concerned in anything he did or suffered. That alliance depended solely on the fact that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men” (Acts 17:26). But another difficulty was presented, one which also would have proved insurmountable to all created intelligences had not “the only wise God” revealed His provision for resolving it.
Any deliverer of sinful men must derive his nature from their original stock, yet he must not bring along with it the least taint of corruption or liability to guilt on his own account; for if his nature were defiled, if it lacked the image of God, it could do nothing that would be acceptable to God. And were he subject to the penalty of the law on his own account , he could make no satisfaction for the sins of others. But since every descendant of Eve is shaped in sin and conceived in iniquity, how could any of her seed be sinless? Only Omniscience could bring an immaculately clean thing out of thorough uncleanness.
We must not lose sight of the grounds on which defilement and guilt adhere to our nature, as they do in all individuals alike.
- First, our participation in sin was in Adam as our covenant head and federal representative. Therefore his offense was ours also, and justly imputed to us. Because we sinned in him, we became “by nature the children of wrath,” the subjects of God’s judicial displeasure.
- Second, we derived our nature from Adam by way of natural generation, so that his defilement is communicated to all his offspring. We are the degenerate plants of a degenerate stock.
- The nature of a deliverer for fallen man must, as to its substance, be derived from our first parents, yet so as not to have been in Adam as a legal representative, nor be derived from him by natural generation. But how could it be that his nature should relate as truly to Adam as does ours, while neither partaking of the guilt of Adam’s transgression nor participating in his pollution? Such a one was utterly beyond the concept of every finite mind.
We have considered some of the difficulties—yes, seeming impossibilities—which stood in the way of the recovery of any of the fallen sons of Adam, showing that something more than a benign purpose of grace on God’s part was required to effect that recovery- something more than the putting forth of His mighty power. The obstacles which needed to be removed were so many and so great that “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10) also needed to be called into play. The difficulty from the human side was the desperate state of the sinner.
How could his darkness be changed into light, his enmity into love, his unwillingness into willingness, without any violence being done to his moral agency?