Man's Condition; and What Is the Remedy? Part 2

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Let us now look a little further at man’s condition as ruined in his nature, and dead in his trespasses and sins; and let us see how God in His grace answers this need.
“If one died for all, then were all dead” (2 Cor. 5:1414For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (2 Corinthians 5:14)). “Who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:1-21And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Ephesians 2:1‑2)). “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:1212Wherefore, 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: (Romans 5:12)). “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:77Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7)). “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:66That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6)).
Such is man’s condition as described by the Spirit of truth. What a deplorable condition! Spiritually dead — dead in trespasses and sins! Not a pulsation of life — not a movement of the heart — toward God! The nature incorrigible enmity against God, and unchangeable as the leopard’s spots, or the Ethiopian’s skin!
The cross brings all this fully to light; and in the cross, too, is found the remedy for the evil. In the cross man’s enmity and God’s love meet — man’s enmity in putting God’s Son to death, and God’s love in giving His Son to die as a sacrifice to meet man’s need. What a meeting between God and man! What an unfolding of the character of each! All the dark hatred and malignity of the human heart exposed, but exposed in the presence of infinite Love itself providing a sacrifice to put it away! “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:2020Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (Romans 5:20)).
Let us notice a little the two expressions, “enmity against God,” and “dead in trespasses and sins.” They express two different aspects of man’s hopelessly ruined condition. The former is the disposition towards God, or the state of the nature, looked at in its activity. It is “enmity” — incurable, unchangeable enmity. For this, there is no remedy but DEATH. Thank God, it is found in the death of another, the death of Jesus on the cross.
“Dead in trespasses and sins” expresses the fact that while alive to sin, and walking in lusts, under the power of Satan, there is no life toward God. This is the condition of all who are connected with the old creation. “If one died for all, then were all dead” (2 Cor. 5:1414For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (2 Corinthians 5:14)). To meet this need there must be a new creation.
In Romans and Ephesians the truth as to these two points is developed.
In Romans the sinner is viewed as alive in his sins, and in bondage to sin, and needing justification and deliverance. In Ephesians the sinner is viewed as dead in his sins — that is, dead to God — and needing to be made alive.
In both it is the absolute grace of God that meets the need. “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” (Rom. 5:20-2120Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:20‑21)). “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:88For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8)).
As has already been stated, it is the cross that has brought fully to light man’s condition. He was never declared to be dead until after the cross. The incorrigible evil of his heart was being brought out in one way or another, all through the ages, under the dealings of God; but it was in the cross that all was brought to a final issue, and God’s irrevocable judgment on the flesh pronounced.
Man’s condition was bad enough before, but not declared hopeless. Nearly eight hundred years before the cross we see a sad enough picture of man’s condition in Israel; they are declared rebellious; more stupid than the ox or the ass, laden with iniquity, corrupt, sick and faint, but not yet dead. “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken; I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, My people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment” (Isa. 1:2-62Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. (Isaiah 1:2‑6)).
Sad and pitiable condition indeed! wounds and putrefying sores from head to foot, stupid, sick and faint, but not yet dead; and still called on to recover themselves by ceasing to do evil, and learning to do well! But this is all over now. Man’s true state has been brought to light by the cross. He is now declared dead in trespasses and sins. The cross is morally and judicially the end of the old creation; and redemption and a new creation are needed. Thank God, in Christ we have both.
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:2424Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:24)).
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [or, it is a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:1717Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)).
In these Scriptures, then, we have the statement of God’s remedy for the terrible condition into which man has been plunged by sin. The remedy is in Christ. But it is in Christ as having accomplished redemption through His death — Christ crucified, risen, glorified. In His death on the cross all the evil was met in the presence of God, and judged and put away before Him; and in Him, risen and glorified, the new place and condition of blessing for man are found. In His death sins were borne, the flesh judged, the old creation ended. “Old things are passed away.” Risen from the dead, Christ has left sins, sin, death and judgment behind forever, and has entered a new and eternal scene of blessing and glory, where sin and death can never enter.