The First Man Is Under Judgment

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
We learn what the cross of the Lord Jesus has effected when we learn that it has eternally settled for God the question of sin and sins. It has settled these two things, and it is most important to see how they have both been settled. We have the forgiveness of our sins in the work of the cross, but the nature which committed them, sin, is never forgiven. It has been eternally placed by God under judgment.
Two Men
Now in order to make this simple to our understanding, the Word of God considers the Christian as if he were two men. He is solemnly warned and exhorted never to act like the one, while over and over again he is encouraged to act as the other. When the Apostle says, “I am crucified with Christ,” he is contemplating the judgment of God recorded in the cross as to the first man and speaking of himself as that man. When he says, “Nevertheless I live,” it is the new man, or the power of the life of Christ daily displayed in him. The difference is immense. As to the first man, who is controlled always by the evil nature, that man is under the judgment of God and never is anywhere else in God’s account. As to the new man, “created in righteousness and true holiness” and “created  ...  unto good works” (Eph. 4:24; 2:10), to him death and judgment have nothing to say.
The believer is so addressed because he has still the old nature within him, as well as the new, and every action of his life comes from either the one or the other of these. If we refer to 1 Corinthians 3:3, we read, “Are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” To walk “as men” is a reproach, because it is walking according to the old nature. So we read, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk” (Eph. 4:17). On the other hand, when we are addressed as having the new nature, we read, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
The First Man Under Judgment
To own in our daily life that the cross of Christ has put away our sins and has also definitely placed the old man under judgment is fundamental doctrine, without which there cannot be any true progress in the divine life. It is the second part of this truth which cuts at the root of all that is not of Christ, but, thank God, also separates me definitely from the world, to walk like Christ in it. We much more readily accept the fact that in the cross we have the forgiveness of sins, than that in the cross we have also the judgment of sin — the nature of the first man. Both are true, and both together constitute what one called “a Christian” professes to believe, however short he may come as to the judgment of the first man practically.
Who is the man that God has definitely recorded His judgment against? It is the man who is “trying to get on” in the world, trying to make his rest here, where sin defiles everything. It matters not to him who goes down; his only effort is to get up and trample upon whom he may. Now God has determined never to set that man up again. Strive as I may, I have God against me, as to setting up that man again on earth. In doing it I am fighting against God.
The Second Man
As to the second Man, God will set Him up here in power and glory over everything (Eph. 1:9-10). One may be rejected today, and take cheerfully the spoiling of his goods without resisting, for such is God’s will for him who takes Christ’s path. “The offscouring of all things” may be the world’s opinion of him who is willing to be even accounted a fool for Christ’s sake (1 Cor. 3:18), yet “the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand” (Pro. 19:21). “We see not yet all things put under Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor” — a proof of what God will yet accomplish for Him. And as to the world, “the world passeth away, and the lust [desire] thereof.” May the Spirit instruct us yet more and more in the fact that the old nature of the first man is, in the cross, definitely placed under the judgment of God and never delivered from it.
H. C. Anstey