Can The Lost Estate Be Recovered?
It is admitted on all hands, except among the evolutionists, that man is a fallen creature. Evolutionists allege that man “fell up,” whatever senseless conception that may be. But their theory, that man and all else in the universe, has slowly evolved through the millenniums from nothing to what we now see, is so absurd, so untenable, so without a shred of real evidence; so plainly a theory adopted for the purpose of getting rid of one’s personal accountability to God, so clearly a bid for escaping the conventional requirements of morality and decency, as to become downright preposterous and laughable, but for the astounding fact that it is seriously held and taught by supposedly sober, thinking men. For anyone with a grain of concern for his own soul, or the souls of his fellow creatures, evolution has long ceased to be even worth considering. It is the wildest kind of a scientific nightmare that resolves facts into distorted unrealities, and paints the dream-world of its devotees with the phantoms of its own insane desires. Were it not being disseminated in the schools and colleges of the land, it ought not to give spiritually minded men any more concern than a fairy story.
Mankind has been infinitely greater, better, and holier than we now know him to be. This is the teaching of the Bible. This is corroborated by the ancient traditions of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, Greeks and Romans. To this idea, -comes reinforcement from the scientific horticulturists. They declare that all fruits and grains give “internal evidence” of having been bigger and better than we now find them. They even state that weeds were at one time grain or fruit producing plants. Luther Burbank, who, while he was alive, could hardly be classed as a Christian, or even remotely as a believer in Biblical truth, has stated that fruits were once, in his judgment, twice or thrice the size and lusciousness that they now are; that the development of plants, vegetables, fruits and flowers, under his seeming magical hand, was but the return, through careful cultivation, of these growing things, to the condition that they once possessed. The cultivation, breeding and development of animals would seem to teach the same thing. The world is a fallen planet. The animal world and the vegetable world are fallen. Man is fallen. We realize that many think that his advance in civilization is a proof to the contrary. They point out the upward march of the race from primitive barbarism to civilization, and declare that the race is slowly evolving, and will eventually reach a high and perfect stage. We are sure that unless they relate the ascension of the race to the second coming of our Lord, that their reasoning is incorrect. History shows that the race has many times risen, and again collapsed. The present day civilization is not the only one that the race has known. To be sure, it is the only one that has had the benefit of Christianity, and that is the very reason it has risen to the heights that it now enjoys. But other advances failed because of the fact that the sin question was never solved. In all its advance, the very seeds of dissolution and collapse were still retained. The thing that ruined the race in the first place, that is sin, was still left in each civilization that arose, and ere long that fact brought again the ruin from which it had been lifted. In the present day civilization the race has had the benefit of Christianity. But there is every sign just now that, largely speaking, the modern world is rejecting the very thing that has made this civilization greater than the ones that preceded it. The Holy Trinity and the Holy Bible are being rejected, flouted, laughed at, and ignored. The solution of the sin question, that had taken place in the hearts of a considerable number of the people of the last few generations, is now being tabooed, sneered at, and kept from the hearts and minds of the rising generation. There can be no other consequence than collapse. Already the signs of it are at hand. The world war would never have broken out, but for evolution and modernism. It was the teaching of the modern universities that precipitated the bloodiest four years, the most hideous slump back toward the savagery of barbarism, that the world has known since Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. The only safety, the only salvation, the only hope, of the human race is in the teachings, the ethics, the standards and the experiences of the religion of Jesus Christ. Whenever the race to any considerable extent, embraces these, it begins to climb. Whenever it ignores, evades, derides and rejects these, then it begins the same decline that it has witnessed times without number in other ages. It is now on the down grade. It approaches another collapse!
Religiousness is one of the few universal characteristics of humanity. Man is a worshipping being. Every man, woman or child has something to which he pays homage in a religious way. Just because the thing they worship is not connected with a church may cause them to insist that they are not religious, but nevertheless they are. Many people are most religious when they claim irreligion. However, of all the religions of the world, of all the objects of worship in all the earth, with gods many and lords many, with every human being paying homage in his heart to some object of veneration or worship, there is but one among them all that offers, or claims, or proposes to solve the sin question. None of the great outstanding religions offers to solve it. None of the new, modern, up-to-date religions offers to solve it. Each religion (save one) passes the sin problem by, and seeks to secure the homage and devotion of its worshipers without touching that absorbing question. Indeed, each one of these religions promises to save a person in his sins, but none of them offers to save him from his sins.
It is the unique distinction of the religion of Jesus Christ to make the claim that it will, if its conditions are met, actually save a person from his sins! It seems to this writer that this unique claim, if it can be proved that such is verified by facts, is the strongest proof, for the divinity of the system of religion that is called Christianity, that can be found. Let us briefly review the alleged facts of Christianity, and then examine frankly into the above remarkable claim.
Let the reader remember, that after the sin of our first parents in the Garden of Eden, God was confronted with a desperate situation — a self perpetuating race that was morally ruined, and cursed with an especially dangerous, devilish, inwrought principle of sin, called carnality. This race was inhabiting a world that was in confusion from the same dread offense, and bearing a burden of more or less chaos. How to redeem a sinful being, and at the same time not put a premium on the sins that made him sinful, was the question, it seems certain, that occupied the mind of the Creator. In other words, how to save mankind, and at the same time, publish to the world of spiritual intelligences God’s dread hatred of sin, and its fearful deserts, was the problem.
God’s first step was to put into effect a temporary arrangement whereby sinners could be forgiven, and their need of atonement referred on ahead, so to speak, to the ultimate tribunal that was to provide for this. Through typical altars, offerings, and ceremonies, this temporary plan was made effective. Bleeding beasts and blazing altars became the sign of God’s presence and forgiveness. A “shekinah” fire was the peculiar pledge of the favor of the most High. This Old Testament plan did not claim efficacy for itself, but constantly looked ahead to something of which it was but the type.
This temporary arrangement perfected, God’s next step was to begin an elaborate system of prophetic statements concerning the culmination of His plan for restoration and redemption of the ruined race that He had on His hands. He had already begun this, when He first discovered the guilty pair in the garden. At the moment of their deepest agony of discovery, and crushed under the awful curse that outlined the punishment of the couple and that of their descendants, God had made an enigmatical promise that the “seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head” (Gen. 3:15).> From thence to the age of redemption’s culmination, He is constantly weaving into the doings and sayings of His chosen people, a thread of prophecy, much of which when read today, in the light of subsequent events, seems like the declaration of an eye witness.
He makes it clear that His redemption plan shall center around, and shall have its culmination in the person of a Man! As intimated above, He is to be peculiarly the “seed of the woman.” Woman who had been the chief offender, was to be the chief channel of honor in the restoration of the race to its lost position of holiness. From this brief prophetic utterance in the garden, God proceeds to indicate the nation through which the Redeemer is to come, the family that shall be His line, the circumstances that shall indicate His near approach, the city in which He shall be born. He also causes His various prophets to outline His character. He is to be divine; to be the deity Himself; to be God’s Son; the government is to be upon His shoulder; He is to be called the “Prince of Peace;” His birth shall be miraculous, He shall be the child of a virgin; He shall be rich, and yet He shall be lowly; He shall be a King, and yet shall be cast out and rejected of men; through Him shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, and yet He shall be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; He shall dwell in Nazareth, a despised village; called out of Egypt, a seemingly impossible thing, and yet He should sit upon the throne of His father David forever. But the most astonishing and unbelievable thing of all was that this mighty One was to be slain — put to death, and by that death He was to justify many — and yet, astounding to relate, He was to live forever. Even some of the incidents of His life were prophetically revealed. He was to heal the sick, and bless the poor, and to ride, a lowly, humble figure, into Jerusalem upon a colt, the foal of an ass. He was after His death to lie in the donated tomb of a rich man, and yet live to govern His people forever, and issue the law from Zion’s hill.
Another step toward his marvelous redemption was taken by the Creator, when He chose Abraham as the human channel through which He was to come. Then He expanded that family to a nation, and then narrowed it again to “David’s line.” The vicissitudes and changing fortunes of this family, this nation, and this “line,” are all meted out in providential manner so as to “prepare the way of the Lord, and to make His paths straight.”
God made additional preparation by means of nations outside of Israel. He exalted the haughty, stern-faced Roman nation, and gave them the rulership of the world. He brought its highways under their care, the ships of the sea He placed in their hands, the nations at their feet; and when the fateful hour of His Son’s advent drew nigh, there was an unusual calm resting on the world, a freedom from wars, and a civilization that was in the grip of a nation that could maintain by force the peace of the world. All things were ready. It was the fullness of time. The hour approaches. The clock of destiny is about to strike.
An angel from heaven wings his way to the humble home of a Jewish priest, Zacharias by name in the “hill country” of Judea, and the announcement to him and his wife Elizabeth, of the birth of the great forerunner of Jesus Christ was made. Six months later, another angel left the court of the skies and apprised the virgin Mary, that she had been selected as the mother of Him that was to bring redemption to the descendants of Adam, who lost it for himself and us in the first days of creation.”
And now there unrolls before the reader one of the most singular and astounding tales that has ever been heard. Its familiarity has robbed it of much of its amazing wonderment. Here in the walks of earth’s human race appears a strange Being. He is human in every outward appearance, and lives as do his fellow men, and yet grows more and more strange and wonderful to the gaze and the thought of those with whom He lived. He was poor. He never had, so far as the record shows, a penny of money all His adult life. He lived on the chance charity of any who might invite Him in. He walked all His life, except for one short ride, on which occasion He fulfilled a noted prophecy. The description of His appearance has not been handed down, but His character and teachings are fairly well recorded in a small volume called the New Testament. He was ever different from everyone else. Others struggled for comforts and riches, He preferred poverty. Others wanted a home, He traveled the highway and slept in the mountain. Others sought for the good opinion of their fellows, He courted nobody’s opinion but that of His “Father,” by which term He referred to God. Others were helpless, in the presence of storms, but they subsided at His word. Others were fearful in the extreme of diseases, but those who were under the power of this dread enemy of mankind leaped into robust health at His approach. Others saw their friends succumb to death, but He mastered the grave whenever He saw fit. Others ignored and oppressed the poor, but He chose them for His companions and founded a Kingdom in which the poor are His prime ministers. Others feared that the future would upset and ruin all their plans, but He planned for endless ages as though He governed the laws of futurity.
His teachings were the amazement of the day in which they were delivered, and it is not too much to say that the world has never realized or appreciated them to this day. His church which He founded has but a limited idea of their meaning, power and beauty.
He incurred the enmity of the Jewish cultured and leading classes. They resolved upon His death. He calmly predicted that to die was the very purpose for which He came into the world. He declared that that death would enable Him ultimately to draw all men unto Himself. Then follow His arrest, His mockery of a trial, while His shivering disciples stood by, or hid from sight. He is condemned, while never uttering a word of self defense. He is led out to die laden with His own cross, upon which the Romans, incited by the Jews, nailed Him. And there on Calvary’s hill He died, the sublimest spectacle of humility, love, forgiveness and suffering. Three days later He rose from the dead, and His disciples began with boldness to proclaim that He was God’s Son, the long expected Messiah of the Hebrews. Soon He ascended bodily to heaven, and not long after, the waiting disciples were marvelously filled and endowed by the coming of the Holy Spirit, and sallying forth they defied persecution, many of them even unto death, and preached a salvation from all sin in the name of this wonderful Jesus who is called the Christ.
From the very outset, Jesus Christ taught that the chief purpose of His coming into this world was to solve the sin question. While He was soon acknowledged as the greatest preacher that had ever been seen or heard, He, himself, claimed that He had not come from heaven primarily to preach but to save men from sin. He was a noted and marvelous miracle worker, and a constant healer of the diseases that afflicted human bodies, yet He declared that He had not come primarily to heal men’s bodies, but to heal their souls of the plague of sin. To save from sin was His constant theme. To persuade men to accept such a salvation was His chief effort. We insist that His ability to do this, is His greatest claim to divinity.
His disciples quickly became known as holy men. They testified that they had been saved from sin. They alleged that He who had saved them, could save anyone who would fulfill the simple conditions. They declared that what had been lost in Adam, so far as the sin question was concerned, was restored in every one who would accept Jesus Christ as a Savior, and utterly trust His atoning blood. Indeed, these sacred writers use extreme terms when writing about this matter.
St. Luke records the words of Zacharias to the effect that those who belong to Him may be delivered from their enemies and serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of their lives (Luke 1 :74-75). What greater enemy could exist than carnality? How could one serve Him in holiness, unless this interior enemy were destroyed? Another states that they had their hearts purified by faith in Him. Another declares that all who truly trust Him can be saved to the uttermost. While the great Apostle to the Gentiles asserts that th is Jesus Christ not only died for sinners, but that He gave Himself to the Church that He might sanctify it, until it should be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
The clear teaching of Scripture, and the clear harmony of the whole story of the lost estate of Eden, is to the effect that it can be, and is, restored in Jesus Christ. There are certain physical and mental restorations that await the morning of the resurrection day, but everything that pertains to the stain of sin, the pollution of sin, the guilt of sin, and the results of sin as it relates to our standing with God, is completely recovered from, through faith in the Victim that gave His life a ransom for us on Golgotha’s hill.
The “lost estate” has been recovered. Through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, all sinners can find God’s full pardon for their sins. Through the deeper efficacy of His blood, all pardoned souls can find a cleansing from that inbred principle of sin that underlies and is the basis of every sinful deed.
What the first Adam lost, the second Adam has regained. Where sin abounded, grace doth now much more abound. Where the dreadful festering sore of sin existed, there the Balm of Gilead is applied and we have perfect healing. Where hatred and envy and selfishness found lodgment, now love abounds. Where Satan ruled, now Jesus Christ reigns in perfect love!