You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily,a radio ministry of The Berean Call. Now, our final segment, Understanding the Scriptures. We continue our exploration of the doctrine of salvation, with more about the central importance of Christ’s death on the cross. Here’s Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon.
Tom: For this segment of our program, which features a discussion of God's Word, and, in particular, the gospel, we’re attempting to connect with Dave Hunt, my partner in this endeavor, who we tracked down in Switzerland—Zurich, I believe—is that right, Dave?
Dave: Well, actually, Dübendorf, but it’s near Zurich.
Tom: Okay, well we’re going to pick up where we left off last week, now that we’ve gotten ahold of you. Dave, if you remember from last week, we’ve been going through Romans:5:6-21—this is pertaining to the gospel, which God's Word tells us is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes,” picking up with verse 10: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Dave, as we mentioned last week, this is an extraordinary verse, talking about we being enemies of God and then being reconciled to God by the death of His Son.
Dave: Yeah, well, this is God, and this is His love—He so loved the world, a world of sinners, a world that had rebelled against Him, a world that actually hated Him, although they would deny that. But of Christ it is said, “They hated Me without a cause,” and Jesus, even when He hung on the cross, He said, “Father forgive them”—that is for those who nailed Him to the cross, those who mocked Him. I mean it’s love beyond our comprehension. It’s grace and mercy, and this is how salvation comes to us. It doesn't come through our works, it doesn't come through our merits, but we have proved ourselves to be the enemies of God—enemies in our minds: “by wicked works,” the scripture says. And yet, Christ died for us.
And, so then, Paul is saying, if He would do that when we were enemies, how much more, having been reconciled to God, we shall be saved by His life. Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also,” and “He ever liveth,” scripture says, “to make intercession for us.” Now, this is just…it’s beyond our comprehension, and the tragedy is that so many people try to work for salvation. They try to merit salvation. They try to clean up their lives, turn over a new leaf, so that then they think that God would look with favor upon them. But Christ died for sinners! “He came to seek and to save the lost...”
Tom: And all of those are a rejection of what Christ accomplished for us, even though we may be deluded into thinking we’re actually doing something that moves us toward God, it’s not. It's a rejection.
Tom: Well, picking up with verse 11: “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we now have received the atonement.” Dave, that sounds like it’s accomplished; it’s finished.
Dave: Amen! It’s a finished work. We have received the atonement. We’ve been reconciled to God through the death of His Son, and so we joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We couldn’t joy in God. God is so just; He’s holy and pure, righteous—He could have nothing to do with us as sinners. We deserve nothing but His judgment. But now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have a relationship with God: He’s our Father! We rejoice in Him. We know Him. We love Him. We have confidence in Him, and we can trust—entrust ourselves to Him in every situation. And it is wonderful what Christ has done for us! And this is something, as you said, it’s accomplished, it’s finished.
Tom: Now, Dave, this word here, “atonement”—a tremendous word, but this has kind of been perverted in the past. Some people like to use the…or, consider it to be “at-one-ment.” Now I know the sincerity in that, but it’s…New Agers and others have taken that word, “at-one-ment,” that we’re one in God in the sense of His essence, not just purpose, or...
Dave: Well, they attempt to reach “at-one-ment,” or they claim that—not to reach it, but to realize it, that it’s already there. And they do this through an occult meditation technique so that they're not acknowledging that we were enemies, separated from God, heading for hell, deserving of His judgment. But they’re saying that though we are actually “one,” but we just haven’t realized it enough. Through meditation techniques, we can realize this. But no, that's not what it is.
Tom: Right, and then it gets passed—this idea that atonement is needed, that the price had to be paid, that we’re accountable…
Dave: Right. Amen. This is God’s Word. It’s tremendous….
Dave: …for those who will believe it. And that’s how salvation comes—through faith, believing God’s promise. And those who are working for salvation or who are realizing their at-one-ment, or whatever it is, they have, as you said, rejected God’s salvation, the salvation that comes to us through Jesus Christ. They’ve just rejected it, and they’re seeking to establish their own righteousness some other way.
Tom: If you just joined us, we’re going through Romans 5 and continuing with verse 12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed onto all men, for that all have sinned.” And, Dave, I believe I understand this, but there are some who would say, Well, yes, Adam sinned. And because of his act, all of his descendants are affected by what he did, and while it's true that we all sin, but this is laid on Adam. How do you explain that?
Dave: Well, for one thing, Tom, it does away with theistic evolution, which I guess—I can’t even remember, but we’ve talked about a bit in the past—it must have been months ago. and this is embraced, it’s accepted, within many of our evangelical seminaries. Of course, this is Catholicism. The Catholic Church believes it; the pope accepts it. It’s taught in Catholic schools. Billy Graham says he has no problem with it. Christianity Today says it’s okay. New Man magazine, of Promise Keepers, says that was okay, and so forth—the idea that God used evolution. But man, when these evolving creatures got close enough to humanoids, that God put a human soul and spirit in them.
Well, it doesn't work with this verse, because if there were these creatures evolving and dying and evolving and moving on and on, then death was here before Adam. Death was here before Adam’s sin. And it doesn't fit with the scriptures at all. Of course, there are many other ways in which it doesn’t fit with the scriptures.
So it’s difficult for us to understand, but something so basic happened to Adam: he was separated from God. I believe that the human spirit was indwelt, originally, by the spirit of God in both Adam and Eve. Man was made in the image of God, and when Adam and Eve sinned, they rebelled against God. It was a terrible thing that they would deny God, that they would reject what He had said, that they would follow Satan, that liar!
And so the scripture says we’re dead in trespasses and in sins, and man literally died within—he died spiritually, and that affects him physically as well. So Adam was no longer the person—was no longer the man—that God had made him, and therefore, all of his offspring would be in the same condition.
So the one man’s act passed down to all of his descendants. Adam could not pass on to us something that he no longer had, and he no longer had this relationship with God. And it tells us that there are consequences of our sin as well. Not in the same way, but no man lives unto himself. But what we do affects many others. Of course, not in the way that Adam’s sin did, but it’s a warning to all of us.