A RACE OF SLAVES
"For we know that the Law is spiritual; but
I am carnal, sold under Sin."--ROMANS 7:14.
THE Apostle's statement that we are sold under Sin implies that we as a race are slaves. And so elsewhere it is expressed that mankind are slaves of Sin. (Rom. 6:16,17. Diaglott.) We look back to see when we became slaves and how this condition came about. We find that Adam sold himself and incidentally all his race. What price was paid by the purchaser? What did Adam get when he sold himself and all his posterity to become servants of Sin? We reply, He got his own will. He got his choice of fellowship with his wife for a time in the course of disobedience, thus rejecting God and His will, His Law. For this price, this self-gratification, this measure of joy, he sold himself to Sin and was cut off from being a son of God. Then he became a slave of Sin and, as a result, a slave of death.-- Romans 5:12.
Sin, the great monarch ruling the world, has enslaved the entire human family. None can escape this bondage, except in one way. Under this bondage of Sin they get disease, sorrow, disappointment, death. Death is the great climax of the wages of this great Monarch. And so we read, "The wages of Sin is death." "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together." (Romans 6:23; 8:22.) They are all travailing in this slavery, which was pictured in the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt under Pharaoh. The whole world is in alienation from God, banished from His favor and from everlasting life.
God's promise was that He would provide a Ransom for the purchasing back of the slaves. He did this, in due time, by providing the Redeemer. Father Adam went into slavery of his own volition. His children--all mankind--were born slaves, born in sin and slavery, under the penalty of death. Christ appeared that He might redeem the one who sinned--that He might give a Ransom-price, a corresponding price--His own life for the life of Father Adam. All these slaves may then be set free; may attain absolute freedom, if they will. All whom the Son shall set free will be free indeed.
MAN'S RELEASE PICTURED IN TYPE
This release of the slaves from Sin and Death was pictured in the Law by the release of the fiftieth year Jubilee. When the Jubilee arrived, the only ones who [R5356 : page 355] remained in slavery were those who preferred to remain thus. (Deut. 15:12-17; Lev. 25:39-41.) So the thousand years of Christ's Reign--the Millennium--is to be the great Jubilee time, in which all the slaves are to be freed from slavery to Sin and the power of Satan, and are to be lifted up to freedom, if they will. But the legal setting free of the slaves will be one thing, and the getting back of their privileges will be quite another thing. Mankind will be judicially free--they will then all have been bought with a price--taken from the taskmaster, Sin, and put under the new Master, Christ Jesus, the great King of Glory.
Messiah's Reign will be one in which mankind will be uplifted. All things that were lost will be recovered during the thousand years. And all will be set free, except those who prefer the bondage--and these will ultimately go into the Second Death, extinction, never after to be awakened to have the privilege of attaining everlasting life, or being of the family of God.
THE PRESENT MASTER OF MANKIND
Sin became the possessor of our race, which came under his control--Sin being allegorically personified as a great monarch holding relentless sway over mankind. Satan is another name for Sin. As he was called by our Lord the father of lies, and "a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44), he very properly stands as the representative of Sin, as the representative of all unrighteousness.
Jesus Christ laid down the Ransom-price for all, that mankind might, in due time, be redeemed from slavery to Sin. The Divine sentence upon Adam was death, and Sin was the agent, or channel, on account of which this condemnation came. Christ was "made sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21); that is to say, He was treated as the sinner, and received the punishment that properly belonged to the sinner. This He did that He might free us from this great slavery. The Apostle Paul declares that ultimately the whole creation shall be set free from the slavery of Sin and Death and shall become sons of God. --Rom. 8:20,21.--Diaglott.
When Adam yielded to self-gratification he became subject to this death penalty. It was God who imposed the penalty--it was God's penalty that must be met. In order for Christ to meet this penalty upon Adam, it was necessary for Him to renounce all self-gratification and to become dead to self, that He might do the Father's will. And He gladly yielded Himself to God's will--all that is "written in the Book."
We who have come into covenant relationship with [R5356 : page 356] God, have come through Christ. Having become voluntary servants of the Lord Jesus Christ we are still in slavery; but it is slavery to Christ instead of slavery to Sin. The world are slaves of Sin and not of Christ. Before Christ will make us free from Sin, the Father requires that we shall give up our wills entirely to Him. This constitutes us slaves in the most absolute sense. The most absolute slavery is slavery of the will to another. Ours is such a slavery, but it is one that is beneficial. Whether we eat or drink or sleep or work--whatever we do--it is all to be done in harmony with the Lord's will and for His glory. Yes, ours is a most blessed slavery, and we would not become free from it for any consideration.
We see that unless we had this absolute submission of our wills to God, we could not be prepared for the glorious things to come, to be joint-heirs with our Redeemer in His glory, honor and immortality. We were, therefore, freed from the service of Sin that we might become the bond-servants of another, even Christ. And we recognize that in getting free from Sin, we are free indeed.--John 8:36.
It is true that we are still under a measure of bondage to Sin--in our bodies--as long as we live. But the Apostle urges, "Let not Sin...reign in your mortal body"--do not allow it to dominate you; refuse to obey Sin. (Rom. 6:12.) So then we are to exert ourselves. Whoever will not exert himself will remain a bond slave of Sin. We are to resist determinedly and persistently the attempts of the old master, Sin, to bring us again into captivity. We are to strive to maintain the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. (Gal. 5:1.) If we are half-hearted in this matter, we are only partially loyal, and shall fail to win the prize, unless we arouse ourselves. If we are fully loyal, His grace is sufficient, and He far more than compensates us for whatever of self-denial and sacrifice this loyalty may bring.
"THE SIN OF THE WORLD"
The sin of the world was Adam's sin. This original sin was disobedience, and this disobedience includes, not only the act by which Sin got possession of the world and has ever since held possession, but it includes everything incident to its penalty. So Jesus came into the world that He might take away "the sin of the world." (John 1:29.) And He made possible the release from Sin by laying down His life, giving His life a corresponding price for Adam's.
Sin obtained possession of Adam at the very moment that he sinned. He became the slave of Sin as soon as he obeyed Sin. Here are shown two great principles-- righteousness and sin. Sin presented the temptation and said, Take this course; and as soon as Adam yielded to the suggestion he became Sin's slave; and God gave him over to the penalty. So the Scriptures represent that God merely took His hands off when Adam became the voluntary servant of Sin.
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD AND EVIL ETERNAL
The great principles of good and evil have always been in existence, whether they have been in operation or not. Righteousness has always existed. There has always been a principle of righteousness, and there has always been a principle of unrighteousness. Since the creation of beings in God's image began, the wrong course has always been open. Satan might have taken that wrong course long before he did. Mankind will always be open to the privilege of sinning, if they choose. But God will so thoroughly teach what is the wages of Sin, that mankind and all created intelligences will learn that lesson fully. They will not take the wrong course --nor love it--they will know that it would be suicide. They will not choose the wrong, just as God would not choose the wrong. All will have learned to "love righteousness and hate iniquity."
But these two principles will continue to exist. As it is right to do one thing, it is wrong to do the opposite thing. God's just arrangement is that all who obey the principle of righteousness shall live everlastingly. Justice sees to it that any one who wanders from the right course pays the penalty. The sure consequence of sin will fall upon the sinner. This is a broad principle-- "the wages of Sin is death," and the wages of righteousness is everlasting life. Strictly speaking, however, everlasting life is a gift, no one could earn it: "The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
THE SELLING PRICE--THE PURCHASE PRICE
When Adam sinned, it was his life that he sold, and, as the Apostle Paul tells us, Adam was not overtaken unawares by this sin. He knew that the penalty was death if he should sin; hence when he ate the forbidden fruit he knew that he was selling his life. In other words, he gave his life for an apple--or rather for the woman for whom he ate the apple. Therefore, the self-gratification cost his life. He came wilfully under the penalty of death, into slavery to Sin as the result of eating that apple--for he knew the penalty. The selling price was, we see, an apple. The purchase price, the corresponding price, was the giving of human life.
The Divine Plan is like a great building which may be viewed from different angles. We could take various pictures other than those of purchase and sale. But to our mind this illustration fits and dovetails.
The Ransom is the foundation of this Plan. There is no other phase of the Divine Plan that is more accurately set forth in the Scriptures, and no phase that is more fought against--either openly or with subtlety-- than is the Ransom. The Ransom-price for Adam is to be paid to justice. Justice demanded that mankind be sentenced to death. Jesus Himself has met this demand. Justice says, Give me the price and mankind shall go free. Justice remains with its hands full all the time. It never lets go of its hold. The penalty stands until the price is paid.
Sin is not a person. It is only the principle of evil personified and is sometimes used as a synonym of Satan, who is a person. Man sold himself to Sin--Justice did not sell him. But Justice has recognized the transaction, the sale--so that under the condemnation, Sin can have dominion over man. But Divine Love stepped in and provided the purchase price for the sinner. All those sold under Sin shall be redeemed, or purchased back from Sin and Death. This transfer can be made only through Christ. He is the Purchaser and Mediator who will, in due time, lift all those who will out of the condemnation of Sin and Death, and put them into the realm of righteousness and life. And Justice will stand by and agree that Jesus shall be privileged to restore mankind to life, through the merit of His sacrifice.
"Hail to the Lord's Anointed,
Jehovah's blessed Son!
Hail, in the time appointed,
His Reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
To set the captives free,
To take away transgression,
And rule in equity."