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Christian Biblical Studies
Scripture references are to the NIV-UK
The requirement for Faith can be traced to the fall of the human race into sin and away from the fellowship of its Creator. The first man, Adam, had no doubt about the existence of God, but he did need to exercise heart's reliance that aspect of Faith which trusts the integrity and dependability of the One who made him.
Consequent on Adam's fall into sin, which affected every one of his offspring, God withdrew His overt friendship, but not His unfailing love. Mankind was now a dying creature, thrust into a hostile environment. Over succeeding generations, as deaths and dangers accumulated, fear and doubt set in, and the certainty of a benign God receded. The benevolent Creator was increasingly viewed with suspicion and disdain, and humanity was at length separated from Him by a chasm too wide to bridge by the diverse and corrupted religious practices which sprang up over the millennia.
Although God had cursed and rejected humanity, He had not altogether abandoned it, as emphasised by St. Paul in Rom. 8: 20, 21, when he writes that it
was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one [God] who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
From this we learn that though God hid His favour from the human family, He nonetheless imbued them with the compensating quality of Hope an essential ingredient of Faith.
Christ's death redeems (purchases) the believing sinner in an elegant demonstration of God's justice. Adam, the perfect man, sinned and God passed the sentence of death on him. Jesus, the perfect man, offered Himself in place of Adam, thus releasing Adam and his offspring from the curse of dying and death. This is the ʻransom for allʼ mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:
The Apostle Paul lays emphasis on this principle of equivalence in 1 Corinthians 15:
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
That is to say, all those affected by the curse on Adam the entire human family, past, present and future will receive the saving merit of Christ's death if they believe in Him as Saviour the object of Faith. Some will avail themselves of the privilege in this life; the vast majority will take their opportunity later, in Christ's earthly Kingdom, after a general resurrection. Christs ransom-sacrifice guarantees an opportunity for all to become right with God, to have their sins forgiven, and to enter into a contract of grace and eternal life. There can be no salvation outside this arrangement.
Jan-Feb 2019 ukbiblestudents.co.uk no copyright