Question 15 – What Special Act of Providence did God Exercise Towards Man in the Estate Wherein He Was Created?
“But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” – Gal 3:12 ESV
And the law is not of faith, The Arabic version adds, “but of man”; which as it is an addition to the text, so it contains false doctrine; for though the law is not of faith, yet not of man, but of God; the law does not consist of faith in Christ, nor does it require it, and that a man should live by it upon his righteousness; it is the Gospel that reveals the righteousness of Christ, and directs and encourages men to believe in him and be saved; nor does the law take any notice of a man’s faith; nor has it anything to do with a man as a believer, but as a doer, in the point of justification:
but the man that doeth them shall live in them; the passage referred to, is in Lev 18:5, the word “them”, relates to the statutes and judgments, not of the ceremonial, but of the moral law, which are equally obligatory on Gentiles as on Jews. The Jewish doctors observe on those words, that “it is not said, priests, Levites, and Israelites, but האדם, “the man”; lo, you learn from hence, that even a Gentile that studies in the law, is as an high priest:” so that whatever man does the things contained in the law, that is, internally as well as externally, for the law is spiritual, reaches the inward part of man, and requires truth there, a conformity of heart and thought unto it, and that does them perfectly and constantly, without the least failure in matter or manner of obedience, such shall live in them and by them; the language of the law is, do this and live; so life, and the continuation of that happy natural life which Adam had in innocence, was promised to him, in case of his persisting in his obedience to the law; and so a long and prosperous life was promised to the Israelites in the land of Canaan, provided they observed the laws and statutes which were commanded them: but since eternal life is a promise made before the world began, is provided for in an everlasting covenant, is revealed in the Gospel, and is the pure gift of God’s grace through Christ, it seems that it never was the will of God that it should be obtained by the works of the law; and which is a further proof that there can be no justification in the sight of God by them, see Gal 3:21. [Gill]
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” – Gen 2:17 ESV
But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Of the name of this tree, and the reasons of it; see Gill on Gen 2:9.
thou shalt not eat of it; not that this tree had any efficacy in it to increase knowledge, and improve in science and understanding, as Satan suggested God knew; and therefore forbid the eating of it out of envy to man, which the divine Being is capable of; or that there was anything hurtful in it to the bodies of men, if they had eaten of it; or that it was unlawful and evil of itself, if it had not been expressly prohibited: but it was, previous to this injunction, a quite indifferent thing whether man ate of it or not; and therefore was pitched upon as a trial of man’s obedience to God, under whose government he was, and whom it was fit he should obey in all things; and since he had a grant of all the trees of the garden but this, it was the greater aggravation of his offence that he should not abstain from it:
for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die; or “in dying, die”; which denotes the certainty of it, as our version expresses it; and may have regard to more deaths than one; not only a corporeal one, which in some sense immediately took place, man became at once a mortal creature, who otherwise continuing in a state of innocence, and by eating of the tree of life, he was allowed to do, would have lived an immortal life; of the eating of which tree, by sinning he was debarred, his natural life not now to be continued long, at least not for ever; he was immediately arraigned, tried, and condemned to death, was found guilty of it, and became obnoxious to it, and death at once began to work in him; sin sowed the seeds of it in his body, and a train of miseries, afflictions, and diseases, began to appear, which at length issued in death. Moreover, a spiritual or moral death immediately ensued; he lost his original righteousness, in which he was created; the image of God in him was deformed; the powers and faculties of his soul were corrupted, and he became dead in sins and trespasses; the consequence of which, had it not been for the interposition of a surety and Saviour, who engaged to make satisfaction to law and justice, must have been eternal death, or an everlasting separation from God, to him and all his posterity; for the wages of sin is death, even death eternal, Rom 6:23. So the Jews interpret this of death, both in this world and in the world to come. [Gill]
Answer – When God had created man, He entered into a covenant of life with him upon condition of perfect obedience: forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death.
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