A. Man was expelled from the garden when he sinned.
Adam was created perfect and in the image of God. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (Gen. 1:26) He was given one law, "Thou shalt not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." (Paraphrase of Gen. 2:17) That law had a penalty if it was broken--death. When Adam ate of the forbidden tree, he died at that moment spiritually (separated from God), begin the physical process of death, and was expelled from the garden into a cursed earth. And he passed on to all his offspring (us included) death, thus putting all his offspring on a Road to Ruin.
B. But God had grace and mercy.
1. Keeps one safe until they reach the knowledge of accountability.
Even though babies are born with a sin nature they are not accountable until they reach a knowledge of good and evil. Most refer to an "age of accountability" but the Bible does not say that. In fact Deut. 1:39 states that Israel's little ones and their children would enter Canaan because they had no knowledge between good and evil. Their age? Twenty years old! I am not saying that this is when children become accountable but they must have a knowledge between good and evil (not right and wrong) to be accountable. Until then they are safe because of God's grace and mercy. (If you would like more information on this point contact me.)
2. Forbears wrath.
The wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness--to those who are accountable. (Rom. 1:18) John 3:36 states that the wrath of God abideth (remains) on all who do not believe on the Son. But God forbears (holds back) His wrath giving man a space of repentance. "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Rom. 2:4) This is grace and mercy all because He is not willing that any man should perish but all come to repentance. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us‑ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9)
3. Gives light on Road to Ruin.
1) Conscience inside.
"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them." (Rom. 1:19)
God gave to every man a God shaped vacuum I call a conscience which cannot be filled until God Himself fills it in the person of the Holy Spirit. Therefore inside every man there is an emptiness placed there by God to cause man to search for fulfillment which can only come from Him. That's light.
2) Creation outside.
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." (Rom. 1:20)
This verse says that man is without excuse because His creation reveals there is a God. Psa. 19:1-4 declares that day and night speaks to every man on the face of this earth, no matter what their language, "There is a God." That's light. God's grace and mercy have been given to all on this Road to Ruin.
C. Sad thing.
Thank the Lord for light that reveals that God exists. One must come to this truth (light) before he will ever seek the Lord. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Heb. 11:6) The sad thing about this light is that man (majority) is:
1. Indifferent to it. (Rom. 1:21a)
This verse says "they knew God but glorified Him not as God." "Know" means to know by personal experience which means by conscience inside and creation outside they knew God exists. Yet many are indifferent, not really concerned, or pay no attention to the light he has. This lead to:
2. Ingratitude. (Rom 1:21b)
They were not thankful. They did not give credit to God or express appreciation of Him. Not being thankful of God's grace and mercy of giving one light or having ingratitude will lead to:
3. Ignorance. (Rom. 1:21c-22)
They "became vain" which means to render foolish. The word "foolish" means that which is without understanding or not able to put together the manifest evidence about God. "Heart" refers to the faculty and seat of intelligence; thus, it also refers to understanding. "Darkened" means blinded or not clearly expressed, so that they did not perceive and comprehend the truth. The outcome is they became fools. When a person is not thankful, (has ingratitude) even what light he has turns to darkness thus to ignorance. The Road to Ruin doesn't stop here because ignorance leads to:
4. Idolatry. (Rom. 1:23)
An idol is anything that usurps God's rightful place in one's life. Notice the path of idolatry--downward. The devil will carry you as low as he can. First man, then birds, the four footed beasts, and finally creeping things. The Road to Ruin is not finished yet for idolatry will lead to:
5. Immorality. (Rom. 1:24-32)
Three times in these verses (vs. 24,26,28) we see that God gave them up or over to:
1) Uncleanness. (v. 24)
"Uncleanness" means any unnatural pollution.
2) Vile affections. (v. 26)
"Vile affections" refer to disgraceful passions of dishonor. Homosexuality falls in this category.
3) Reprobate mind. (v. 28)
"Reprobate" means rejected, unapproved, and void of judgment. This refers to a mind in which divine distinctions of right and wrong are confused or lost completely, so that God's condemnation has no choice but to fall on it at last. That is Ruin. (Rom. 6:23a)
D. How to guard against that.
If you desire to guard against ruin you must respond to the light of God's grace and mercy. Do not be indifferent but thankful (gratitude) for where you are and what He is doing. That guards against ignorance, idolatry, and immorality. Therefore, it guards against Ruin. (Rom. 6:23b)
If you would like more information on any of the points please call, write, or E-mail us at EdgarLeePaschall@juno.com. We will be glad to help you if we can. Please don't be indifferent and reject the light (truth) in this article.
THE PERSUADER - April-June, 2000