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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, October 28, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

Notice that our text says, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” I think Arthur W. Pink had an insight on that when he said,

It was not something in Adam that died, but Adam himself – in his relation to God. The same is true of his offspring. They are indeed “dead in trespasses and sins” [Ephesians 2:1] toward God, from the beginning of their existence, but nothing within them is positively dead in the ordinary meaning of that word. In the scriptural sense of the term, “death” never signifies annihilation, but separation. At physical death the soul is not extinguished but separated from the body; and the spiritual death of Adam was not the extinction of any part of his being but the severance of his fellowship with a holy God. The same is true of all his children (Arthur W. Pink, Gleanings from the Scriptures: Man’s Total Depravity, Moody Press, 1991 reprint, pp. 82-83).

“In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”
      (Genesis 2:17).

Our first parents ate of the forbidden fruit. In that very day they died. They were not extinguished. They did not cease to exist. But death was activated in their bodies, and their souls died – they were cut off from the source of life, which is God Himself. This is called the “Fall of man,” because the entire human race fell into ruin in Adam, and his dead nature passed down to every human being. As the Bible teaches, “by one man sin entered into the world” (Romans 5:12). The Geneva Bible’s note on that verse says, “From Adam, in whom all have sinned, both guiltiness and death came upon all” (The Geneva Bible, 1599, note on Romans 5:12).

The proof of this doctrine is found in the fact that the first child born to Adam was Cain, a man of the earth, a lost man who refused to be saved. So it may be said of all Adam’s descendants, “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain” (Jude 11).

“They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12).

“They are all under sin” (Romans 3:9).

“In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”
      (Genesis 2:17).

And they did die, and all mankind died with them, having the poison of the Fall inherent in their souls and bodies. How, then, does the Fall of Adam affect you? There are many evil effects of the Fall, but I will mention two of the spiritual consequences tonight.

I. First, mankind was cut off from God.

That happened instantly when Adam sinned. He had previously known full fellowship with God. But the moment he sinned he was separated from God.

“And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God” (Genesis 3:8).

That cutting off, that separation, that alienation, is present in every human mind and heart.

He may grow up in the very confines of the church. He may be trained in a Christian home and a Christian school, but he still hides himself “from the presence of the Lord God.” He is still

“alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in [him], because of the blindness of [his] heart” (Ephesians 4:18).

That alienation, that separation, is present in every offspring of Adam. That is what it means to be “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5). Arthur W. Pink said,

When Christ represented the father as saying, “This my son was dead…” (Luke 15:24), He certainly did not mean that the Prodigal [Son] had ceased to exist, but that he [was] in “a far country”…cut off from his father (Pink, ibid., p. 83).

I remember a “decisionist” telling me that the prodigal son was not dead. I opened the Bible and had him read Luke 15:24, where the father plainly said,

“This my son was dead” (Luke 15:24).

That is the Word of God. If you are unconverted don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t dead, for the Bible plainly says that you are “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5). That is explained by the note on Ephesians 2:1 in the 1599 Geneva Bible, “So then he calleth them dead, which are not regenerate…not only born half dead, but wholly and altogether dead.” That is, you are wholly and altogether separated from God, as the prodigal was altogether separated from his father, and, so, was called “dead” (Luke 15:24). That is why God seems unreal and far away from you – because you are “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5). And you will always be dead to God in sin unless Christ comes to you, from outside yourself, and saves you from it. Dead you are, and dead you shall remain, unless Christ comes to you, from outside yourself and saves you from it, for God said to Adam,

“In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”
      (Genesis 2:17).

And, in Adam, you are dead to God, cut off from Him now and forever – unless Christ comes, from the outside, to save you from it.

II. Second, mankind came into bondage.

That also happened instantly when Adam sinned.

“In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”
      (Genesis 2:17).

In that very day, at that very hour, Adam came into bondage, and that condition of slavery has passed down to all his descendants. Mankind became “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), completely unable to do anything to bring about their own salvation,

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).

Man became perpetually rebellious against God. Man became “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5). Pink said, “The will of the sinner is like a [chained] prisoner in a [jail] cell. His movements are hampered by his chains, and he is hindered by the walls that confine him. He is free to walk, but in such a constrained way and within such a limited space that his freedom is bondage – a bondage to sin” (ibid. p. 85).

It is precisely at this point that modern “decisionism” departs from historic Baptist and Protestant doctrine. The “decisionists” say that man’s will, his ability to choose Christ, is free at all times; that he can choose Christ whenever he wishes. Dr. A. W. Tozer was not a five-point Calvinist, yet he correctly said,

There is another and worse evil…It is the habit of… “accepting” salvation as if it were a small matter and one wholly in our hands. Men are exhorted to think things over and “decide” for Christ, and [on] “Decision Day”…people are expected to condescend to grant Christ the right to save them, a right which they have obviously refused Him up to that time. Christ is thus made…to wait upon the pleasure of the individual, and after long and humble waiting is either turned away or patronizingly admitted…[But] it is still true that men become [Christians] not by their own whim but by sovereign calling. Has not God by such words as these taken out of our hands the ultimate choice?...No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…No man can come unto me, except it were given him of the Father (A. W. Tozer, D.D,. The Divine Conquest, Christian Publications, 1950, page 48).

George Whitefield was unquestionably the greatest evangelist of all time in the English-speaking world. In his evangelistic sermons Whitefield repeatedly told lost people that they needed to feel the depravity of their own hearts, the deadness of their own wills, their natural inability to come to Christ, that if they were to be born again it had to be the work of God alone,

“Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

“In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die
      (Genesis 2:17).

Before the Fall man had freedom to choose between eating or not eating, but after he ate, he and all his descendants lost that freedom. Now they were “all under sin” (Romans 3:9). Now they were all “in bondage under the elements of the world” (Galatians 4:3). Now they were all “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

“In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”
      (Genesis 2:17).

Read the third chapter of Genesis carefully. And, when you have read it carefully, ask yourself where Adam made a “decision” to be saved. Ask yourself where he prayed the “sinner’s prayer” – or even where he “asked” God to save him. You will not find a trace of “decisionism” in the third chapter of Genesis. All you will find is condemnation and curses on man “in sin,” until God, by His decision, clothed man in coats of skin – until God Himself chose to give them what the Scofield Study Bible describes as “a type of ‘Christ, made unto us righteousness’ – a divinely provided garment that the first sinners might be made fit for God’s presence” (The Scofield Study Bible, note on Genesis 3:21). Those sinners in Eden did not clothe themselves. God clothed them in the righteousness and Blood of the pre-incarnate Christ.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).

Then, tonight, I ask you, have you insight regarding your condition in Adam? Do you see that you are cut off from God by the corruption of your nature? Do you feel your bondage to sin? One person said, “I can’t stop sinning.” Have you felt that – the slavery, the bondage of your will “under sin” (Romans 3:9)? Is Christ drawing you to Himself for cleansing in His Blood – or are you left “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) waiting for eternal doom, waiting to be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15)?

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 3:6-21.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Lord, I Am Vile, Conceived in Sin” (by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).




by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

(Ephesians 2:1; Romans 5:12; Jude 11; Romans 3:12, 9)

I.   First, mankind was cut off from God, Genesis 3:8;
Ephesians 4:18; 2:5; Luke 15:24.

II.  Second, mankind came into bondage, Ephesians 2:3;
Romans 8:7; John 1:13; Romans 3:9; Galatians 4:3;
Ephesians 2:1; Revelation 20:15.