The Curse of God on the Serpent and on Satan
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

Open your Bibles, please, to the third chapter of the book of Genesis as we continue our discussion of the effect of Adam's sin upon succeeding generations. We will re-read the paragraph which we have been reading, discussing portions of it as time permits. Notice, please, verse 14:

Genesis 3:

14And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

When we first examined this passage of Scripture, we discovered it was the curse upon this animal and only upon this animal. And we discovered by examining chapter 65 of the book of Isaiah that of all the curses that were placed because of Adam's sin, it was the only one that will not be lifted when the other curses are lifted. During the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth, these other curses will be lifted, but the dust shall still be the serpent's meat as an everlasting memorial to the seriousness of being used as an instrument of the Devil, for that is what the serpent was, of course. We read from verse 15:

Genesis 3:

15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

We noticed that these words were addressed not to the serpent, but to the one who possessed the serpent, the Devil himself, known as “that old serpent which is the Devil.” As we broke this passage of Scripture down and examined it in the light of related passages of Scripture, we discovered that the statement, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” meant far more than that women are afraid of snakes.

Prophetic Meaning of the Curse on Satan

We showed you by comparing Scripture with Scripture that the woman in this verse of Scripture is none other than the nation of Israel. And of course the serpent addressed is the Devil. We showed you from the Word of God how there has been an intense and everlasting warfare between the Devil and God's chosen people, Israel. That warfare is to climax when the Antichrist gathers all the nations of the world around the city of Jerusalem to annihilate the Jewish nation, and the Lord Jesus Christ interrupts this plan by His return.

You will notice also in verse 15 the curse which is a promise as well as a curse: “I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed.” The seed of the woman individually is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ. The seed of the woman dispensationally and rationally is the Lord Jesus Christ, because it was through that the Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth.

The seed here can be no other person than the Lord Jesus Christ, and the seed of the Devil, we learned by comparing Scripture with Scripture, is the Antichrist. So we find that there is enmity between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Antichrist, that enmity to climax at the end of the Tribulation period.

Then we are told in the last part of verse 15 that the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent, and the serpent shall bruise the heel of the seed of the woman. We discovered that the last part of that statement has been fulfilled. The first part is yet to be fulfilled in reality, though it has been potentially fulfilled at the moment.

The Lord Jesus Christ bruised the head of the serpent when He died on the Cross. He said, “Now is the prince of this world judged. Now is the prince of this world cast out.” Potentially, Christ has bruised Satan's head. Literally, the head of the serpent will be bruised at the end of the Tribulation, and ultimately at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, when the Devil will be cast into the lake which burneth with fire.

The last part of that statement, as we suggested to you, has already been fulfilled, “Thou shalt bruise his heel.” The Devil bruised the heel of the Lord Jesus Christ. For the phrase, “the bruising of the heel,” is a symbolic phrase that speaks of death. Though the Lord Jesus Christ died according to the predeterminate counsel and foreknowledge of God, we all know that the Devil was the instrument that placed Him on the Cross as he occupied Judas for the betrayal, as he occupied Pilate for the sentence, as he governed the hands of those who nailed Him to the Cross.

Curse of God on the Woman

Notice verse 16:

Genesis 3:

16Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

We pointed out to you that because of the woman's part in introducing sin into the human race, three things were pronounced as a curse upon her. One was that she would be well acquainted with sorrow. Her sorrow would be greatly multiplied, and particularly would that sorrow be multiplied in relation to bringing children into the world. We mentioned to you that the word sorrow is not a word related primarily to tears and anguish, but is related to a word related to travail and to pain. We pointed out to you particularly that children are brought into the world in much pain. And we pointed out to you a thing which has been borne out in the Scriptures and borne out in experience, that a mother's heart is pierced through with many sorrows again and again by her children in a way that a father's heart never has been and never will be.

Then we mentioned to you the second thing in verse 16: that the desire of the woman would be to her husband, that there would always be a yearning in the heart of a woman for a helpmate.

The third thing was that she would be subject to her husband. She would be subject to man. We pointed out from the Scripture that when that order is reversed in any sense of the word, nothing but havoc would result.

Curse of God on the Earth and on Man

That brings us to verse 17, where God spoke to Adam about his part in sin. What He said to Adam would influence and affect the human race and the earth even beyond Adam's day:

Genesis 3:

17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

We have already noticed part of this verse when we noticed the curse that God placed upon the ground, and we showed you from the Scripture how that curse will not be lifted until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to this earth. We showed you from the Scripture that because of the curse upon the ground, everything about nature is written in a minor key. Nature is looking as eagerly for the coming of the Lord as is the most devout believer, because nature has intuition placed there by God to realize that she was never intended to be subject to vanity as she now is. That vanity will be lifted in the manifestation of the sons of God.

That brings us to the thing we want to consider. It is suggested in language that is both literal and symbolic…literal because it speaks of a definite thing that is going to happen, but symbolic because it speaks of much more than one would think if he examined only these words. Will you notice in the latter part of verse 19: “Till thou return unto the ground.” That suggested to Adam that he was not going to live forever, and God continued that thought: “for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Death A Consequence of Man's Sin

We suggested to you for meditation for this discussion that it would be wise to interpret that phrase in the light of Genesis, chapter 2, verse 17:

Genesis 2:

17But 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.

The way this verse of Scripture reads in our translation, it might indicate to some people that Adam could expect to drop dead when he took the first bite out of the forbidden fruit, but we suggest to you that the construction of this phrase in the original language does not imply that. Rather than speaking of sudden immediate death, it speaks of the beginning of a process. Actually, you could read this verse in this manner: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eastest thereof dying thou shalt die.”

Death immediately sets in. We pointed out to you that we would next consider what is involved in the statement, “dying thou shalt die.” One thing that was involved was that Adam began to die physically. How do we know that he began to die physically? Because of what we read in the last part of Genesis, chapter 3, verse 22:

Genesis 3:

22And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

If Adam had not sinned. We suggested to you that that is a purely hypothetical statement, because in the plan of God and in the providence of God, Adam would sin. The Lord Jesus Christ was slain before the foundation of the world as far as God was concerned. But hypothetically speaking, if Adam had not sinned, he would have been permitted to live in the Garden of Eden. He would have been permitted to eat of the Tree of Life. He would never have died.

Because the Tree of Life meant life, literally, God saw to it that in his fallen state he would not eat of the Tree of Life. If he had, he would have lived forever in his fallen state. Even here is the tremendous mercy of God revealed.

Physical Death

We do not like to think about death. It touches our hearts. We are concerned when our loved ones become ill to the point of death. We ask God for an extension of days. That is all as it should be, but have you ever stopped to think how awful it would be if people could not die? Have you ever stopped to think what a terrible thing it would be if people became ill (as most certainly they would in these bodies that have been affected by Adam's sin) and lived forever in a state of suffering? I dare say that most of us, if not all of us, have had loved ones become ill, and when they first became ill, we did everything we could to keep them alive. We begged God to restore life and to give life. And when God was not pleased to raise them up, some of us (if not all of us), because our hearts were broken to see them suffering, would slip away to some quiet place and ask God to release them from this life.

It would be a terrible thing if man lived forever in a fallen state. So here is God in His mercy and in His grace seeing to it that Adam and Eve did not live forever in their fallen state. There can be no doubt that when God said to Adam in the Garden of Eden that day, “dying thou shalt die,” He was thinking about physical death.

Spiritual Death

But that is not all he was talking about. He was talking about something far worse than physical death. He was talking about spiritual death. He was talking about the fact that as soon as Adam ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he died spiritually. How do we know that? Remember we told you that the word death means separation. That is all it means. When we speak of one of our loved ones dying, why do we say, “Death has come?” Because the spirit and the soul have been separated from the body. That is what we call death.

The Bible uses the same death to speak of the spiritual condition of the individual who is away from God now, and who will be away from God for all eternity. That Adam's spiritual death occurred the moment he ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is mentioned to us in Genesis, chapter 3, verse 7, after Eve had eaten and given to her husband and he did eat.

Genesis 3:

7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Notice carefully now:

Genesis 3:

8And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

That is the spiritual state of every person who is outside of Jesus Christ: hidden from God, separated from God, spiritually dead. Notice verse 9:

Genesis 3:

9And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

You see, always before when God came down to the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day to walk and talk with Adam and Eve…and my, what wonderful conversations there must have been…they were eagerly awaiting the coming of God, because they were alive spiritually. They were not separated from God. Nothing had come between them and God. But now, disobedience had come between them and God, and they were spiritually dead.

Turn, please, to the book of Ephesians, chapter 2, as I suggest to you that this death of which we speak in relation to Adam's disobedience is spiritual death as well as physical death. You will notice in verse 1 that the apostle was speaking to the Ephesian believers. Once they were unsaved, but now they are born-again people. Once they were in great need, but now they are enjoying the riches of salvation. He said to them:

Ephesians 2:

1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Notice what he said: “In times past you were dead, but God raised you from the dead, spiritually speaking.”

Turn, please, to the Gospel of John, chapter 5, and notice the paragraph which begins with verse 24:

John 5:

24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

The people to whom the Lord Jesus Christ was speaking were very much alive physically. They had not died physically, and yet He said to those people who were there that day, “You heard My voice, you believed My words, and you have passed from death unto life.” What was He talking about? Spiritual death. They had passed from spiritual death unto spiritual life.

Three Resurrections

Then he gives us a dissertation on resurrection. There is more than one kind of resurrection mentioned in this paragraph, and that is the reason you need to read it very carefully so that you will not be confused by what is suggested. Notice verse 25:

John 5:

25Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

If you have been following closely, you will recognize that there are three resurrections mentioned in this paragraph. One of them is spiritual and two of them are physical. One spiritual is separated from the other two by an undesignated period of time. And one is separated from the other one by a distinct period of time of at least 1,007 years.

The First Resurrection

Notice verse 25:

John 5:

25Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

Jesus said that there is an hour coming, and it is already here, when dead people hear the voice of the Son of God, and they do. That is a reference to spiritual death and spiritual resurrection. As the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is proclaimed and men hear it, and it is mixed with faith in their hearts, they are brought to life spiritually so that they are no longer dead spiritually.

The Second Resurrection

Notice verse 28, and the accuracy of the Scripture:

John 5:

28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

You see, in verse 25, some people are not in their graves. They are alive physically, yet dead spiritually. But He wants to make a definite distinction, so in verse 28 He says that the people I am talking about now are dead physically:

John 5:

28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life;…

That is the first resurrection, and it may occur at any time. There is no prophecy yet to be fulfilled before that resurrection occurs. It could occur immediately. It could occur before another morning comes. It is a reference to the promise that is given in chapter 14 of John: “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you (literally, will catch you up to be with myself) that where I am, there ye may be also.” It is the fulfillment of what the Spirit of God reports in I Thessalonians, chapter 4, verse 13, when He said, “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” And then He went on to tell us that one of these days, the trumpet of God shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall be raised, and then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.

The Third Resurrection

Look at verse 29, and notice the semicolon between the word life and the word and . Recognize that that semicolon represents at least a thousand and seven years…maybe a little more time, but at least that much.

John 5:

29…and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

When is that resurrection to occur? Turn, please, to Revelation, chapter 20. Not only would we like for you to notice this truth with regard to what we are talking about, but we would like for you to notice also the third kind of death mentioned in the Word of God.

Revelation 20:

11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Let us establish in our thinking before we go any farther that there are no saved people in this resurrection. They have already been resurrected. But lest you wonder about that, notice that these people who are raised from the dead came from death and Hell. That is, death loosens its grip on their bodies, and Hell loosens its grip on their spirits. These are people whose names are not written in the book of life. These are they who are raised for the purpose of damnation. Notice verse 13:

Revelation 20:

13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:…

This is the third resurrection as seen in John, chapter 5, verse 29.

The third kind of death is mentioned in verse 14 of Revelation, chapter 20. We have talked to you about physical death. We have talked to you about spiritual death. Verse 14 of Revelation, chapter 20, introduces to us eternal death, or what is called here second death , for men who are unsaved die once physically. “…It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Because they have refused to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior, they die the second time. This time, it is eternal.

Do not think of death…It is very important for us to get this…Do not think of death as cessation of existence. Do not think of death as annihilation. It isn't. Death is merely separation. Way back yonder in the Garden of Eden, we were separated from God. We died spiritually. Every one of us, if the Lord Jesus Christ tarries, is going to have to face physical death. Our spirits and souls will be separated from our bodies. I hope, and I say this sincerely from the very bottom of my heart, I hope that no one here will ever face the second death. I hope no one here will ever face eternal death. But mark what I say to you: If you have not received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and if you refuse to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you die in that spiritually dead state, you will be eternally separated from God in the Lake of Fire. That is the second death.

Effect of Adam's Sin on the Human Race

When God said to Adam, “If thou do eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, dying thou shalt die,” the curse included Spiritual death, physical death, and eternal death. You may be saying, “Well, I was not there. That was Adam. Why do you keep saying that it has reference to us? We did not have anything to do with it.”

I would like for you to turn with me to chapter 5 of the book of Romans, because you will remember I told you that the purpose of this study we have been carrying on in the book of Genesis is to discuss not only Adam's sin but the effect of Adam's sin upon the human race. One of the simplest and yet most profound commentaries on the effect of Adam's sin upon the human race is found in chapter 5 of the book of Romans. This kind of reading in the Word of God is not the kind that can be done lightly. I do not know that you will be able to comprehend it fully at one sitting. I do not know that you will be able to comprehend it fully in the confines of our discussion, but I trust we will at least have a beginning, and the Spirit of God can make clear to you the effects of Adam's sin as it is compared and contrasted through the effects of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ in our behalf. We will read from verse 12:

Romans 5:

12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

If you are listening attentively, you know that there are two people presented to us in this paragraph. One of them is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the other is Adam. There is one central thought that you ought to get from this paragraph, and that is that what Adam did affected the whole human race, and what Christ did affected the whole human race. That is the thought of the paragraph, and it is compared and contrasted with that thought in view.

Now hear this: There are many people today who do believe in what this passage of Scripture teaches…namely, original sin, a sin nature, a natural depravity of the human race. I think we can show you where the Bible teaches it. Let me say this to you: If you do not believe that Adam's sin could have any effect on you, then there is no way in the world for you to be saved, because you could not believe that what Jesus Christ did on the Cross at Calvary had any effect on you, and you cannot be saved without Jesus Christ.

Someone says, “Why, that is foolishness. It is silly to talk about what Adam did at the beginning of creation affecting my standing in the presence of God. Why, that is silly.” I say this reverently: If you are going to follow that line of logic, and if you are going to follow that line of reasoning, it is just as silly to say that what Jesus Christ did on the Cross over two thousand years ago could not have any effect on you in regard to your standing before God. That is what the Spirit of God wants us to see, because the Spirit of God knew that men would doubt the natural depravity of the human heart, that men would doubt original sin. He compared and contrasted it with the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot believe one without believing the other. Let us notice now what happened with Adam's sin, in verse 12:

Romans 5:

12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world [that much we have learned], and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men,…

That was the first effect of Adam's sin. Adam became subject too death, and so did the whole human race. He emphasizes that truth along in this paragraph. Look at verse 15, where he says:

Romans 5:

15…through the offence of one many be dead,…

The word many is an unlimited word. You might as well say all . Through the offence of one all be dead. There is absolutely no question about that. Look down at verse 17:

Romans 5:

17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one;…

Life abdicated. Death took the throne because one man sinned, and death passed upon all the human race. Every time you stand by a coffin and look in the cold, still face of a loved one, remember that he is there because of sin. Not because of his own sin, as we will show you in just a moment, but because of Adam's sin. If Adam had not sinned, people would not die today. Remember that. Death passed upon all men. As we tried to show you from the Scriptures a few moments ago, this death is physical, spiritual and eternal because Adam sinned. Someone says, “I do not understand that. It does not sound reasonable. It does not sound logical.” The Apostle Paul knew that would be the case. If you are familiar with his writings, you know that he always anticipates arguments before they arrive. He says in verse 12:

Romans 5:

12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

“You don't mean us, Paul? You don't mean we are included in this?” “Yes, I do,” he says, “for that all have sinned…” That is, all are guilty before God. “All right,” we say, “what proof do you have that that is true?” And he says, “A very simple and adequate truth.” Look at verse 13:

Romans 5:

13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

What does that mean? It means that when Moses received the law of God…“Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not murder,” and so forth…man could no longer say, “You cannot hold me accountable for sin.” It was in black and white, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. If you broke the law, you were guilty. There was no question about it. Paul said, “Now , before the law came, no one could look in the book and find anything against anyone, but it does not mean that it was not there.” And how do you know it was not there, Paul? How do you know that men were not held guilty before God? Look at verse 14:

Romans 5:

14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

What does that mean? Well, those folk who lived after Adam and before Moses did not literally take of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They did not literally do that. Adam did that. Nevertheless, the sentence that was passed upon Adam was passed upon all of them, and they died spiritually. As we are going to see, God had to make a provision for their being brought to life. So Paul said that if you want proof that all men stand guilty before God, there it is.

He not only mentions death as an effect of Adam's sin, but he mentions two other things I would like for you to notice in chapter 5. If you will glance down at verse 16:

Romans 5:

16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

Mankind Guilty Before God and In Need of a Savior

Notice: judgment to condemnation. All the world stands condemned today before God because of Adam's sin…all the world. No, you do not wait until you reach the age of accountability, then sin, and then become a sinner. All the world is accounted guilty before God. For proof of that, turn back to the book of Romans, chapter 3. verse 9:

Romans 3:

9What then? are we better than they?…

The Jews were asking this question. “We are religious,” they said. “Are we better than the Gentiles who have no religion except a bunch of idolatry?”

Romans 3:

9…No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

All the world is guilty before God. Someone says, “When do men become condemned before God? How old do you have to be before you are condemned before God?” How old do you have to be? Turn with me, please, to Psalm 51. You recognize this to be the prayer of confession which David prayed after he had committed murder and adultery. He lied about it for two years. He would not face it for two years. But God dealt with him sorely. David could not stand it any longer, so he cried out in Psalm 51:

Psalms 51:

1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou Judgest.
5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

This is no relationship at all to the act which brings children into the world. There is nothing sinful about that. That is a holy relationship. This verse of Scripture is making the statement that every child born into the world is born into the world under condemnation. Every child born into the world is born into the world with Adam's nature and Adam's sin.

Turn back to Romans, chapter 5, and let me amplify what I have been saying to you by suggesting two more things, not necessarily different, that came as a result of Adam's sin. Look at verse 18:

Romans 5:

18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation;…

Judgment, not only now, but eternally.

Romans 5:

19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,…

You cannot read these verses of Scripture and follow these phrases and interpret them logically without realizing that the whole world stands condemned before God. That is the reason we have to send missionaries to the far corners of the world. The whole world is guilty before God. That is the reason you cannot go to Heaven because your grandmother was a Christian. It has to be a personal relationship between you and God through the Lord Jesus Christ, for we are guilty before God. Let me give you this simple illustration…hypothetical again, but perhaps forceful: If it were possible to shut you up in a vacuum the moment you were born so that you would see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, and do no evil, you would still need a Savior. You would not need a Savior on the basis of what you had done. You would need a Savior because you were born a part of a sinful race for whom Christ died. The reason I am very anxious for you to see that is that every man must be born again. Every man!

Someone says, “Well, we have a lovely baby in our home. We had her baptized, and we have trained her right. She has never missed Sunday School. She has never missed church. She knows all the language. Surely you do not think that little girl needs to be saved, do you?” Yes, I do. It is not baptism in infancy that saves you. It is not going to church and Sunday School that saves you. And it is not living right that saves you. It is your faith, your identification, your claiming what Jesus Christ did on the Cross two thousand years ago, as though it were done for you…as though you were the only person in all the world for whom Christ died.

One thing I want to say to you. I do not know how much of this you have heard with your spiritual ear, and I do not know how much you have comprehended, but I am very anxious that you do not go out of here and misquote me.

Salvation for Children Who Die Provided in the Atonement

Some of you, if you have not been listening carefully, will go out of here and say, “You know what Joe Temple taught? He taught that when little babies die, they go to Hell. That is what he taught.” That is not what I taught! The reason I say that is that so many people jump to the conclusion that when we say children are born in sin and shapen in iniquity, we are saying that if they die before they reach what we will call, for want of a better term, the age of accountability where they can accept Christ. If they die before that age, God sends them to Hell. If I did teach that doctrine, I would be in company with many learned theologians. Many learned theologians have taught it. Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest theologians who has ever walked across the face of the earth, and one of the most forceful preachers this earth has ever heard, said he believed there were babies in Hell a span long. But I do not believe that, and I do not believe it because the Bible does not teach it.

You say immediately, “Well, all right then, what is going to happen to babies who die before the age of accountability? What is going to happen to babies who are born with Adam's fallen nature and never have an opportunity to come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” First, let me suggest to you that the Bible does not know any age of accountability as a set age. We have trained ourselves to think that the age of accountability is twelve, and we make a great deal of effort to get our Juniors baptized and to join the church at least by the time they are twelve. Let me tell you something. You ought to begin to work on them before they get to be twelve. There is no certain age when they reach the age of accountability. It differs with individuals. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” What did he mean by that? He meant that if you do not stand in the way of your child, in all probability your child will come to Christ, and you do not have to wait until he is twelve. But how many people do? How many people say, “Oh, you are too young to know what it is all about. Wait until you are twelve, and you can accept Christ.”

Bob Jones, Sr., one of the world's great evangelists, in times past at least, said that he was brought up on that kind of theology, but he could not wait until he was twelve to be saved. He begged God to save him. He wanted to be saved so badly. As he said, he was probably saved when he was about six. When he first wanted to be saved, he did not know anything about the Bible except what he had heard, and they told him he had to wait until he was twelve, so he asked God to have mercy on him and not to let anything happen to him until he got to twelve. So, Beloved, if you have a child, you tell him about Jesus as soon as you can. Tell him God loves him, and Jesus died for him, and give him a chance to come to Jesus. They will come. They will come.

I am not going to say to you that the age of accountability is two years or three years or twelve years or fifteen years old. The age of accountability differs with different people. But until children reach that age of accountability, God has made provision for them. Turn with me to the first Epistle of John, chapter 2:

I John 2:

1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Do you get that? John said, “I do not want you to sin, but if you do, do not give up. Jesus Christ died for your sins. He is the propitiation. He is the one who satisfied God in relation to sin.” And he added, “not only for the sins of those of us who have already accepted Christ, but for the sins of those who have not yet accepted Christ.” The satisfaction is there, ready to be claimed, and if a little baby dies before it knows anything about claiming that sacrifice, the sacrifice is made for him. If an individual dies without accepting Christ because he is mentally ill, or while he is mentally incompetent, or if children die who are mentally retarded and do not have mentality enough to understand the Gospel, the provision is made for them, because God is a merciful God. Salvation does not depend upon what we do. It depends upon what He has done.


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