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[The] Belgic Confession underlines the deliberate and willful nature of Adam’s transgression. Sometimes the word “fall” gives us the wrong impression. A fall is something tragic, a dreadful accident. A man might fall down the stairs, out of a tree or even off a tall building. Some falls can be very serious; others less so. But a fall is usually not deliberate. We tend to pity a man who falls as we see him with a broken leg or other injury. But Adam did not merely fall. He jumped! The Belgic Confession explains it this way: “man had thrown himself into temporal and eternal death.” The idea is of fatal plunge. When a man deliberately destroys himself, he is no longer to be pitied. He is to be condemned. Adam was not a victim of the deception of the serpent. Adam walked wide-eyed into death. God had warned him in unmistakable words: “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Adam chose death therefore. Not even the devil could have forced Adam to sin against his own will.
The result of Adam’s deliberate plunge into evil was his—and our—misery. The serpent had lied. He had promised Eve a much better result: “Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). In a way, the serpent was right: Adam’s eyes were opened, but not as he might have hoped. He experienced evil for himself, and the experience was bitter. Much later Jeremiah would exclaim, “Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee” (Jer. 2:19). Adam was miserable. He had cut himself off from God, the only source of life and joy. And yet Adam did not want to return to God. He loved sin, although it made him miserable; he hated God; and he was allied to the devil, although Satan was a wicked tyrant who held him in cruel bondage.
That is the folly of sin. The sinner knows that sin will destroy him, but he will not give it up. He knows that the wages of sin is death, but he would rather receive those wages than repent. But God did not abandon Adam to his doom. Adam deserved to die, both temporally and eternally. Adam deserved to remain miserable forever. But, although God was justly offended by man’s sin, and although God had every just cause to destroy mankind, He came with the promise of salvation to trembling, fleeing Adam—and to us who are in Jesus Christ!
Adapted from an article by Limerick Reformed Fellowship via FB.