An Application of Bunyan: Promises Worse than Empty

July 12, 2019 | by James M. Harrison

As Christian continued on his way, he saw ahead of him the man named “Faithful”, and sought to overtake him, desiring fellowship along the way.  Faithful was also from the City of Destruction, having set out on his journey sometime after Christian had begun his own.

As they walked together, they told their stories, and Faithfful related to Christian the conversation which took place concerning him among the residents of their city after Christian had departed on his journey, which those who remained behind referred to as his “desperate journey”.

As Faithful spoke of the events of his own journey, he told of his encounter with a very aged man, whom he met at the foot of the Hill called Difficulty.  When Faithful had inquired as to the man’s identity, and the city from whence he came, the man told him that his name was Adam the First, and that he dwelled in the town of Deceit.

But this aged man had more to offer than simply his name and that of his town.  He also offered Faithful a home and a job.  “Thou lookest like an honest fellow,” he said.  “Wilt thou be content to dwell with me, for the wages that I shall give thee?”  When Faithful then inquired as to the nature of this work, and the wages to be paid, he was told that the work would be delightful, and the wages were that Faithful should become this old man’s heir.  In addition, said Adam the First, “I have three daughters, The Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life.”  And he offered all of them to be Faithful’s wives, if he so desired.

As Faithful related these things to Christian he did confess that he was tempted to go with the man.  The promises sounded sweet, at first.  But then, Faithful recalled, as he and Adam spoke, he noticed something written upon the man’s forehead.  There, Faithful read the words, “Put off the old man with his deads.”  It was then that Faithful realized how close he had come to catastrophe.

He said, then, to Christian, “Then it came burning hot into my mind, whatever he said, and however he flattered, when he got me home to his house, he would sell me for a slave.”

Indeed, that is all the old man as to offer.  To be the heir of the first Adam is to be a slave.  Indeed, Adam the first told Faithful that “his servants were those of his own begetting.”  We are all begotten of the first Adam.  We are born slaves, and we live in bondage.  Of course, there would be no point of speaking of Adam the first, if there were not also Adam the second.  It is this second Adam who is able to release slaves from bondage, and he will do so for whoever desires to leave the house of the first Adam, and enter into the house and the service of the second Adam.  For the second Adam is none other than the Master of the Celestial City.

This is what Paul speaks of in Romans 5.  One may be of the first Adam, in whom death reigns, or one may leave the first Adam and align oneself with Jesus Christ, the second Adam, in whom there is the abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness, and the life everlasting.

Those are the options, and each must decide.  Which will it be?

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