But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.…
General defection is a cause and presage of a sweeping stroke.
1. The crime charged on them. Covenant breaking. This is a crime of a high nature; it strikes at the root of society among men, and therefore is scandalous and punishable though it be but a man's covenant. How much more atrocious is the crime where God is the one party! God took the Israelites into covenant with Himself when He brought them out of Egypt.
2. Whom they resembled in breach of covenant. They acted like men. They were vain, light, fickle, and inconsistent as men. It may however be read, "like Adam." And he broke his covenant. Doctrine. Our father Adam broke the covenant of works.
I. THE FATAL STEP BY WHICH THAT COVENANT WAS TRANSGRESSED AND BROKEN. It was the eating of the forbidden fruit. Consider the progress, the ingredients, and the aggravations of this act. As to the ingredients, notice the unbelief, pride, ingratitude, contempt of God, and the breaking of the whole law of God at once. As to the aggravations, notice that it was righteous Adam. The object by which he was enticed — a morsel of fruit. The smaller the thing was, the greater the sin. The nature of the thing. It was theft and sacrilege. The place where it was committed, and the time when it was committed.
II. HOW WAS THIS FATAL STEP BROUGHT ABOUT?
1. The instrument of the temptation was a serpent; a true and real serpent.
2. It was acted by the devil.
3. Satan set upon the woman first, she being the weaker vessel
4. He moveth a doubt concerning the command.
5. Then he falls on the threatening and contradicts it.
6. He proceeds as one that wished well to her and her husband, and pretends to show how they might both arrive at a high pitch of happiness speedily.
7. She being ensnared, he makes use of her to tempt her husband, and prevails. God left man to the freedom of his own will in this matter. He was not the cause of his fall. But why was not man set beyond the possibility of change? It is to he remembered that absolute immutability is the peculiar prerogative of God Himself, and every creature, in as far as it is a creature, is incapable of being so immutable. Man abused his own liberty, or freedom of will, and so broke the covenant.
III. HOW WAS THE COVENANT OF WORKS BROKEN BY THIS FATAL STEP?
1. The command was violated.
2. The right and title to the promised benefit by that covenant was undermined.
3. He fell under the penalty of the covenant, became liable to death in its utmost extent.
(1) The soul of man died spiritually, losing the image of God and the favour of God.
(2) The body of man became mortal, death working within it and without it.
(3) Soul and body were subjected and bound over to eternal death in hell. Learn —
1. The nothingness of the creature when left to itself.
2. The hopelessness of salvation by works.
3. Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.
4. Take heed of forgetting the covenant of your God.
5. Here is a demonstration of the absolute necessity of being united to the second Adam, who kept the second covenant, and thereby fulfilled the demands of the first covenant.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.