Are the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 the angels of Jude 6?
Capable men have differed on this for years. Here are three suggestions for differentiating between these passages.
First, the phrase, “sons of God,” does not necessarily mean angels. Three times it does (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7), but at least 4 times this word describes Israels relationship to God as “sons” (Exodus 4:22; Hosea 1:10; Deuteronomy 14:1; Psalm 73:15). This expresses a relationship of favor with God, distinguished from all others; that may be its thought in Genesis 6.
Second, in their context, these verses are the bridge between the genealogy of the godly in chapter five and the corruption that demanded the righteous judgment of the flood. Since other passages hold men – not fallen angels – responsible for the evil of those days (Genesis 6:12, 13; Job 22:15-17; 2 Peter 2:5), the context favors the view that a lack of separation by a favored generation hastened the corruption.
The context in Jude also seems to differentiate the two passages. With Egypt and Sodom, these angels form part of one of Judes many triplets. As with those referred in Jude 4, these all sinned while privileged and then suffered judgment, as those in verse 4 would. If Lucifers thought brought immediate judgment (Isaiah 14:12, 13), the sin of these in Jude 6 must likewise have called for immediate banishment to everlasting chains. Even if the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 were angels, they were previously fallen (judged) angels, who for a prolonged period – as is supposed – cohabited with women. This is not an illustration of those who sin while privileged and therefore suffer severely.
To what does “the righteousness of God” (Romans 3:22) refer?
Gods court and law requires righteousness. Romans 3:10 flatly states that the defendant (man) has not satisfied the requirement. Man is guilty. “Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” the guilty is pronounced “right with God,” justified (verse 24). The “propitiation” (verse 25) has satisfied the requirements of the court and the Judge pronounces that the guilty has a righteous standing. This righteous standing is the “righteousness of God” that the law didnt produce, but was “witnessed by the law and the prophets” (verse 21, see also Romans 4:1-8).
This “righteousness of God” is received by faith, apart from merit, solely through the blood of Christ (verse 22, with Romans 5:1; 3:24; 5:9). It is not an exchanged righteousness – a record of sin removed and a record of righteousness replacing it. It is a righteousness based on Gods requirements being met by the sacrifice. Neither is this an engrafted righteousness, as though we now possess an attribute of God, the righteousness of God. It is a righteous standing, declared and accounted by God and based on the satisfaction God has received from the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Is the righteousness of Christ imputed to the believer?
No. Many of the best known evangelicals have affixed their signature to a manifesto of Christian belief that espouses this. The consistent teaching of the New Testament is that we have been declared, have been reckoned, or have become “the righteousness of God.” For instance, from 2 Corinthians 5:21, some teach that God put our acts of sins on Christs account and He suffered for them. In a perfectly balanced way, they teach, God now puts Christs acts of righteousness on our account. Our sins became His; His righteousness become ours.
What became ours, according to 2 Corinthians 5:21, was “righteousness of God” (without an article, “the”), which is not a term describing Christs righteous life on earth. Furthermore, despite the hymn writers words, “He took my sins and my sorrows; He made them His very own,” Christ bore our sins, but was Himself holy; “He knew no sin” before, during, and after the cross. He paid the penalty of our sins, but they did not become His. We have become “the righteousness of God,” righteous, as required by God, through Christs death, not His life.
What is our condemnation in Adam?
Romans 5:15-19 establishes a comparison and contrast between Adam and Christ. In verse 15, they are compared, since both act to bring a consequence to many. They are federal heads who act as representatives of all their “constituents.” Verse 18 summarizes the contrast: one man, one act of trespass, condemnation to all in him versus one Man, one act of righteousness, justification to all in Him, resulting in life. One part of this contrast is missing regarding Adam, the result. That is given in verses 17 and 15, death. The condemnation is not Adams sin imputed to us; it is death.
In fact, verse 19 makes clear that Adams one act defined our standing as sinners, not our guilt through the imputing of his sin. Likewise, Christs one act that satisfies Gods righteousness defines our standing as righteous (not through the imputing of His righteousness).
No unbeliever will be condemned at the Great White Throne for Adams sin. The acts of these federal heads were not our acts, nor did we act in them; they aded as our representatives.