Background and History as to our position
IN THE BEGINNING
In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth. He created everything on it, he created man and woman. God saw that it was good. Afterward God put man in the Garden of Eden to till the ground and to take care of it. Life was wonderful for Adam and Eve; you could even say life was perfect. They enjoyed God's presence and they walked in fellowship with their Creator. They lived a joyful and easy life. There was only one command God gave them; they were commanded not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They could eat the fruit of any tree except the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Then satan came in the form of a serpent and tempted Eve. Instead of listening to their Creator, they listened to the lies of the devil; Eve ate of the fruit and she also gave to her husband and he ate. They disobeyed God and just as God had warned them beforehand, so now it happened. God had told them that on the day they would eat of the forbidden fruit they would surely die. And die they did; they died spiritually. They were separated from God and because of their disobedience they had become sinners. Through man’s disobedience sin and death came into the world. God and sin are opposites, they cannot coexist. God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. God is Holy. Therefore as the result of their disobedience; Adam and Eve were dead spiritually and they were separated from God and as a result they were cast out of the Garden of Eden and their lives completely changed and life became hard and miserable. Genesis 1-3
OUR OWN HISTORY
After sin and death entered the world through Adam and Eve, things went from bad to worse very fast. Genesis 3 describes man's fall and in Genesis 4 man descends further into sin as shown by Cain murdering his own brother Abel and by Genesis 6 man had become like this; The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5) And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. (Genesis 6:6)
That was right before the Flood, before the Tower of Babel had ever been built and before Sodom and Gomorrah’s wicked living. What I’m trying to show you and impress upon you is how quickly and how completely man’s corruption came about. How the whole human race became victims and slaves to sin and corruption in almost no time. And we have continued like that ever since. Why is the world the way it is? All the chaos, confusion and misery, where does it come from and why doesn’t there seem to be a solution? God’s History from the beginning is this; God continually warning us; he told Adam and Eve the day you eat of the forbidden fruit, you will surely die. God warned Cain; if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door, its desire is for you; but you must master it. God warned the people through Noah for more than a hundred years, God sent Moses and many Prophets to warn his people. God did many things for his people; wonders, miracles. God showed his steadfast love and mercy many, many times. Our History is that we did not listen and forgot and many times even refused stubbornly and did the very things God commanded us not to do. Over and over again we did the very things we were not supposed to do and had been warned not to do. By reading the Old Testament and by looking at our own Live’s history we will come face to face with this awful truth. And as Isiah so rightly said; all we like sheep have gone astray we have every one of us turned to our own ways. And the worst of it is, for the most part we don’t even realize this. We are ignorant and even proud of ourselves. Look at the world today and throughout History priding itself in sinning and taking pleasure in all sorts of evil things. We make a sport out of sinning and those who sin the most and the worst sinners they are our heroes and celebrities. We praise them and those who don’t join in are the prudes and the backward ones. This is the world’s position ever since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden.
HOW CAN MAN BE RIGHT WITH GOD?
We are descendants of Adam and he has “gifted” to us this corrupt and fallen nature. Unlike Adam, we are “born” like this because of the fallen condition we inherited from him. Not only are we born with a corrupted nature, but as we grow up in this world we naturally sin and become slaves of sin. While most everyone is willing to admit that we are sinners, it is basically impossible to get someone to face how bad the problem really is. Everyone has their ways of justifying themselves; I’m not so bad, I never murdered anyone, those other people are way worse than me, on and on our lists go. Most everyone in this world is of the opinion that they pretty much deserve to go to heaven, or at the least that they are too good to go to hell. This is another result of the fall of man; we have become ignorant of our sinful and rebellious condition and of how Adam’s transgression separated us permanently from our Creator. The question therefore becomes; how can man become right with God? Being right with God is of utmost importance because only those who are right with God will enter his kingdom. When it comes to being right with God, being back in fellowship with him just as Adam and Eve had been, we all think that there is an easy answer to that, but is there? Let’s consider who God is; God is Holy. God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. God is perfect and righteous and we are not. So for the moment, consider who God is and who I am.
THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, ETERNAL DEATH (Romans 6:23)
As we can see in Adam and Eve, when they sinned, they died. They became dead to God. Anyone dying in that condition is lost forever. There is a consequence for disobeying God. God is Holy, what he says he does, if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be a Holy, just and righteous God. Our Creator cannot go against himself.
THE LAW AND HOW MAN THINKS HE CAN SAVE HIMSELF
Continuing in our considering who God is and who we are; after God brought his people out of slavery in Egypt; the Lord through his servant Moses gave the Israelites the Law. For over one thousand years no one was able to keep the whole law thereby proving that no man can be right before God by obeying the Law neither could any man be righteous before God by his own efforts. The Jews thought that since they didn’t kill, rob and steal like others did that they were all right before God. They were ignorant of the “do not covet” that the Law commanded. They thought sin was something we do; an action on our part, but they were ignorant of the fact that evil comes from inside, that we sin because of evil in us. The purpose of the Law was not for Salvation nor was it to make anyone righteous before God; the purpose of the Law is to show us how big a problem sin really is and that we are sinful beyond measure. It also was a foreshadowing of what God was going to do by his Son. I hope you are starting to see the following two things;
1. There is nothing I can do that will make me right with God.
The Law cannot make me right with God.
2. The purpose of the Law is to convince me of my need for God, to bring me to him.
WHO GOD IS; GOD’S HOLY CHARACTER AND HOW WE APPROACH GOD
Most people think that we can just walk up to God and say; hey God; would you forgive me my sins? They are forgetting or they are ignorant of who God is and who I am in relation to God. Our Lord is Holy, Righteous and Just and I am not; I’m a sinner. If I face the facts, I’m not only a sinner, but I’m a terrible sinner. We think that “sin is no big deal”, everyone sins; we all say. Consider this; why is the whole world under God’s wrath? Why is God’s wrath coming upon the earth? Why did Adam and Eve die and lose their place in the Garden of Eden? Why did the flood come upon the earth? Why did Cain kill his brother and why is the world the way it is today? I hope that you get the point; it is because of sin. God is the creator of the heavens and the earth and everything on it. He is Holy, perfect, he dwells in unapproachable light. God and sin do not dwell in the same universe. We cannot stand before God in our sinful condition. No one has ever seen God in this life. When Moses encountered the Lord, he fell to his knees trembling with fear. The people of Israel were so terrified they wanted to stay far away and they send Moses.
IS IT EASY FOR GOD TO FORGIVE OUR SINS?
God and sin are on opposite ends; where God is there is no sin. Because of Adam and Eve we all have become sinners and even worse we love to sin naturally as shown by how the world today and has been since the beginning. Sin is good and praised and people who do the right thing or Believers who obey God are frowned upon. You only live once, so live it up. God set up standards; the one who sins, dies, dies eternally. If God disregarded his own words, he would not be Holy or Righteous or Just. God cannot go against himself, impossible. Therefore, is it easy for God to forgive sins? No it is not!
WHAT CHRIST ACCOMPLISHED/ THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE
John the Baptist called Jesus Christ “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. God through his prophets promised a Messiah who would deliver his people. The people of Israel were looking for the Messiah when Jesus Christ came into this world. But they were looking for a Messiah that would unite Israel and make them a great nation again. A messiah who would get rid of the roman conquerors and make Israel a great nation in this world again. Is that the purpose for which Jesus Christ came into this world? No it is not. Jesus Christ came to succeed where Adam had failed. He came to live a life of perfect obedience to God and the Law and thereby he became the only acceptable sacrifice for all of our sins. He came to bring us back into fellowship with our Creator. He came to deliver his people out of slavery to sin and their lusts and to lead them to the eternal Promised Land. He died on the cross for our sins and he was raised for our justification. There is no way I can make up for my sins; there is nothing I can do to atone for my sins. There is no work or good deeds I can do that will make me deserving of heaven. Because of my sins I’m condemned to eternal separation from God. But because of what Jesus Christ has accomplished for us, God is now able to forgive my sins. There is now a legitimate way for God to forgive everyone, God’s justice and the Law have been satisfied. God is now able to have mercy on us, be gracious to us without violating his justice; the debt has been paid. No one has to go to hell, absolutely no one! Amazing Grace! God in his love towards us, gave up his only begotten son, so that whoever believes in him would not perish but instead will have eternal life!
MAN NEEDS TO BE RECONCILED TO GOD/ WE NEED TO BE MADE ALIVE
Because of Adam we are all separated from God and because of sin we are all dead to God. We need to be reconciled to God and we need the life that is life indeed. Jesus Christ and him dying for our sins makes our reconciliation to his Father possible. When God reconciles us to himself through Jesus Christ, we receive a new life and he brings us back to life. The first Adam by his disobedience brought sin and death upon us, the second Adam Jesus Christ through his obedience brings us back to God and a new life in him which leads to eternal life.