God's Plan

Putting It All Together

 In The Beginning...God wanted his relationship with man to be a love relationship, received and expressed back to him through the agency of faith. Therefore, unlike the animal kingdom which is governed by an internal behavior mechanism that we call "instinct," man had to be given a free will, because love can only be possible where man is free to choose.

Adam and Eve...Through this free relationship God and man united in spiritual life- God had access into Adam's soul (teaching his mind, controlling his emotions, and directing his will) and thereby totally influenced his behavior. As a result of this relationship, every thought, emotion, word and deed of Adam and Eve were a perfect representation of the God who created them! They were then truly fulfilling their God-ordained purpose in life: walking in a dependent love relationship with their creator and through that relationship, bearing a full, visible representation of the invisible God. Here, finally, was the answer of being created "In God's Image."

 Proof of Love...Because Adam and Eve's relationship with God was based on love, there had to be a point of decision where they demonstrated that their love of God was freely given. That was the meaning of God's single prohibition: "But from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."

 The Fall of Man...The real meaning of the temptation presented to Adam and Eve lies in the serpent's phase, "In the day that you eat from it...you will be like God." They were offered the chance (the lie) to step outside of the dependent faith relationship with God, and to assume independent status- actually, to become their own gods, totally self sufficient. Adam and Eve didn't die physically that day, but by believing Satan's lie and calling God a liar, they did die spiritually! God, honoring their free choice, withdrew his life from them, and left them spiritually dead.

 Spiritually Dead...Adam and Eve, two spiritually dead parents, could not pass on what they no longer possessed themselves: spiritual life. The law of reproduction is "Like begets like," and ever since all men and women have been born according to the tragic results of Adam's choice: dead spiritually.

 The Old Covenant...God gave Israel the "Law" of Moses with it's sacrificial system. Once a year a bull and two goats were sacrificed for the atonement (covering) of sins. God graciously gave this system to Israel as a means for man to experience relief from the guilt he experienced under the law. those sacrificial offerings did, indeed, cover sins, but they could not take them away "because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin." (Hebrews 10:4) A man under the law could enjoy the blessing of God's forgiveness, but that system provided no final solution. "As it is written 'There is no one righteous, not even one...' for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:10,23) "For the wages of sin is death," (Romans 6:23) From God's point of view ever since Adam sinned, before the birth of Christ, the earth had been the land of the walking dead- spiritually dead. The Law defines sin. Romans 4:15 says, "...where there is no Law there is no transgression." In other words you can't break a law that doesn't exist. That's why Romans 5:13 says, "For before the Law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no Law." The Law convicts men of their guilt and need for salvation. The major purpose for which God gave the Law was to convince men of their lost condition so that they would be prepared to accept Jesus Christ as Savior.

 The Good News...The Virgin Birth of Jesus is significant in that it was the only way he could be born into this world spiritually alive. He had to be born alive spiritually because only then would he have a life to lay down on our behalf. Ephesians 2:4,5 "But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ." But before God could give life to the spiritually dead, he had to totally eradicate the fatal disease that killed men- sin. So the cross was God's method of dealing with sin, and the resurrection of Christ was and is God's method of giving life to the dead. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteous of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Adam died spiritually because of his sin. Jesus Christ died because he became sin. One of the major biblical terms that express the finality of the sin issue is reconciliation. In 2 Corinthians 5:18, "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he committed to us the message of reconciliation." The word reconciliation means that the barrier between God and man-"sin"- has been taken away. The reason that God has removed the sin barrier is so that whosoever will come to Christ by faith can become alive in him. Colossians 2:13 says, "And when you dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all transgressions." God also took Christ's perfect righteousness and gave it to us. Romans 5:17 "For if, by the trespass of one man (Adam), death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provisions of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through one man, Jesus." Righteousness (a right standing of total acceptability before God) is a gift. You don't deserve it, you didn't earn it, you can't work for it. Like any gift, all you can do is accept it or reject it. And once you have it, it's yours by the Grace of God.

 God's Grace and Your Faith...Now that the Law has done it's job in showing us our utter inability to line up to God's righteousness on our own and we have turned to Jesus Christ in total dependency, God does not want us to return to the Law. "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the Law." (Galatians 3:35)

 Great Exchange...Christianity is not a self improvement program. It isn't a reformation project. It is a resurrection! It is new life! And it is expressed in terms of a total exchange of identity. Jesus Christ identified himself with us in our death in order that we might be identified with him in his resurrection. We gave Christ all that we were- spiritually dead, guilty sinners- and Christ gives us all that he is, resurrected life, forgiveness, righteousness, and acceptance. We have total acceptance because we have experienced to total exchange: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21) God loves you, and Jesus Christ died for your sins. All you need to do is receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour by faith and you'll be saved!

 For Now And Tomorrow...The goal of the Christian life is not to stop sinning! What is it that every human being needs? The life of Christ! And not just our initial receiving of him into our lives; we need to experience daily the reality of knowing Christ and walking with him in a vibrant relationship. The Lord defined eternal life this way: "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17:3) That is the real goal of Christian life! Knowing Christ! Under grace, God says to us through the Apostle Paul: "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another in love. The entire Law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:13,14) This is our standard and it is indeed a higher standard than outward conformity to rules. Romans 13:10 sums it up: "Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law." "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It (the grace of God) teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled,, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope- the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ,, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify from himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." (Titus 2: 11-14)

Christ's Standard for Life..."Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength...Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37,39)

1 Corinthians 13: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes. Love never fails." This is how God loves us, and only if we will receive God's love and become channels of that love to others can we walk in the assurance that we are fulfilling the highest purpose of God in our daily lives.

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