Pre-Creation Conference, Part 2

God’s Care for Man

In the previous blog, The Pre-Creation Conference, Part 1, Introduction, we discussed that the Bible reveals God’s plan for man.  The Godhead decided before creation that Jesus would be the Lamb of God, without blemish or defect. 

That causes us to ask two questions: 

  • Why did the Godhead plan that Jesus would be a Sacrifice on behalf of man?  
  • What happened to Adam and Eve that caused God to go to such lengths?  

If we look at all the decisions made before creation, and how they were worked out in history, one aspect is marvellous: God’s concern and care for man.  

Maybe a short Gospel presentation would be helpful at this stage: 

  • God made man in His image. 
  • Adam was to rule over creation. 
  • God commanded him not to eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 
  • Satan tricked Eve.  She ate and also gave to Adam and he ate it.  They disobeyed God. 
  • That enabled Satan to steal Adam’s right to rule.  Therefore the devil is now the prince of this world.  
  • Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden and separated from the tree of life, which meant a break in their relationship with God. 
  • Therefore all Adam’s descendants are born in Satan’s kingdom.  So our minds are darkened in regard to knowledge of God.  We are alienated from God. 
  • God wants us to be His children and to be reconciled to Him again.  
  • Yet two decrees stand between us and God: 
    • ‘The wages of sin is death’ and we all sin.  Romans 6:23
    • ‘There is only forgiveness by the shedding of blood.’  Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22
  • God made provision in Jesus for us. 
  • In the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned, God shed the blood of innocent animals to cover Adam and Eve.  It was a picture of what Jesus would do.  He shed His blood so that we can be forgiven.   
  • The Sacrificial system of the Israelite nation was also a picture of the coming Lamb of God. 
  • The Lamb came, and shed His precious blood on the Cross.  Thus both decrees of God are handled. 

The marvel: God’s extra help for man

God made two more decisions before creation to ensure that there would be nothing to hinder the restoration of our relationship with Him.  He does not only handle and forgive our sins.  Included in the package is that we will be holy and blameless in His sight and it is all by grace and not merit. 

1. ‘For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.’  Ephesians 1:4  

2. God has ‘…saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.’  2 Timothy 1:9-10

God did it so that we can understand that it is His decision that we belong to Him.  It is not because we are so smart, clever or wonderful.  It was solely His doing.

Also, God, contrary to so many people in high positions, has no favourites.  If we had to earn salvation, obviously some people are just more disciplined, stronger, mentally superior, et cetera.  God could not allow it, so salvation is by grace.  

In this whole proses we see God’s wisdom, understanding, omniscience and complete care for us, fallible humans.  We can only praise and worship such a brilliant, good God!

To be continued….

The Short Gospel

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul gave us a very short Gospel, ‘Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.’ 1

#  Why David?

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we can be confident about our own resurrection into eternal life, but why do the verses mention David?  God promised David an Offspring, One [Jesus Christ] who will sit on David’s throne eternally. 2  

#  Why did it take so long for Jesus to come?

If it is true that God promised Jesus would come, why did it take such a long time before He came?  At least 1,000 years passed between David and the coming of Jesus.  At least 4,000 years passed from the time God promised the serpent (Satan) that ‘…He [Jesus] will crush your head….’ 3

#  God illustrated that salvation would be by grace and faith.

  • God created the Jewish nation from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, gave them the Covenant and blessed them.  Despite God’s care, they eventually messed up and were exiled twice.  With their history God illustrated that no one can be saved by keeping a law.  Man’s uncircumcised heart makes it impossible.  
  • Salvation would be by grace and faith.  That would ensure that the strong and disciplined are not advantaged above those who struggle to keep laws.  Once the message was very clear, so obvious that no one could miss it, because the Israelite kingdom was terminated, God could take action.  ‘But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.’ 4  
  • Salvation would be by grace and mercy alone, ‘But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions, it is by grace you have been saved.’ 5

Conclusion

Short Gospel, long Gospel.  It does not matter.  It remains a wonderful Gospel of hope and grace for anyone who believes it.

References

  1. 2 Timothy 2:8-9  
  2. 2 Samuel 7:13  
  3. Genesis 3:15b  
  4. Galatians 4:4-5  
  5. Ephesians 2:4

How much of the Bible do we need to read? Part 1

A valid question for believers today is: do we really need to read the whole Bible with its 66 documents?  The Old Testament takes up almost 75%.  Can’t we discard or just neglect it, because it is the old covenant?  Isn’t the shorter gospel of the New Testament sufficient?

#  The ‘short’ Gospel 

Paul gives us the Gospel in a few words, ‘Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.’ 1  It is clear, simple, easy to understand and does not need hours of intensive Bible study.

#  A slightly ‘longer’ Gospel

However, as followers of Jesus, we realize the Four Gospels are important.  So we add them to Paul’s ‘short’ Gospel.  What about the Acts of the Holy Spirit and Paul’s letters?  What about the letters of Peter and John who were both disciples of Jesus?  So we add them, as well as the letters of James and Jude, the half-brothers of Jesus.  Finally, we cannot neglect Revelation because it teaches us about the end times.  It explains how God will destroy every vestige of Satan’s kingdom on earth and renew the heavens and earth into an eternal home for His children.  So we feel the New Testament is quite sufficient.  But…

#  What about the ‘long’ Gospel, Old & New Testament?

39 of the 66 books are in the Old Testament.  Does the Holy Spirit expect us to take the time to read them?  Will knowledge of a talking serpent, a universal flood and the calling of Abraham and his family with all their crises, help us get to heaven?  Is it necessary to know about poor Moses and his 40 year journey in the desert with the Israelites?  Do we have to know about the wars, disasters, disobedience to the Covenant, the exile, et cetera?  What about the old ideas, slavery, strange manners and habits, animal sacrifices with rituals for the priests and long winding genealogies?  Can’t we skip all the information in the Old Testament?

Conclusion

There is a reason the Holy Spirit gave us the Old Testament.  In the next blog we will discuss a few reasons why the Old Testament is important.

References

  1. 2 Timothy 2:8
%d bloggers like this: