Monday, January 30, 2012

God Has A Plan And You Are In It

Way back in the beginning, in the garden where God had placed Adam, he gave him one rule: don't eat from the tree of knowledge. The fruit of this tree would bring man into the awareness of good and evil, would destroy this wonderful place of innocence. He had also warned Adam that to eat from this tree would bring death. God had created man with this wonderful ability to think for himself, to make choices, to have his own will. Unfortunately Adam and Eve exercised this gift in choosing to disobey this one rule.

That choice did bring death on two levels. One was the physical death that we all now have to face. Only Enoch and Elijah escaped this experience but everyone else from Adam on down has had to face the consequence of this choice. The other death was the death of that innocence and the wonderful relationship there was between God and man. A barrier now existed where God had to separate himself from this creation that was now tainted by sin. I can only imagine what it must have been like for Adam and Eve to go from that wonderful place of innocence and intimacy with God to the harsh, cold reality of being removed from God's presence.

Unfortunately this was lost on the generations to follow. God was unknown to them. They knew there was someone but they did not know who. They were not even aware of what they were compared to what God had desired them to be. So God raised up a people who would belong to him, so that through them he could reveal himself to all the nations. He gave these people a law, a most holy law, so that they could understand what they were in comparison to where he wanted them to be. He knew they could not live by this law because it was perfect and they weren't, so he gave them a temporary system of sacrifice that would allow God to forgive them. This was important so that he could dwell with them. Without this forgiveness they could not experience the blessing of his presence. All of this was so that his glory would be seen by all the nations. But it was a temporary solution while he worked on the final fix.

The final fix was for God to remove what caused the barrier in the first place, the sin of the disobedience. This was impossible for man to do for himself so God would have to do it for him. It was a complicated thing because a sacrifice had to be made so the barrier could be removed but it had to be a sacrifice that was not tainted with sin and, unfortunately, everything in creation was tainted. Only God himself was without sin, so the Father sent the Son on this very important mission, to rescue man from his own destruction.

Yet, this plan could not be forced on man; God would not take away man's free will. He had to be given a choice. So Jesus came and lived an example of how to live a life by the Spirit of God while still clothed in mortality. Then he became the sacrifice so that man could receive forgiveness and have the barrier removed, if he so chose. But that was not the end of the plan because there was still the matter of the consequence of sin which was death. Jesus was then raised from the dead, breaking the barrier of death, making a path for those who would follow him, so that man could be clothed in immortality again. This put an end to the two deaths that resulted from Adam's sin. It has made it possible for us now to say:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54)


“Where, O death, is your victory?    Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

We can say this because Jesus dealt with this with one mighty blow. He brought us out from underneath the perfect law that condemned and placed us under grace which promises life. We did not earn or deserve this rescue and we have paid nothing for it. It was a direct gift from God, by his grace which sprung from his love. The Scriptures say:

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:56)

Because Jesus brought us from under the law and has covered us by grace, sin no longer has any power over us. We have been set free. Now because sin is powerless it means that the sting has been removed from death. There is no longer any defeat in death because Jesus has taken victory over it, so we no longer die in sin but instead sleep in Christ until he comes to call us to him in the great resurrection. Can you imagine the celebration on Resurrection Day? God is good. How can we not spend our days praising the name of the one who has brought us such great victory? Praise the name of Jesus from now to evermore for only he is worthy to be praised! Today, this very day, we enjoy the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and experience the presence of the LORD God Almighty. Thank you Jesus!

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