"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.'" "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being." That Life which was breathed into man was the very Life of God, for as the Creator He only had Life and He only was able to impart that Life to His creation. Thus the Life imparted to man was from God; a perfect and holy Life in absolute agreement and oneness with the One Who's Life it was. Everything that man did was in accordance with the mind and will of God, for that mind and will was from God. The relationship between God and man was one of Life Giver and Life Receiver. Man was totally in dependence upon God and God was Life to the man.
In order to test man's willingness to remain obedient to Him, "the Lord God commanded the man saying, 'From any tree of the garden you may eat freely, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die.'" God created man with an ability to choose for himself what he would do, whether to remain in the position in which God had created him; allowing the Life of God to be his Life, or to choose to be god of his own life, thus rejecting God and alienating himself from that Life. The death of which God spoke was a spiritual death. By disobeying God's command man would forfeit the Life of God within him; the Life of perfection, of relationship with God and of Life eternal. In the day they sinned by choosing their own way they would loose everything that God was in them. They would be devoid of every good thing that constituted the Life of God, for by choosing their own way they would be rejecting God and His Life within them.
Satan; an angel in rebellion against God and who's plan it was to make man rebel also, came to the woman whom God had created to be with the man and spoke to her about the commandment which God had given to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And he said to her, "'You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate." In that moment, man decided to be his own god, to choose what was good for himself and reject the One who had created him. In that instant the Life of God was cut off from man, for where sin is the righteousness and holiness of God cannot exist. No longer was man perfect in the likeness of God, no longer could God be everything in the man that He desired to be and no longer could man experience eternal Life. His sin separated him from God and it was only in God that eternal Life could be had.
"Then the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?' And he (the man) said, 'I heard the sound of Thee in the garden and I was afraid and hid myself.'" The Life of God which had once characterized the life of man and which had made it possible for man to know and be in intimate relationship with God was gone. What remained was spiritual deadness, which cannot stand before a righteous God. Man chose sin over obedience and God allowed him to have what he desired. With sin now replacing God within him, he would receive the consequences of sin rather than the blessing of God.
"Then the Lord God said, 'Behold the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever' - therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden...and at the east of the garden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of Life." Man had chosen sin, yet in mercy God did not allow him to eat of the tree of Life and live forever in the cursedness of his sin. God set a limit upon his life.
"Therefore, through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death spread to all men because all have sinned." The sin of that first man has been perpetuated throughout all generations causing a spiritual deadness in all mankind, "for there is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God." "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
"The wages of sin is death." Being alienated from God and walking in accordance with the sin which now permeates our lives, the only thing which we deserve is judgment, punishment, death. We have chosen to disobey God and walk in the pleasures of sin, but the consequence of that choice is death now and for eternity. The holiness of God cannot allow for sin to go unpunished and it cannot admit that sin into its presence. We are forever separated from God and death is the present and eternal outcome of that separation.
Yet, even at the time of that first sin, God in love and mercy towards man had already prepared a way to bring man back into the Life of God which He meant for us all along. This plan required a man who had the Life of God. No man had that Life any longer. This meant that God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ had to come as a man so the requirement could be met. Jesus came to earth and gave that Life which was in Him; to die in order to pay for our sins. "For the wages (the payment required) of sin is death." No one of us could die to pay for our sins for we were already dead, the Life of God was removed from us leaving us spiritually dead. "But at the right time, God sent forth His Son." "God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." "So then, as through one transgression, there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness (Jesus Christ's death) there resulted forgiveness - justification of life (just-as-if-I'd-never sinned)." "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
By His death, Jesus Christ made available a payment for the penalty that all mankind deserved as a result of their sin. "And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin (be made free from it) and live to righteousness." The work which He did on the cross not only paid for our sins but also provided freedom from the control of sin which was a part of us as sinners, and He made a way for us to be reunited to that Life in which man was first created, the Life of God. By His resurrection He can now come to live out this very Life within us, to place back within our bodies the Life of God, to be Life within us. By His death He paid the penalty for sin and made the provision whereby we can be freed from the power of sin, and by His resurrection He makes His Life available to us.
"Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness." The forgiveness for sin which was a result of Jesus' death has become freely available to every man. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. Yet God requires that we repent of our sin and accept the forgiveness and new Life that is thus made available to us. "For man is justified (made just-as-if-I'd never sinned) by faith apart from works." "For if by the transgression of the one (the first man), death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." Life is ours if we will accept the reality of our need for all that Jesus did and accept Him as our new Life. He will write our names down in the Book of Life and we will be once again one with God in spiritual Life.
"And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small standing before the throne and books were opened and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life, and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them and they were judged every one of them according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death, the Lake of Fire. And if anyones name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire."
Is your name written in the Book of Life?
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.
For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
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