Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned’ Romans 5:12
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1)
For a long time now we have been studying the Scriptures of the Prophets. We have seen that God inspired more than forty men (over a 1500 year span) to write His Word – the Book that reveals the way of righteousness by which sinners can become righteous before God. We discovered that all the true prophets of God shared one idea and one message concerning that way of salvation. What they wrote did not come from their own minds, but from the Spirit of God. With the help of God, today and in the three coming lessons, we plan to review and condense all that we have studied in the Holy Scriptures. Our lesson is called:
Now let us return to the foundation that God Himself laid, the first part of God’s Word, the Pentateuch, which God put into the mind of Moses, His prophet. Can you remember the first verse? It says:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
In this verse, we saw that, in the beginning, before the universe, angels and people were created,
only God existed.
God is the Lord of Eternity, the Eternal Spirit. He has no beginning and no end. He is the All-powerful One who sees everything and knows everything.
In the first chapter, we read how God, in six days, created the heavens, earth, oceans and all they contain. God prepared the earth for man, whom He planned to create. That is why, on the sixth day, 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 the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image…” (Genesis 1:26,27)
Man is the most important of all the creatures that God created, because God created him in His image! God planned to have deep and wonderful fellowship with man. That is why He placed in the soul of the man and the woman
so that they could know God, gave them a heart so that they could love God, and entrusted them with
a free will
so that they could choose between obeying God and disobeying God.
In chapter two, we read that God put the first man, Adam, in a beautiful garden, full of trees bearing beautiful fruits, and delicious to eat. We also saw that God fashioned a woman out of a rib which He took from Adam and then presented her to him.
God blessed the man and woman and gave them everything they needed. Yet there was something God wanted to receive from them. What did God want from these two people He had created in His own image? He wanted them
to love Him
with all their mind, all their heart, and all their will, and thus to have a deep and wonderful relationship with Him forever. Consequently, we saw how God placed
before them in order to reveal what was in their hearts. God gave Adam this command: “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” (Genesis 2:16,17) Thus God tested Adam, warning him that the consequence of straying from God’s law would be death, that is,
separation from God forever.
In chapter three, the Scriptures recount that one day, Satan, the angel who had rebelled against God, came to Adam and Eve as a cunning snake. He said to the woman, “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said,
Ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it,
lest ye 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 God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5)
What did God tell Adam and Eve would happen to them if they ate of the tree which He had prohibited? He said to them,
What did Satan say? He said,
“You will not die!”
Whose word did Adam and Eve choose to believe and follow? Did they choose the word of God, or the word of Satan? They chose the word of Satan, God’s enemy!
what did God do?
Did He just sit back and watch Adam and Eve? No. God did exactly what He warned them He would do. He summoned them, judged them, cursed them and the earth, then put them outside the lovely garden that He had created for them. On that sad day,
They became separated from God, the source of life. The only thing they could expect now was physical death and eternal punishment, because the payment for sin is eternal death, just as God said.
sin is terrible.
Adam and all his descendants were separated from God by a single sin! Sin is somewhat like the disease called AIDS. As you know, AIDS is a sickness that people spread among themselves. It is a calamity that is all over the world. Once the AIDS virus enters a person’s body, it will never leave him. Those who have AIDS can spread it to their children. AIDS is a killer, destroying all who have it. Sin is like that. Sin is everywhere, in everyone and causes people to perish forever. But thank God, there is a difference between the disease of sin and the disease of AIDS. With AIDS, there is not yet a medicine to cure it, but
God Himself has provided a remedy, which, if we use it, will cleanse us from sin forever.
Can you remember the wonderful promise which God gave on the day that Adam and Eve sinned? Yes, on the same day that sin entered the world, God promised that He would send to the earth
a holy Redeemer,
who would redeem the children of Adam from the destructive power of Satan and sin. We also read that this Redeemer would be born uniquely of a virgin woman, because the Savior of sinners could not come from the descendants of Adam who were now contaminated by sin. He must come
as a result of a miracle
by the pure and holy Spirit of God.
Thus we saw in the Gospel that thousands of years after God promised to send down that Saviour, when God’s appointed time had come, a perfectly righteous Man was born into the world; He had no earthly father; He was born of a virgin. His name was Jesus, which means
Yes, Jesus Christ is the holy Redeemer whom God promised on the day that Adam and Eve sinned. He is the one and only Savior.
Let us now return to our review of what happened
on the day that sin entered the world.
Can you remember what Adam and Eve did after they had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? They wove together fig leaves, tying them to their waists in an attempt to hide their shame, because before they sinned they were naked. Did God accept the clothes which they had made for themselves? No!
He wanted to teach them that there is nothing that man can do to cover the shame of his sin before God! However, God did some-thing for Adam and Eve. We saw how God selected some innocent animals, slaughtered them, skin-ned them, and made clothes for Adam and Eve, putting them on them. In this way God taught Adam and Eve that
the payment for sin is death!
God not only sacrificed animals, but He commanded Adam and his descendants also to sacrifice animals without blemish as a sacrifice which covers sin, until the time when God would send down the holy Redeemer, the Messiah, the Savior from heaven.
Thus God showed them clearly that there is
only one way of salvation:
the way of the spotless sacrifice. The way of righteousness which God commanded that one must choose animals without blemish and slaughter them as sacrifices which cover sin. These sacrifices illustrated the holy Redeemer, who would come and shed His blood on a cross to pay the debt of sin for Adam’s descendants. Thus,
by those animal sacrifices,
God put before sinners a shadow of Jesus the Messiah who would die as a sacrifice which takes away sin. In this way, God proved that He is righteous, “to declare his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:25)
In the chapter following the story of Adam’s sin and God’s wonderful promise to send a Redeemer, we read about Adam’s first two children,
We saw that Abel offered to God a lamb without blemish and slaughtered it as a sacrifice which covers sin, just as God had commanded. Cain tried to approach God
by his own efforts,
bringing to God what he had cultivated in the cursed earth. Thus, the Scripture says: “And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering he had no respect” (Genesis 4:4,5)
Why did God not accept Cain’s sacrifice?
As we have seen, the way of righteousness which God decreed declared that “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22) However, Cain disregarded the way of sacrifice which God had appointed. Cain pretended to believe God, but
his deeds denied it,
because he did not offer the blood sacrifice that God required. That is why God rejected Cain and his sacrifice. However, God looked with favour on the sacrifice of Abel, forgiving him all his sins, because Abel believed God’s word and brought to Him the blood of a lamb.
Abel illustrates those whom God judges as righteous
because of their faith
in the Messiah, Jesus, who shed His blood to pay for sins. Cain illustrates those who try to be righteous before God by their own efforts, refusing to accept the sacrifice of the Redeemer, whom God sent from heaven. To this day, there are only these two ways:
Which way are you following? Have you accepted the way of Abel, that is, the way of righteousness, which is founded on the sacrifice of the holy Messiah whom God sent down? Or are you still going the way of Cain,
the way of unrighteousness,
which is based on the works of man and the requirements of religion?
Dear friend, please know that
God could not say to Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and all their descendants: “I know you’ve sinned, but that’s fine! I’ll simply forget that you ever sinned!” Could God forgive sins like that? Never! If God did that how would sinners recognize His holiness? God is a righteous Judge and must punish sin.
The penalty for sin is death!
That is why the holy Redeemer had to die for our sins. When He died on the cross He paid the penalty for my sins and yours.
Read what is written in the Gospel concerning
the way of righteousness
which God has ordained. The Scripture says: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and
death by sin,
and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12) “For there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,
to declare his righteousness
for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:22-26) “For
but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
In our next lesson, God willing, we will continue to review the message of the prophets and recall how God called Abraham to be part of His wonderful plan to send the Savior into the world.
God bless you as you meditate on this statement from God’s Word that can transform your life:
“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
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