Clergy Corner: A dilemma in the beginning - East Valley Tribune: Spirituallife

Clergy Corner: A dilemma in the beginning

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Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2009 3:14 pm | Updated: 12:46 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The Bible teaches that we were all created in our mother’s womb. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Isaiah 44:24 declares, "This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb….” Psalm139:15-16 further reminds us of God’s authority over life and death. “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

In the very beginning of God’s Word, we see that a major dilemma occurred. Let’s consider Genesis Chapter 3 verses 1-6, “Now, the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. Satan said to the woman, "Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, `You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' Next we see Satan’s deception, “You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For, God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

Pastor Darrell Gustafsen

Notice that Eve acknowledged in verse 3 that God had said if you eat from the tree in the middle of the garden, you will die. The death referred to is both physical and spiritual death. By disobeying God’s command and eating of the fruit, sin and death entered into the human race and we have been passing it on from one generation to the next to this very day. With Adam as our legal representative, we all became guilty in him. We sin because that is our nature. We all are sinners.

But, God has a remedy for this dilemma and expresses it in Gen. 3:15 where he says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." This verse is declaring that God will put a wedge (enmity or enemy) between Satan’s children and the woman’s children.

Who are Satan’s children? Satan’s children are those who remain in disobedience to God’s command and do not believe in the Savior that God has sent. All of us conceived into this world were under a curse because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve.

Who are the children of the woman? They are those who have been born again. They are those who have Jesus Christ (Satan’s enemy) as their defender. He will rise up and defeat Satan and death on their behalf. Rev. 21:27 teaches that nothing impure will ever enter Heaven (or the Kingdom of God). Anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful will not enter Heaven. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will enter Heaven.

Who are the ones that have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life? God tells us through the apostle Paul in Eph 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For, he chose us in him, (Jesus Christ), before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in his sight.” All those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life have been forgiven for Adam’s sin and for their own sins. Do you know if your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life?

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is the promised enemy of Satan. We are promised that Jesus will rise up to defeat Satan. 2 Cor. 5:21 tells us that “God made him (Jesus Christ) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. God’s promised plan was a perfect substitute. Jesus Christ, as God’s perfect Son, is the only one who could complete that task.

Again, how will we know if we are one of those God has chosen to be in the Lamb’s book of life before the earth was even created? Jesus Christ has that answer in John Chapter 3. I will let him speak for himself. Jesus says, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again (literally from above or heaven).” John 3:1-3

Do you have a few questions about that claim? Well, so did Nicodemus. Let’s listen to his questions and the answer given by Jesus. "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!” Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:4-8

Jesus has revealed how the true image of God can be restored in man. “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit …You must be born again.”

In my first article, the start of life for each of us was our focus. In this second article, we are looking at how God solved our birth dilemma. Because of the disobedience of Adam and ourselves, we face God’s holy judgment against our sinful condition. Fortunately, there is good news, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin, yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6-7 God has placed our sins on a substitute, Jesus Christ. Not all will receive this gift. God says in Proverbs 18:17, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” My prayer is that you will seek God with your whole being and not give up until He answers you and that you will have full assurance that you are one of His.

Darrell Gustafsen is pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Gilbert.

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