1. What was God's original intention in creating Man?
God created man and all of the universe to proclaim His glory. He especially created Man as His own image as the Climax of His glory among all creatures. After He created Man, He admired his creation, declaring “It was very good.” Man was God’s masterpiece. Each of you is God’s best and the most precious apple in His eyes. God loved the first woman and man he created so much and cared for their happiness and joy as well so He created the Garden of Eden, which was a perfect paradise. He gave man God’s authority and the power to rule over all creatures for the glory of God. God clothed Man with His glory and splendor.
Psalm 19:1 clearly declares the purpose of God’s creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
This is God’s original intention in creating Man.
2. How did this world get messed up?
However, mankind betrayed God’s love. Man began to seek his own glory rather than the glory of God. Man abandoned God in order to take God’s position. He thought all happiness, blessing, and joy would come to him if he sat in God’s position. However after he attempted to take control of his fate, mankind lost everything. Sin came into this world and the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) were kicked out from the garden of Eden. Holy God couldn't be with them. Sin separated Man from God.
Romans 1:18 describes these events.
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness".
Many people think sin is a moral or ethical offense or other wrong-doing, but it is not in God’s point of view. Sin is doing anything that takes you astray from the main target: God's will and glory. The main target of our life is to glorify God and enjoy in Him. When Man abandoned this main target and began to seek his own glory, sin came into this world and the original order that God created was messed up. Sin involves intentionally ignoring God and deliberately running away from Him and leads us to seek independence from God.
Romans 1:21-22 describe this as follows:
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Sin started with man's pride to pursue his own glory.
3. Do you know man's status after Adam and Eve sinned?
Mankind was totally depraved.
If you read Romans 1: 22-32, it is continuously repeated, “God gave them over”
After God gave men over to sin and to all disgusting behaviors as described In Romans 1:29-30:
"So God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents."
Romans 3:10-12 describes it as follows:
10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
The meaning of total depravation:
a) Total depravation refers to the extent of damage: Every Man is thoroughly depraved, not only his soul but also his body. (Ex: one tea spoon of serious poison infects a whole glass of water.)
b) The sinner has no innate knowledge of the will of God, nor ability to run to God by himself. Even though one’s conscience recognizes guilt, man doesn’t have the ability to run to God.
-Totally depraved man may have high intelligence. They may be full of gentleness and kindness. God may give intelligence that is not annihilated by sin nor made inoperative. But it always works error. Man, infected with sin is unable to seek God, who is the entire Source and the Purpose of Life.
-Man infected with sin is also unable to acknowledge God at all by himself. His corrupted mind always runs against God. His every inclination is astray from what God’s original intention is.
“Man is only a disguise, a lie and hypocrisy, both within himself and with respect to others ” - Pascal
4. Is it possible for us to be acceptable before God through our outward good deeds?
Our initial though may focus on our works. If we do something good, we feel, "I am good and I am right". As one of example, when we do great charity, we feel, "I am good person". When we keep the law of our society, "I am good citizen". That may be true. In fact, this is why God gave His own people His law to obey. Exodus 19:5-6 teaches us about it.
5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
However, keeping God’s law without living with God’s heart, our existence become legalistic and our focus shifts to grow our "self-righteousness". But If we keep God’s law because of His Love and Grace and because of what He has done, His Grace grows within us. The Joy of God flows over us. Keeping God’s law should come from heart firstly. Outward deeds without our hearts living God's Love and Grace is nothing. In fact, Jesus’s enemies were the Pharisees, who were religious leaders who kept God’s law but their heart was like a tomb which filled them with wicked thinking. They even fasted two times a week and offered sacrifice every week.
However Jesus rebuked them as sons of vipers because their heart was far from God. We can somehow control our outward actions or deeds but we cannot control our minds and souls and hearts. It is impossible for anyone to be acceptable before God through just keeping the law outwardly as stated through Romans 2:28-29.
28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
5. What is the gospel?
So God made provision for man’s salvation since the time described in Genesis 3:15 when Adam sinned. He revealed a secret through the ancient system of offering animal sacrifices as described in the Old Testament. Innocent animals had to die on an altar as a sacrifice for the punishment of an Israelite’s sin as substitute (or a scapegoat) for them. But this was not sufficient because it was just the shadow of real penalty required by sin
Hebrew 9:13-14 teaches us about it:
13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God!
The gospel is about God's son, Jesus Christ. The gospel is God’s provision of salvation and provision for the accomplishment of our salvation. The Gospel is the Good News about what He has done for our salvation through His son, Jesus. The Gospel even describes how much God loves you.
God vividly described his salvation plan through Isaiah 53. Prophet Isaiah shockingly cried out as he prophesied God’s salvation plan:
“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
A Holy Deity, God’s Son would come into this world as flesh and be despised and die for our transgressions and iniquities. This is the most shocking and tremendous news among any news in this world. How could the Holy one come to Earth in a human body? How could the Highest come to the lowest place to be despised and to die for you and me? This is impossible for us to understand through normal thought.
How can you give your son’s or daughter’s life to save the wicked? We would prefer to die ourselves rather than let our kids be killed. When God let his one and only Son, Jesus, die on the Cross, God himself actually died on the Cross for your salvation, while as a he Father lost his Son. God loves you that much. The gospel reveals how much God loves you and me. He didn’t spare his one and only Son, Jesus, in order to save you and me from the power of sin and of death. Jesus rose from the dead to prove the truth of His salvation work. His son, Jesus, didn’t die because of his weakness or any sin but he died for your salvation. This is the gospel. The gospel describes the pinnacle of God’s love toward you.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God gave his best toward you and me and redeemed us from the power of sin and of death.
All are under sin. There is no one who is righteous, not even one. All desperately need salvation. Knowing Christ is the only way to your salvation.
Acts 4:12 clearly tells us about it:
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
1Timothy 2:5,6 teaches us about it as well:
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.
It is the time for you to accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
Romans 10:9, 10 teaches us how salvation comes:
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
The regeneration is completely the work of the Holy Spirit. It doesn't come from any of our decisions, our will or our nature, but is born of God. Salvation solely comes from God. It is solely God's Grace to give us our Salvation. Knowing Christ is the way of your salvation. You can know who Christ Jesus is through the words of God.
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