Tough talk from the Creator! (Part 2)

FOCUS: From the beginning, when the Creator laid out the universe and placed on planet Earth a creation made “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27), He demonstrated that He values fairness — He gave the gift of freewill. But misuse of that gift is resulting in consequences!

FOUNDATION SCRIPTURE: “Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord — with the first of them and with the last — I AM HE.” (Isaiah 41:4).

(NOTE: All Scripture verses are taken from the New International Version 1984, unless otherwise stated.)

PROPHECY CONNECTION #2: Freewill in the Middle

Adam greedily misused his freewill; Jesus courageously made good use of His freewill; and Satan tried his best to deceive them both …

A. TRUTH & CONSEQUENCES:

* God said to Adam: You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, [because] when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).

* Satan said to Adam (through Eve): “You will NOT surely die…. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (Genesis 3:4-5).

* Adam blamed Eve and God, after he misused his free will:  “The woman you put here with meshe gave me some fruit of the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12).

* God said to Jesus: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).

* Satan said (directly) to Jesus: “If you are the Son of God [then prove it] …    [But] if you worship me [then I’ll reward you] …” (from Luke 4:1-12).

* Jesus resisted Satan and immediately answered with Truth: “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only” (Luke 4:8).

B. Satan’s network of deceit:

*Wickedness released: “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:5-6).

GOD’S RESPONSE: “‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth’ … But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:7-8).

*Humanism takes root: “Then they said, ‘Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth'” (Genesis 11:4).

GOD’S RESPONSE: “The Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building … the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:5-9).

*An outcry of evil: “Then the Lord said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me'” (Genesis 18:20-21).

GOD’S RESPONSE: “The Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah … thus he overthrew those cities” (Genesis 19:24-25)…. “Then the Lord said, ‘ … I have chosen [Abraham], SO THAT HE WILL DIRECT HIS CHILDREN AND HIS HOUSEHOLD AFTER HIM TO KEEP THE WAY OF THE LORD BY DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND JUST'” (Genesis 18:17-19).

*But even God’s chosen people persistently repeat sinful behaviors: “… their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves…. They will be paid back for what their hands have done” (Isaiah 3:8-10).

GOD’S RESPONSE: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, IF my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

C. The Lord God knew that sinful humankind needed a Savior, because — as history has proven — people are not capable of becoming right with Him by their own efforts!

* A Savior was foretold by the prophet Isaiah: 

“He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

“Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, 
   he was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, 
   and by his wounds we are healed. 

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
 each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him 
   the iniquity of us all.”

(Isaiah 53:3-6)

* The Savior is revealed:

“[Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.  The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

‘”The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” [Isaiah 61:1-2].’

“Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.‘” (Luke 4:16-21)

* Jesus fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy that alluded to the coming of a Savior:  Jesus said to Peter, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? BUT how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?” (Matthew 26:53-54)

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WHAT’S THE POINT?

Satan’s plan, from the moment he entered the Garden of Eden, was to cause Adam and Eve to misuse their gift of free will. He knew that if he could get them to disobey their Creator and Friend, then he would successfully gain their faithfulness and, ultimately, their souls…. God sent His Son — His “avatar” — to absorb sin on behalf of people who would choose to resist the devil’s seductions, recognize their sinful nature, and return to their Creator.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Relationship with Jesus, the Christ, is the ONLY WAY we can be made right with the Lord God, our Creator Father. It’s the only way we can take a stand against what happened in the Garden of Eden and make right the event that went terribly wrong.

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THINK ABOUT IT …

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26)

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