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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 3

God’s Original Intention

God is both a God of salvation and a God of judgment. For man to truly believe that he is the master of his own destiny he must be in a state of great darkness and deception. There will be an end to the sin and rebellion that has, in general, characterized the human race. That end will be sudden and totally unexpected by lost mankind.

One glorious truth has become evident in all that has followed the flood, that God has never given up on His original intention in creating man! We were created in His image, designed to enjoy a beautiful creation and to live lives of intimate fellowship with a pure and holy God. Sin ruined it for this present world. Both human life and creation itself have become hopelessly corrupted. Death and utter destruction became absolutely inevitable the moment sin entered in.

People do not grasp the enormity of what happened in the garden when Adam and Eve sinned. They do not understand the hopelessness of human nature. The real problem is not what we do: it is what we are. We sin because we are sinners. We are beyond mere reform. All our attempts at seeming “righteousness” are a sad delusion, an affront to a holy God. Sin is far worse than any disease known to man. Diseases may kill the body but sin kills the soul. It is terminal. The only way the effects of sin can be fully eliminated is the destruction of this present creation by fire and the death of every sinner.

None of this has taken God by surprise. Before the foundation of the world He had a plan. When His plan is complete there will be a brand new creation free from every taint of sin and rebellion. And He will have sinless sons and daughters to rule over and to enjoy that creation. He will dwell with them and they will be His people and He will be their God. The former things will have passed away. Rev. 21:3-4.

The Only Hope

Only God could deal with the human condition. Man is not only unable, but totally unwilling, being naturally inclined to cling to his sin. Rom. 3:10-18. God’s solution to sin does not stop with death and destruction. It also opens a doorway to full reconciliation with Himself and to eternal life.

Through His Son Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for us, sinners may escape the power of sin and death and be made fit to be citizens of the new creation! When sinners hear the gospel — the good news — proclaimed by someone God has sent and empowered, and when God works with their hearts, and they believe and confess from their hearts Christ as Lord and Savior that miracle of grace begins. Rom. 10:8-17. From that very moment they become a part of the new creation. They are born of the very life of God. Their bodies will perish as part of the old creation but they will live on forever! II Cor. 5:17-21.

This great truth is the key to human history. The destiny of every man rests upon where he stands with respect to God’s Son. It is either believe and live or reject and perish. Ultimately there are only two categories of people as was the case in Noah’s day: believers and unbelievers, those who bow the knee and those who remain in rebellion.

Many unbelievers are very religious but their religious “faith” is merely a rebellious substitute for the true faith of Christ. Rom. 10:2-3, Matt. 7:21-23. When the true Word of God comes they react to it as did those in Luke 4:18-32.

Only One Plan

I pointed out that before the world came into being God had a plan. I want to emphasize the fact that He has only one plan, not several as some popular religion asserts. And He has only one people, His elect, the redeemed of all ages, all saved exactly the same way — by faith. And all stand upon the only true foundation: Christ. There is no other.

God did not waste any time in setting His plan into motion after Adam and Eve had sinned. Two things in particular ought to be noted. The first is the promise to Eve that her seed would bruise the head of the serpent. This promise was fulfilled when “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4) Who, by His death, set into motion the final and inevitable defeat of Satan and the crushing of his rebellion and all of its fruit. Col. 2:15, Rev. 12:7-11, Rev. 20:10.

The second thing that God did was to kill animals in order to provide a covering for the nakedness of Adam and Eve. They had made aprons for themselves out of fig leaves but that wasn’t good enough. This prefigured the covering for sin that could only come from the death of God’s Son. The “fig leaves” of man’s religious efforts would never do the job.

Abraham

A major step in the unfolding of God’s plan was the call of Abraham. Abram, as he was known then, lived among his earthly relatives in a place called Ur of the Chaldees somewhere east of Palestine across the Arabian desert. There God spoke to him in the following words recorded in Gen. 12:1-3:

“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

In the life of Abraham we see exemplified many principles that lie at the heart of God’s plan of redemption, principles such as faith, obedience, and separation. God’s people have always been commanded to “come out from among them and be ye separate....” II Cor. 6:17. Believing and obeying God became the guiding principle of Abraham’s life. His faith in God, often tested, was no mere theory. It meant leaving behind family and homeland without knowing his destination. It meant waiting long years for the heir through whom God would fulfill His promises — so long that it took a miracle of God for it to happen. Later it meant demonstrating a willingness to sacrifice that very miracle son. It is one thing for men to say they believe. Abraham proved it by what he did and how he lived.

In Abraham was established forever the only basis upon which man could be declared righteous by God. In Rom. 4:1-3, Paul wrote, “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture: Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

Abraham’s faith was demonstrated by what he did but what God recognized and received was the heart of genuine faith that lay behind those works. Abraham’s works earned him nothing: they simply proved the genuineness of his faith. Unlike Eve in the garden — and man in general — Abraham believed God whatever the cost.

And so Abraham, in process of time, was fully separated from earthly kin, living in tents as a foreigner in the land God had promised to his descendants. Of Abraham — and of Isaac and Jacob who followed — Heb. 11:13 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

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