Thursday, February 27, 2020


            There is an overarching theme throughout the Bible. Good vs. Evil. Blessing vs. Cursing. Life vs. Death. Light vs. Darkness. This theme came into view clearly all the way back to the Garden of Eden when sin entered a perfect world.
            God called this world and its inhabitants into existence, and He blessed it all. In Genesis we read that God saw that the light He called into being was good and He separated the light from darkness. Each day of creation brought new forms of life, and God saw that they were good.
            Then, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them…And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” There was no sin in the garden then. Everything was pleasnt and had the blessing of God on it.
            To be blessed means to have the favor of God. If something is good, it is pleasing, useful, pure and beneficial. All of creation was good, and God’s favor rested on it. God came and walked with Adam and Eve in the evenings and they communicated freely.
            Through the willful act of mankind – Adam and Eve – sin was invited into this perfect world. It was not God’s will. He had a good purpose for this perfectly formed world and His people. But because of this act of rebellion, He could no longer extend his favor. Sin is a curse, and Adam and Eve took upon themselves a curse rather than the blessing they had. They traded light, goodness and life for darkness, evil and death. The line was drawn between good and evil. And Adam and Eve found themselves on the outside. They no longer walked and talked with God in the cool of the evenings. They no longer had peace and goodness surrounding them, because sin separates us from God. And they felt the heavy weight of that sin. The entrance of sin into the garden brought condemnation with it, because sin is rebellion against God.
God’s blessing was removed as mankind stepped into enemy territory and outside the favor of God. When we choose our own way instead of God’s way, we step out from under His blessing. It’s like stepping out from under an umbrella on a stormy day and getting saturated by the environment. Because of sin, this world will be destroyed, and our bodies will be destroyed in death. All of creation fell under the curse of sin, and even now it groans for release from the curse.
            A cursed people are condemned to destruction. But even in this condition, there were those who through faith and obedience were blessed by God. They separated themselves from the evil of their day and believed God.
            Scripture tells us that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:8-9) Noah had a relationship with God. He wasn’t just acknowledging that God existed, but knew Him personally. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:7) Noah didn’t defile himself by following the pattern of his culture. Instead, he listened to what God told him to do. He obeyed God because He was certain he could trust God. That is real belief.
            Hebrews 11 tells us about Enoch. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” How did Enoch please God? By faith and obedience. We cannot please God without faith (trust, believing). And if we really believe Him, we will do what He says. Enoch’s relationship with God caused him to trust God implicitly. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” 
In Hebrews 11:23, we see the faith of Moses’ parents. “By faith Moses, after his birth, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful and divinely favored child; and they were not afraid of the king’s (Pharaoh’s) decree.” The faith of Moses’ parents saved his life and put him in a position to be God’s instrument. Then the faith of Moses took him through the rest of his journey with God. “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, because he preferred to endure the hardship of the people of God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of the Christ [that is, the rebuke he would suffer for his faithful obedience to God] to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt; for he looked ahead to the reward [promised by God].”     
Then there is Abraham. We read part of his story in Genesis 15. “And He [God] brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Abraham believed God, and acted on what God told him. So, God raised up a nation through Abraham, a physical nation and a spiritual nation.  
            What do all these men have in common? They believed God. They believed enough to walk with Him and to obey His commandments even in cultures that mocked Him. They believed what God told them and staked their life on it. They put themselves in a position to know God personally and to receive His blessing by believing and obeying. God called and they answered. They committed themselves to wholly follow the Lord.
            And through the descendants of Abraham, a Savior was born to take our sin on Himself, so we could be free and righteous. Amazingly, this Savior is the Son of God. Even more amazing is the fact that the pure, sinless Son of God became sin, became a curse, for us. He took our punishment and our curse so we can be holy and righteous through Him. “He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].” (2 Corinthians 5:21 Amplified) And “Christ purchased our freedom and redeemed us from the curse of the Law and its condemnation by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs [crucified] on a tree (cross)”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might also come to the Gentiles, so that we would all receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:13-14 Amplified)
            How do we receive that righteousness? We must repent (be sorry for and turn away from) our sins and believe Jesus enough to surrender the whole of who we are to Him. We must believe and obey. To those who accept this gift of salvation and accept Jesus’ rule in their lives, He gives the authority and the right to be children of God. The curse is removed and the blessing of God will rest upon us. Our unrighteousness that kept us from the presence of God will give way to an open door of fellowship with Him as we take on the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Although we still live in a world that is under a curse and in a culture of millions who have not come under the blessing of God, we can be assured that there is coming a day when all creation and the children of God will be back in an environment of God’s blessing in the kingdom of God. Romans 8:21-23 says, “the creation itself will also be freed from its bondage to decay [and gain entrance] into the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been moaning together as in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only this, but we too, who have the first fruits of the Spirit [a joyful indication of the blessings to come], even we groan inwardly, as we wait eagerly for [the sign of] our adoption as sons—the redemption and transformation of our body [at the resurrection].” (Amplified Bible)
Jesus came to redeem us from the curse and restore our relationship with God. John 3:17 tells us, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
We don’t have to live under an eternal death sentence because Jesus has paid the price for us to be transformed into His image. We can choose goodness, life, light, and blessing.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away (vanished), and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed like a bride adorned for her husband; and then I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “See! The tabernacle of God is among men, and He will live among them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them [as their God,] and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.”” Revelation 21:1-4