Monday, September 07, 2009

God's Goodness

One of the themes often missed in life today is God’s goodness. Some people attribute good events to God’s providence, but others attribute every malady to his desire for their harm. Where does this thinking come from? We find the answer back in the first book of the Bible, specifically in Genesis 2:15-3:19.

THE FALL OF MAN

In the beginning, God had everything planned out for the good of the first man and woman. After creating the world and all its beautiful surroundings, he placed them in a beautiful garden furnished with fruit trees with enough food to meet their needs. He also gave them the gift of each other. Imagine living in a beautiful garden with the one you love. What could be better than this? Beyond this wonderful union, God also provided a sweet relationship with himself for their enjoyment. It was the perfect environment because God had planned the best for mankind.

But there was one who did not believe in God’s goodness. Satan, who had once been a highly favored angel, became proud and rebelled against God. When he was kicked out of heaven for his wickedness, Satan was quick to spread his distaste for God to the newly created couple. His goal was to make God look bad. This he did by cleverly twisting God’s words and planting seeds of doubt about his goodness to Adam and Eve.

When Eve thought through the possibility that God was selfishly holding back something good from them, she chose to disobey her loving Creator. Even though God had warned them about the deadly consequences and even though they had seen God’s goodness to them on many occasions, the first man and woman chose to disobey God. They believed Satan’s lie and ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The results were not what they had in mind.

THE RESULTS OF THE FALL

Immediately following their sinful choice, something changed within them. No longer were they blissfully unaware of anything but God’s goodness. They soon were scrambling to cover their nakedness instead of enjoying a transparent and pure relationship with God and each other. Their peaceful relationship with God was also stripped away and they began to fear meeting God. The results were not quite what they had expected. But when confronted by their loving Creator, each of them quickly shifted the blame on someone else.

Sadly, man’s sinfulness affected all future generations. Because of their sin, a curse was placed on women. Now childbirth is a painful experience for women and the marriage relationship is not as pleasant as intended. Man received his share of the curse as well. Instead of enjoying the garden as before, man’s job became much more difficult with thorns and weeds causing extra work. And, as God had promised, death came as a result of their choice to sin against him. It wasn’t immediate, but it did begin on that awful day. As time passed, their bodies began to show the results of aging and these pitiful people eventually died.

But these results were nothing compared to the final judgment which came because of their sin. The Scriptures teach that a judgment for sin will follow physical death. One day all the dead will stand before God to be judged for their sins and ultimately their relationship with God. Read through Revelation 20:11-15 and you’ll see that the ultimate judgment is eternal torment in the lake of fire. What a dreadful thought!

THE CURE FOR THE FALL

The record of man’s fall into sinfulness is a sad one. God’s plan for mankind was good. But Adam and Eve rejected God’s perfect plan, they earned death instead. How sad they must have been. Thankfully, God was prepared with a cure. Just before announcing the results of the curse on Adam and Eve, God gave them hope for the future during his judgment against the serpent.

So the LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

Here is the first mention of God’s cure for the sinfulness of mankind. The future Seed refers to none other than the Lord Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary many years later. His hatred of sin was evident by the way he spoke out against sin during his earthly ministry. Think of the many times that Jesus spoke out against those whose father was the devil during his earthly ministry.

But what of the bruised head and heal? The animosity between Jesus and the followers of Satan led to what appeared to be a victory for Satan when Jesus was crucified. Yes, Jesus suffered at the hands of Satan’s followers, but that “victory” was hollow for them. While they expected to be done with him for good, his death ultimately paid the price for the sins of mankind on the cross. And some day, the risen Savior will return to crush the head of the Serpent for good, putting an end to his wicked influence on the lives of mankind.

THE QUESTION

What happened in the beginning has affected all of us today. Because of Adam’s sin all of us have inherited a sinful nature and we show it every day by the sins which we choose to commit. But God, despite our sinfulness, still desires what is best for our lives. He loves us. And that’s why he provided the cure for the curse brought about by sin. What it comes down to is your personal response to the facts. Will you doubt your Creator’s goodness and follow the lies of Satan? Or will you trust the truth of God’s Word as recorded in the Bible?

The truth is that God loves you and wants what is best for your life. But before you can notice his goodness in your life, you must recognize your sinfulness and repent of it. Your sinfulness is evidenced in your conversations, your actions, and even in your thoughts! Read through the Ten Commandments and you will agree that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And if you think that you are still without sin, consider how Jesus defines murder and adultery in Matthew 5:21-28.

God does have a wonderful plan for your life. Throughout the Scriptures is evident that he wants what is best for your life, but your sinfulness gets in the way. Just like Adam and Even, you have chosen to rebel against God’s holiness for your own purposes. So, at the end of this reading, the question is very simple. Will you hold on to your sin and reject God’s goodness? Or will you repent of your sin and believe Him? I hope that you will make the right choice.

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