Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb

Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb

Foundations in Faith I:

Intro: Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb

Into a world dominated by the powers of darkness, God was born in human form. The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the central events in all of human history.

In Jesus, God now offers the immeasurably precious gift of salvation — forgiveness of our sin, the enslaving power of sin broken off of our lives, restored communion with God and everlasting life in His presence. However, we can’t fully appreciate God’s saving work unless we understand our need for salvation. 

Why do we need to be saved? Saved from what? To answer these questions we must examine the creation, temptation and fall of humanity.

The fall of humanity was a real historical event whereby sinful human beings became separated from God, from their own self, from one another and from creation. This separation or alienation produced the death, disintegration and violence which characterize human civilization.

The distance between God and fallen humanity is so great and the need for change in the human being is so radical, Jesus uses birth imagery to describe it: "Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again (or from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). 

God uses slave imagery: "Though you were slaves of sin" (Romans 6:17).  

God uses death imagery: "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). 

God uses creation imagery: "Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The reality of humanity’s fall impacts every aspect of life for every person in the world. God’s gift of salvation is the most important gift anyone will ever receive or refuse. Our life in this world and our eternity when this life is over will be entirely determined by our response to God’s redeeming work. It is essential that we understand our salvation.

Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb includes four lessons: 

Creation, Temptation, Fall and Redemption. 


Foundations in Faith:

Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb: 

Lesson I: Creation

As we said in the intro, before we can look at the subject of redemption, we need to ask, “What do I need to be redeemed from?” So, before we can talk about entering into the salvation that God offers us through Christ, we need to look at the cataclysmic event known as the Fall — humanity fell from relationship with our Creator. But let’s go back even further. Let’s examine the creation of humanity.

A. Humanity was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26,27). 

What does that mean — created in the image of God? 

1. First of all, we are conscious of our existence. Nonhuman animals are conscious that they are alive, moving or not moving, hungry or satisfied, threatened or safe, but they are not conscious of their being. They relate to other animals according to instinct or training but humanity was created with the capacity to know ourselves and to know other intelligent beings in deep and meaningful ways. 

2. We were created for relationship. Made in the image of God means that we are social beings. God is a social being, has revealed Himself to us as three Persons, one God, the members of the Godhead relating to each other in an eternal communion of love. We have that capacity, to enter into communion with others. The ultimate relationship for which God formed us is with Himself — that we would know Him, worship Him, grow in His likeness and enjoy Him forever. 

3. Because we are social beings created for relationship, we have a capacity for language, the ability to communicate with others.

4. Created with a capacity for relationship implies that we have a capacity to experience love —  to express love, to share love, to receive love. This is a Godly quality — love is an essential attribute of the being of God and also an essential aspect of human being . We also have the capacity to refuse love, to violate love.

5. We are able to exercise free, moral will. We are not mere creatures of instinct — we posses a moral consciousness — we can choose to do good, to do justice, able to distinguish between right or wrong. Because we are morally free creatures, we may choose to do evil, to act unjustly. God gave us this freedom because that’s what it means to be created in His image and if we were not free to reject His love, we would not be free to love Him in return. True worship of God can only be exercised by morally free creatures who have the capacity to refuse to worship God.

6. We are able to reason and think abstractly, entertain abstract ideas, formulate plans, design and create, make creative choices and choose between a variety of options, appreciate beauty and create that which is beautiful, that which is harmonious, pleasing to the senses. This implies the capacity to create that which is not beautiful, not harmonious.

7. God created a spiritual dimension in humanity, symbolized by the breath of life imparted into Adam: “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7 neshamah: breath, spirit, soul, inspiration). Because we are spirit beings, we can relate to God who is a spirit being.

8. Because we possess an eternal spirit, we are able to reproduce other eternal beings.  Because we have the capacity to make choices, we are capable of making choices which have eternal impact — we are able to receive or reject eternal salvation.

B. Humanity was created with purpose (Gen. 1:26-28  2:15   Psalms 8:3-6)

1. To serve creation.

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). The word cultivate (abad) could be translated serve and carries a sense of stewardship. Humanity was created to be a steward, a caretaker of God’s creation, unlocking the potential of creation.

2. To know God, behold His glory, worship and enjoy Him forever.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). The primary reason for God’s creation of humanity, indeed, God’s ultimate purpose in creating the universe, is to display His glory so that we might behold His glory, give Him glory and enjoy His limitless attributes forever. Because we are spirit beings, we have the capacity to know and worship God.

3. To experience the Lord’s love and love Him in return.

God only knows one way to love — with all of His being. This is how He wants us to love Him — with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus says that this is the greatest commandment (Mark 12:30). Everything that we would do in ministry flows out of this — that we experience the Lord’s love for us and love Him with all of our being, 

Humanity was created to experience God’s limitless love and love Him in return and the primary demonstration of love for God is obedience. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). 

Showing our love for God can only take place if we are free to refuse to love, free to disobey. If we were not free to fall, we would not be free to bow. Worshipful, loving obedience to God can only be the result of a free choice so we were created with this capacity — to love or not love. God experiences great pleasure in our love for Him but there would be no pleasure if we were forced to love Him. It is our choice to love that pleases Him.

C. Humanity was created with limits.  

“The Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die’” (Genesis 2:16,17).

God’s prohibition of that tree represents the boundaries that a wise and loving God set for the prosperity of His beloved man and woman. They were alive in a perfect garden but there were laws and limits, which, if observed, would lead to blessing. And the prohibition was a test of obedience. The Lord wanted humanity to live by revelation, not from information and since God’s revelation of truth was readily available, there was no reason to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The man and woman already enjoyed perfect good in their fellowship with God and there was no evil relevant to them. However, eating from the tree would be an act of rebellion which would introduce them to evil.

In rebelling against God’s clearly stated will, Adam and Eve would be replacing the will of God with self will. They would be replacing revelation with information. They would, in fact, be displacing God as Lord of their lives. 

Only God can be our true Source of life and wisdom, the perfectly wise Judge of good and evil. Adam and Eve were created to live in close union with God, like branches on a tree, drawing life and wisdom from God but if that union were ever broken it would be as if the branches had fallen from the tree. Cut off from their Creator and Source of life, death would inevitably become part of creation. 

In the beginning, the man and woman knew nothing of death. There was a tree of life in the garden (Gen. 2:9), the fruit of which must have had properties enabling long, healthy life but there was no death in this original creation. Indeed, “God saw all that He had made and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).

Created in the image of God, created to be stewards over creation, created to know, love, enjoy and obey God, created with boundaries — the man and woman knew only the beauty of perfect design, planted in a garden reflecting God’s goodness and creative wisdom. 

Study Questions

1. What does it mean to be created in the image of God?

2. For what purpose was humanity created?

3. What boundary or limit did God place on humanity in the garden?


Foundations in Faith:

Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb

Lesson II: The Temptation

In this lesson we will examine the temptation of humanity (Genesis 3:1-5).

A. The Tempter

The Bible does not specifically refer to Satan’s origin, it simply presents us with the fact of his existence and his opposition to the Lord God.  However, many Bible scholars believe there are symbolic references to his origin in Ezekiel's lament over the king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:11-19) and in Isaiah's oracle against the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12-16).

Some would object that God is addressing only the kings of Tyre and Babylon in those passages.  But there are instances in the Bible where the Lord addresses Satan through another creature or person. (See for instance Genesius 3:15, in which God addresses the satanic power and presence operating through the serpent. Also Matthew 16:22-23, where Jesus is speaking to Peter but also to the satanic tempter operating through Peter.)

Let’s look at the passage in Ezekiel (28:11-19):

1. 28:12 Would God say of the king of Tyre that he was created with “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty?”

2. 28:13  Had the king of Tyre been living in Eden?

3. 28:13 Was the king of Tyre created with an inlay of jewels, tambourines and flutes?

4. 28:14  Would the king of Tyre be referred to as "an anointed cherub"?  (Cherubs are angels who minister before the throne of God).

5. 28:15  Was the king of Tyre perfect / blameless from the day of his creation?

6. 28:16  Was the king of Tyre ever cast out from the mountain of God?

Conclusion: God is speaking a historical word against the king of Tyre having to do with the king's pride, his wickedness and God's impending judgement on him.  But it appears also that the Lord is addressing someone else.

Characteristics of this “someone else”:

1. Created full of wisdom and perfect in beauty (28:12)

2. Existed from ancient times (in Eden) (28:13)

3. Endowed with jewels, musical gifts and instruments (28:13)

(Note: “And the gold, the workmanship of your settings (toph) and sockets (neqeb) was in you, on the day that you were created they were prepared.” Toph is often translated tambourine or timbrel (for example, Ps. 150:4) and neqeb may be translated flute.)

4. Created as a cherub (an angelic being) to minister before the throne of God (28:14)

5. Created in perfection / blameless (28:15)

6. Became proud of his beauty and wisdom, which developed into corruption and violence which, in turn, brought about his expulsion from the presence of God (28:15-17).

In Isaiah we have this revelation (14:4,11-15):

1. 14:12  Did the king of Babylon fall from heaven? (Note: “Star of the Morning (Shining One)” can be translated “Lucifer”)

 2. 14:13  Had the king of Babylon really imagined that he could raise his throne above the stars?

3. 14:14  Did he imagine that he could make himself like the Most High?

Conclusion: God is speaking a historical word against the king of Babylon having to do with his arrogance and self-exaltation and God’s coming judgement. But it also appears that the Lord is speaking to someone else.  

Characteristics of this “someone else”:

1. He fell from heaven (14:12).

2. He weakened / oppressed the nations (14:12).

3. He attempted to exalt his authority above God, trying to make himself like God in authority and glory (14:13,14).

4. Note his five-fold profession of pride: 

“I will ascend to heaven.” (14:13)  

“I will raise my throne above the stars of God.” (14:13)

“I will sit upon the mount of assembly.” (14:13)

“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.” (14:14)

“I will make myself like the Most High.” (14:14)

We conclude from these two passages of Scripture in Ezekiel and Isaiah that Satan was created as an angelic being and given a ministry in the very presence of God, possibly a worship ministry. But he became proud of his wisdom and beauty, was corrupted by his pride and sought to overthrow God.  This resulted in his expulsion from heaven, taking with him, possibly, a third of the other angels “And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (Rev. 12:4). 

How ironic that an angel, created to reflect the brilliance of God’s glory, separated himself from glory and became the Prince of Darkness. To this day, Satan, whose name means adversary, opponent, accuser, continues to seek worship, to instigate rebellion against God and to oppose God’s people. An example of his program is found in the Garden of Eden. He possessed the body of an upright reptile or serpent or manifested in the appearance of a serpent, in its pre-Fall form, and began a conversation with Eve, the woman God had created. Recall in Rev. 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.” This is Satan manifesting in the pre-Fall body or form of a reptile.


B. The Temptation: (Genesis 3:1-5)

1. Satan began by casting doubt on God’s Word (3:1): “Indeed, has God said?”

Satan would have us believe the lie that truth is relative: truth is whatever they say, whatever you say, truth is relative to time and place, it changes, subject to the prevailing winds of culture and society. Satan would have us believe the lie that there is no truth that transcends our culture and our time because there is no transcendent Truth Giver. He would have us believe the lie that there is no God who speaks truth.  Or maybe there is a God but whatever God said is not relevant for our lives and really, we can’t even be sure what God said. Satan asks Eve, “Did God really say that? And does God mean what He says?”

2. Eve began her fall from grace by listening to and conversing with temptation (3:2,3): “The woman said to the serpent.” 

If we know what God said and we know it is the truth, we don’t need to hold a conversation with temptation of any kind.  In particular, we do not need to converse with any false philosophy which denies the existence of a truth speaking God or denies the truthfulness of His word.

3. Now that Satan has engaged Eve in conversation, he moves from questioning God’s word to lying, directly contradicting God’s word (3:4,5): “You will not die.” The subtle suggestion is that God doesn’t love you enough to tell you the truth but I do love you enough to speak truth to you. 

4. Satan questions God’s character (3:4,5): If God is not telling you the truth, then God is a lier. If God is a lier then His integrity is called into question. You can’t really trust Him.

5. Temptation is internalized, now it comes from within (3:6).

a. Eve looks at the fruit with a new way of seeing: “The woman saw ... it was a delight to the eyes ...” (3:6).

b. Desire rises up from within: “The tree was desirable” (3:6).

c. She acts on her desire — she eats and shares with Adam who does not check his desire with the word of God: “She took from its fruit and ate … and he ate” (3:6).

C. How does temptation become sin?

“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lusts (strong desire). Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:14,15).

1. Sin begins with the conception of wrong desire within us for something. 

Desire is not sin but it can become sin if it motivates us to violate moral law. Desire is often initiated by sensory stimuli from outside of us, something we see or hear or smell. In Eve’s life, it was the sight of the fruit. Looking at the fruit, it became a part of her imagination. “When the woman saw that the tree was good ... and that the tree was desirable …” (3:6).

2. Desire conceives reasons to satisfy the desire.

Eve began to reason, to explain to herself, to justify, to rationalize why it would be good to eat the fruit: “I’ll be like God. I’ll be really wise.” Any prohibitions are being pushed aside by her desire. She justifies eating the fruit no matter what it may cost or how it might harm her. Never mind that she was already created in the image of God. Never mind that she already has access to all the wisdom God can pour into her. She wants to be God and she believes that eating this fruit is the means to achieve this desire.

3. Rationalized desire begins to conceive an action.

Eve begins to formulate a plan to act on what she has desired, internalized and rationalized. Her will is involved now. She does not merely desire the fruit. She does not simply rationalize having it. Because she has desired it and justified having it, she now wills to have it. It is no longer a matter of being tempted by the sight or thought of it. She is now drawn to it by her own will. She wills to reach out, hold it and eat it.

4. Finally, she exercises her will.

Eve takes the fruit and eats it. The fact that it is illegal and harmful means that she has violated the law of God and her own personhood. She has sinned. Adam also took and ate and shared in the sin.

5. Sin always results in the death of something. 

When Adam and Eve sinned, death immediately entered their relationship with God, with each other, with creation and death began to impact their own emotional and physical being. Sin always conceives and gives birth to death.

Consider again the words of James: “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lusts (strong desire). Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:14,15).

In the next lesson, The Fall, we will consider the far ranging impact of death.

D. How do we resist temptation?

By the time we purchase the fruit and are holding it in our hands, it is virtually impossible to resist the temptation of eating it. It would be somewhat easier to resist while we are formulating a plan to purchase it; easier still during the process of rationalizing why I need it. But the best place to resist sin is when the desire first occurs.

The earlier we begin to resist temptation, the easier it is to overcome it. The longer we allow the process to continue in our mind, the less likely we will be to overcome it.

Better to avoid the neighborhood where we smell or see illegal fruit. If the battleground of sin is in our mind, then what is more important than controlling the gates that lead to the mind? Don’t go where the fruit will impact your senses. There are a thousand baited hooks that will not entice you but there are a few that will. Guard the gates that lead to the mind.

If illegal fruit is your problem, don’t watch movies about illegal fruit. Don’t read the book. Don’t stand under the tree. Don’t go to the neighborhood where the scent of that fruit fills the air. Don’t position your life in ways that expose your particular vulnerability to that temptation.

Instead, we must saturate our minds with the life and truth and light of Jesus. How valuable the exhortation, “Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23). God had given a clear word to Adam and Eve but they chose to ignore that word.

E. What is sin?

At its heart, all sin is simply rebellion against God. Rebellion is an attempt to dethrone God, declaring our own will to be lord and king.

God created Adam and Eve in His image so that they could know Him, love, worship and enjoy Him. He placed them in a perfect garden and poured out every good and perfect blessing upon them. The only prohibition was that they not eat of one tree — the tree of the knowledge of good and evil — the information tree. God wanted them to access the revelation tree — abiding in Him and receiving His revelation day by day.

It is not that there was anything evil about the information tree. But God had a better way of teaching them and so, it was a test of obedience and boundaries. In violating God’s command, humanity was saying, “I will be my own god, I will make my own laws and set my own boundaries.”

How ironic that Adam and Eve, created in the image of God, sought to be God. How tragic, that in seeking to be God, they became less than the human being God designed them to be.

F. Failure of Priesthood:

Both Adam and Eve were priests before God but Adam failed because:

1. He evidently failed to adequately impress Eve with God’s commands. 

2. He was too busy to notice her conversation with temptation.

3. He failed to break her unholy relationship with seduction.

4. He failed to intercede when she fell, instead joining her in sin.

Of all his failures, Adam’s greatest was this: he did not fall down on his knees and pray for his fallen wife. Rather than eat of the fruit, he could have interceded for her. What might that prayer have sounded like?

“Lord God, I know you to be holy and just and yet full of mercy. My beloved wife has fallen into deadly temptation and sin but I share in her failure for I did not notice the conversation, did not break the seduction and now death has entered Your perfect and beautiful garden. My God, I humbly ask that in Your mercy You pardon her sin for surely I have known you to be a gracious God, abounding in kindness. But if You will not pardon her, I ask that You place her death upon me, for she is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Let me bear the penalty, O my God, and may she live before You in childlike innocence and may her years be many and full of wonder.”

How might our gracious God, whom we know to be slow to anger and quick to forgive, abounding in mercy to all who call upon him in truth, how might He have responded to that prayer? But Adam did not pray. He ate of the fruit. Many generations later, the Second Adam prayed for them and for us, bore their sin and ours.

Study Questions

1. What was Satan’s first question to Eve? (3:1)

2. What was the second step in Satan’s strategy? (3:4,5)

3. What are the stages of sin according to James 1:14,15?

The Fall

Foundations in Faith I:

Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb

III: The Fall

God had warned Adam (and Adam surely told Eve), that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would “surely die.” But they did not die physically on that day. Then in what way did they die?

Adam and Eve were created to live in intimate communion with God like branches on a vine — God being the vine, they were the branches, drawing from God the life which continually pulses through Him into His creation. They lived in a continual state of grace. When they sinned, they were instantly separated from the creative wisdom, perfect love, blessings, and inexhaustible vitality which flow from the Creator. They fell from grace.

The result of their fall from union with God was the breakdown, the disintegration of every aspect of their lives. They not only experienced separation from God but also from their own being, from one another and from creation.  Hundreds of years later, death had its final impact on their physical being. But long before their bodies died, they experienced the reality of death.

In this lesson we will examine the deadly result of the Fall.

A. Death entered their relationship with God: they become separated from God: Genesis 3:7,8

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:7,8). 

We would expect to read, “Then they both died.” But we read instead that their eyes were opened. What did they see? Stripped of their innocence, their covering of glory, they see their nakedness and are ashamed. They had always been naked and unashamed but now they sew together fig leaves, attempting to hide from themselves and from God.

What is it about themselves that shames them? They see something that they had never seen before — they see evil and it is attached to them, infecting them. They sense the beginning of the disintegration of their own being. 

They also sense, for the first time in history, separation from God, loss of intimacy with God. They see God as they have never seen Him before — a righteous God who must judge sin.

They have fallen from a relationship with God in which they had experienced intimate communion with the perfect love and wisdom which continually flow from God’s heart. Sin broke that communion and the result of their fall from relationship with God was the breakdown, the disintegration of every aspect of their own lives.

They sensed the presence of God in the garden — this must have been a common occurrence — created to know God and have communion with Him, they must have enjoyed a rich relationship and continual conversation with the Creator of the universe. Yet now they hide — this had never happened before. There had never been a reason to hide.

“Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (3:9).

God knew where Adam and Eve were — they were hiding. And God knew why — because they had sinned. God asks questions of us, not because He needs answers but so that we can be accountable to the truth. God created us for relationship with Himself and true communion exists only in a context of truth.

Here is the first picture of evangelism: humanity sinning and hiding — God seeking and calling. Centuries later Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The seeking heart of God reveals such a wonder of mercy.

The greatest mystery of Eden is not that humanity sinned. It is that God sought them and called to them. Why does God love fallen sinners so deeply? The answer to the mystery of God’s love is hidden in the heart of God, but we know this about His heart:

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, 

slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness” (Psalm 103:8).

Why were Adam and Eve hiding from God? Because they had birthed evil into God’s perfect garden and sin creates a barrier of separation between sinners and a holy God. It is not that God has changed but sin has opened for Adam and Eve a new perspective into God. They realize now that in addition to all the other attributes of God which they had known and enjoyed — His mercy, His wisdom among many others — they now also know Him to be a holy and just God who confronts sin. And they see sin for the first time — it is attached to them, in them.

They instinctively understood that their sin has offended the perfect holiness of God and their impurity grieved the perfect purity of God. But rather than run to the God whose unmeasured love they had always experienced, their response was to hide. Perfect fellowship with God was broken. Death entered their relationship with God.

They were right to fear God for an offended God must judge sin but wrong to run from Him, for only God can save us from our sin. Do you see how sin warped their perception of God? They perceive God differently now, even though God is unchanging in His being. God did not change. Their perception of God changed — they were running from the only God who could save them.

Prior to their sin, they had experienced perfect communion with God, enjoyed God’s perfect love and had, no doubt, experienced many other marvelous attributes of God’s infinite being. God’s unlimited creativity and wisdom enabled them to be wise stewards of the garden. God’s infinite wellspring of joy flowed through their hearts like a river, causing every moment of time to be a joyful celebration of wonder.

In response to God’s Self-revelation, they had loved, worshipped and enjoyed God. Now they perceive God as Someone to fear — and rightly so —but their response to sin should have been, “Fear God and run to Him.”

Nothing about God had changed. Whatever they had experienced of God in the past was still true but sin warps our perception of God and separates us from Him. If we die in this state of separation, we will be eternally separated from Him. 

Why is this?

1. God is holy, cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13) and cannot have relationship with sin (Psalms 5:4). Sin grieves God, arouses His anger. We cannot enter eternity with a holy God if we are filled, covered and defined by that which grieves and angers Him.

2. God is just and cannot ignore broken law (Psalm 97:2  96:13). Even a human judge, if he is honest, cannot ignore law which has been broken. How much more must God, the perfectly righteous Judge, judge the sin which violates His holy justice.

3. Sin, at its heart, is rejection of God and if we have refused to love, honor and worship God, how could we be with Him in a heaven where He is loved, honored and worshipped?

4. God has set a day for judgment and all will be judged according to their works.  If our works include sin which has not been dealt with by a Redeemer, then we will have no hope of avoiding judgment (Romans 2:5-11). 

We will see later that God promised a Redeemer before Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden. Yes, fear the holy God who judges sin. But run to this God of mercy and grace who saves, redeems and restores every sinner who comes to him with a humble heart.

Continuing our discussion of the deadly result of the Fall, Adam and Eve were not only separated from God.

B. Death entered their own being — they are separated from their self: Gen. 3:7-10

“He said, ‘I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself’” (3:10).

We recall also verse seven in which Adam and Eve covered themselves. They now perceive their own selves differently, experiencing for the first time in history guilt, fear and shame. These destructive forces initiate the breakdown of human personality. Before they sinned, they were conscious of self and of God without any disintegrating factors — perfectly whole, integrated beings. Now, they are no longer living in a perfect unity of innocent being. Human personality begins to disintegrate in a spiraling chaos of guilt, fear and shame.

We also see in verse 16 the entrance of another disintegrating factor into the human personality — sorrow: “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain (sorrow, labor, toil) you will bring forth children.’”

The Hebrew word which is often translated pain, in the first instance is itstsabown, which can be translated with the words labor or toil. The second word that is translated pain is esteb which may also be translated as toil or labor.

The Lord does not increase the pain of childbirth because He is vengeful, petty or malicious. Pain or toil in childbirth may simply reflect the new reality of a fallen creation — the conditions of birth change when a child is born into a dangerous world. It needs longer fetal development and therefore is larger at birth, creating longer labor and pain in delivery.  

The two Hebrews words itstsabown and esteb may also be translated as sorrow. Greater sorrow in childbirth may refer to the fact that women birth children into a fallen world. What is more sorrowful than the heartbreak of releasing a child into this destructive, violent, perverse world and watching as suffering inevitably comes upon that child? Furthermore, the child is by nature a sinner and will often grieve his or her mother through sinful choices.

Greater pain, sorrow, toil and labor in childbirth also represents the reality that children are born into a world in which death is the final resting place of all who live. Some women will see the death of their children at birth, during childhood or in later years. All mothers live with the reality that this child whom they love will someday die. 

Further, the pain, sorrow, toil and labor of birth and life serve to remind the woman that this is not the world God created and blessed. It is a world cursed by sin and marred by sin’s destruction. Her grief whispers the hope that there must be something more. In planting this hope within us, pain and sorrow are an expression of God’s mercy, creating in us a longing for something more than this fallen world.

Pain and sorrow are also an expression of the consistency of God’s universe. When we break any law of nature, there are consequences. It is the same with moral law. This universe is based on moral law as much as on natural laws. We cannot violate those laws without consequence. Adam and Eve broke the moral framework of the universe and encountered sorrowful consequences. 

Pain and sorrow are also an expression of God’s justice. Because God is just, He will allow us to experience the result of our rebellion and sin. Those consequences include the forfeit of blessing and opportunity and the experience of sorrow, pain and trouble. God does not cause anyone to sin but He manifests His justice in allowing us to experience the just consequence of our sin.

Pain and sorrow are also an expression of God’s mercy in the following sense. No matter how pleasurable our sin, at some point it will become a source of misery and this is an expression of mercy for it may be that this misery will drive us to grace. In the parable of the son who dishonored his father, abandoned his family and squandered his wealth, when did he come to his senses? It was when he became hungry and was jealous of the slop which he was feeding to the pigs. It was his misery that drove him to his senses and motivated him to return home (see Luke 15:11-32).

We must add that this is not the portrait of a human being who is evolving upward from apes. This is the portrait of a being that is descending downward from the pinnacle of creation.

C. Death entered their union as man and woman, they become separated from one another:

“And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate’” (Gen. 3:11,12)

Man and woman now perceive one another differently. Now Adam accuses Eve, “The woman whom You gave to be with me.” Before sin, the communion of Adam and Eve was perfect, she was “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (2:23). Joined in sin, they have now lost their perfect union. Now their relationship is characterized by distrust, separation and accusation on a deep level. Even in their closest moments, there will always be the echo of their fall from grace. 

Notice that although Adam admits his sin, he is not confessing his guilt. It is one thing to say, “Yeah, I committed the crime.” It is something else to say, “Against you O Lord have I sinned.”

Also, do you hear Adam’s subtle accusation of God? “The woman whom You gave to be with me.” It’s your fault God. He admits his crime but not his guilt, transferring guilt to the woman and to God. As his personality begins to disintegrate, the first man transfers responsibility to his Creator and his wife. Is there anything new since Eden? Blame-shifting began long ago.

“Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate’” (3:13).

Eve also avoids accountability, blaming the serpent. Neither she nor Adam are willing to stand before God and be accountable for their sin. First they hide, now they attempt to shift blame to someone else.

The brokenness of their relationship is also described with these words: “Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). Eve was created to be Adam’s helper and no doubt God built that desire into her soul, even as the Lord planted in Adam the qualities of leadership. That does not imply any inequality between the man and the woman. Both were created in the image of God with all the qualities of life and being implied by that creation. They stood equally blessed and gifted before God. 

The Lord brought them into union so that together, they could fulfill the commission to cultivate and rule the earth while filling it with their children. Their lives were mutually fulfilling, a harmony of wills and communion of souls delighting in God and each other. In the beginning there was nothing to divide or mar their union.

Adam’s leadership in the family was not a leadership of domination or superiority. He was not superior to Eve nor was he to dominate her. Adam was the leader of the family because that is how God created him and his wife but his leadership was not to be a point of division, rather, an expression of grace through loving service. (For a picture of man’s leadership in the home, see Ephesians 5:25-33, where the Apostle Paul says that a husband is to love and serve his wife as Christ loves and serves His church). There was a leadership design in the relationship of Adam and Eve enabling them to be united in their desire to glorify God, fulfilling their role together as stewards over creation, each fulfilling their God-given purpose.

After the fall, there was a loss of balance in relationship between man and woman as sin corrupted the calling and gifts of both. Man’s leadership degenerated into domination and over the centuries in many cultures women have been treated as little more than possessions — abused, oppressed, neglected and ruled by men. That was never God’s purpose.

The woman’s desire is for her husband — it is her nature. But as the man became a selfish dictator rather than a compassionate servant-leader, she rejected his domination, and began to seek fulfillment apart from him and in competition with him. God announces that this will be so. It is not His original plan for the man and woman; rather, it is the result of sin and separation.

From this point on, the breakdown of human society is inevitable. Community is formed by people in relationship with each other. People separated from God, from their own being and from one another build communities of alienated, separated people. Fallen people build fallen cities. Disintegrating personalities build disintegrating societies.

While Adam and Eve lived in union with God, they accessed God’s perfect wisdom and knowledge. Gardened by God, they were wise gardeners of creation. Separated from God, they were cast upon their own disintegrating being with its imperfection, limitations and corruption. They will go on to build the primary social unit, the family, and later their offspring will build more complex units such as cities. But separated from the life-giving Spirit of God, from one another and disintegrating within their own being, what they build will only reflect their own disorder. 

Adam and Eve fell from grace. Fallen things break. Broken hearts build broken unions.The first city will soon be built by the first murderer (Genesis 4:17). Within a few generations, God will characterize human society as violent, corrupt and only evil continually (Gen. 6:5,11,12).

D. They are separated from creation: Gen. 3:17,18

“Cursed is the ground because of you” God says to Adam (Gen. 3:17). Originally created to be the caretaker of a blessed garden, humanity becomes the hard-scrabble farmer of a cursed land. Creation feels the destructive impact of humanity’s sin as it begins to break down. God does not say that He curses creation. It is cursed because the gardener has fallen. When a garden loses its gardener, it goes to weeds.

Ground that once yielded fruit as a blessing from God, now yields thorns and thistles and harvest is gained only by the sweat of man’s labor. This curse is not only a judicial sentence which the righteous God pronounced over sinful man but also a revelation from God. Thorns and hard labor remind us that we are separated from God our Creator, separated from His original purpose, exiles from the garden of our beginnings. 

Thorns and thistles whisper, “This is not your home; you’re a refugee in an alien land.” An ancient instinct imbedded in our soul knows that only God can make a way to regain what has been lost. The curse reminds us of this.

Adam and Eve are driven from the garden lest they, “Take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever” (3:22,23). How merciful of God! What would be worse than to eat of this tree and live forever separated from God, in a cursed world as an eternally disintegrating being?

Life itself begins to break down — death enters creation, “For you are dust and to dust you shall return” (3:19). The entrance of death is by human choice, not an act of God. Separated from the Giver of all life, humanity began to experience death, just as a branch begins to wither and die when separated from the tree of its beginnings.

The problem on earth is not that God is cruel, uninvolved or unloving but that the caretaker fell from relationship with God.  The disasters in nature, the plagues and famines, the assault upon the human body and mind of disease and breakdown, all this is the result of the intended ruler of creation falling from relationship with Creator God and therefore from the place of stewardship over creation. This world would never have come to such a point of disintegration except for the displacement of humanity through sin.

Sin resulted in more than just a severing of relationship with God. By that severing of relationship, humanity not only was disconnected from our only Source of eternal life and light, but we also lost the flow of wisdom, power and creative imagination that would have enabled us to be stewards over the earth.  Separation from God resulted in separation from the resources that enabled stewardship, which resulted in separation from the task of stewardship.

Fallen humanity tries to manage life, direct the affairs of the world, develop the potential of the planet while separated from God. The result is ignorance and knowledge misused. For centuries humanity was ignorant of the secrets of steam power, electrical power, atomic power, penicillin and the world suffered for lack of the benefits which these discoveries have provided. But how much greater our suffering when discoveries are made and misused due to the impact of sin and the lust for dominance.  

We don't know what it would be like to live on a planet where discoveries are the result of God’s wisdom flowing into a mind untainted by sin. We can only imagine.

E. In summary, sin created the reality of death:

“The Lord commanded the man saying, ‘From the trees of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die’” (Gen. 2:16,17).

In the opening lesson, Creation, we said that there was nothing evil about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It would provide information but God wanted humanity to live by a higher source of wisdom — revelation from the mind of God. This prohibition was simply a test of obedience — will you eat from the information tree or the revelation tree? Besides, there was no reason to eat from tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect good in this perfect garden and there was no evil that applied to them. However, eating from the tree was an act of rebellion which introduced them to evil.

In rebelling against God’s clearly stated will, man and woman were replacing the will of God with self will. They displaced God as Lord of their lives. Only God can be our Source of life and wisdom, the truly wise Judge of good and evil. Having rejected revelation, fallen, disintegrating personalities gather information and try to govern their lives and their planet. The result is the chaos and tragedy which have characterized this thorn-infested garden for so many generations. 

Adam and Eve were created to live in union with God, like branches on a tree but when that union was broken it was as if the branches had fallen from the tree. The result of sin is death because sin separates us from the Giver of life and destroys everything it touches. The ultimate penalty of sin is eternal separation from God and therefore, everlasting death. 

F. In the face of death, God promises a life-giving Deliverer: Genesis 3:15 

On that day of sin and separation, death entered every aspect of life and God could have taken the lives of Adam and Eve. But how gracious and merciful of our kind God — before Adam and Eve left the garden, God promised a Redeemer / Deliverer who would someday come to earth, carry their sin and take their death upon Himself. How unexpectedly wonderful — the God of all grace promised to deliver humanity from the death which we had imposed upon ourselves and upon all of creation.

Contained in these enigmatic words addressed to Satan is the promise of that Man: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Gen. 3:15).

Someday a man will be born of the seed of a woman (conception without the seed of a man) and this man will bruise the serpent on the head, a mortal wound, though he will be wounded. In this promise we see the first prophecy of the Redeemer.

G. In a final act of mercy, God covered the man and the woman.

“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (3:21).

When Adam and Eve sinned, their immediate response was to cover themselves in fig leaves. This is the first act of works-righteousness in world history — attempting to come before God covering their sin with their own works, in this case fig leaves. In the centuries since, their sons and daughters have been attempting to cover their sin with their own version of fig leaves — false religions, reliance upon religious ritual, charitable works — or a thousand other coverings.

This is the history of human religion, fallen men and women attempting to cover their sin with the fig leaves of religion and good works and thereby justify themselves before God. But we cannot cover our sin, atone for it or make ourselves righteous in the sight of a holy God. Only God can cleanse us of our sin and restore us to a righteous relationship with Himself.

Because the fig leaves were insufficient, the Lord God met them, not to restore innocence — that was gone. God met them to cover them, making garments of skin for them, covering them until such a time as a Redeemer would come and cleanse them.

Where did God get those skins? He killed something. Was it a lamb? God was demonstrating the truth that sin is covered through the sacrificial shedding of blood — sin creates death and must be dealt with by sacrifice. Whatever animal God killed, the sacrifice points across the centuries to Jesus, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Adam and Eve may have been expecting death to come upon them immediately. Instead, an innocent animal died in their place. Did they watch as the lamb was slaughtered? Did they have any premonition as to the momentous significance of that lamb? 

Surely the Second Person of the Trinity saw and looked ahead to a hill called Calvary, just outside Jerusalem. God knew that creatures with a free moral will would sin and would perish in their sin unless the Lord redeemed them. Somewhere in the ancient councils of eternity, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit determined and decreed that Jesus would be that Redeemer, “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

Later, the Lord instituted a system whereby bulls and lambs were sacrificed for the sins of the people. It is not that their blood could cleanse anyone of sin but those sacrifices would cover them and represent the one great sacrifice of Jesus which reached back in time to Eden and forward in time to your life and mine, washing and cleansing every repentant sinner.

Study Questions

1. What was the first impact of the fall? (3:8-10)

2. What began to happen within Adam and Eve? (3:7-10)

3. How did sin impact the relationship between Adam and Eve? (Genesis 3:12,13)

4. What is a key word that you would use to describe the impact of sin?


Foundations in Faith:

Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb


This series of lessons is entitled Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.  But before could talk about redemption, we asked, “Why do I need to be redeemed? Saved from what?” So we studied the creation of humanity, the temptation of humanity and the fall of humanity. In this section, we will examine the theme that will inspire our praise through eternity: Redeemed By the Blood of the Lamb. 

I. God’s Gracious Promise to Sinners: 

God created Adam and Eve in His image and placed them in a garden which perfectly reflected His infinite creativity and kindness. Humanity was created to know and enjoy God but through sin, fell into separation from God, from their own being, from one another and from creation. Yet God in His marvelous grace promised a Redeemer who would someday bring sinners back to Himself.

Before Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden, God revealed that Someone born of the seed of the woman would someday bruise the head of the serpent, though He would be bruised on the heel (Genesis 3:15). It’s not biologically correct to speak of the seed of a woman but this would be a special birth not involving the seed of a man. This uniquely conceived Man will crush the serpent (a mortal wound) though He would be bruised, that is, He would be wounded yet not destroyed. 

Interpreting this Scripture from our perspective we see Jesus, conceived, not by the seed of a man but by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. Though Jesus was bruised, beaten and crucified, He broke the power of Satan.

II. God’s Holy Response To Sin:

A. God is holy and sin is an offense to a holy God. God cannot look upon sin, cannot fellowship with sin and must judge sin in the same way that a human judge must judge broken law. 

B. God is loving and opposes anything that would threaten to destroy the objects of His love. Sin destroys, therefore God hates and opposes all sin. 

God judges sin both passively and actively:

1. Passively:

a. By allowing sinners to reap the consequences of their sin.

b. By withdrawing His blessing from their lives.

c. By allowing sinners the free moral will to live and die in a state of separation from Him.

2. Actively:

a. By exercising divine punishment during the sinner’s lifetime.

b. By enforcing the divine decree that all who die in a state of separation from Him will live forever in the torment of that separation.

III. God’s Gracious Desire for Sinners:  

A. Though God is offended by sin, He does not desire that we perish in our sin.

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

B. Because God is merciful, He desires that all people would be saved.

“Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4)

“For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13) 

God must be consistent with His holy nature and judge sin. Sin separates people from God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life. Therefore, the penalty and result of sin is death.  But God desires that none perish. What did God do? 

IV. God’s Gracious Response to Sin:

God was born in human form, took our sin upon Himself and died our death. Somewhere in the ancient councils of eternity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit agreed to this (see I Peter 1:20   Rev. 13:8).  So with a simple economy of words we read: “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The greatest expression of love in the history of the universe is this — not only did God provide the sacrifice for our sin but God Himself became that sacrifice.

Why did there have to be a sacrifice? Why did Jesus have to die for our sin? Because sin results in death. The sacrificial system of the Old Testament, in which animals were sacrificed as an atonement for sin, pointed ahead to the someday death of Jesus, the Lamb who took upon Himself the sin and death of sinners.

V. God’s Gracious Gift to Sinners:

Jesus Christ is the innocent Lamb of God who in His death made Himself an offering for sin.  

“Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:18,19)

John the Baptist exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 also Hebrews 9:11-14, 24-28).

1. Jesus became our Substitute: He took our place, bore our sins, died our death.

Only a perfectly holy God could take all sin upon Himself. Only a perfectly holy Man could qualify as the Substitute for all humanity. On the cross we see Jesus, the God / Man, God in human form, offering Himself as the substitutionary Sacrifice for humanity.

“And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds you were healed” (I Peter 2:24  also Isaiah  53:4,5,12)

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

2. Jesus is our ransom. 

Sin enslaves — all of humanity became enslaved to sin and death. Jesus paid the price of our enslavement — ransoming us, purchasing us from the power of death and redeeming us to God.

Jesus said that He “did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 also I Peter 1:18,19  Hebrews 9:11-14)

“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals for You were slain and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9)

3. Jesus took not only our sins upon Himself but also the wrath (the judgmental anger) of God released against sin. 

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Romans 5:9).

4. He became our Reconciler: we who were separated from God by sin are now reconciled, brought into eternal fellowship with God.    

“Now all these things are from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Corinthians 5:18,19 also Romans 5:10,11).

5. Jesus is our risen Savior, God demonstrating Christ’s victory over sin by raising Him from the dead.

“But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power” (Acts 2:24).

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (I Cor. 15:20).

It was necessary that Jesus rise from the dead because if He did not overcome death, then death overcame Him. What is the cause of death? It is sin. Sin came into the world when Adam and Eve rebelled against God. The result of sin is death. If Jesus did not overcome death then He did put away sin, His atonement was meaningless and we are still dead in our sins. The Father raised His Son from the dead as proof that the atoning sacrifice was acceptable.

VI. The Result of God’s Gracious Gift:

1. All who repent of sin and place their faith in Jesus as the Sacrifice for sin and risen Lord, are forgiven of sin — our sins are washed away.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9 also Colossians 1:13,14)

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:7,8)

2. The believer is declared just, righteous in the eyes of God.  

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1)

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation (acceptable sacrifice) in His blood through faith ... so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:23-26).

God maintains His justness while declaring sinners to be just because the Just One, Jesus, the holy Sacrifice, took upon Himself our injustice. Therefore God is just and justifier.

3. We are redeemed / ransomed from the useless slaveries of our former life.

“Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:18,19  also Revelation 5:9).

4. We are reconciled to God from whom we were separated, brought into everlasting fellowship with God.  

“For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19,20  also 2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:8-10)

5. We are reborn, regenerated, given new life. This rebirth takes place in our spirit.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Unless one is born again (or “born from above”) he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12,13 also 3:3).

“For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God” (I Peter 1:23).

When we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, placing our faith in what He did for us, we are brought into union with Christ’s death and resurrection life. “Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:10,12). Raised with Christ, we are living a new life.

6. As reborn creatures of God’s grace, we are new creations. The old sin nature has been put to death, replaced by a new nature:

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The Apostle Paul described our new nature with these words: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:27).

7. We are delivered from the power of sin — not only forgiven of sin but set free from sin’s power to destroy, deceive and enslave.  

“But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17,18 see also 6:14-19  8:2  and Galatians 5:1).

Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin ... so if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34).

Jesus breaks the power of canceled sin — sin’s authority / power to control our lives is broken.

8. We are delivered out of the dominion / rule of darkness and into the loving rule of Jesus.  

“For He rescued us from the domain (jurisdiction, authority) of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom (rule) of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13,14  see also I Peter 2:9, “called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”).

We still commit sins — we still wrestle with memories and habit patterns that can be enticed by the temptations of the world around us, but we are free to resist and overcome sin because we have a new nature. The old nature died and rose with Christ and we are new creations.

9. We are set free from death into abundant, victorious life and eternal fellowship with God.   

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins ... But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with Him ... so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1-7 see also Romans 8:1,2   I Corinthians 15:56,57).    

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth … And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men and He will dwell among them ... and there will no longer be any death ...” (Revelation 21:1-4  see also 22:1-5)

10. We are adopted into the family of God as children of God and included in the inheritance of God’s family.  

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are ... Beloved, now we are children of God and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him ...” (I John 3:1,2). 

“‘And I will be a father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to me’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18).

“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:5-7).

11. The Spirit of God comes to indwell the believer.  

“I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:16,17  see also Acts 2:1-4).

“For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them and I will be their God and they shall be my people’” (2 Corinthians 6:16).

12. Because the eternal Spirit of God lives in every believer, eternal life is a present possession and future promise.  

“For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  

“He who believes in Me has eternal life” (John 3:36).

“Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and does not come into judgment but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24 see also I John 5:13).

“For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

What is eternal life? It is sharing the life of God without the constraint of time or anything else that would diminish our experience of God.

All these blessings are contained in the new covenant established by God with humanity. God is a covenant making, covenant keeping God. As Jesus ate one final meal with His disciples, He took the cup of wine and said, “This is My blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28). 

According to this New Covenant, God agrees to pour out upon us all the blessings previously mentioned. The price for the establishment of this New Covenant was paid through the sacrifice of Jesus. All who repent of sin and place their faith in Jesus experience these blessings. 

A covenant is a contract but also, as it is used in the Bible, it is somewhat like a will. As you know, a will does not take effect until the one who made it dies. The heirs do not receive the blessings or inheritance of that will until the one who made it is deceased. This is why the writer to the Hebrews said, “For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it” (Hebrews 9:16). So it is that Jesus, in His sacrificial death on our behalf, inaugurated this New Covenant between God and humanity, releasing to all who will receive Him in faith all the blessings of salvation. 

It cost us nothing. It cost God everything. What an amazing work of grace!

VII. The sovereign grace of God in salvation.

The Bible says, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Separated from God, we were spiritually dead. We were also blind to spiritual truth, “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).

If we were separated from God by our sin and therefore spiritually dead and if we were spiritually blind, unable to perceive truth about God or ourselves, then how were we saved? We were saved by the sovereign grace of God. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). Jesus also said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

It is God who came seeking us in His Son. It is God who awakened us from spiritual sleep and death. It is God who enables us to see the truth about our sin and God’s grace. It is God who enables us to turn from our sins and place our faith in Christ as our Savior. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:10). It is all a work of grace.

However, there is a necessary human response to grace. Having been awakened by the grace of God, we must respond to grace. 

VIII. Our Response To Grace

1. We repent of sin.

In Acts chapter two, after Peter preached, the people were pierced to the heart and cried out, “What shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent” (Acts 2:38,39).

When we truly hear the message of God’s holy anger toward sin and His offer of mercy and grace to sinners, the Holy Spirit pierces our heart with this truth and brings us to repentance. Repentance is a true, Godly sorrow for our sin and a willingness to turn from it. Repentance is a change of mind leading to a change of life.

2. We believe in our heart that Jesus is the holy Lamb and Risen Lord.

A man cried out to Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30,31).

Believe what? That Jesus is who He says He is: the holy Lamb of God who took our sins upon Himself, bore God’s judgment against sin, died our death and rose from the dead. Faith to believe that Jesus is the crucified Savior and risen Lord is a gift which God plants in the heart of all who turn to Him in sincere repentance.

3. We confess our faith in Jesus. 

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 see also verses 10-13). Salvation is God’s gift to those who repent of sin, believe in their heart and confess with their mouth the Lordship of Jesus.

4. We are baptized.

Baptism is an outward, visible sign of God’s work of forgiveness and the washing away of sin (Romans 6:3,4). We are not saved by the ritual. There is nothing saving about water or words. Baptism is an outward sign of the inner work which God has performed in our heart and an act of obedience to Christ’s command. (Of course, there are times when a person does not have the opportunity to be baptized — for instance, when death is imminent. This in no way cancels any aspect of their salvation).

IX. What does it mean to be saved?

1. We are not who we were:

We who were unjust sinners are declared just and righteous by a holy God. 

We who were guilty are forgiven. 

We who were separated from God by sin are now reconciled to Him. 

We who were slaves of darkness are new creations abiding in the kingdom of light.

We who were destined to die forever are given the gift of eternal life with God:

2. We are a people of praise:

There is only one possible response for this wonderful blessing of salvation: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

3. We are a living testimony of the saving power of God. 

How do we know if we are truly saved? By the way we live. The Apostle Peter said, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9). We proclaim in the way we live — our life is our testimony.

Christianity is not a one-time prayer. It’s a lifestyle.  

Not a religion but a relationship with the living God.

4. We are secure in our salvation.

In relationship with Jesus Christ, we are progressively transformed into His likeness. That is a gradual process with many challenges along the way. But God did not save us by His grace to then abandon us. He who came seeking us, who awakened us, who forgave us and reconciled us to Himself will also keep us from here to eternity.

“And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phlpns. 1:6).

Study Questions

1. What is God’s desire for sinners?

2. What did Jesus do on the cross?

3. How can God declare a sinner to be righteous?

4. Is there a necessary human response to the work of the cross? If so, what is it?