5-GOD REACTS TO MAN'S LOSS
Jesus Comes To Earth
By Colleen Donahue
Man's creation of "religion" is his attempt to find and receive back what he lost: his relationship with God and his kingdom. But no human can get back what they lost on their own and of course God knows this.
God knew that man would choose to rebel against him long before man was even created. And so before the foundation of the world, God developed a plan in eternity that would allow every man and woman to get back the two things they were about to lose.
1. Their relationship with God and
2. Their dominion over the earth (or their kingdom).
Regaining both of these are important so that we can be once again part of God's big family -- ruling and reigning with Him.
God's plan, called "the mystery of the gospel" by the Apostle Paul was one that only God could have come up with. It involved the entire Godhead -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It was comprehensive in that it included each and every person and yet it wasn't automatic so as not to override our free wills.
This plan of redemption was carried out by God through his Son Jesus and continues today and into the future by His Holy Spirit. The Government of God has made this plan available to all, but as I mentioned above, it's not automatic. It can only be applied to those who recognize and receive what God did for them. This is not unlike any government that sets up a plan of restoration after a natural disaster. The plan for help is in place but only those who apply for it will receive it and be helped by it.
This study will focus on God's key player in the plan of redemption and why Jesus was uniquely suited for the task.
1. Knowing the decision our first parents would make (to live independent from God) and all that would follow, God from before the foundation of the world made a plan to redeem us. The very first recorded promise of this came immediately after Adam and Eve sinned.
2. Paul describes this plan of redemption as God's secret and hidden wisdom. Notice WHEN it was in place.
1 Corinthians 2:7
Despite man's fall from grace, it's been God's unchanging purpose to save man from the effects of his fall and to restore to us the original purpose we were born for. Notice in this verse WHEN this grace was given to us.
2 Timothy 1:9
3. Let's reread that last verse and now notice WHO was to be God's key player in his plan of redemption.
2 Timothy 1:9
4. God's plan was to send his son Jesus to earth. He was born "Emmanuel" and Matthew tells us what that means.
"God with us" means that the task of redemption had to be done by someone who was BOTH God and man. Why?
5. God alone cannot just pardon us. He is holy and his judgment must be against sin of any kind.
Jeremiah 17:10 / Jeremiah 32:18-19
You might be asking why can't God just pardon us -- can't he do everything? Here is an analogy that might help us to think this through. Let's say that your child was murdered. The judge trying the case says, "There is nothing we can do to bring back your child but we can extend grace and forgiveness to this person who murdered your child. I am going to do that so that two lives aren't ruined."
Would this judge be just? No. There was no justice for your dead child, or for you and strangely not for the murderer either. That's because justice is a process using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals.
Would this judge be holy? No. Someone who is holy is set apart to God and his ways and would have no tolerance for sin and evil of any kind.
It's true that God dearly loves all his children but if he allowed sinful men into Heaven then Heaven would soon become hell as is happening here on earth.
6. Man alone could not atone for himself or others because men are "all in the same boat" -- i.e. they are born with a sin nature and therefore they sin.
Psalm 53:3 / Isaiah 53:6a / Romans 3:23 / 1 John 1:8
7. If God won't allow sin into Heaven and all men are sinners (because they have a sin nature) this leaves us with a question: "Who then can be saved?"
Notice that it's the very same question that Christ's disciples asked of Jesus.
8. Then Jesus said something that was astonishing to the people then AND now.
That one statement alone has had men up in arms for centuries claiming it's not true and that there are many ways to God, all of which are equally valid. Therefore before we can continue looking at God's plan of redemption we need to ask:
WHY IS JESUS THE ONLY WAY BACK TO GOD?
There are three main reasons.
9. Reason #1 --He was born without a sin nature. Let's read carefully an old and familiar passage:
First Mary is foretold her son's birth -- Luke 1:26- 33
Then comes the key question: Luke 1:34
Now notice Gabriel's answer: Luke 1:35
Many of us have grown up learning about the virgin birth of Jesus (called the incarnation) but not knowing what it had to do with anything. In reality it qualified Jesus to do the work the Father sent him to earth to do. Here's why.
Since the fall of our first parents, every human has inherited a sin nature. Now the "nature" of something is the essential quality by which they are recognized. All fish live in water and swim. Birds have a built in mechanism for flying. Man has a bent for sinning because it's his nature.
You can see that if Jesus had been born the same way we were, he too would have had a sin nature. So God performed a quiet miracle that we can now shout about. Scripture tells us that while Mary was still a virgin she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit so that the child she conceived was by the Holy Spirit and not Joseph (who had no natural relations with Mary at the time Jesus was conceived.)
It's a medical fact that the mother's blood doesn't mix with the child in her womb. Therefore Jesus was not born with a sin nature like everyone else. He was born without sin, full of the Holy Spirit and without the inclination to even want to sin.
10. Reason #2- When Jesus died he didn't stay dead. When Jesus completed the work he had been sent to do, he died. But, he also predicted that God would raise him from the dead!
Matthew 16:21 / Matthew 26:32
And God did just that.
Acts 2:24 / Acts 3:14-15
Once the disciples realized that Christ's predictions happened as was stated they couldn't keep silent. They left their work and testified near and far that Jesus rose from the dead.
Acts 4:33 / Acts 10:39-41 / Acts 17:2-3
11. The event of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the more established facts of history and it enabled God to complete our redemption because of it. (More on that later).
All the founders of current world religions died leaving only their teachings and principles to be passed along. But Jesus rose from the dead as the "second Adam" or "the second man". He was the start of a new race of men.
1 Corinthians 15:45-49
After 40 days of appearing to his followers, his body was gone but the Spirit of Jesus (the Holy Spirit) was alive and about to be poured out once again to men on the earth.
With the death and resurrection of Jesus, God hit the "reset button". That's why the Bible refers to Jesus as the "second Adam" or the "second man" (with Adam being the first). If we want to know what we are meant to be like we just need to look at Jesus.
12. Reason #3- Jesus brought back the Holy Spirit to men and the earth.
For as wonderful as the death and resurrection of Jesus is to our redemption, it is only preliminary to the final reason for his coming -- bringing the Holy Spirit back to the earth so that he could once again dwell in mankind.
Remember we are meant to be a "God-man" race of people. When God first made man he breathed his life-giving Spirit into our own spirit.
When man sinned, the Holy Spirit left us and Adam and Eve felt this immediately. If you'd read these verses in Genesis notice what started happening to Adam and Eve.
The Holy Spirit cannot live in a dirty heart, which is what sin does to us. That's why Adam and Eve immediately felt shame and guilt. They tried to cover up and hide from God. They then blamed each other. And so although Adam and Eve were born with God's Spirit indwelling their own, they lost Him through sin. From then on their offspring were born without God's Holy Spirit, leaving an aching void within the heart of every person. All men and women from the time of Adam and Eve have been born spiritually dead.
13. Throughout Old Testament times we see the Holy Spirit occasionally coming upon someone (from the outside) to help him or her fulfill a task. But Jesus was the first person back on earth where the Holy Spirit indwelled his own spirit. His baptism by John the Baptist was like his "coming out announcement" and the start of his ministry. God himself confirmed it.
Luke 3:15-16, 21-23a
Then notice that when the Holy Spirit indwells a person, he immediately begins to direct us from the inside. And so he did with Jesus.
The good news for us is that with Jesus, the Holy Spirit was once more on earth! Jesus was the vehicle to bring the Holy Spirit back to mankind.
14. Then, at Pentecost, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit so that everyone who would receive him could have him dwelling within just like Adam and Eve had at first.
Acts 2: 1-4
It's the Holy Spirit dwelling within us that enables us once again to communicate with God and to fulfill our destiny as rulers over this earth. Pentecost (or the return of the Holy Spirit to man's spirit) was the fulfillment of a long awaited promise.
Joel 2:28-29 / Matthew 3:11 / Luke 24:49 / Acts 1:8
Paul calls this third reason for Christ's coming "the mystery of the gospel" -- Christ in you the hope of glory.
HOW IS JESUS AS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE OUR ONLY WAY BACK TO GOD?
15. We have just seen that Jesus came to earth through the virgin birth fully God. He was also fully man in all aspects except one. He was born without the sin nature that we all have at birth. This made Jesus uniquely qualified to be the mediator between God and man.
1 Timothy 2:5 / Hebrews 8:6 / Hebrews 9:14-15 / 1 John 2:1
16. When Jesus rose from the dead he defeated Satan's hold over mankind. Satan thought that if he could kill Jesus, then Jesus would be out of the way for good leaving him (Satan) to pursue his evil reign of terror over man on the earth forever. But the plan backfired with the resurrection.
Hebrews 2:14 / 1 John 3:8
17. By rising from the dead, Christ's Spirit (called the Holy Spirit) was able to be released back to the earth to once again dwell within man. When Jesus had a body he could only be in one place at a time. But now, His Spirit can be everywhere and with everyone at once! This is truly the example of one grain of wheat dying only to produce a crop multiplied many times.
18. Anyone who wants to find their way back to God ultimately must get alongside of Jesus. He's not going to give you directions and a road map. He's going to take you there Himself and therefore He is the way.
19. Jesus couldn't be the way if he wasn't the truth. Men - even religious leaders - can lead us in the wrong direction.
But Jesus as God's Son, came to testify to the truth of His Father.
When we hear what Jesus said and see what he did, you are seeing an exact picture of what God is saying and doing.
NOTE: There are many questions we have that have a ready answer if we only apply this fact that Jesus and the Father are ONE. For example: Is it the Father's will to heal us? Then you read in scripture that everywhere Jesus went he healed. Often it says that he healed them all. Were they all Christians? No! So, if Jesus "healed them all" then we know that is the Father's will to heal.
20. Jesus couldn't be our way if he wasn't the truth. And He couldn't be the life of God for us if He didn't have God's own Spirit dwelling within him.
God tells us through John that "in him (Jesus) was life."
Jesus came to bring the Holy Spirit back to earth so that he could indwell men again. For remember that man was originally made to partner with God in ruling over this world. Jesus was the container for this life of God to return to earth and be made available to you and me. Read these verses slowly for they are remarkable.
From these verses you can answer these questions:
If anyone does not have the Holy Spirit indwelling them what does this mean? (especially verse 9)
If we have the Spirit of Jesus (the Holy Spirit) indwelling our life, what will this mean for us?
In this study we have looked at God's key player in the plan of redemption. Now in the next study we'll circle back to what this plan of redemption is and how it came about.
1. Adam and Eve in choosing sin as the path of all mankind was not a surprise to God. He knew their choice before they made it and so before the foundation of the world -- that's before man was even created -- the Godhead formed a plan to redeem man.
2. The key player in this plan was to be God's Son -- Jesus Christ. God sent him to earth in an unusual way. By "the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary and the power of the Most High overshadowing her" she conceived Jesus so that he could be born a man but not tainted with the sin nature that the rest of us have. Jesus was born fully God and fully man and therefore able to act as the mediator between God and man.
3. In essence, Jesus was born so that he could die. He was to be the one who would "take away the sins of the world." He would do this by dying in our place for the sins we have committed. Therefore the wrath of God towards all sinners would be satisfied. When Jesus resurrected from the dead it was the ultimate triumph over Satan who thought he was rid of Jesus for good and now the ultimate god of this world.
4.But the third reason Jesus came was to bring back the Holy Spirit to earth so that He could live once again within man's spirit as he did with Adam and Eve. The grain of wheat indeed was buried (Jesus in the grave) but when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon those first believers it was as though thousands of Jesus's were now alive and multiplying! For when a believer receives the Spirit of Jesus -- i.e. the Holy Spirit they are again in right relationship with God and able to have dominion over the world in partnership with God -- but more on that in the next study.
5. For now we must realize that for every man and woman, Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one will be able to be reconciled to the Father without him.