“ I pray that “The eyes of your understanding will be flooded with light, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saint…” Ephesians 1:18
Before we begin a bible study into the gospel and our response to the gospel I would like to take a couple of minutes and relate a couple of incidents that brought this study into reality. The gospel, by definition, is called the “Good News,” for good reason and the reason goes far deeper than most of us have ever seriously considered. These incidents brought this truth into clarity for me and prayerfully they will for you also.
I was listening to a message at a local church in our area and one of the ministers made a statement that went somewhat like this, “ Jesus is our advocate and that means He is standing between the Father and us, reminding Him of all that He did on our behalf, in order to make us acceptable in His sight. I have heard this stated in many different ways and with many different attitudes, but in the end, is it true?That same day I heard someone else talk about our, “fallen nature.” Do we have or did we have a “fallen nature?”
Now I know that what I am about to say will cause some of you to get heartburn, or if your a good Italian, agita. That is okay if it causes you to think and pray about it. First of all, to say or even imply that our nature is fallen or flawed would seem to me to imply that God did not do a very good job in the first place. After all, He did make man in His image and likeness. Implying that mankind is anything less that God’s masterpiece would also seem to go against the Scripture in Genesis 1:31, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”
Maybe, just maybe, we ought to consider the possibility that the essence of who we are has not been corrupted, just our mind. Remember, the forbidden fruit was from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Jesus redeemed our fallen state, and redemption, by definition, is a payment made to restore something or someone to its or their original value. Jesus is not advocating our acceptance to the Father, He is advocating our acceptance on behalf of the Father. God has done everything necessary to restore us to our original purpose as being the image and likeness of Elohim.
We will never fully appreciate who we are, in Christ, if we always view ourselves as the ugly duckling, saved by grace. The overwhelmingly good news is that we are His sons and daughters, restored to His original intent, through the sacrificial death, burial, resurrection and ascension of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ. We are the ugly duckling who sees who we really are through the redemptive work of Christ, as in the reflection of the pond.
Genesis 1:26,27 “The God said, ‘Let Us(1) make man in Our image(2), according to Our likeness(3)…’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; Male and female He created them.”
Us (Elohim) Speaks of the Triune GodHead, Father, Son, and Spirit.
Image (tselem) to shade; a phantom; hence, a representative figure.
All of mankind is a representation of God as a spirit person.
Likeness (dem-ooth) like, model, shape, fashion, manner, similitude.
Human beings are fashioned after God in their unique personalities as a spirit person.
Before time and space began, God had an idea or thought about you and I.
Born out of His love nature, we were thought of, designed and created to join in the original community of Father, Son, and Spirit.
We were made to be part of God, in Christ!
Jeremiah 1:5 “I knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb.”
Psalm 139:13-16 “ For You have formed my inward parts; You have knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and my soul knows very well, My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. In Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
So, What Happened!?
Adam and Eve , representing all mankind, had a choice to obey or disobey God. God always allows us to choose, because love is never forced it is given. Adam and Eve chose to disobey. Genesis 3 gives us insight into what happened as a result of their wrong decision.
Tree of Life. Jesus said .. “He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.” It is key to understanding our life choices are found only in the giver of Life, Jesus, and not apart from Him.
Tree of the knowledge of good and evil
Mankind did not need that knowledge. They only needed the relationship with God. In our original innocence we did not know good and evil as a concept, we only knew a good heavenly father. In eating of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve made a choice to go it on their own merit. At this point in human history our spirit died and we began to try and please God out of our soulish energy and have failed miserably. However, God had a plan:
I Peter 1:20,21: “He was always destined in God’s prophetic instead of themelios, meaning “foundation of the world. The entire “Fall” was a falling away in our minds from our true identity as image and likeness bearers of Elohim. Just like Adam and Eve we were all deceived to believe a lie about ourselves, which is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (the I-am-not-tree). thought; God knew even before the fall ( fall: kataballo, meaning “to fall away, or put in a lower place ) of the world order that His Son would be the Lamb, to be made manifest in these last days, because of you, who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him , and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”