Have you really heard it?
In the beginning, before it was spoiled, God's creation
was magnificent beyond anything we can imagine. This is because God Himself
is beyond our ability to fully grasp. However, He has a plan to restore
creation to its original condition and bring peace harmony and order to
the entire planet!
In the beginning the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) created the heavens and the earth. Then God made the crown of His creation — man. What is so special about man? It is the fact that God created man in His own image! God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." No other creature was created in God's image. Man was created to have wonderful companionship with God. Man was also created to be immortal, with a physical body that would live forever and never die! God put the crown of His creation, Adam and Eve, in a garden that He had made for them. He told them to be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over all the earth.
However, in spite of the infinite glory that God had made available to them, Adam and Eve rebelled against God. God had warned them that rebellion would bring death, but the tempter came and said to the, “You will not surely die.” The man and the woman doubted God's word (that death would really come) and believed they could be equal with God.
Because of rebellion, sin and death entered the human race according to God's law. Mankind fell from the position of close personal companionship with God and has sought ways of regaining dominion over the earth ever since. The result has been greed, jealousy, murder, theft, pain, suffering, wars, and injustice of every kind. The rest is history.
Because God is absolutely pure and holy and because all mankind had been infected with sin, God placed a barrier of separation between Himself and man. God will never allow His purity to be compromised or allow sin into His presence. If He did, there would be no righteous standard in heaven or in earth and we would certainly be without hope. God’s unbreakable laws are what provides security and hope for all of creation.
However, because of His love for man, God did not totally abandon him. He made a way to maintain a level of contact with man through a process called atonement. In atonement, innocent animals were killed and their blood was received by God to atone for, or in other words, satisfy the requirement of the law of God which says, The Wages of Sin Is Death. Through atonement by blood, God established a means of making covenants or "agreements" with men. However, God found very few people through history with whom He could make a covenant.
Eventually God found a man named Abram and made a special covenant with him. God made a covenant with Abram by blood and changed his name to Abraham. God commanded Abraham to keep this covenant and to command his children and household after him to keep His ways. God promised Abraham that through his family line He would eventually bring the blessing of salvation from sin and death to all nations.
Abraham had a son named Isaac and Isaac had a son named Jacob. Jacob had an experience with God and God gave Jacob the name Israel. Israel had twelve sons and they became twelve clans (or tribes) which became the nation known as Israel.
During a severe famine, God sent Israel to the land of Egypt where He gave them favor with the king and food to survive. However, an evil king arose who made slaves out of the whole nation. After 400 years, God raised up a leader named Moses and used him to delivered Israel from slavery. God brought Israel out of Egypt with many mighty miracles and displays of power.
God gave Moses the law known as the Ten Commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me. 2) You shall not make for yourself a carved image. 3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. 4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 5) Honor your father and your mother. 6) You shall not murder. 7) You shall not commit adultery. 8) You shall not steal. 9) You shall not bear false witness. 10) You shall not covet. He told His people to follow these commandments and they would prosper and be blessed.
Through hundreds of years of Israel's history, God blessed them and gave them victory over their enemies when they offered the required blood sacrifices and walked in the ways of God. Yet, when they disobeyed God, worshiped false god's and became wicked, God allowed them to be defeated by their enemies to teach them to trust and obey Him.
All the while, through many good times and bad times, God was still working on His plan to bring salvation to all nations. It was part of God's plan and His agreement with Abraham to bring through his bloodline (the nation of Israel), a special man who would offer the perfect blood sacrifice once and for all.
You see, the blood of animals was only a temporary atonement that could not completely deal with the sin problem. Even the most perfect and innocent animal, such as little lamb, could not fully atone for the sin of man. Why? Because animals were not created in the image of God as man was. Something lesser cannot purchase something greater. However, since sin had infected the entire human race, there was none totally righteous, not even one. No one was found who qualified as the ultimate sacrifice.
Yet all the while, God knew what he would do. He would come to earth Himself in the form of a man and live life on the same level as man. He would defeat the power of sin by never yielding to it and then He would offer His own life (blood) as the atonement for man's sin. In all ways, this god-man endured the tests and temptations of this world. Even his entrance into this world was like ours, through the womb of a woman.
God the Holy Spirit planted the seed of God in the womb of a virgin named Mary who birthed the Son of God into the world under the most humble and lowly circumstances. This god-man was Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the earth-born Son of God. He and He alone is God's Sacrifice Lamb that takes away the sins of the world.
Jesus demonstrated true humility and love in the midst of a perverse world. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and did many wonderful miracles. He gave this world a taste of what God desires for all of mankind to have. He preached about the coming Kingdom of God that would bring peace to the whole earth. He also trained a group of followers to carry on God's plan to bring salvation to all nations, not just Israel.
Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. Though He is fully God yet He fully became a man and overcame the world as a man facing all the same temptations that we face, yet without sin. This qualifies Him and Him alone to be the sacrifice for man's sin.
But, certain descendants of Abraham (who were supposed to be expecting Christ's coming) refused to believe in Him and had Him crucified. Though Jesus was killed by those who hated Him, they did not take His life against His will. He gave His life willingly because He knew that He was the sacrifice for man's sin. Jesus was beaten, nailed to a wooden cross and hung there until he died. Jesus was then buried in a tomb. This was the greatest act of love the world has ever known. Jesus' death satisfied the requirement of the law that says, The Wages of Sin Is Death.
But death could not hold a innocent sinless man! On the third day after His death, Jesus rose from the dead and was seen alive by many people over a period of forty days. One time He was seen by five hundred people at once! The resurrection of Jesus Christ is an indisputable fact that proves Him to be exactly who He says He is. He is the way, the truth and the life, no one can be saved apart from Him!
During this 40 day period, Jesus spoke to His followers about the Kingdom of God and gave them instructions to carry out the plan of God; the plan to bring salvation to all the nations and to prepare the earth for His return and the appearing of the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus had taught His disciples that He must leave in order to send them a Helper, the Holy Sprit. He told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from the Holy Spirit and then take the message of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. Then He ascended into heaven and disappeared into the clouds as His disciples watched. At that time, they received a promise from angels that Jesus would return again in the same manner that he ascended.
About 10 days later, Jesus' followers were gathered together in one place and the promise of power from on high was fulfilled. The Holy Spirit came upon 120 people with such great power that it sounded like a strong wind. The Spirit appeared to them as flames of fire that lit upon each one of them. The noise of it was such that it was heard by people all around the city and they gathered to see what was going on.
One of Jesus’ followers named Peter stood up and explained to the crowd what had happened. He told them that Jesus, who had been crucified, was the Christ. He explained that death could not hold Him and that He was risen from the dead and had sent the Holy Spirit.
This was the plan of God coming to pass that had been spoken of by the prophets centuries before. Peter exhorted them to be saved from this perverse world by believing on the name of Jesus. He told them that if they would turn from their sins and be baptized, they too would receive the Holy Spirit. About 3000 people believed and were baptized that day!
The atonement through the blood of Jesus happened 2000 years ago. Since that time, blood sacrifices have no longer been required by God. The sacrifice of Jesus' blood is good once and for all. The requirement now is to believe on the Name of Jesus Christ and follow Him. There is no other name given among men whereby we can be saved.
After receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, the followers of Jesus began to spread the message of salvation and do the same kinds of miracles and works that Jesus had done. It continues today.
There have been many struggles in taking the good news about Jesus Christ to those who are still under the power of sin. Many have suffered or even lost their lives at the hands of wicked men who hate God.
Why does God allow all this to go on for centuries? One reason is because He is patient, not desiring for any to perish, but willing that all would come to believe in Jesus Christ and repent of sin. Another reason is because He desires a people who have been tested and found true. Common wisdom teaches that faithfulness is developed by responding correctly in trials and difficulties. Through this, God finds those who will be faithful for eternity.
Yes, He could have made us like robots, simply programming mankind to act according to a specific plan. But then, since God is not a robot, we would not be created in His image. To be made in God's image is a high privilege. It is to have a level of companionship with God that no other creature can have.
Why does the plan seem to be taking so long? Don’t forget that God is not bound to time and space as we are. A thousand years to God is like a day and a day is like a thousand years. God's plan is marching on.
Jesus will return again, but not as a sacrificial lamb. When He returns again He will come as a conquering King. He will judge all those who resist Him and establish His Kingdom and bring peace to planet earth. This gospel (good news) of the Kingdom of God must be preached to the ends of the earth and then He will come back to correct all injustice and complete the plan of God. At that time, immortality and eternal life will be a present reality for those who have trusted and followed Jesus.
This story is true. It is confirmed every day in the lives of hundreds and thousands of people who have experienced the life-changing power of forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.
There is much more to this story than could be written in this short account. But the question for you is, "Do you desire to have eternal life and be a part of His Kingdom when it appears?" If so, your spirit and soul must be transformed. Religion can't do it. Only a living relationship with Jesus Christ can change the human condition. As Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
How can you be born again? Start by looking at the Ten Commandments and realizing that you are guilty before God. No one can genuinely seek forgiveness unless they admit they are guilty. You will realize that you have probably broken most of them. For example, Jesus said if a man lusts after a woman in his heart, he is guilty of adultery, though he has not committed the act in the flesh. And, the person who hates another person is guilty of murder!
The Bible records people coming to this point in Acts chapter 2. Having recognized their guilt, they asked Peter, “What shall we do?” He said, “Repent and be baptized and you will receive the Holy Spirt.” They turned to Jesus, believed upon, and followed Him.
Next confess out loud to God that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness and transformation. Tell God that you believe in Jesus Christ and that you need the sacrifice of His blood to pay for your sins. Ask Jesus to live in your heart and take charge of your life. Jesus is not an “add-on” to our lives. He is our LORD.
Next, find a church that is solidly committed to the scriptures where you can be baptized and receive encouragement and training.
This is how you can begin an exciting new life in Jesus Christ working with others to carry out The Plan.
© copyright 1999