JOY! JOY! JOY!
THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST (2)
During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled “The Doctrine of Justification by faith only”. Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” … “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 1:16, 17: 3:19-24).
THE BOOK OF ROMANS – INTRODUCTION
Concerning the major doctrines of salvation, The Book of Romans is the most important Book in the Bible, followed by the Book of Ephesians. God used the Book of Romans more than any other book to ignite revival all over the world. Great men of God got converted thru the study of Romans. Among them were St. Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, John Bunyan, John Wesley, and others. The Book of Romans was written by Apostle Paul. He was one of the most intelligent men who ever live on earth. He was born in Tarsus, one of the three greatest cities at that time (the other two were Athens, Greece and Alexandria, Egypt). His father sent him to Jerusalem to study under the famous Gamaliel. Paul was highly educated. He was a lawyer, a religious pharisee. He was also born a Roman citizen. That gave him many rights and privileges. The letter to the Romans simply starts with his name: ‘Paul’. Many consider this letter to be the greatest piece of human writing.
JESUS PREACHED THE GOSPEL
“After John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:14, 15). It is called the Gospel (the Good News) of the Kingdom of God. Our Lord is the King of that kingdom. God promised that one day the Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer will come! He will crush the head of the serpent! The Kingdom came with King Jesus! Sinners are commanded to repent and believe in the Gospel! To repent it means a complete change of mind, of the way of thinking. The sinner must truly repent of his own sin, of pride, of self-righteousness. The sinner must believe that he is an enemy to God and that he needs a Savior. He must believe that King Jesus is the only Savior for men. Faith in Christ Crucified is the key to experience salvation, to have eternal life. A sinner’s life is like a man’s house in ruins, like after war or earthquake. He must remove the fallen walls and clear the ground before God can build a new one! This is the Gospel we preach: Christ Crucified and Resurrected! Stop looking at yourself! You can’t save yourself! Look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith! Salvation is a revelation and a miracle! Repent and believe! Do both!
JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE AND BY FAITH ALONE
Justification by faith alone is one of the greatest Biblical doctrines. You must study it and try to understand it. It’s power to save comes only by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. This is the power of the Gospel! God shows you how He saved you! The word ‘justification’ is found especially in the New Testament. The general definition is this: based on the merit of the sacrifice of God’s Son on the Cross, God the Father declares the sinner to be a saint! This declaration starts with immediate effect, and it is eternal! Justification is Forgiveness of sins, a new Covering (the imputation of Christ’ righteous upon the sinner) and a new Standing of the sinner before God! The opposite word is ‘condemnation’, the act of finding someone guilty of sin, an enemy of God! Justification as a concept appears even in the Old Testament. “Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked” (Ex 23:7). “If there is a dispute between men, and they come to court, that the judges may judge them, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked” (Deut 25:1)“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord” (PV 17:15)
The doctrine of Justification says that The Sovereign God, The Creator of the universe, The Eternal Judge, declares a sinner righteous, based on the merit of His Son Jesus Christ, who died as a substitute for that sinner. God reckons Faith in Christ Crucified as righteousness. Justification is a legal term, a forensic term. It is a declaration done by the Judge in the court of the universe, that the sinner is guilty no more and free from condemnation. He is now a child of God! He can now come freely, without fear, without shame, before God. A sinner cannot stand before God! Justification is God’s work, done by Grace alone. Once God declares a sinner justified, he is free from the penalty of the law. God sees that one as righteous in His presence because he is now found in Christ! No man can be justified by works, by keeping the law of God. It is only by faith, by Grace alone!
The Catholic Church and other denominations, believe that sanctification comes before justification. They believe that God infuses grace into the sinner, thru the baptism or the Holy Communion. They believe that as man comes to church, he gets holy little by little, and he will finally be justified. That is why many people ‘try to make heaven’ by obeying the law, by their good works. This is a wrong doctrine! Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a Roman Catholic monk. He tried to be free from the guilt of sin by obeying the law. He discovered that it was not possible. He became frustrated. One day, the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of his understanding and he saw that justification is by grace, by faith, thru Christ, Thru the Word of God and for His glory alone! Immediately he became born again! Because of that he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. He started the Reformation. A great revival started with Luther’s conversion. This is a great part of the History of the Church Universal.
The truth is that Justification is done by God before sanctification! Based on the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, God the Father declares a sinner justified. God does not justify the righteous man. He justifies the sinner! Justification does not change a sinner internally. Justification is a once and forever act. It is the beginning, the foundation of salvation. After that, comes Sanctification, the work of the Holy Spirit, which is a process that lasts a lifetime. It changes the justified sinner into a mature believer. Justification is an act done outside the sinner. Sanctification is a process done inside the heart of the justified sinner. Justification is more than forgiveness of sins. It is also a spiritual covering. The Justified sinner is now dressed in the imputed righteousness of Christ, having a new standing before God!
These are some basic points about Justification:
• Justification comes apart from the law; that is, we cannot earn justification through rule-keeping or our own good works.
• Justification is made possible in the sacrificial death of Christ; it is based on the shed blood of Christ.
• Justification is the free Grace gift of God bestowed on those who receive by faith the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
JESUS FORGIVES AND HEALS A PARALYTIC (Lk 5:15-26)
Jesus became famous especially because of His healing the sick. The more famous He became, the more he withdrew to be alone with His Father and pray. His prayer life sustained our Lord all His days on earth. These are great lessons for us! Abiding in the secret place of the Most High God, praying and worshipping God, is the secret of a successful and fruitful ministry!
In Luke chapter 5 we see a wonderful story, how our Lord healed a paralytic. The four men have faith that Jesus can heal their friend. The paralyzed man has faith too. You see the great compassion the friends have. This reflects God’s mercy. The man was paralyzed lying on a mat. This paralysis was the result of an injury to the spine or the last stage of syphilis (an incurable sexually transmitted disease at that time). It is possible that the man still connected his sexual sins with his sickness. They damage the roof so that their friend can come to Jesus, who was teaching the Word of God. We are told that the power to heal sick bodies was present. The sick man had faith that he can be healed. This is the perfect example of a man who needs forgiveness of sins and healing of the body. They wanted healing but Jesus refused their request initially. Jesus gave the man something better. Forgiveness is greater than healing. Jesus saw their faith! Jesus saw inside the sick man’s heart. He knew that he was repentant! Jesus calls him: ‘Man… Friend… Son’ (Mt 9:2). The men’s faith manifested as a desire to come closer to Jesus. Their faith was not easily discouraged by hindrances. They knew that they had to pay for the damaged roof. But faith is stronger than the rebuke from men. Jesus saw ‘their faith’. That includes the sick man’s faith too. He wanted physical healing. Jesus gave him something better. He justified him. He forgave his sins. This is the gift of eternal life, the greatest gift of all. The religious leaders were there like secret police, to investigate Jesus! They grumbled saying: “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Lk 5:21). They were right in saying that only God forgives sins. This is because sin is an offence against God. But they were wrong in their spirits because they did not believe that Jesus is God! This tells us that it is possible to have the right doctrine and still be lost! Examine your heart and not only your mind!
Our Lord knew their secret thoughts of the religious leaders and confronted them saying: “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” (Lk 5:23, 24). Humanly speaking, it is easier to say: “your sins are forgiven”. It is harder to say: “Rise up and walk”. This is because the miracle of healing must be proved for people to see. But the truth is that forgiveness of sins is much harder than physical healing, even for Jesus (I am speaking as a human being)!!! This is because our Lord died on the Cross, for God to be able to justify us, to forgive our sins. Our Lord forgave the man’s sins and healed his body. He paid the price for man to become children of God; the greatest price of all!
Finally, the healed man stands up healed. He carries the mat that carried him. He came thru the roof, now he leaves thru the door. All men praise God for witnessing ‘strange, extraordinary things’ that day! This is another great lesson: there is no sin Jesus cannot forgive! There is no sickness that Jesus cannot heal! May your faith rise and walk! Give glory to the Savior! Worship the Lord!
“Please show me Your glory.” (Ex 33:18)
This evening, the prayer meeting was wonderful. This ‘wonderfulness’ was not because we were smart, spiritual or strong. It was purely because the Wonderful Counselor was in our midst. Initially, we tried to pray some little prayers but ‘the engine oil’ of the anointing was not enough for such a time as this… Wobbling between petty requests, we finally got to the mind of the Spirit. He said: ‘Glory!’ This became was our congregational and individual prayer: “Oh, Lord, Please show me Your glory.” (Ex 33:18). We also prayed: ‘Lord, give me You!’
The religious spirits tried to hinder the flow. They tried to distract us, reminding us about our natural needs. Suddenly, angry voices remembered us that we need to cook for tomorrow; that we need to pay the house rent at the end of the moth and school fees for children… But the Holy Spirit, the Lifter of our heads was pointing to much higher. ‘Where Lord?’…It was a good choice to disengage from looking around, from looking at our circumstances… Nothing new in Nigeria… same old stuff, not worthy to be brought before the throne of grace… but what else should we pray for?…
With the strength that moves the mountains, we looked up on the beautiful face of Jesus… the Author and Finisher of our faith… Without faith no one can pleases the Lord… Faith makes us pleasing to God… it was so refreshing to feel pleasing to our Savior… Then Grace sang a solo song… the song of the unmerited favor money cannot buy… ‘Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me… I once was lost… But now… But now!!! I am found!!! Was blind but now I see! Grace is greater than all our sins… We rejoiced in the grace released at Calvary… Old things passed away before our very eyes… all things changed and became new… It is a newness that lasts forever, the unfading newness of life… Then the heavenlies opened and we were invited in… We steeped in like Moses…Like David… No fear… we are walking on the clouds of glory… I’m not afraid! ‘Show me Your glory!’
For a second I panicked… I looked around… simple men and women… from Effurun, Nigeria… None was properly dressed… No designer clothes… just some Tee-shirts and jeans… We did not look like much… It flashed thru my mind that if the big men of God knew the release of glory here, they could have come to fill their buckets with it… But none came… It was the glory love of the Father for us… for us… for us… We looked like the servants who filled the jars of water at the wedding in Cana… we were entrusted with the secret of the party when the sadness melted in jars of clay…We kept pouring wine to others…The Bride must be happy tonight… the special wine kept for the last hour… We got drunk in His presence… We ‘managed’ to say ‘Thank You’ to the King of Glory… Shaking, we gratefully piled one crown on top of another, we crowned Him as the King of kings… Fear free and glory gazing we bowed down to worship Him alone… My Lord….
(From my notes, after the prayer meeting called ‘Saturday Class’, 18-10-2018)
TESTIMONY OF REVIVAL
A dear sister from the church sent me this wonderful testimony. After many years of struggling, spiritually and financially, I see the rain drops of mercy and grace on her and her family. I can testify that she is paying the price for spiritual maturity. She attends church activities. She serves God the best way she can. Oh, I am so happy to see that our sheep and lambs are maturing in Christ! Read and be inspired! She will read your comments! To God be all the glory!
God bless you mother for the great n mighty works He is using you to do, and God bless Tali in heaven for laying a very solid. Concrete foundation in d heart of each of his children that even in his departure the fire is burning even more. His teachings echoes in our hearts even more now. To God be all the glory!
I have so many testimonies to share but let me share these few ones. During resumption of service after the covid, I was finding it difficult to take the 4kids especially to weekly service alone. Then I had a dream and saw u telling me to be coming to church and you pointed some soldiers and told me that they will help me carry my load that I should come. That was how I resumed. I didn’t get the full message of the dream until like a year later when a lady came to meet me that I am really trying that she was watching me during the Wednesday service that I carried my baby on my back from d beginning to end of service n I told her it’s God immediately that dream scene flashed in my eyes when u said the soldiers will help me carry my load and I was in awe. I said so because I didn’t even realize I was carrying baby in my back sef. It was nothing to me at all n when people say I’m trying in my heart, it’s something I enjoy doing bringing the kids to the house of their father God. I can’t go to church without my kids n even during cleaning, I use to find it difficult but now I enjoy taking them along n they even beg me that they want to clean🤣🤣 To God be all the gloryyyyyy!!!
Again ma, during their promotion exam last term, my kids got all A’s. There was no B in any of their results n during the graduation party. My first daughter was called out for the award of best student in Kg2. I was in awe n I bowed b4 their Father n teacher in Heaven n gave HIM all the glory. The worst part is my mind did not even go there at all because we didn’t do revision with the kids at all n we didn’t even employ lesson teacher n to our greatest surprise I was called out to receive the award. I just knew it was God and I give HIM all the gloryyyyyy!!!
Again ma, during Genesis 3 series the Lord delivered me from the spirit of laziness. when u talked about some people praying to have time to be doing nothing and just sitting, I was actually that type right from time. I go to shop very late n close very early many times n sometimes I don’t even open my shop. Most people don’t even know if there is shop like mine here. I just stay at home relaxing n doing exercise n I’m praying for God to bless my business🤣. It was during d service when u said God blesses hard work. I realized I have been a fool. The next day I followed my husband to do school runs and from there I went to my shop. The worst part is my shop is a stone throw from my house n I just stay home. Now I am asking myself what has been wrong with me. Everyone is surprised n asking me if this is me🤣. My husband has “big big” dreams n like u said, I humbled myself n prayed for God to give me d anointing of “big big”. My home is taking a new shape now. My husband now discusses business matters with me now n told me he will encourage my business more now (when God blesses him) when he started seeing seriousness. God has been faithful in teaching me to handle cooking n d rest. After that single act, I am now seeing peace, love, romance, and tighter friendship. I am a very happy woman now. I have never experienced such level of peace n love in my marriage before n the funniest thing is that there is no much money like that lest we say is because of the money that we have this kind of peace n joy. No wonder u said yesterday that God wants to give us more than money. Indeed, He is doing it already n I no money of necessity will come. I am so so happy mummy n I thank God for everything. He is such a good n loving father n of course, a great master planner. I love you JESUSSSSSSSSSS!!!
Thank u mummy for training us like soldiers n I am happy to be a soldier also training soldiers (my kids) for the Lord. We love u mummy❤️. I pray I impact people in my generation in the way of the Lord. God help me! God bless you Ma!!!”
THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST (1) – OUR GOD REIGNS!
During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled “The Power of the Gospel of Christ (1); “OUR GOD REIGNS!”. Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans, 1 Thessalonians and Isaiah. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:16, 17); “Our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance” (1Thess 1:5); How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Is 52:7)
THE BOOK OF ROMANS – INTRODUCTION
Concerning the major doctrines of salvation, the Gospel of Christ, The Book of Romans is the most important Book in the Bible, followed by the Book of Ephesians. God used the Book of Romans more than any other book to ignite revival all over the world. Great men of God got converted thru the study of Romans. Among them were St. Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, John Bunyan, John Wesley, and others. The Protestant Reformation and Revival started during the time of Martin Luther. He was a Roman Catholic monk, a professor of theology. By the power of the Holy Spirit, he received the revelation that salvation is by faith in Christ Jesus and not by religious works. God used Romans 1:17 to save his soul. From that time on, Luther insisted that you must be born again to be saved. The Catholic Church insists that you must be a member of the church before you can go to heaven. They believe that salvation is ‘by works’ and not by faith. His conversion led to the split of the Roman Catholic Church. This is how the Protectant denominations started. The Book of Romans was written by Apostle Paul. He was one of the most intelligent men who ever live on earth. He was born in Tarsus, one of the three greatest cities at that time (the other two were Athens, Greece and Alexandria, Egypt). His father sent him to Jerusalem to study under the famous Gamaliel. Paul was highly educated. He was a lawyer, a religious pharisee. He was also born a Roman citizen. That gave him many rights and privileges. The letter to the Romans simply starts with his name: ‘Paul’. Many consider this letter to be the greatest piece of human writing next to the Bible.
NEVER BE ASHAMED OF CHRIST OR HIS GOSPEL
Here, the Gospel is defined as ‘The Gospel of Christ’. Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. All men are born sinners. The Jews and the Gentiles have rejected it. Paul was persecuted for preaching it. But Paul is not ashamed. Paul is preaching to the believers in Rome. At that time, Rome was the greatest city. But Paul is not intimidated by the rich and famous to shut up his mouth! says that he is not ashamed to believe and preach the Gospel of Christ. What does he mean by that? Paul says that he is very happy and proud to believe the Gospel of Christ! He is vocal and boasts in believing the Gospel! He is not hiding it. He is not a ‘silent believer’. He is not shy or ashamed to declare that Jesus died and rose again to save his soul! Why was Paul bold? He knew that the Gospel ‘is the power of God unto salvation’. He knows what the Gospel does! It changes hearts and lives! It may look like foolishness, but it is the raw power of the Creator God! The Gospel is always connected to the electricity of heaven! Are you ashamed to preach the Gospel? Do you keep silent when you should speak?
Apostle Paul uses the word ‘Gospel’ 60 times in his letters. In Greek, the word ‘gospel’ is translated ‘Euangelion’ from where the word ‘evangelism’ comes. Man’s words are ‘bad news’. Only God’s Word is ‘Good news’. The Law given thru Moses is holy and good. But it is not ‘good news’ to sinners, because they can’t keep it and they cannot be saved thru it. The Gospel is the ‘Good news’ from heaven. In a nutshell, the Gospel means this: “Jesus died and rose again for me!”. This is the best Good News to any sinner! If the Gospel, the story of Jesus, does not make you excited, does not make your heart sing for joy, it means that you are not born again! The Preaching of the Gospel comes with the power to change the hearts of men. Nothing else changes a man’s heart and destiny except the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected! Have you felt the power of the Gospel? The evil spirit of religion has taken over many churches. People go to church, but they are not saved. They do not understand the Gospel. For them, it is like a foreign word. But you should know what you must preach! The power of resurrection works in you, and you preach that power, that Word that changed your life! Preach to all, old and young, religious, or non-religious! It is the same Gospel for all! What a Great Power of salvation!
THE MIRACLE OF HEALING THE CRIPPLE LEADS TO EVANGELISM
All miracles are a manifestation of God’s power! Our Lord walked on the water, He raised Lazarus… The Lord Jesus Christ has the power to save, heal and deliver! “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Ac 10:38). Read this wonderful story in Acts 3! The beggar was born crippled. Men carry him every day to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. He waits for alms. He knows that religious men going to the temple are the best people to pity him and give him some money. Religion is good for giving alms. But it has no power to change the situation. It can only give alms. The man did not expect more than alms. He was surprised that Peter and John offered him the power that comes with the Gospel. He believed! By faith in the name of Jesus, his weak ankles received the power of healing. Instantly, he could stand and praised God! This miracle done by the Lord Jesus Christ thru His disciples, was to attract the crowd. Peter did not explain the miracle. He did not call more people to receive miracles. He stood and preached the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. That is the main purpose of miracles. It is to point people to Jesus as their Savior before He is their Healer and Provider! This is true evangelism!
The authority of Christ Crucified and Resurrected has been entrusted to us! We use it to preach the Gospel, to heal and deliver men!
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Lk 10:19) “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen” (Mt 28:18-20). Worship the Lord!!!
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me” (2 Cor 12:8, 9).
The thorn in the flesh troubles me, weakens me, oppresses me. It is a hidden pain. I prayed that it may be removed. I thought that its removal will be my healing, my deliverance. But the Lord said:
“Leave it there. It is the attack of the enemy but I approve of it. It will dry your doubts, fail your fears and oppose your oppression. Thru it all, your spirit shall become stronger and your faith shall stand. My grace is what you need. My favor on you is the key to healing and ministry. Let the Cross do the deep work in you. The fruit is for My glory and it will surely manifest. Trust Me not only at the beginning of your walk with Me; not only for the destination. Trust Me for the journey. Every step together… The beauty of communion…We are in this together. Enjoy My presence. Relax and follow Me! Talk less and sing more! My grace and My love is all that you need… I love you, child…”
(From my diary, 2018; Malia)
IN THE BEGINNING GOD (11)
During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.
THE FALL OF MAN also called the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3.
THE ORIGINAL SIN: The fall of man affected all humanity and even the creation. Adam broke God’s law. He sinned! He was our representative on earth. This sin has affected all humanity. All Adam’s descendants are born sinners. This first sin affected the whole man, body, mind, emotions and will. It corrupted man. Thru sin, sickness and death entered humanity. Sin reveals itself in the mind mostly as unbelief; as fear and in as pride! “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23).
THE GOSPEL IN GENESIS 3
“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them. Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen 3:20-24).
Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. That includes the Book of Genesis! In Genesis chapter 3 we witness the greatest tragedy and the greatest hope of mankind! It is a wonderful chapter! The Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected is introduced here. The Gospel means Good News from heaven! God the Father sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to take man’s sin and die on behalf of man! This is the word of pure Grace! The Gospel tells us what God what has done, not what we have done to save ourselves! As Adam and Eve could not cover themselves with leaves, so man cannot cover his sin. The only way to save man is thru faith in Christ Crucified! We are saved by Faith alone, by Grace alone, by the Word of God alone, thru Christ alone, and to the glory of God alone! That is why no man can boast of his salvation! Glory to God!
The chapter starts with sorrow and ends with hope and joy! This is the power of the Gospel! Many people, even some Christians, reject the story in Genesis 1-3. They say that Adam was not a real man but a symbol. The word ‘Adam’ means ‘man’. It appears 27 times in the Bible. The truth is that Adam and Eve were real people! This is their story! They lived about six thousand years ago. The Word of God says that our Lord Jesus is the direct descendant of Adam, called the son of God! “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph … the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Lk 3:23, 38). Job confirms the curse upon Adam! He assumes that Adam sinned in his heart because he wanted to please Eve and was afraid to displease her. “If I have covered my transgressions as Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom, Because I feared the great multitude, And dreaded the contempt of families, So that I kept silence… Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, And weeds instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended” (Job 31:33, 34, 40).
What do we see in Genesis 3? God displays His Love and Grace! He makes a way for man to be saved! God acts and man reacts!!!
*GOD ACTS IMMEDIATELY/ GOD’S LOVE IN ACTION! SALVATION WAS PLANNED AND PREORDAINED!
Immediately the fall happens, God displays His plan of salvation prepared before the foundation of the world. “Known to God from eternity are all His works” (Acts 15:18). This is because God is God of salvation! God is a Redeemer! This is His character! This is the Gospel! This is the proof that salvation was planned by God the Father before the foundation of the world. God knew that satan will temp man and he will fall. Even before the foundation of the world, God the Son has agreed to die for the fallen man. “All who dwell on the earth will worship him (the Dragon and the Beast), whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8). Here you see God’s Love in action! “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). God reveals His hatred against sin and love towards sinners. God demonstrates (proves, manifests, exhibits in public) HIS OWN LOVE towards men. This sacrificial love in Christ conquers death and all curses! “Put me like a seal on your heart, Like a seal on your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, [A most vehement flame] the very flame of the LORD!” (SS 8:6; AMP)
*GOD PROVIDES ATONMENT FOR THE SALVATION OF SINFUL MAN
Salvation requires atonement. This is a basic doctrine in the Christian faith. In Hebrew, the word ‘atonement’ means ‘co cover’. Atonement refers to the needed reconciliation between sinful mankind and the holy God. Sin is separation between an offended God and religious man. This reconciliation is possible only through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Man sinned! Jesus, the innocent Holy Lamb of God dies as a substitution for man’s sin. Justification by faith is possible only because of this atonement provided by the Holy God. Jesus Christ on the cross absorbs the wrath of God. Salvation is a transaction between the Father and the Son. The father pours out his anger towards sin on Christ, and his wrath is satisfied. This is how Christ is our ‘propitiation’. “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness” (Rom 3:21-25). There is need for sacrifice! Blood must be shed! God’s law says: “Without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb 9:22).
In the Garden, God manifests His Grace by killing the lamb and covers the guilty pair with bloody skins. The same God who was offended is the One who provides the sacrifice! Initially they were naked but knew no shame. Now they were ashamed. They feel sexual lust and shame now. God covers their guilt and shame of sin with the bloody skins of the sacrificial lamb. God covers them physically and spiritually with the Blood of His Son. God did not use the wool of the Lamb but its skin. It means that the Lamb died. The Lamb is the innocent substitute! God choose the animal, and God killed the animal. God is the Priest and the Sacrifice! God is the first Killer and the First Savior! This is a wonderful picture of our Lord! This is the first death in the world! Abel had faith and did the same. Cain despised this act of God! Noah, Job, Moses etc all offered animals to God! All the sacrifices in the Old Testament start from here. God is angry when His people did not offer Him bloody sacrifice, or they are offered them to idols. God provides the sacrifice to replace Isaac (Gen 22)! Oh, the power of the Gospel!
*GOD PREVENTS MAN TO GO TO HELL! SALVATION IS SURE AND ETERNAL!
Even after the fall, for some time, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden. God restrains them so that they should not be tempted the second time by the devil and eat from the fruit of the Tree of life! God does not want them to eat from the tree of life. Because they will be eternally evil. They will be in hell forever! This is because now they know the reality of death. The carcass of the lamb is there before their eyes. God provides atonement and God protects them from further falling! Cherubim, guards the gate to the Garden. This is the first time we see angels! The driving out of Adam and Eve from the Garden is for their protection and hope. Rejection from the paradise is another manifestation of Grace! The gate is covered by the cherubim with the flaming sword. It was on the East of the Garden. Cherubim guard the throne and the holiness of God! It means that Paradise was to the West. Every sunset was a reminder of a gate shut! They cannot go back to the Garden. Adam and Eve are naked. This nakedness is corrupted. They experience fear, shame, and sexual lust (impurity). This is the price for ‘being like God’. Nobody else saw them. They were embarrassed in front of God. God covered them with the skin. This is an act of mercy! The doctrine of atonement! “We are clothed with Christ!” (Gal 3:27). God expelled them. To protect them from hell. Adam lost peace to find the Prince of Peace! Adam lost joy to find true Joy! They have hope for heaven!!!! Hope is the anchor for the soul. They are anchored in heaven (Heb 6:19). There is hope for Adam’s descendants! About our Lord it is said: “You are the most handsome of Adam’s descendants; grace has anointed your lips; therefore, God has blessed you forever” (Ps 45:2; ISV). “Your mercy is so precious, O God, that Adam’s descendants take refuge in the shadow of your wings” (Ps 36:7, God’s Word Translation). “Let them give thanks to the LORD because of his mercy. He performed his miracles for Adam’s descendants” (Ps 107:8; GWT)
*ADAM AND EVE REPENT OF THEIR SIN AND NOW HAVE FAITH IN GOD
Faith is believing the truth, the Word of God! When they were created, Adam and Eve believed what God said to them. Later, Satan came with lies; he said that God is a liar! Eve was deceived and believed the lie. Adam rebelled and believed the lie too. Their faith in God was destroyed.
But now, something happens! After they were sent away from the Garden, their attitude towards God and satan dramatically changed! They now know that satan lied; that he deceived them. Their sufferings forced them to run back to God! They now believe God’s Word. There is pain for the woman, in her relationships with her husband and children. The man has pain in the work of his hands. But God’s Grace is working! Faith comes into their hearts thru the pain of the curse!!!! Adam repents of his rebellion and now he sees that Eve will be the mother of all living! Eve means LIFE! Her seed will one day crush the head of the devil who decided them! This is his faith now! This is his hope! Even Eve now believes! She too has a new living hope! They were looking forward towards the Cross where Christ will die for their sins! This is amazing! All unbelievers are born to believe Satan’s lies. After God send them out from the Garden, they started feeling sick and weak. Immediately they repented. They now trusted God. Adam named her Eve (Life). She accepts her name from her husband. From now on she will be the Mother of all Living! By this act, Adam, now takes back his position of leadership, as her husband and pastor! Adam believes that the promise of fruitfulness and dominion was not destroyed by the fall. Adam knew that Eve will be a mother. They also knew now that her seed will destroy satan! By calling his wife ‘mother of living’ Adam confirmed God’s curse upon satan. He has hope that one day, the paradise lost will be restored. Eve means life! Adam has faith that his wife will be a mother. This is a prophetic statement. At that time Eve had no child. This is a proof that Adam has repented and goes to God’s side! Adam believed the salvation God has promised! I am paraphrasing Adam: “I believe You God! You always speak the truth! I believe that my wife’s son will destroy the devil who has led us into sin! I believe that God always wins!” Adam’s faith becomes his testimony that he is now saved! “Now faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Heb 11:1-3). God is pleased with and always approved the men who trusted in Him! Adam is the first man of faith, the first man of God! Adam and Eve now hate satan! Their eyes are open to see the height from which they have fallen! As Eve will experience pain in labor, so also Faith is born thru pain! There is fear, sadness, regret, and shame. But against all odds, Faith is born in this sinner’s heart! This is the work of Grace! Adam and Eve choose to believe God now! By faith, they rebel against their new master, satan!
*ADAM HAS HOPE OF SALVATION
God told Adam that if he disobeys, he will die ‘that same day’ (Gen 2:17). You may say that Adam did not die that day! But according to God’s ‘eternal calendar’, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet 3:8). Adam lived 93o years. That means he died ‘that came day’. Never try to understand God using your human mind. God is always right! Adam lived a long and hard life of toil. Eve became a mother of many. For her too, it was hard. She saw her first son killing his brother. Later, their descendants will be killed by the flood. Only 8 were saved. Even so, Adam and Eve lived in hope! Why did God wanted Adam to live in hope? Because Hope is the best detergent to wash away the stain of sin! “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 Jn 3:2, 3). Hope purifies the heart! As you believe in the second coming of Christ, because of hope, you will repent of all sin, to become like Jesus who you will meet one day! Hope changes us and our character. It surely changed Adam and Eve! Their shame was washed away by the ‘soap’ of hope of glory! “We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:3-5). The chapter that started with the greatest tragedy in the world, ends with the greatest Grace and Hope! God loves to save sinners! May we never lose our wonder!!!
Come to Jesus! If God saved Adam and Eve, He will save you too!!
*GOD IS OUR ONLY SAVIOR
God, by nature is a Savior. He saves people from sin and from the consequences of sin. There is no other ‘god’ or religion that claims to save sinners by Grace. In Genesis 3 God reveals Himself as God the Savior. He also reveals Himself as a God of mercy and grace!
God the Father announces that He will save the scattered sheep of His Flock! “For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day” (Ez 34:11,12)!!!!! Apostle Paul says: “when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Tit3:4-7). God the Father planed salvation. God the Son executed the plan! “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Lk 19:10)
*GOD SAVES US FOREVER! GOD IS OUR SAVIOR AND OUR KEEPER!
We are sealed for heaven! The doctrine of the eternal security of the believer! Grace saves you and Grace keeps you! This is the Gospel we believe and preach! God is able to save you and to keep you till you arrive in heaven! “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling (falling), And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 1:24, 25). “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38, 39). To God be all the glory! Worship the Lord!