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John starts his gospel with “In the Beginning,” because God is erasing the first Genesis and writing a new beginning.

Don’t get me wrong. Genesis is important and true, and will never go away, but we have a new start.

Jesus

Genesis starts with a perfect creation that goes bad in short order.

John (and the New Testament) starts us of a fallen creation that is put right.

Genesis (and the Old Testament) gives us an Adam who fell from grace.

John (and the New Testament) tells us of a Second Adam—a Last Adam—who was full of grace and lavished it freely on all who come to Him.

Genesis (and the Old Testament) tell us how Adam broke the plate-glass window of the law.

John (and the New Testament) tell us of how the Last Adam fulfilled the law.

Jesus sweeps up the broken shards of the law, places the whole mess of it in His blood and pulls it out squeaky clean and unbroken. [Tweet This]

I love this new Genesis. Don’t you?

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

photo credit: Silver Season via photopin cc
photo credit: Silver Season via photopin cc

I am sure you have heard that old saying, “There are only 2 things that are guaranteed in life…”

Let’s take a look at that idea today as we poke around in 1 Corinthians 15

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

Now this is one of those passages I have actually read hundreds of times. I at least verse 21, since it is part of the text of Handel’s Messiah, which is a large part of my life.

But as the Lord loves to do, He pulled out His highlighter as I was studying this recently.

Look with me for just a minute at the structure of these two verses. Let’s focus on the second. He poses that which we know, and then links it to what will be. As if the part we know is a clear indication of how sure the second part is.

In Adam all die. You can trace the fact that you are going to die back to Adam’s sin. By Adam, sin entered the world, and through sin death. Paul goes into much more detail on this idea in Romans 5.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned ~ Romans 5:12

It would be worth reading Romans 5-8 to see this full progression of death to life.

But my point today is simply that just as sure as you were born with a sin nature, so sure is it that if you are in Christ, you will be raised from the dead.

Your resurrection is just as sure as your death.

I say again: Hallelujah!

So here is my re-write of the old adage.

There are only 2 things that are guaranteed in life…

Death and Resurrection!

Ben NelsonGlad you stopped by today.

Hope to see you again soon,

Ben

Lucifer, by William Blake, for Dante's Inferno...
Lucifer, by William Blake, for Dante's Inferno, canto 34 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My new friend Felicia from http://www.alifesanctified.com/ has asked another great question this week.

Q. Since God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent; why did He create Satan?

I love this question. And it even has some hooks to the question we played with this morning.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I have a feeling there is a fairly widely held belief that Angels were created with no free will.

We talk in Christian circles as though angels are heaven’s robots.

Or perhaps we have an upstairs – downstairs kind of impression of angels. Like they are the servant class creation, serving the needs of humans.

But I believe scriptures teach a different truth. I believe that angels are beings with a will, and with the freedom of choice much as man is. (ok – if you missed the first Q&A today, you might want to go back to it here, where I discussed the free will of man.)

You see, the way I see it, if angels did not have free will, they would not have been able to rebel in the first place – would they?

Remember God did not create an angry vengeful devil in a red suit who started his existence as an evil beast.

Lucifer was a wonderful angel of light – the head of all the angels.

How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit ~ Isaiah 14:12-15 (NKJV)

He exalted himself in pride and wanted to be like God. Hmmm – sounds familiar doesn’t it – pretty much the same temptation he threw at Adam and Eve.

So we come back to - Why did God create a being that  - if He knows everything, end from the beginning and all – He knew full well would make a mess of things?

Based on my assumption that angels are free beings with choice, and options, you can see that this is a lot like saying why create Hitler, or Bin Laden, or my crabby neighbor, or – well – me for that matter. Where do you draw the line?

Thank God that He did not draw the line. Instead He planted a cross, the plan where by all of the above could have relationship restored (with the exception of Lucifer, I am pretty sure it was too late for him by the time we get to the garden.)

So what do you think? How would you answer Felicia’s question?

Join in below, or blog about it and leave us a link!

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

By the way, if you have questions of your own, click on the link on the right and let us toss them around a bit.

The Sower - Van Gogh

The Path

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, immediately satan, the evil one, the devil, comes and snatches (takes) away what has been sown (the word) in his heart, so that they may not believe and be saved. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. (From Matthew 13: 19, Mark 4: 15Luke 8: 12 NASB * See comments below)

The first landing area for our seed is the roadside. Matthew gives us just a little hint to why the devil has open season with the Word of God when it is sewn into these heavily trodden places – lack of understanding.

A story comes to mind when I think about satan stealing truth.

There once lived a man and woman in the most amazing place. It was like Eden – oh – in fact it was Eden, and this couple was Adam and Eve.

God told Adam:

“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 shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 NASB)

Clearly Adam passed this info on to Eve, however from the way Eve tells it, the emphasis may have changed slightly. Do you see the change?

“From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’” (Genesis 3:2-3 NASB)

Eve added “or touch it” to the actual restriction God put on the tree.

satan (it is lower case on purpose – he does not get the respect of a proper address) comes in and twists Eve’s understanding even further, and plants a seed of suspicions about God’s motives in her heart.

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5 NASB)

The enemy causes Eve to wonder if God is good, and His intentions are in her favor, or if He is motivated by self-preservation and is trying to keep her down.

Wow – we do this all the time.

We look at our circumstances and blame God for “allowing” things in our life, or in the lives of those around us.

We take what satan himself has done (take for example school-house shootings) and wonder what God was thinking when He did it.

We look at horrendous natural disasters and again point the finger at God.

Then when God’s Word comes to us, because we don’t understand that God is good, or we re-define good to include some of the most heinous activity the world has ever seen, we miss the wonderful blessings it (the Word) holds, and satan has carried away the Word like a bird of the air collecting seed at the side of the road.

We look at our plight and see no hope, even when we sit with a lap full of promises and guarantees. We turn the Word of God into so much bird food. [Tweet This]

It is time, folks, for us to believe God and get to know this good God we serve. Otherwise His Word is wasted on us.

BenI hope you know I love you.

See you tomorrow and we will look at the stony ground. Don’t miss it.

Ben

* The 3 passages have been interwoven using colors to show which passage each word originates from. I have not added anything, just pulled from the NASB in each case. Red text is from Matthew, green from Mark and blue from Luke.