Persistently people assume you need to do something bad in order to end up in hell. They are very surprised when I tell them “all that’s already taken care of”; they don’t need to do anything and they will end up in hell. Yes, humankind lost its innocence back in the garden of Eden:
1The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”
2-3 The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.'”
4-5 The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”
6 When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.
7 Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on”—saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves. (Genesis 3: 1-7, MSG)
The temptation to be like God led to the downfall of Adam and Eve. It happened once and for all. So all humankind is on its way to hell. We don’t have to do anything to get there. But – thank God! – that is not the end of it. It was God who initiated contact after the fall.
8When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God.
9 God called to the Man: “Where are you?”
10 He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.”
11 God said, “Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?”
12 The Man said, “The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.”
God said to the Woman, “What is this that you’ve done?”
13 “The serpent seduced me,” she said, “and I ate.”
14-15 God told the serpent:
“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed,
cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
and eat dirt all your life.
I’m declaring war between you and the Woman,
between your offspring and hers.
He’ll wound your head,
you’ll wound his heel.”
(Genesis 3: 8-15, MSG)
Everything changed. From here on a battle is in progress. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. (Eph. 6:12, NIV) This spiritual battle is fought in souls throughout the world, throughout the centuries.
Just like with Adam and Eve… God is in pursuit of renewed relationship with us and despite of our disobedience God has a salvation plan in place.
We can’t save ourselves.
We can’t regain innocence.
We can’ do anything to reverse our destiny.
But God can.
Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. (Romans 3: 23-24, MSG)
God had a plan right from the beginning: Jesus was the one who stroked the devil and redeemed us as he died on the cross for our sins and rose on the third day. God wants to rescue all of us from eternal separation from him by offering grace upon grace. When we receive this gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ we are justified, made right with God.
Faith is a yes to God.
Faith is a yes to Jesus.
Faith is a yes to the Holy Spirit.
We repent our sins.
Bring us back to you!
We want to be yours.
Now and forever.
In Jesus’ name,
How does God’s amazing salvation plan make you feel?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you rejoice in the regeneration of real you!
Photo courtesy of Marian Trinidad