[Lesson 92: How Should Christ's Disciples Live?] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 94: Review #2]

Lesson 93

Review 1:

Adam: The Problem of Sin

Genesis 1- 4, etc.

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

For a long time now we have been studying the Scriptures of the Prophets. We have seen that God inspired more than forty men (over a fifteen hundred year span) to write His Word-the Book that reveals the way of righteousness by which sinners can become righteous before God. We discovered that all the true prophets of God shared one idea and one message concerning that way of salvation. What they wrote did not flow from their own minds, but from the Spirit of God. With the help of God, today and in the three coming broadcasts, we plan to review and condense all that we have studied in the Holy Scriptures. Our lesson today is called: "The Problem of Sin."

Now let us return to the foundation that God Himself laid, the first part of God's Word, the Torah, which God put into the mind of Moses, His prophet. Can you remember the first verse? It says: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." In this verse, we saw that, in the beginning, before the universe, angels and people were created, only God existed. God is the Lord of Eternity, the Eternal Spirit. He has no beginning and no end. He is the All-powerful One who sees everything and knows everything.

In the first chapter, we read how God, in six days, created the heavens, earth, oceans and all they contain. God prepared the earth for man, whom He planned to create. That is why, on the sixth day, God said,

"'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created man in his own image…" (Gen. 1:26,27)

Man is the most important of all the creatures that God created. God created man in His image! God planned to have deep and wonderful fellowship with man. That is why He placed in the soul of the man and the woman a spirit so that they could know God, gave them a heart so that they could love God, and entrusted them with a free will so that they could choose between obeying God and disobeying God.

In chapter two, we read that God put the first man, Adam, in a lush garden, full of trees bearing fruits beautiful to behold, and delicious to eat. We also saw that God fashioned a woman out of a rib which He took from Adam and then presented her to him. Adam called her Eve. God blessed the man and woman and gave them everything they needed. Yet there was something God wanted to receive from them. What did God want from these two people He had created in His own image? He wanted them to love Him with all their mind, all their heart, and all their will, and thus to have a deep and wonderful relationship with Him forever. Consequently, we saw how God placed a test before them in order to reveal what was in their hearts. God gave Adam this command: "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for [in the day that] you eat of it you will surely die!" (Gen. 2:16,17) Thus God tested Adam, warning him that the consequence of straying from God's law would be death, that is, separation from God forever.

In chapter three, the Scriptures recount that one day, Satan, the angel who had rebelled against God, came to Adam and Eve as a cunning snake. He said to the woman,

"Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'? The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:1-5)

What did God tell Adam and Eve would happen to them if they ate of the tree which He had prohibited? He said to them, "You will die!" What did Satan say? He said, "You will not die!" Whose word did Adam and Eve choose to believe and follow? Did they choose the word of God, or the word of Satan? They chose the word of Satan, God's enemy!

After that, what did God do? Did He just sit back and watch Adam and Eve? No. God did exactly what He warned them He would do. He summoned them, judged them, cursed them and the earth, then put them outside the lovely garden that He had created for them. On that sad day, Adam and Eve died in their souls. They became separated from God, the source of life. The only thing they could expect now was physical death and eternal punishment, because the payment for sin is eternal death, just as God said.

Truly, sin is a terrible calamity. Adam and all his descendants were separated from God by a single sin! Sin is somewhat like the disease called AIDS. As you know, AIDS is a sickness that people spread among themselves. It is a calamity that is all over the world. Once the AIDS virus enters a person's body, it will never leave him. Those who have AIDS can spread it to their children. AIDS is a killer, destroying all who have it. Sin is like that. Sin is everywhere, in everyone, and causes people to perish forever. But thank God, there is a difference between the disease of sin and the disease of AIDS. With AIDS, there is not yet a medicine to cure it, but there is a cure for people contaminated by sin! God Himself has provided a remedy, which, if we use it, will cleanse us from sin forever.

Can you remember the wonderful promise which God gave on the day that Adam and Eve sinned? Yes, on the same day that sin entered the world, God promised that He would send to the earth a holy Redeemer, who would redeem the children of Adam from the destructive power of Satan and sin. We also read that God announced that this Redeemer would be born uniquely of a virgin woman, because the Savior of sinners could not come from the descendants of Adam who were now contaminated by sin. He must come from the pure and holy Spirit of God.

Thus we saw in the Gospel {Injil} that thousands of years after God promised to send down that Savior, when God's appointed time had come, a perfectly righteous Man was born into the world; He had no earthly father; He was born of a virgin. His name was Jesus, which means God saves. Yes, Jesus Christ is the holy Redeemer whom God promised on the day that Adam and Eve sinned. He is the one and only Savior.

Let us now return to our review of what happened on the day that sin entered the world. Can you remember what Adam and Eve did after they had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? They wove together fig leaves, tying them to their waists in an attempt to hide their shame, because before they sinned they were naked but were not ashamed. Did God accept the clothes which they had made for themselves? No! Why did God not accept those clothes? He wanted to teach them that there is nothing that man can do to cover the shame of his sin before God! However, God did something for Adam and Eve. We saw how God selected some innocent animals, slaughtered them, skinned them, and made clothes for Adam and Eve, putting them on them. In this way God taught Adam and Eve that the payment for sin is death! God not only sacrificed animals, but He commanded Adam and his descendants also to sacrifice animals without blemish as a sacrifice to cover sin, until the time when God would send down the Redeemer.

Thus God showed them clearly that there is only one way of salvation: the way of the spotless sacrifice. The way of righteousness which God decreed commanded that one must choose animals without blemish and slaughter them as sacrifices which cover sin. These sacrifices illustrated the holy Redeemer, who would come and shed His blood on a cross to pay the debt of sin for Adam's descendants. Thus, by those animal sacrifices, God put before sinners a shadow of Jesus the Messiah who would die as the perfect sacrifice to take away sin. In this way, God demonstrated that He is righteous, "so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." (Rom. 3:26)

In the chapter following the story of Adam's sin and God's wonderful promise to send a Redeemer, we read about Adam's first two children, Cain and Abel. We saw that Abel offered to God a lamb without blemish and slaughtered it as a sacrifice which covers sin, just as God had commanded. Cain tried to approach God by his own efforts, bringing to God what he had cultivated in the cursed earth. Thus, the Scripture says: "the Lord [God] looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor." (Gen. 4:4,5) Why did God not accept Cain's sacrifice? As we have seen, the way of righteousness which God decreed declared that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (Heb. 9:22) However, Cain disregarded the way of sacrifice which God had appointed. Cain pretended to believe God, but his deeds denied it, because he did not offer the blood sacrifice that God required. That is why God rejected Cain and his sacrifice. However, God looked with favor on the sacrifice of Abel, forgiving him all his sins, because Abel believed God's word and brought to Him the blood of a lamb.

Abel illustrates those whom God judges as righteous because of their faith in the Messiah, Jesus, who shed His blood to pay for sins. Cain illustrates those who try to be righteous before God by their own efforts, refusing to accept the sacrifice of the Redeemer, whom God sent from heaven. To this day, there are only these two ways: the way of Abel and the way of Cain. Which way are you following? Have you accepted the way of Abel, that is, the way of righteousness, which is founded on the sacrifice of the holy Messiah whom God sent down? Or are you still going the way of Cain, the way of unrighteousness, which is based on the works of man and the requirements of religion?

Fellow listeners, please know that God is righteous and cannot tolerate sin! God could not say to Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and all their descendants: "I know you've sinned, but that's O.K.! It's no big deal, I'll simply forget that you ever sinned!" Could God forgive sins like that? Never! If God did that how would sinners recognize His holiness? God is a righteous Judge and must punish sin. The penalty for sin is death! That is why the holy Redeemer had to die for our sins. When He died on the cross He paid the penalty for my sins and yours.

Listen to what is written in the Gospel concerning the way of righteousness which God has ordained. The Scripture says:

"Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." (Rom. 5:12) "There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by [God's] grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." (Rom. 3:22-26) "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 6:23)

Thank you for listening. In our next lesson, God willing, we will continue to review the message of the prophets and recall how God called Abraham to be part of His wonderful plan to send the Savior into the world.…

God bless you as you meditate on this statement from God's Word that can transform your life:

"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 6:23)