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by Jacob Ninan
Just as it is difficult to watch the different coloured threads being fed into the loom and determine what the final design would look like, it is possible that we may miss the big picture that God presents through the Bible if we look only at pet passages and doctrines. It is an amazing tribute to the way God inspired the 40 or so human authors of the Bible writing separately from one another and over a period of about 1500 years that a big picture clearly emerges from the whole, highlighting a single main theme. Understanding this theme is crucial if we are to see all the details in their proper perspective.
In the beginning there was only God, before He created anything. The three persons in the triune God had such a good time loving one another and doing everything in harmony that God thought of creating people with whom He could extend the fellowship. A whole world was created for people to live in, and then He created Adam and Eve. Since love and fellowship are not things that can be ordered from others, God created the first two human beings with the ability to choose their own actions. The test of choosing between the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil was essentially to see if they would choose a life dependent on God or if they would prefer an independent knowledge of good and evil for themselves. Well, they got deceived by Satan, and chose their desires above God.
It was not as if God was caught unawares. He knew what could happen if people were given this kind of free will, and He had already prepared His Son to die in order to bring them back to Him (Rev.13:8). He announced this indirectly after Adam and Eve had sinned, saying that the seed of the woman (referring to Jesus) would crush the serpentís head (Gen.3:15).
After Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden and began to multiply, the majority of people chose to turn away from God and live for fame, wealth, pleasure, etc. It came to a place where people were going entirely away from God and getting involved in all forms of idolatry and immorality. God decided to destroy the whole world and start practically all over again w
But it was not long before Noah also fell into sin, and slowly the whole world started its journey into sin again.
God started a new plan by picking a man called Abraham out of his idol worshipping family and away from the culture around him, and training him over the period of his lifetime in such a way that Abraham came to be called later the father of faith and the friend of God. From his lineage came the children of Israel who later became a nation. God gave them the Law and warned them not to mix with the pagan nations around them in order to groom them up to become a model for the whole world. But they too sinned. Whenever things were going on smoothly because of the blessings of God they would go to enjoying the pagan and sinful activities along with the people around them, and when they got into dire needs they would turn back to God. God was very patient with them, forgiving them when they turn
The Law which God gave to Israel was actually an introduction and not the fullness of the standard of life that God really expected from man (Col.2:17). In the experience of the people of Israel and our own individual experience, it was something that was meant to finally lead people to Christ (Gal.3:23,24), as they recognised the high expectations from God and their own inability to reach up to them. Since it operated only at the preliminary level, it only placed certain demands and restrictions on external behaviour. The rewards (blessings) and punishments given out according to peopleís performance were also earthly.
The people of Israel demonstrated through all those years before Christ came that even though the Law asked them to do good things and avoid hurtful things, they were unable to keep it fully or consistently. At that point they became ready to be introduced to the new covenant through Jesus the Messiah. The old covenant which God made through Moses failed, not because it was not good, but because people were not able to keep it. (It is at the same point, when we realise that we are incapable of making ourselves good enough for God, that the new covenant through Jesus becomes appealing to us also.)
When the old covenant failed, God brought forth the new covenant (Heb.8:7,8). This new covenant was not at all like the old, because here God was not asking people to keep the law or come to a good life before He could accept them. God recognised that people were incapable of doing that and so He said He would do everything for us. Where we deserved to be punished for our sins, He took the punishment on Himself so that His justice could be fully met. He promised to wash our sins away with the blood of Jesus and thereafter not to hold them against us any more (Heb.8:12). Where we were quite incapable of walking according to His ways, He began to write His laws on our heart and mind and cause us to walk in them (Ezek.36:26,27;Heb.8:10). This is Godís plan for our restoration so that He can have us as His children and have fellowship with us.
The final step of His work of reclamation is to put away Satan, all his demons and all people who would not accept His salvation into the everlasting fire, create a new heaven and earth for us to dwell with Him for ever and ever where there would be no sin, pain, sorrow or temptation.
So we see that Godís goal for us is for us to live free from sin and to enjoy fellowship with Him. Right now we are here on the earth where we have to make the choice to align ourselves with this grand plan of God. How foolish it will be for us if instead our present life is focussed on enjoying this present world, having our fun, making ourselves great before people, and asking God for help only to meet our goals! If we are wise we will be doing our best to cooperate with Godís plan, making all efforts to make sure that whatever we doówhether it is about studies, marriage, work, spending money, recreation, use of our spare time, etc.óit will conform to Godís plan.
-- Published in the Light of Life magazine, October 2013
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