How would you tell the story of God’s plan for mankind should you have an audience of unsaved people before you, and they really wanted to know the truth? How would you explain the why and how of God’s intention and purpose for mankind?
Perhaps it could be this way:
Start with the biblical facts that are evident in visible form, and… well, let’s try it.
Suppose you, one who does not know God, and another person who knows God, both run a red traffic light. What happens? Both of you will quickly look around to see where the traffic cop might be parked. Why?
Both have a conscience that has embedded in it the knowledge of right and wrong. This knowledge became man’s when Adam, the first man God created, disobeyed, along with his wife Eve and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had told them not to do that. Satan tempted Eve, and she ate, then gave to Adam, and he ate of the fruit. Now, every person is born with the latent knowledge of good and evil that develops as a child begins to learn and grow. Genesis 2 and 3 relate these things.
The Scripture, at Romans 2:14-15, tells of that:
“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves, their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.”
To further tie this to mankind today, Romans 3:20 says, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” And man’s choice to sin rejects him from God’s favor and of His eternal life unless he repents of his sinfulness. Paul wrote in Galatians 2:21, “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
In another place, 2 Peter 3:9, the Scripture says, “God is not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance.” That means to turn from sin and the desire to do wrong or evil and accept His offer of forgiveness and salvation. Then, Romans 3:23 states the condition of every person since Adam and Eve, and including them: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That is, simply, all are lost and must have His salvation for eternal life as opposed to eternal damnation.
The first thing that happened when they ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was that they realized they were naked. The animal creation had no clothes on, and neither did they. They were innocent, and God had a higher purpose in their creation. They were created in the image of the invisible triune God but without the knowledge of good and evil. And they hid themselves from God, or tried to do so. God knew this and provided coverings of the skins of animals, thus showing that a blood sacrifice was His way of covering their sins.
This is so stated in the details of the law of God that was given to Moses, later, in Leviticus 17:11:
“The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your soul, for it is the blood that makes the atonement.” By this declaration from God, and His shedding of blood for skins of animals, we see that the foundation is laid for the future coming of Jesus Christ to die on the cross and shed His blood for all of mankind.
The first offspring of Adam and Eve were named Cain and Abel. Cain was the first born, and he killed Abel because his sacrificial offering before God was not acceptable. He brought the fruits of his labor, fruit and vegetables, not that of a blood sacrifice. Abel was a shepherd and brought a lamb of his herd as his sacrificial offering; thus, it was acceptable before God. They were mature men, no longer under the parental care of their parents. We can know this because they were bringing their own personal offerings, not being under the offerings of their parents. And Cain chose to disobey, for he surely knew how their family offerings had been for all of their youth under their parents’ responsible care.
However, Hebrews 10:1 and other places as well tell us that the sacrificial blood from animals is a shadow of that which was to come, the sacrificial blood of the Son of God. This is told clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
But let’s go back and consider another foundational truth that ties these things to the very beginning of man, even today, to the eternal knowledge God has, as He has said, that He knows the end from the beginning.
The psalmist, in Psalm 139, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, writes of God’s major attributes, that of His all-knowing ability, that He is ever-present in all places, and His awesome power of creation that incorporates these truths.
In that latter one, we see His presence at the very point of conception of a human being when the male and the female come together and fertilization is accomplished. Here is the Psalm 139:13-17 account:
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with you.”
In this, we can see the foreknowledge of God, which reveals what is ahead in our lives, even to His writing it in His book. We see also, very clearly, that the Bible teaches that the very beginning of the life of a person is at the moment of conception, not days or weeks later. Abortionists do not like this to be known.
How truthful the Scripture is that says, in Romans 1:22, “Professing to be wise, they became fools,” a description that proves to be far-reaching, even into their total lack of moral integrity.
There’s more on man’s redemption. (Continued in Part 2)
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