By Edward O’Hara Sun 1/5/2020 3:30 PM
From the last article, we learned that Adam could not make a moral choice that brought a penalty while in the garden. Which showed that death is not a penalty man receives by inheritance or imputation from Adam as some have falsely believed. And that this was because while he had one of the components necessary for such a choice, he was still missing 2 very important parts. Without which he could not make a moral choice for which penalties are imputed by God. Because while he did have free will, he did not have the knowledge of good and evil. Or the law that Paul says in Rom.5:12-14 only came through Moses.
With this in mind, I now want to show what God’s purpose was for doing things in this kind of step by step manner with mankind. To put it into a question one would ask; Why didn’t God equip Adam from the beginning with all that he needed to make a moral choice for which he could be held accountable by God?
Answer: It is because God wants to emphasize man’s free will in response to God’s call expressed in Joshua24:15, John6:44, and Rom.10:9-17. But, free will alone is not enough for man to be held accountable for his choices. So man must have a knowledge of good and evil and the law, or something commensurate before he can make such a choice.
Only with all of these intact is there the ability to freely choose for oneself to love as God does. This is what really makes us one with God as described by Jesus in John17:20-23. This is why God’s kind of love must be freely given and freely received by those who have all these parts in them(Mt.10:8). Because if it is forced or coerced it is not the love of God. So this is the goal God had in mind when He used a step by step method of placing in man the ability to make choices that carry with them eternal consequences. Why? Because GOD IS LOVE. 1John4:7,8. As an example, when we consider the events surrounding Cain and Abel and the events that transpired between them and God from what is plainly written, we see free will and God’s love for them, and His desire that they love Him of their own free will in return, expressing itself. Look at how God responded when Cain and Abel brought their offering,” And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not to respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”Gen.4:4,5.
What made God respond in this way? Because these offerings were supposed to be a free-will expression of their love for God because of His love expressed in His provision for them. And God’s response to their offerings gives us the clue we need to understand what was in their hearts when they brought them. For God looks upon the heart while a man looks on the outward appearance(1Sam.16:7).
Please note here that God did not reject Cain himself, but only the offering. This is because there was no law as Paul said in Rom.5:13. So because God was dealing with the condition of Cain’s heart when bringing the offering He did not reject Cain. On the contrary, we see that He loved and blessed him even though he did things that were contrary to the law God gave later through Moses. (As an aside, this also shows us that when dealing with people we need to make a distinction between the choices they make and them. Child training must also be done with this in mind to ensure that we do not “provoke children unto wrath”(Eph.6:4-10) by rejecting them rather than or along with their actions. Because God loves them even though He may not respect their choices. So we should too.) This is why in the rest of the narrative in Gen.4 we see that God does not punish or curse Cain. But, instead, we see God protecting him(vs.15). And after Cain leaves for the land of Nod as further protection from those who might do him harm he “finds a wife”, “has children”, and “builds a city”(vs.16). More blessings from God, not punishment and curses.
God did this because this is who He is. He is love. A God who delivers those who are oppressed from those who spoil them. A God who because of the “riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering” by that “goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”Rom.2:4. Which was also the purpose God says He gave Israel judges. Not to condemn them for their bad behavior. But Judges says, “Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.”Judges2:16. In all these examples we see that it is God’s love that brings man to repent. And not His severity. Because only by a love which is freely given and received can we have spiritual fellowship in a completely voluntary loving relationship with God.
This is also why to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” is “your reasonable service“. Rom.12:1. It is reasonable because all that we are, and all that we have, we owe to God who is both the maker of us all and our provider. It is an expression of love in return for God first loving us. This is why it was also “reasonable service” for Cain and Abel to bring their offering from a heart of thankfulness and love.
All of this shows us who God is. And it also shows us who the false gods really are. Because now we can see the difference between gods of anger, vengeance, and hatred like the false gods of the nations around Israel. And a God that is a God of love that delivers those He loves from their spoiler the devil because God desires spiritual fellowship with us. This is expressed beautifully by Jesus in John10:10 when He said,”The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.”
So that what Paul said is true. That men really are “without excuse”(Rom.1:20). Because now it is proved to us both experientially and in the Bible, that man is fully equipped to make choices by our free will to choose whether to receive God’s gift of eternal life or not. A life that was made possible by Jesus entering into death with us so that by His resurrection He could break death’s power over us. So that by trusting in Him we will receive His gift of eternal life. This is the purpose of the atonement.
All freely given and all freely received because God has given to man all that he needs to make such a choice. By first giving man free will(Gen.1:26-30). Then by man gaining the knowledge of good and evil(Gen.3:22). And then by giving Israel the law(Ex.24:12-18).
Law was only for Israel in the Old Testament. But, since Jesus came He gives all who trust in Him His love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit to show us which choices are consistent with God’s will. Because God wants us to choose life with Him out of a response of love for Him in return for His loving us first. Something Paul calls “your reasonable service”. Rom.12:1.
If you are reading this God is calling you. He loves you and wants you to know Him. Because knowing Him is eternal life.John17:3. So if you do not know Him please take the time right now to pray and confess Jesus as Lord of your life. And believe that He has raised from the dead. In doing this, and really mean it, you will be saved from death to life. From sin to righteousness. And from the wrath to peace with God. Because when you trust in Jesus you leave the old life behind where you trusted in idols that end with death reigning for all eternity, and now trust in Jesus who Himself is eternally the only WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE
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