The Book of Genesis is a foundational book for all of mankind, and for every generation, for in it we are told of the origins of man, the fall of man and the subsequent entrance of death and suffering into this world, and what God would do to restore man to his original postion at creation; to the 'Image of God'. For this God would send a Redeemer, one who would restore man back to the image and presence of God. Jesus is 'Christ our Redeemer' the one spoken of in Genesis whom God promised He would send to redeem us and set us free from the bondage of sin and death.
(Gen 3:15 NASB) And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."
In this verse God is addressing satan, the one who deceived Adam and Eve and caused them to rebel against God by choosing to live independant lives, He is enlightening him as to the fate which awaits him, a fate in which Christ would destroy satan's hold over mankind and render satan's rule on earth over mankind as null and void.
Satan's kingdom is largely founded on lies, deception, fear, oppression and the destruction of anything portraying the image of God in this world. His lies are designed to bring death and seperation between man and God, between Creator and His creation. To this end he has succeeded by instilling the belief that man can and is fully able to live a life seperate from God, and needing nothing from God! Mankind has rejected God as being 'Lord of all the earth, the creator of man and Lord over all things.' Man has rejected any form of accountability to God as Lord over all. He has become a law unto himself.
The Bible calls this; sin, a word which many today scoff and sneer at and find offensive, relegating it to religious fanatics and as something which has no relevance in today's society. We are supposedly a people of high morals and ethics, we do what is right in our own eyes by our fellow man, and we live in a modern era where man is progressive and moving forward to a better world. "What then does this sin have to do with us? What need do we have of Christ as our redeemer?"
"Our forefathers established the foundations of our freedom today, they laid down decrees and laws making us a better people and society! Where is the sin in that?"
We are today living in a world which does not see any need of a Redeemer; "I'm doing just fine on my own, what's all the fuss about?" is the typical attitude of most people today, being oblivious to the true condition of mankind and the peril faced by all who ignore the gift of God; Christ our Redeemer, the One sent to reconcile man back to God, the One who has 'bruised satan on the head' for all mankind.
The Collins dictionary defines 'Redeem' as follows:
To recover possession of by payment of a price or service.
Christianity. (of Christ as Saviour) to free (humanity) from sin by death on the cross.
The word Redeem comes from the Latin re - back + emere - to buy. Hence; to buy back.
Christ as Creator and possessor of all the earth, (whom He created for Himself) has redeemed mankind with His own life, to once again both know Him and walk with Him, as at the beginning when He created all things.
John 1:1-4 (NASB)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 [a]He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
Christ was the One who in the beginning created the world and everything in it, including man, whom He created in His own image and likeness, to be like God and walk with God in a relationship based on love. Love is what motivated God in all He did for Adam and Eve; they were created out of love.
1John 7-9 (NASB)
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is [a]born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested [b]in us, that God has sent His [c]only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
As we can see God is love, everything God does is motivated by love, we were created out of love, when He breathed His life into Adam it was with love, the Garden of Eden was created for Adam out of love, for this is who God is; He is love. When God sent Jesus to redeem us by His death on a cross, He did it out of love for every single person on this earth. "Why?" you may ask. The answer is simple; He is the One who gaves us life, who created everything making Him Lord over all. He loves us as His own children whom He brought into this world and will do everything in His power to redeem us back to Himself.
The family unit consisting of a father, mother and children, is an extension of the image of God in that God formed man and gave man life, bring him into this world as a living being, created and loved by God as His own child, caring for and making every provision available to them. Adam and Eve would also have the same nature and character of God and would have been motivated by love. Adam also loved his wife and they gave birth to their own children whom they cared for.
Today as we look at the family unit we may gain an understanding and appreciation of God's love and why we need redeeming? To this end I would like to share my own family experience of growing up in Zimbabwe.
My parents emigrated from Portugal to what was then Southern Rhodesia, in the quest to find a better life in which to raise a family. I was the younger of two sons and was priveledged to have had wonderful loving parents. Starting life afresh in a new country is not easy and comes with many challenges, one of which was providing a Portuguese education in an English speaking country. My parents were by no means wealthy and yet they decided to send my brother at a young age to Mozambique, a neighbouring Portuguese colony of Portugal, for the early part of his education until he was about eleven years of age.
This was a huge sacrifice for my parents, both financially and emotionally, being seperated from their young son for months at a time, missing out on seeing him as a young child growing up. Yet they made the sacrifice, why? Because they loved him and wanted only the best for him. It cost them in ways I will probably never know.
I on the other hand missed out on a Portuguese education, as my parents couldn't afford for both of us to be in Mozambique and yet they loved me no less, they provided me with a good education and brought me up in a loving enviroment where I felt safe and loved. I learnt much from my father who was a tradesman and also a God fearing man who loved God. I have fond recollection of seeing my father come home from work, tired, and yet he loved to sit and read his Bible in the evening. This was probably the greatest legacy my father could have left me, he passed onto me his love for the Word of God and gave me a good foundation in life.
When I finished my secondary education I decided to try and fulfill my childhood dream; that of becoming a pilot. I learned that over the years my parents had put aside some money for me, they too had willingly sacrificed for me in trying to give me the best possible start to life. I used the money to start my flight training and they did everything they could to make my dream a reality. Unfortunately the cost was too great at the time and my call up into the Army brought an end to my dream.
Today I am a product of the way my parents brought me up, they were loving parents who provided and cared for me, even when the cost was great to themselves, they never held back. They disciplined when it was needed, but always out of love for me, wanting only the best for me. They were a father and mother to us to the best of their abilities, but they never lorded over us, we were their children to love and cherish and willing to sacrifice their all for our good.
In the same way that my parents loved me and sacrificed much for me, so too does God, who created us and gave us His life. We were created in His image, having His nature and character and were blessed with His daily presence. God was like a Father to us, He loved us and cared for us, making every provision possible available to man.
God had created a perfect world, declaring it to be 'very good.' But something happened which changed man and wrecked mankind. Adam and Eve turned their backs on God, rejected the life God had given them and chose instead a substandard life of their own; their disobedience allowed sin into their lives which still plagues mankind today. They chose to exchange the Life (nature and character) of God for a distorted nature based on defiance and self-reliance when they sold their souls to satan. Man was marred and scarred for life, he now carried the image of satan and found himself isolated from God, unble to turn the clock back he was trapped in a hostile world dominated by fear instead of love, they were bound to a sinful nature which had seperated them from God and left them powerless to overcome.
But God was still Lord over all of creation, being the creator. God had lost the love of His life, the child he had given birth to and showered His love on had rejected Him. Did God give up? No! He was prepared to sacrifice everything to get man back, just as my parents had sacrificed their lives financially to give us the best they possibly could, so too would God. The Lord God, creator of heaven and earth desired above all else to redeem mankind back to himself, He was willing to pay the ultimate price with His very life!
As I mentioned earlier, man is oblivious to his true state today and can see nothing wrong that needs fixing, he does not believe he needs a redeemer! If this is true then we should be able to find proof of this in society today, we should be able to see man as having a perfect nature and character, being a picture of perfection. When God created the world and everything in it, He declared that it was 'very good.' (Genesis 1:31)
We should not be able to find any evidence or trace of hatred, jealousy, strife, dissensions, outbursts of anger, or disputes in the nature of man.
There would be no crime or violence, hence there would be no need for any Law Courts or Judicial system. It would be a society where peace prevails, and where fear does not exist. Nations would coexist peacefully without the need for wars to settle disputes. Everyone would have their neighbour's best interests at heart, honoring and respecting one another. There would be no immorality, lust, fornication or adultery. Our streets and neighbourhoods would be safe places, without the need for police or defence forces.
There would be no sickness, death or disease. People would live healthy lives and never have to suffer with pain and sickness. Today we are seeing a significant increase in the incidence of cancer, with a surge in the number of woman suffering from breast cancer. We are seeing some terrible debilitating diseases and are told "It may be genetic, passed down from one of your parents. So in fact man is breaking down and degenerating!
Does this sound like life as we know it today? Yet they tell me there is nothing fundamentally wrong with man, sin is an illusion and we have no need of salvation or a redeemer. Further more man evolved over millions of years and therefore in keeping with this theory, we are a work in progress, we are still evolving and therefore we will continue to improve and better ourselves. What is all the fuss about?
Again if this were true then we should be able to compare our modern day society with past generations and arrive at the conclusion that man is unquestionably a better person and has definitely improved his morale standing. Yet our jails can no longer cope with the ever increasing crime, our streets are becoming increasingly violent, our morality has hit an all time low and yet we are told everything is fundamentally fine! Man is evolving into something better, what is all the fuss about?
If this were a court of law then surely the jury would have to examine the evidence presented and be left with no option but to return a verdict of GUILTY as charged! Man does need a redeemer to restore mankind back to the way God originally created him; very good, since man today is clearly very far from being 'very good' and is incapable of repairing himself.
The truth is mankind is spiralling out of control due to sin; our rejection of God as creator and Lord over our lives, and the refusal to accept we are accountable to our creator.
Man has lost his true identity, he has lost the Spirit and Life of God within, he has lost the wisdom of God and now has to cope with life on his own using his own judgement and wisdom which is flawed to say the least.
Jesus Christ is our creator, He was from the beginning with God and He is God. He alone is able to restore mankind, as no effort on the part of man will ever bring about lasting transformation. Only Jesus can restore the Holy Spirit to man and thus restore us to our former image.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Jesus came to this earth as a man to fulfill the Office of Prophet, Priest and King.
As a Prophet He proclaimed the principles of the Kingdom of God in truth with signs and wonders following His teachings.
As Priest He offered His life as a sacrifice for the atonement of all our sins, He paid the price of redemption with His own blood, being crucified on a cross He took the full weight of judgement of sin upon Himself so that we may be free from the penalty of death as a result of sin, restoring the Spirit and Life of God to everyone who will believe and put their trust in Him for deliverance, acknowledging Jesus as Lord (Our creator and possessor of heaven and earth). Jesus spent three days in a tomb after His crucifixion and He then rose from the dead, a fact supported by numerous witnesses at the time, thus proving His claims to being the Son of God. No other religion in the world can lay claim to having their leader resurrected from the dead.
As King He destroyed the power of sin over mankind bringing release and freedom to all who would accept His sacrifice and Kingdom by submitting their lives to the leading and Life of the Holy Spirit within. He also ushered in a new era of worship, one based on Spirit and Truth rather than sacrifice.
Principle: The Kingdom of God is established when we dethrone our self-reliance and rejection of God as our creator, and submit our lives to Jesus Christ and the leading and Life of the Holy Spirit within.
Luke 4:18 NASB
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord."
God, in His love for humanity, is reaching out to you and I through His son Jesus, He is most reluctant to give up on the ones He loves so much. The world we live in is married to logic and reason, we base all of our decisions on these two precepts. It seems foolish to man therefore that God even exists, yet the very same world we live in is filled with overwhelming evidence of a Creator.
Please consider the evidence; man is not becoming a better person, nor is society a better place to live in since evil still resides within man with a propensity for inflicting hatred and conflict, carrying out acts of injustice and injury, inflicting pain and suffering. Many live with total disregard for others, caring only for themselves and living selfish lives. Whilst there are law abiding citizens, and those who do care for their fellow humans yet mans very nature is driven by 'self' living out of ones own wisdom and knowledge, God is not included.
This is contrary to the way God originally created us to be, we were meant to live life with God, knowing God and living by His wisdom and knowledge. Please consider the way you live your life, do you make God's wisdom and knowledge a part of your life, do you live life with God, or do you life only for yourself?
Does mankind need a Redeemer? I believe the evidence is overwhelming! Yes it does!