A pagan picks up the bible, and starts reading in Genesis about God creating the heavens and the earth. God takes some clay, breathes into it, and Adam becomes a living being. God knew it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, so He created Eve to be a helpmate. They were to be fruitful and multiply, but sin separated them from God, and Satan became the rebel holder of authority, the god of this world. And all that happened in the first three chapters. What would the non-believer think? Would they be inclined to finish reading a very big book? Redemption is promised in the third chapter of Genesis, but would they run out of patience and stop reading since redemption takes centuries to unfold. It isn’t even complete when the book ends with another promise for those who are faithful. Even in the Bible many of God’s chosen tire of waiting on the Lord, and return to their pagan ways.
The gospel is the hook, and God has put a longing in our hearts for wholeness. Besides, like any good book, we naturally want to see the bad guy get his due, and how the hero redeems the day. To understand the full gospel, one has to see what was lost. Without the divine breath, Adam is just a hunk of clay. Even if the Potter shaped the clay in His image, it would eventually decay and return to dust. Adam was physically alive, which means that his soul was in union with his body. Death means to be separate from, and life means to be in union with. Adam was also spiritually alive, which means that his soul was in union with God. He was told, “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). He ate and he died that day.
He didn’t die physically. He died spiritually. Sin had separated him from God. Physical death would also be a consequence of sin as it is for us, but for Adam that wouldn’t come for another 900 plus years. From that time on, every descendent of Adam and Eve is born physically alive, but spiritually dead according to the Apostle Paul, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air (Satan), the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-among whom we all once lived in the passions of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:1-3). With that in mind, what is God’s plan of redemption? I have observed all over the world that most believers have understood and lived out only a third of the gospel. In many cases that is all that has been presented to them. Consequently, many struggle in their faith, and are inclined to lose patience and return to their pagan ways.
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