Most people feel very far from God, even though something in them says there must be a Creator and source of Justice & Truth who punishes evil but rewards good.
This difficulty has a cause. It is explained in the story of The Fall of man from a state of God’s Grace.
The event is explained in chapter 3 of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Now, you can either see this story as true, or you can view it as fable. Either way, it explains our fundamental problem: – human beings are estranged from God.
This alienation of us by God himself is the source of all our problems and trials. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, God condemned them to trials and to mortality, ie to certain physical death.
Our progenitor, Adam, disobeyed God in one essential instruction, and so the entire human race came under God’s condemnation. And that is where you are now. Condemned by God. That explains our Problem.
It also explains why Jesus Christ taught and lived an exemplary life, then died as a sacrifice on the cross in your place and mine:- to reverse God’s condemnation. To satisfy his anger with our rebellion and to reverse the Curse of Adam.
Adam partook of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil – the only forbidden tree. Adam had access to all that God could provide, but he was tempted to take of the one thing God refused him. And why did God refuse Adam this one tree ? For Adam’s own welfare !
I cannot emphasise enough how vital it is to obey God’s commands. His commands are there for our welfare, for our good, for our benefit. They are not there to frustrate or thwart us or to make our lives meaningless and joyless. They exist for our GOOD.
The Ten Commandments exist for our good. Jesus Christ endorsed them when he said:
THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART AND WITH ALL THY SOUL AND WITH ALL THY MIND – THIS IS THE FIRST AND GREAT COMMANDMENT. AND THE SECOND IS LIKE UNTO IT – THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF. ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS [ie the Old Testament teaching]. From the Gospel of Matthew chapter 22, and verses 37 to 40.
This teaching about Adam and Eve’s temptation and condemnation [called The Fall] explains our state of being today. But how it happened is also extremely instructive and must be understood.
It happened because Eve was tempted by Satan. Now Satan is real. His name means “adversary” ie “enemy”, and he is called that because he instinctively opposes God. He opposes God and he seeks to replicate his evil nature in man’s heart and mind and actions. Jesus has warned us about Satan. In the Gospel of John at chapter 8, verse 44 Jesus defines the devil as a murderer and as a liar – indeed as a being in whom there is no truth and one who is the very father of lies.
Satan is utter evil, and his purpose is to destroy all that is good, loving and harmonious. This is what he achieved with Eve and then Adam. And he could achieve his evil aim because Eve allowed herself to be tempted by Satan’s appeal to her selfish instincts, as explained in Genesis chapter 3 and verse 6. But we find John in his first epistle in the New Testament helpfully summing up the problem of the sinful flesh when he wrote in chapter 2 and verse 16 about
- THE LUST OF THE FLESH, and
- THE LUST OF THE EYES, and
- THE PRIDE OF LIFE
Now John ascribes all these attitudes as being “of the world”, and not from God. The world about us is steeped in sin, in the mindset of God’s enemy, Satan. Satan rules over the people of this world because they like doing what Satan wants, and they hate doing what God commands. The apostle Paul writing in his second letter to the Corinthian Christians refers to Satan in verse 4 of chapter 4 as
THE GOD OF THIS WORLD HATH BLINDED THE MINDS OF THEM WHICH BELIEVE NOT
Satan deals in lies, distortions and all sorts of temptations to get us to lust for the things of this world in defiance of God’s clear instructions to the contrary – instructions for our good. That is how he operates, and that is how he ensnares unwitting human beings. People love the darkness rather than the spiritual light, as Jesus said in Johns’ Gospel chapter 3, verses 19 to 21.
That is why those who disobey God are condemned by God. They choose evil, and they obey evil instincts. Therefore they make their own choice: they refuse God and choose the side of Satan. Just as in the beginning, when Adam and Eve listened to the tempation of Satan: NOTE WELL
- they listened to temptation
- they accepted it
- they acted on it
- so they disobeyed God, and instead obeyed Satan
Understand this process. Understand how dangerous it is. Understand how it works. Understand that the only way out is to deny temptation, and to obey God. That is why the process of becoming and being a Christian is:
- Accept God’s condemnation of your sinfulness
- Believe that Jesus Christ alone can undo the evil effects of the Fall in your life
- Confess that you will always endeavour to obey Jesus Christ and so disobey Satan and self
This you can do by
- getting baptised by full immersion in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit to demonstrate your washing away the old life of disobedience
- treating God as the centre of your life by regular, daily spiritual exercises like prayer and reading the Bible
- living as God says in the New Testament of the Bible in thought, word and deed
- knowing that all depends upon Jesus free gift of eternal life which no man nor Satan can take away from you