Over six thousand years ago a terrible thing happened. Mankind, in the form of Adam and Eve, gave over their kingdom to Lucifer, the deceiver and liar called Satan and the devil. Adam was the first king of earth appointed by God. He gave him dominion over everything on earth. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ ” Genesis 1:26
What a wonderful place the world must have been. No disease or death, no hate or war. A place of peace and tranquility. Our little blue orb of a world, set far from the rest of the universe, was a place of goodness and virtue. God visited often, walking and talking with Adam and Eve in the garden. He gave them instruction and answered their questions. But because of Satan, our world took a turn toward destruction and disaster. When Eve was deceived by the wiles of Satan in the form of a serpent, she never imagined what her “little” sin would mean for the world. It seems little to us, but to God, it was a test of obedience, and selfishness was the true name of that sin.
Selfishness is an invasive sin. We do not realize that our selfishness will have great repercussions, not only on ourselves but on others around us. It was selfishness that led Eve to take the fruit and eat it. She thought she would gain more than what God had already given them. She was not happy with all that God had given them, and like Satan, wanted more. After all, the fruit did look delicious. That fatal step caused a cascading affect that permeated the world with sin. God said, “but 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.” Genesis 2:17. This truth was not believed by Eve. If it had, she would never have eaten the fruit of the tree. She allowed her own thoughts and the promptings of Satan to sway her to follow her own way. She gave into unbelief and selfishness. As Eve did, how often do we allow our own desires and the promptings around us to turn us from the path of God onto the path of Satan?
We can see after all these years that God was true to His word. Billions of people have died over the centuries since Eve’s fateful encounter with Satan. Yet this truth has not yet been fully realized. God spoke not only of physical death, but of a spiritual death yet to take place when the judgment of God has been concluded.
People today are all mixed up about death and the afterlife. Many think that we will live on after physical death. They mistakenly believe that all are spiritually immortal, yet God said, “Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me. … For I raise My hand to heaven, and say, ‘As I live forever.’ ” Deuteronomy 32:39, first part, 40
Paul writes, “I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power.” 1 Timothy 6:13–16. If we all had eternal life, if we were all going to be saved, why would the rich young ruler ask Jesus, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16
No, the lie that Satan told from the beginning was that we would not die. There was not a single “good” thing the rich young ruler could do to inherit eternal life. There is no merit in any of our actions. This is why the ultimate plan of redemption had to be set into motion. From the beginning, God planned for every human being to be in heaven. Paul writes that we were “preordained” or “predestined” to be with God. Yet because of sin, not all will be with God in the end, only those who have been “conformed to the image” of Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:29, 30
Every person must decide if he or she will be one of these predestined sons of God or if they will remain a son or daughter of Satan. God sees the end from the beginning, but we must move forward with our choice only seeing the beginning of the end. If we make that choice to be one of God’s people, we will become adopted by God as one of His own. “Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Ephesians 1:5
God wants every person to become one of His sons and daughters. God loved us so much that He sent His only Begotten Son. “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4, 5
In the beginning, Adam and Eve needed no Saviour. They were created sinless, without blame. They were not “born under the law” since there was no law broken. But when sin had abounded, our first parents were now “under the law” of God and needed to be “redeemed” as “those who were under the law” to be adopted back into the family of God. They gave away their citizenship to heaven and their dominion over earth when they fell for the temptations of Satan and sinned. As their descendants, we are born under the law of God since sin is in the world. We are not born as Jesus who was a blend of the divine and human. We are born fully human into the family of Satan, “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Ephesians 2:3. Like all of us, Adam and Eve needed to be adopted back into God’s family as “sons of God.”
Mankind does not realize the peril they are in today. When born into the world, we are born under the condemnation of God’s law. We are born as sinners who need a Saviour. Like Adam and Eve, we, too, are a part of the wrong family and we must reject this family of Satan and sin if we are to join the family of God. Sin is pervasive. We inherit the degradation of sin in our bodies from the lineage of our parents. We are inundated with sinful acts, sinful scenes, and sinful talk all around us. Our minds are polluted by daily living, even if we are not partaking in sinful practices. This world has become so corrupted by Satan that even the most devout Christian struggles because of the onslaught of sin around them. How can we endure this terrible daily trial?
The answer is in Jesus. He had all our human traits. He understood human failings. Yet He was also the God of heaven. With this mixture of human and divine traits, He is well able to understand and sympathize with our weaknesses. When in the wilderness of temptation, He endured great hunger and thirst, given His divine nature, He could have stopped His suffering any time He desired, yet He suffered as any other human. This is the reason Jesus qualifies to be our High Priest who can remediate our sins. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14–16
To become part of God’s family, our actions, attitudes, speech, eating habits, and views must be like that of God. In heaven, when Lucifer sinned, it was because his views and attitudes changed. He let selfishness and pride dominate his character. This was opposite to the rest of the angels of God. Heaven was a happy, peaceful, busy place. All enjoyed their work and loved God and knew God loved them. But after pride raised its ugly head in Satan, dissatisfaction was felt in heaven. As Satan (Lucifer) nurtured these feelings, he began to entice other angels with his dissatisfaction. Sin is like a noxious weed sowing its way through a garden. It only takes one weed to start, but that one weed produces more weeds until the whole garden is filled with them. That is how Satan worked in heaven and now works in us.
Jesus is different in character. He is like His Father in heaven. “I and My Father are One.” John 10:30. “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. Jesus tells us we must be like the Father if we are to be adopted into His family. We must like the same things. We will enjoy the foods God gave us in the beginning of earth’s history. We will speak like God speaks with love and compassion. We will have attitudes that reflect the Spirit of God in all we do. If we have these traits, we will no longer be in bondage to sin. “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:15–17
If we accept Christ as our Advocate before the Father, we must first accept His grace that was given to us. As children of the devil, there is nothing good in us, but through Jesus Christ a new life can be nurtured. We do not have to stay children of the devil because through the sacrifice of Jesus we can claim the promises of the redeeming love of God. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
Paul writes extensively about this “filthiness of the flesh” in his letters to the churches. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” Ephesians 4:31. Most people will recognize adultery, stealing, and other sins as traits we must overcome to be adopted into the family of God, but Paul lists the things of the heart that must be changed. He encourages us to replace them with virtues of godliness. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Verse 32
The life that Jesus lived on this earth taught us that we must live to be like God in our thoughts, actions, and speech. It was not enough to just sacrifice His life for our sins; He also came to show us how to live by setting an example for us to follow. Adam and Eve knew the character of Jesus. They had talked with Him many times. After they sinned, they were crushed by their actions, and were deeply sorrowful. They would have done anything to once again enjoy the face-to-face fellowship with their holy God. Over time, we have lost spiritual fellowship with God. We do not see our sins in the same light as our first parents, but that does not make them any the less grievous.
The good news is we can regain that connection, that spiritual fellowship, if we put our trust in Jesus. He has made provision for us to know and to love His good will toward us.
We have something that ancient Israel did not have. We have the Bible complete with the history of the mistakes of Israel on through the endurance and godliness of Joseph, Daniel, Elijah, and Moses. We have the writings of the prophecies of Amos, Habakkuk, Obadiah, and more. And to complete the fullness of God, we have the teachings of Jesus and the witness of His disciples who, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, wrote down for us the great wonders and works of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. What more could God have done! Yet, He went even further.
To ensure that we who come to Jesus and claim His promises will not falter, He gave us the Helper of heaven. The Holy Spirit is given to every man, woman, and child that will commit to following Jesus with all their heart. The Spirit is only given to those who are dedicated to God. He cannot live in those who are double-minded. James admonishes us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8. Jesus promises we will never be alone. Prayer, the study of His promises, and active duty are the staple of a good Christian character.
Thousands of years have passed since the time of our first parents. They rest today in the grave awaiting the great day of deliverance. They committed their lives to be obedient to God and His law. Perfect obedience is the principle of the followers of Jesus. Many have turned back because of selfishness, and not all were, or will be, adopted into the family of God. But those who are called and will be called the “sons of God” are found to be in perfect obedience to His law and its principles.
Time is growing so short. The road may be rocky, and the trials may be many, but the reward of following through to the end is an everlasting life that we can hardly imagine. We must be ready for that great day of God, ready to meet Him in the clouds, ready to sing with the angels in adoration and thankfulness for the love of God.
Michael C. Wells is the director of Anointing Oil Ministries.