Teachings...

 

March 2006

The Nature of Man

Pastor Paul Van Noy Candlelight Christian Fellowship

We are now in the third month of study on the basic teachings of the Christian faith. In January we examined the doctrine of the Trinity, last month the authority of the Bible and this month we will examine the nature of man. Please keep in mind - these examinations are brief, and cursory. Whole libraries have been written on this subject. The intention here is to set a foundation for further study.

The Bible teaches that all people are by nature sinful, separated from God and responsible for their own sin. Man, in and of himself, has nothing to offer God in exchange for his soul. He will spend eternity in hell; separated from God, should he reject the provisions provided for him in Jesus Christ our Savior. Salvation: redemption, forgiveness of sin, justification, sanctification and glorification are freely offered to all through the grace of God, by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the beginning, man was created by God, in His own image and likeness. On the sixth day of the creation week, God looked at “everything” He had made and said it was “very good.” Shortly after the sixth day, (possibly on the very next day - the seventh day of the creation week) Adam and his wife disobeyed the Lord, being tempted by Lucifer, ate from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” thus committing sin, became self-conscious (they realized that they were naked and were ashamed) and caused the loss of holiness and unity between the Lord and themselves. This ultimately caused death and separation from God. God had spoken to Adam and said, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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 3:16-17) The consequences of their disobedience, would from that time forward affect every man woman and child, result in universal sin and inspire the curse.

The book of Romans clearly states, “…through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men.” (Romans 5:12) God say’s of man, “There is none righteous, no, not one…” (Romans 3:10) Paul the apostle believed this to be true of himself as with all other men. He wrote, Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." The Greek word translated "come short" is “hustereo,” it means to be inferior; to fall short, to be deficient, to come behind, to be destitute, fall, lack, to suffer need, to be in want, to be the worse, and is in the present indicative tense. The present indicative indicates something presently occurring. He is teaching that all men are not only sinners but are in fact constantly falling (present tense) short of the glory of God.

As long as you and I are breathing in and out the temporal air of this life, we are falling short of God’s glory. We are sinners, in need of the righteousness only God can provide. As fallen man, we are incapable of doing good apart from the work of God within. He said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” (Romans 7:18) We are not sinners because we sin but on the contrary, we sin because we are sinners. All human effort - designed to please God - apart from the work of Christ is sin in and of itself. Isaiah records, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

The good news of the Scriptures is that sinful man, apart from any good he can provide, may be made clean and presented holy in the presence of the Lord. Fellowship can be restored and the curse ultimately removed. Jesus Christ provides, by grace through faith alone, all man lost in the garden. We are blessed to receive eternal life in exchange for the death we suffer and deserve.

Next month we will look at the salvation God provides in Jesus Christ. Stay tuned for “The Gospel!”

Blessings to you all,