Directions for Discipleship in a Fallen World
There are several pivotal passages in the Scripture which record
events that greatly altered the course of human history. One of these passages
is found in Genesis chapter three. It is here that we find sin making its grand
entrance into the world, and the beginning of the consequences that would
follow. Things would never be the same.
In verses 1-7 we find the temptation and the fall. In verses 8-21 we discover that human suffering, guilt, hardship, pain, sorrow and death all entered the realm of human experience as a result of sin. Finally, in verses 22-24 we find the first human couple expelled from Eden and beginning a much less satisfying existence. Is there any light of hope?
The central theme of the rest of the Bible has to do with the development and implementation of God’s plan to save from sin and restore fellowship between Himself and us. The ultimate goal of the plan is “eternal life” - a term the Bible uses to describe the unequaled glory of heaven.
In the middle of the darkness and gloom of Genesis chapter three - verse 15 to be exact - we have the first promise that a Savior is coming who will defeat the work of Satan. In the New Testament, we will find this promise is received by faith in Christ. But here the veil is lifted ever so slightly allowing a small light to shine through. It will grow brighter in the centuries to follow as the prophets expound upon the message of the Messiah to come. And then - Jesus is born in fulfillment of the prophecies and the Provider of redemption and hope.
When a conversion to Christ occurs, many things change; the new Christian has new purpose, responsibility, and a new relationship with God. But at the same time, there is a perplexing realization that many things also remain the same. He or she still lives in the same fallen world with its evil, corruption and suffering. And temptation is still there as well, and ultimately the disappointing realization that there is still a long way to go before perfection is reached; mistakes are still made and there will be times where one will stumble. How does one live successfully as a Christian in such an environment?
First, we must learn the nature of Satan and sin. Satan can be very deceptive sometimes even appearing to be the opposite of what we might expect (2 Cor. 11:13-15). Sin deceives, often offering more than it can deliver while obscuring the horrible reality of the ultimate outcome.
Second, we must develop a hatred for sin. God hates it. We must not be merely indifferent about it (Psa. 119:04).
Third, we should remember how Jesus met temptation. He was absolutely successful. He met every temptation with Scripture (Matt. 4:1-11). The Scripture was His absolute authority for right and wrong and His guide for conduct. It should be for you and me as well.
Fourth, we should pray for strength and guidance in doing what is right. Again, this is like Jesus handled His dread of the cross. He found strength in this approach (Matt. 26:39).
Finally, be positive about good and negative about evil (Rom. 12:9). Christianity is not only putting away sin, but also adding goodness and kindness to our lives as we obey the gospel of Christ.
By Jon W. Quinn
The Final Page
From Expository Files 16.3; March 2009