Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Kindness of God

You need to understand from the start that it is because of God’s relationship to the Christian through the atoning work of Jesus Christ that you are even able to obey God or express any type of love and worship to Him.

God is not an impersonal being that is incapable of entering into a relationship with others.  God created man so that He might know him and be a recipient of the riches of His goodness.

When man’s relationship with God was broken through sin God sent His own Son in order that the relationship might be restored.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible portrays God as the One who desires a relationship with man.  He does not need this relationship to sustain Him in anyway, but He wants it so that He might show His love to us and demonstrate His kindness and goodness for His Glory.

Sin affected Adam’s attitude toward God.  

Genesis 3:8-10 (NASB) - They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  9 Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

Once he had been excited for God to come and walk in fellowship with Him in the cool of the day.  But now He hides himself and tries to cover his sin and shame with leaves.  But not even his covering gave him boldness to stand before the Lord.

It was the approach of the Just Judge and it put them into a fearful mode.  But notice how God was coming to them.  He came, just walking.  Not bearing down on them with anger or military might.  He’s walking to them.  It let’s us know something about God’s patience and kindness towards man.  He was already fully aware of what they had done.  He knew they would do it before they did it… before He even created them….

Even though he would have been completely justified in coming with wrath, He didn’t.  He came to them in fellowship to humble and restore them.  Demonstrating that He is slow to anger.

What had been an intimate relationship though is now a fear-filled one.  Not a true Holy fear like Abraham possessed, but a literal terrified fear.

But because God desires a relationship He does not destroy them.  We need to be more mindful of His mercy daily because it clearly reaches far beyond what we can possibly imagine.  How did this terror of God affect their relationship from that point forward?

Genesis 3:23-24 (NASB) - therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.  24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

The communication of God’s upholding Grace and His sustaining Grace has now been removed and Adam became weak.  His relationship with God was lost in closeness and Adam would one day die.

Isaiah 59:1-2 – explains the change in God’s relationship with Adam, from that we can see how that affects and teaches us about our own sin. - Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.  2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

According to Genesis 3:8-9, who sought restoration of this broken relationship after the fall?  It was God.  That speaks volumes about His character and Sovereignty.  We don’t even seek out God in our unregenerate, unsaved state, He seeks us…

Romans 3:10-18 (NASB) - as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one;  11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God;  12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”  13 “Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “The poison of asps is under their lips”;  14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;  15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,  16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,  17 And the path of peace they have not known.”  18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

No one does any good at all!  And yet God seeks to redeem us!  He initiates every part of it and He has been doing that ever since the Garden of Eden.

Acts 17:26-27 (NASB) - and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,  27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Why does God sovereignly determine the times and places in which all men are born and live?  [So] that they would seek God.  He initiates it, salvation, and we respond because His grace is irresistible.

He requests the relationship and no one that He calls, who responds, will be turned away.  I would just leave you with this thought.  Please consider yourself in light of God’s Law (see Exodus 20).  Consider that you have broken His Law, God must punish all Law breakers.   Yet in His abounding love God has sent Jesus to die on the cross, paying once for all the price for sin so that you can be forgiven. 

If you find yourself wondering how you can be saved, Mark 1:15 Jesus says, the time has come… REPENT (Turn from your sin) and BELIEVE the Gospel.  Trust in Christ today and be saved!

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