|Amazing Grace Church
|What in the World is God Doing? ©
Pastor John Stemmons, Amazing Grace Church, Fujisawa, Japan, 112606
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in Heavenly places
might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God Ephesians 3: 10 .
Revelation 12:7-12 tells of a war in Heaven wherein Lucifer was cast to the earth.
Lucifer is a cherub angel, the highest order of angels, and he was the highest of this high order, being described in Ezekiel 28:14 as the "anointed cherub that covers". Having been cast out of Heaven, Lucifer (light-bearer) became Satan (adversary) and is very angry because he knows his time is short. Like many people who have trouble, he doesn't blame himselfche blames God.
When did all this take place? While the bible does not give us the exact time, we can be sure that this took place more than 6,000 years ago, since Satan was already described as a serpent at the time of Adam and Eve. He was not a literal snake, of course, because the bible tells us that Satan comes as an angel of light (2 COR 11:14), but Satan does have a snake-like character. He is cold-hearted, without compassion, and totally self-centered. He is a liar and a murderer.
Why was Satan cast to the earth? We have all the clues we need to solve this riddle. The bible calls him the "god of this world" (2Corinthians 4:4) and the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), and Jesus referred to him as the "prince of this world" (John 12:31). Satan certainly did not get these titles after his fall from Heaven, but we know that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, (Romans 11:29), so God has not taken these titles away from Satan. Additionally, we are told that Satan willed to "ascend into Heaven", and that he is the one who "made the earth to tremble". (Isaiah 14:13, 16)
Satan lived here on earth, and it was to earth that he was returned. He had a right to be here. He had a right to be in the Garden of Eden, and while what he did to effect the fall of Adam and Eve was immoral and unethical, it was legal. When Adam rebelled against God by violating God's command, the dominion that God had entrusted to Adam passed to Satan. Satan has had dominion over the earth since that time. (1 John 5:19)
God is infinitely more powerful than Satan, so the question should be asked, why does not God simply take dominion away from Satan? But Satan got dominion legally and God must therefore recover dominion legally. Otherwise, God would be unrighteous.
The challenge before God then is to recover his beloved creation and to do it legally. All men on the earth were now under the control of Satan, and God had no one on earth to represent him. Then, God found Abraham.
Abraham, at first known as Abram, was a pagan living in Ur, a city in what is now Iraq. God approached him in Genesis 12 and began to talk about covenant with Abram. God made promises. Abram began to follow God, and God began to protect and prosper him.
In Genesis 15, God entered into a "blood covenant". This covenant was at first drawn up between God the Father and God the Son while Abram was sleeping. When Abram woke up, he came into this covenant by believing God. Of course God could not have made a covenant directly with Abram, since God is perfect and Abram was imperfect, being infected with the nature of sin. A union between God and Abram would have resulted in God becoming less than perfect. It could also not have been an eternal covenant, since Abram was a mortal and therefore subject to both the sin nature and death. Ironically, if God could have made a covenant with Abram, then Jesus Christ would never have had to come and die for us.
God made covenant with himself...through his son, but this presented another problem....it was a blood covenant and, being spirits, neither had blood. The covenant was made, but not yet ratified. This is evidenced by Genesis 15:6 wherein Abram believed God and God accounted it as righteousness. Abram was saved on credit!
This accounting term was used, because the price of sin had not yet been paid, but it certainly would be, because God had already decreed it as early as Genesis 3:15. In that verse, Satan was informed that the "seed of the Woman" would bruise his head. Ordinarily, women have no seed. But the Son of God, Jesus Christ, would be born of a virgin, and his father would be God, Himself! This would mean that Jesus Christ would be fully man, but without the nature of sin. The promise of God was so secure that the righteousness of Abram could depend upon it, though payment for sin was still centuries into the future.
Abram was circumcised later as the seal of the covenant. The blood of sacrificed animals was used as a substitute for God's blood. While these sacrifices could not take away sin, they did postpone judgment from year to year. They did another important thing, also: they pointed the way to the one who would come to pay the price of sin forever, the Lord Jesus Christ.
According to Romans 6:23, the wages of sin is deathcany sin, large or small. God is a God of Grace and Mercy, but he is also a God of Justice, and the price of sin must be exacted. The soul that sins, it will die. (Ezekiel 18:4) If you sin, you die. Spiritual death is instantaneous, but physical death will follow. All men are infected with the sin nature, because all of us were in Adam.
If there was any other way that salvation of God's creation could have been done, God would no doubt have used another way. But there was no other way, so Jesus Christ was born into this earth about 2,000 years ago. The Word of God, made flesh. (John 1:14) The only begotten, the perfect Son of God lived 33 years on this earth and then died for us.
Make no mistakecthough Jesus Christ is fully man (and therefore able to covenant with man), he is also fully God, and therefore able to satisfy the claims of divine justice. He is the only one who could have paid the price for all sin. He is the only one who was both fully man and fully God. This is why Jesus declared that he is the only way to God. (John 14:6) The statement that Jesus is the only way is found to be offensive by some who fail to understand it. Jesus is the only way, because he is the only one who was born without the sin nature, and the only one whose blood had enough value to pay for all sin. There has never been another person on this earth like the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only God-Man, and the only way to God!
Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. (1 Timothy 2:5)
After his resurrection from the dead, Jesus took his own blood into the holy place in Heaven and offered it up to God. God accepted this final sacrifice as full payment for all sin, past, present, and future. (Hebrews 9:12)The blood covenant was ratified!
Now it was legal and time to surprise Satan and indeed the whole world with God's plan for the time we are living in now. The mystery of the church age was revealed to man. (Ephesians 2:1-11). The Holy Spirit was sent from Heaven (Revelation 5:6) and arrived on earth (Acts 2:1-4) to be received by any born-again person who would receive him.
Jesus Christ is duplicating himself in us, and this is the plan by which God's creation is being recovered! You and I are a part of that plan. We have work to do! Our part in God's plan is for us to represent God as Ambassadors. This necessitates us having God's own authority and power, as well as being privy to the plan of God itself.
To accurately represent God, we need to know and understand the plan. This is why we have the bible. We are to study and know the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15) As humans, we are legal to stand on this earth and speak God's Word. As children of God, we have been entrusted with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and the authority of the name of Jesus himself (John 16:23). God himself provides for us because we are his army.
Time is short. There are about 6,000 prophecies in the Word of God and already about 4,000 of them have been perfectly fulfilled in every detail. The others will be fulfilled in their time, but there are no prophecies left to be fulfilled before the return of Jesus Christ for the church. Before that happens, we must seek and save the lost just as Jesus did.
What is your part in God's plan?
Be assured, you do have a part to play. We will all stand before Jesus Christ shortly and give an account of our lives here on earth.
What will you say when it is your turn?
Can you expect to hear those precious words from the Savior's own lips, "Well done, you good and faithful servant? (Matthew 25:21)