Friday, May 30, 2008

Did You Know...

The song “Amazing Grace” can be sung to the tune of the theme song from Gilligan’s Island.

Also, vice versa.

Interesting... considering that Dawn (Mary Ann) Wells has appeared on the world’s first Christian Sitcom, Pastor Greg!

Newly Released Keith Green Video

Click here to see some videos never before released featuring Keith Green (including two videos of Keith without his beard).

Very cool stuff!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Muslim Actor Portrays Jesus Christ

I was reading in the Los Angeles Times that an Iranian has made a motion picture about the life of Christ.

Unlike Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, this book is based on the Qu’ran and the non-canonical Gospel of Barnabas.

This film does not present Jesus as the Son of God who died and rose from the dead... but, rather, as a prophet as most Moslems believe.

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spring Cleaning


One of the funny things you may notice walking around any major city is a car or truck with the words “Wash Me” written by someone’s finger in the dirt on the body or window of the vehicle. I think that perhaps the Lord might write on our hearts and souls, “Wash Me.” How so?

25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
(Ephesians 5:25-27)

Jesus gave His life so that we might be sanctified and cleansed by His living water. And that water represents the Word of God. As we bathe our spirits with His holy word, our inward man gets a spring cleaning...

In the natural, we use H2O (water) cleanses our bodies, our clothes... even our vehicles that have that annoying “Wash Me J” message inscribed on it. Cleansing in the natural is vital, for without cleansing:

  1. Your outer garments begin to look dirty and smell funky... which attracts bugs
  2. You become subject to sickness and disease from germs and bacteria
  3. You stink.

In the context of the spiritual, the Word of God cleanses our spirits and souls. Cleansing in the spirit realm is vital, for without cleansing:

  1. Your sins make us look less like Christ and attracts the devil
  2. You become subject to spiritual sickness and disease
  3. You stink.

Washing by Water

2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
(John 15:2-4)

Abiding in Christ is key to our bearing spiritual fruit and not behaving like religious nuts. We can no more bear fruit without a close connection with the Lord than we can drive an automobile without gasoline. The Psalmist noted that the strong and fruitful tree is the one planted by rivers of water. As you plant the Word in your heart, the water of God’s word will wash you and it will purge you (that is, remove those things that are useless and that are holding you back from optimal effectiveness).

Adding Soap Allows More Effective Cleansing

Soap is necessary to give complete cleansing

The word “soap” comes from the Roman mountain “Sapo” from which animal sacrifices dripped fat and ashes into the clay where people washed clothes and bathed. Isn’t it interesting that when God had the children of Israel perform burnt offerings, that He was helping them be more sanitary? The fat from the sacrifices mixed with the ashes from the wood and created soap that got into the water and let people’s clothes become whiter and their skin cleaner and better smelling.

You may want to reference our book, “The Ashes of the Red Heifer,” which you can find online in PDF format at!

In the natural, soap came from sacrifices. In the spiritual, we must mix sacrifice with the word for more effective cleansing. Sacrifice can comprise one or more of the following three components:

  1. Your tithe and offering
  2. The sacrifice of praise
  3. Sacrificial love (agape) towards those who are unlovely

Tithe and Offering

40Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? 41But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. 42But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
(Luke 11:40-42)

Giving is important, but don’t waste time putting money into the offering basket if you have failed to execute love, compassion and judgment in your life. Do you want to give a Cain offering or an Abel offering? Ask God to create in you a clean heart.

Many people feel that they must pray and consecrate themselves before receiving communion. But, have you considered that it may be valuable to do the same before giving an offering? Some pastors are so greedy for money that they would never suggest what I am telling you. After all, if someone kept their money until they had time to pray... the pastor’s financial goals might not be met.

However, I believe that when we present our money before our High Priest (Jesus) who sits at the right hand of Majesty... we should do so after considering:

  1. Is there any unconfessed sin in our life?
  2. Have we hurt somebody and failed to repent and apologize for our behavior?
  3. Have we held unforgiveness against someone who hurt us?
  4. Have we lost our First Love?

Sacrifice of Praise

15Through Him [Jesus], therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.(1) 16Do not forget or neglect to do kindness and good, to be generous and distribute and contribute to the needy [of the church [1] as embodiment and proof of fellowship], for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
(Hebrews 13:15-16 AMP)

The Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength... and that He inhabits the praises of His people. If you are feeling down, depressed, and having a hard time... the secret formula is to praise His Holy Name. However, it is difficult to do so when your heart is heavy and burdened. That is why we consider it a sacrifice of praise... because it costs you something to exit your emotional state to enter His courts with praise. But the good news, what it costs you is to lose your depression, to give up your feelings of loneliness and rejection... and to push past satan’s deception in order to seek the face of God!

When you do that, my friend, you find your troubles melting away like an ice cube on top of a wood-fired stove. Try it! You’ll like it!

Sacrificial Love

13And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
(1st Corinthians 7:13-14)

Sacrificial love is to show Christ’s love towards those who are unloving... even to the point of sanctifying them.

In Conclusion

They say that cleanliness is next to godliness. But when you get next to God, drink His living water and eat the bread of His word, you become clean. There are steps that you need to take... but go ahead and take them. You’ll be glad that you did!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

No Condemnation...

34I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.
35By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].
36Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, where are You going? Jesus answered, You are not able to follow Me now where I am going, but you shall follow Me afterwards.
John 13:34-36 (AMP)

I find it interesting that, in the world, people seem to be able to agree on sin. For example, you dont find beer drinkers battling over whether to get drunk off of stout, a pilsner, or ale. And, for that matter... you don’t see winos fighting over whether it is better to get drunk off of wine versus a wine cooler. Nor do drinkers of clear liquor battle with those who use brown liquor.

Do heroin addicts protest in front of crack houses?

The point that I am making is... people in the world just enjoy their lives. Those who go to disco nightclubs dont fight those who go to rave clubs. They just want to party... and if someone wants to party differently... then no biggie, right?

So then, why is it Christians will cut each others’ throats over doctrinal differences while ignoring the weightier matters?

We have fights over doctrine and dogma... musical styles and “acceptable” instruments... whether the church supper should include potatoes or Stove Top stuffing...

Look at those who fight against a woman being in ministry, rather asking themselves if she is being used by God? Is she bringing souls into the kingdom?

I hope we can take the above scripture to heart and truly love one another... rather than to be so quick to tear one another down. If a brother or sister is caught in a sin, a fault, or an error... pray for them... and then make sure you aren’t walking around with a beam in your eye while criticising the splinter in their eye.

Jesus died so that we might have and enjoy life (John 10:10). Don’t be a curmudgeonly sourpuss, only interested in finding fault. But seek and even believe for good in the lives of your fellow believers.

Daily Blessing

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom.
[Luke 12:32]

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
[Psalm 128:2]

All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances].
[Proverbs 15:15 AMP]

Show me a sign of [Your evident] goodwill and favor, that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because You, Lord, [will show Your approval of me when You] help and comfort me.
[Psalm 86:17 AMP]

Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you.
[Zechariah 9:12 AMP]

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
[Numbers 6:24-26 NIV]

I shall not die but live, and shall declare the works and recount the illustrious acts of the Lord.
[Psalm 118:17 AMP]

Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.
[Luke 10:19 AMP]

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Supreme Sacrifice

Men are sinners by nature. There is no cure by human means for the maladies of the soul; then it “must” be that the Son of Man comes down from heaven to be lifted up, that is sacrificed on the altar of the cross, that men may be cured of the sin sickness of their nature.

While speaking with Nicodemus Jesus gives us a likeness to the work of His death on the cross by referring to an event that happened to the children of Israel while in the wilderness.

He states,

“And as Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.”
(John 3:14-15 NAS)

The following is an account of the event in the wilderness He refers to:

“Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. And the people spoke against God and Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.’ And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.’ And Moses interceded for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live.’ And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.”
(Numbers 21:4-9)

There is something very unique in the metaphor that our Lord is using here. The crafted “fiery serpent” mounted on the end of a standard is symbolic of the thing that had caused their impending death now being dead. Thus it is written that among the Israelites, the brazen serpent was considered a type of the resurrection, as though through looking upon it, by the command of God, the dying lived; therefore he is effectively raised from the dead.

This is the message to Nicodemus and to those who would read this account: Men are dying because of sin, as the serpent was raised up, so shall the Christ be lifted up: as they who were stung by the fiery serpents were restored by looking up to the brazen serpent, in the same manner men who are sin sick and dying are healed and effectively raised from the dead, by looking up to and believing in Christ crucified; thus His death becomes, to such men, resurrection life.

While Christ was on the cross “He (God the Father) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2nd Corinthians 5:21 NAS).

While on the cross Jesus became “sin in the flesh” in order that He might put to death the sinful flesh of all who believe upon Him. Because He became sin in the flesh the curse and the wrath of the Father that was due sinful man was poured out upon Him. He defeated Satan and restored all that he had taken from man; for those who confess their sins, repent and “look upon him” and believe---that is to say, have faith in Him.

Jesus came to save men from the sufferings of a never-ending decomposition and destruction of their souls in the eternal state of existence known as death. At His trial Jesus was accused, beaten and mocked and on the cross He became a curse that He might bear the curse for all mankind. Yet, during the time of his ordeal, He never denied who He was; but He never defended, or denied the things of which the Sanhedrin and others accused Him (1st Peter 2:22-23). If He was to take on the sins of mankind, he could not declare His innocense. In this way He took on mankind’s sins, although He himself never sinned (2nd Corinthians 5:21; 1st Peter 2:24; Galatians 1:4).

At the time of His sufferings, because of the presence of sin, God the Father withdrew His life giving Spirit from Him. At this point in time God had given His Son as a sacrifice for man’s sins (John 3:16).

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ Which is translated, ‘My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?’”
(Mark 15:34)

Our Lord was now separated from the Father in the likeness of sinful Adam; His soul was in the state of spiritual death as His body also suffered the penalty of sin.

“When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!!’ And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.”
(John 19:30)

Christ proclaimed His part of the covenant of faith finished, He had run the coarse, He had kept the faith; the completion of the covenant was now in the hands of His Heavenly Father. His soul had now departed into death and His body was left lifeless as God’s wrath continued upon His soul.

Isaiah prophesied of this part of the covenant saying,

“But the Lord (God the Father) was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring (the church), He will prolong His days (raise Him from the dead), and the pleasure of the Lord (God) will prosper in His hand.”
(Isaiah 53:10)

Because Jesus became sin on our behalf, He was counted among the transgressors -- signified by His crucifixion between two thieves (Isaiah 53:12). Then it must be also that in our stead He suffers the penalty of death that was ultimately due us.

Some do not believe that our Lord suffered beyond the cross. But just think, if the “rich man” is suffering punishment in the state of death or hell (Luke 16:19-31) and Jesus did not go and suffer with him then God is not a just God. But God is a just God and Jesus did suffer the punishment of hell on our behalf. The innocent for the guilty, such as typed by the release of a robber named Barabbas, while Jesus is held and ultimately caused to suffer the guilty went free (Matthew 27:16-26).

The following is Scriptural evidence that Jesus suffered such a fate as death and hell on man’s behalf.

“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’.”
(Matthew 12:38-40 NAS)

As Jesus refers to Jonah he speaks of him as a prophet and saying, “for just as,” meaning, in the same manner as; and then continues, saying, “so shall the Son of Man be---.” Therefore I believe that Jesus was saying that He would suffer “three days and three nights” in a like manner as Jonah suffered. Reading the book of Jonah we learn Jonah was very tormented and he cried out as a prophet saying,

“----I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.”
(Jonah 2:2 KJV)

Therefore, Jonah being a prophet spoke prophetic utterances concerning the sufferings of the Christ.

The word “heart” used throughout the Holy Scriptures and applied here in verse forty, usually referred to the inner most parts of the subject. The tomb in which the body of Jesus was laid was virtually on the surface of the earth, thus it must be that His soul was in the “heart of the earth” just as Jesus stated.

The Apostle Paul writes,

“But the righteousness based on faith speaks thus, Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘who will descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)’.”
(Romans 10:7 NAS)

Now we know Christ is not presently in hell, but why would the Apostle even mention descending “into the abyss” if our Lord had not, at some time, been there? Thus I believe Jesus was in the abyss, signified by Jesus as the “heart of the earth,” that is to say, the bottomless pit or the chaotic deep.”

Luke gives further evidence in recording the Acts of the Apostles, he writes of Peter as he speaks thus,

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
(Acts 2:22-32 KJV)

Again God spoke of His covenant with His Son through Isaiah the prophet saying,

“I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you. And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations. To open blind eyes. To bring out prisoners from the dungeon. And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.”
(Isaiah 42:5-7)

The Apostle Peter also tells us that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison (1st Peter 3:19) that,

“they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
(1st Peter 4:6)

The Apostle Paul writes,

“(Now this expression, “He ascended,“ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things).”
(Ephesians 4:9-10 NAS)

Now how could Jesus preach to spirits in prison except that he descend into the lower parts of the earth and enter by way of death into the prison of death?? There, while imprisoned by death, God saw the toilsome labor of His soul and was satisfied that the law of sin and death had been fulfilled and that man’s sin debt had been paid in full for all who believe (Isaiah 53:11). At this time, I believe that because of our Lord’s faith, God reached into the pits of hell and by His Holy Spirit reversed the process of eternal death by restoring eternal life to His Son and He “became the first born of the dead” (Colossians 1:18) or the first to be born-again, that He might have first place in everything and be the head and “corner stone” of His church.

Thus it is written,

“When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, ---”
(Ephesians 4:8ff)

And even “many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:52-53 NAS).

Here the Apostle Paul explains,

“He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”
(Romans 4:25 NASU)

Now justification is the act of payment in full that vindicates, makes blameless, removes or dissolves debt and guilt; God is the just and the justifier for those who have faith. The merciful free gift of His Son as the sacrificial offering for man’s sins is the fact that justifies for all who believe; for Christ is the propitiation (satisfaction) for man’s sins (see Romans 3:19-26). Justification through Christ Jesus is God’s declaration that the demands of His law of sin and death have been fulfilled in the righteous act of His Son. Therefore, justification brings forgiveness of sins and purification for those who believe.

The Scripture teaches that God’s grace is received through faith. It is because of God’s love for man that He has mercy. And because of His great mercy He sends His Holy Spirit speaking the word of God convicting man of sin. Those who hear His word concerning sin---and the salvation He has provided through His Son and responds with confession, repentance and obedience---He ministers the favor of salvation by the same Spirit.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
(Romans 5:8)

Thus grace is the sweet expression of God’s love, ministered by His Holy Spirit, through generous acts of favor toward those who believe.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”
(Ephesians 2:4-5).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
(Ephesians 2:8)

Christ is God’s ultimate expression of love, mercy and grace.

He is justification; in Him is regeneration and sanctification.

He is the believer’s Garden of Eden, a place of delight, and the open door to God’s presence.

In Him the cherubim, the flaming sword and the veil of sinful flesh are removed (Genesis 3:24).

And also in Him the believer has free access to the Holy Sprit of God (Acts 2:38).

In Him the sacrament of eating of the word of God and drinking of His Spirit from the Tree of Life is restored.

In Him the covenant of faith between God and man is re-established and in Him is eternal life.

He is the believer’s Sabbath; in Him is rest and peace for the soul.

He is the Word of God that lights our path to the Father; thus He is way, the truth and the life.

He is the supreme sacrifice that paid our sin debt; there is no other Savior for man’s soul.

James C Sanford

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Sacrifice Prepared

When Adam disobeyed God’s commandment he violated the Law of the Spirit of Life. In other words, he disobeyed God’s commandment; this was lawlessness or sin and he became “sin in the flesh,” human, a man of the soil (Genesis 3:17-19 & 23-24). All mankind was in the loins of Adam when he sinned, thus all have sinned. Because of his unfaithfulness Adam was cut off from the favor of God---grace. Since all mankind is from the seed of Adam and thus all mankind is born in the likeness of sinful Adam---without a covenant and the spirit that is born of the word and Spirit of God. And so he is born under the penalty of the Law concerning sin, which is death, and into a world of darkness.

In the Scriptures we read,

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”
(1st Corinthians 15:56)

Death is eternal, thus, under the law of sin and death man is eternally bound. Only through fulfillment of the law, that is, payment in full of the sin debt, could the Law be rendered powerless and man released from death and restored to eternal life.

Divine love is the motivation behind all that God does. From His love flows His mercy and from His love and mercy comes grace (Ephesians 2:4-5). But since God is holy and righteous, and sin is an act of rebellion and a complete offense to Him, His love and mercy cannot provide grace until there is sufficient satisfaction for the penalty of sin. But there is no one likened unto man with a life to give for the satisfaction of such a penalty since all mankind is born in sin and is under the penalty of the law of sin and death. And since it was a man who sinned it would have to be a man to die to pay the sin debt; man was hopelessly doomed. Thus God, because of his great love of man, would have mercy and prepare for himself a sin offering satisfactory for the substitute death for man. Therefore mercy is the compassion of God that moved Him to provide a Savior for mankind through whom His wonderful grace could once again flow to all who would believe (John 3:16).

For man’s eternal life to be restored, his fellowship with God must be renewed. He must have the spirit that is from God. For man to receive the spirit that is from God there must be regeneration and renewing by the Spirit of God; his soul must be brought into life again by a new birth of the spirit through the word and the Spirit of God, the same way as it was in the beginning---and there must be a covenant of faith through which God’s grace could work.

For it is written,

“--- without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
(Hebrews 11:6 NAS)

Hence the covenant of faith is the very foundation of man’s successful relationship with his Creator. In keeping with His plan for mankind God turned to another Adam (1st Corinthians 15:45), His Son, the Word of God, with whom He would make another covenant of faith.

The biblical meaning of the word “covenant” appears to indicate “a special bond”, which emphasizes the relationship of faith and trust that is the basic of all covenants. A divine covenant is not like a contract that involves a person or peoples’ special skills or talents and has a time limit. A divine covenant involves the whole being of the parties involved and is eternal---everlasting. A covenant is oneness, meaning in harmony, in full and complete agreement. The two parties are one. It is a covenant that involves faith, hope and love. The following is some (very likely not all) of such a covenant recorded in Scripture of God the Father and His Son as they make the covenant of faith between them concerning the salvation of man. These words were spoken through the mouths of God’s prophets long before our Lord Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us.

Note: Words in italics indicate words that have been added or have replaced other words to give understanding as to who is speaking to whom or to give clarity and understanding of who is speaking throughout the dialogue

The dialogue begins with the Father speaking, and He says,

“But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

And the Son says,

“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord; My Father has said to Me, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee.’”
(Psalm 2:6-7)

And again the Father says,

“I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me.”
(Hebrews 1:5ff)

And the Father promises,

“Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possessions.”
(Psalm 2:8)
”He will cry to Me, ‘Thou art My Father, My God, and the rock of My salvation.’ I also shall make Him My first born, the highest of the kings of the earth. My loving kindness I will keep for Him forever, and My covenant will be confirmed to Him. So I will establish His descendants forever, and His throne as the days of heaven.”
(Psalm 89:27-29 NAS)

The Father further declares,

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold. My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him. He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break. And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish. He will faithfully bring forth justice, He will not be disheartened or crushed until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”
(Isaiah 42:1-4)

And to His Son, He says,

”I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you. And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations. To open blind eyes. To bring out prisoners from the dungeon. And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.”
(Isaiah 42:5-7)

And the Son responds,

My Father is the portion of My inheritance and My cup; Thou dost support My lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed, My heritage is beautiful to Me. I will bless the Lord who has counseled Me; indeed, My mind instructs Me in the night; because He is at My right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore My heart is glad, and My glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. For Thou wilt not abandon My soul to Hell; Neither will Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay. Thou wilt make known to Me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy hand there are pleasures forever.”
(Psalm 16:5-11)

“--- Of the Son the Father says,

‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom.’”
(Hebrews 1:8 & Psalm 45:6)

“---If My Son would render Himself as a guilt offering, I will see My Son’s offspring, I will prolong My Son’s days, and My pleasure will prosper in My Son’s hand. As a result of the anguish of My Son’s soul, I will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant Jesus, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death. And was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.”
(Isaiah 53:10ff-12)
And the Son replies,
“Sacrifice and meal offering Thou hast not desired; My ears Thou hast opened; burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come, in the scroll of the book it is written of me; I delight to do Thy will, O My God; Thy Law is within My heart (Psalm 40:6-8).” “I will proclaim Thy Name to My brethren in the mist of the congregation I will sing Thy praise. And again I will put My trust in My Father. And again, I and the children whom My Father has given Me.”
(Hebrews 2:12-13)

The Apostle John introduces this person, God’s man of faith with whom He has made covenant, in the following manner.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
(John 1:1-4 NAS)

And the 14th verse tells us,

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
(John 1:14 NAS)

Matthew teaches that they called Him Jesus (Matthew 1:25ff); thus He was Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23).

In the Gospel of Luke is found the record of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary and announcing the coming birth of Jesus. Mary is a virgin woman chosen of God to be the mother of His Son. Being a virgin speaks much about the pureness of the person and character of this woman chosen of God. First of all, it tells us that her father and mother were faithful to teach Mary God’s word. Apparently she was submissive and obedient to her father’s teaching, an act of love and faith. As we read the words spoken to her by Gabriel we will learn how the conception and the birth of the Child of God took place. We will also learn why it was necessary that He be born of virgin woman.

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, ‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?' And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”
(Luke 1:26-38)

Mary never questioned what her life would be like in the future, she trusted God. Now God’s word is His seed and as the angel spoke the word of God to Mary she listened intently and believed---His seed had fallen upon fertile soil. The moment she said, “Behold the bondslave of the Lord; be it done according to your word,” the power of the “Most High” through the Holy Spirit caused God’s seed, His Word, to spring forth in her womb, or in other words, she conceived. Mary was blessed more than all women; she was to bear the Savior of the world!!

In the book of Matthew we find the account of God’s revelations to Joseph preparing him for the birth of Jesus.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a son; and you shall call His name Jesus (meaning savior), for it is He who will save His people from their sins.’”
(Matthew 1:18-21)

And again God’s seed had fallen upon fertile ground, “And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus” (Matthew 1:24-25).

When man sinned his soul was no longer embodied in the spirit born of God, thus his soul became likened unto his material body; in other words, his soul took on the nature of his body---earthy (1st Corinthians 15:47).

In the natural the perpetuation and multiplying of mankind is as follows. Within the woman is an egg, and within the man is the seed that is the source of natural life or “fertility” for the egg within the woman. Without the natural life that is of the seed of the male there is no offspring. Without the egg of the woman, likewise, there is no offspring for from the egg of the female grows the flesh and blood body. Thus the statement, “---neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman (1st Corinthians 11:11).” Together man and woman are a complete reproductive seed of natural life.

Adam was the beginning of man. According to God’s election the male was created first and then the female. Adam was created from the dust of the earth. Woman was created from man; it is important to note that woman was not from the seed of man. It is also important to note that man is the progenitor of the human race; by God’s choice he is the source of natural life.

Why the virgin Birth? Again we note, when Adam sinned He became sin; all mankind was in Adam’s loins when he sinned and every descendant is born of his seed is born of sin and into sin and is the sin nature of Adam. Jesus could not be and was not born of the seed of a man because of sin.

Jesus, in accordance to God’s perfect plan, received His flesh and blood body from the dust of the earth, indirectly, His flesh or humanity was the “offspring” or “seed” of the woman (Genesis 3:15); He was grafted into the holy root of man (into Adam before he sinned). Thus he is called the “Son of Man.” He was in the “likeness of sinful flesh” but knew no sin (see Romans 8:3). His birth was not of a natural birth, but super-natural, His soul embodied in the spirit was born of the seed (the word and Spirit) of God in the same manner as if was with Adam in the beginning; thus He is also called the Son of God.

Therefore in this person Christ Jesus is the one likened unto man, yet He knew no sin; He had the perfect life to give. Thus He was the perfect body and soul prepared by His Heavenly Father to be the satisfactory sacrifice for man’s sin debt (Philippians 2:6-8).

James C Sanford

Monday, May 19, 2008

Holy Faith

Now that we have studied the “Creation of Man” and “Man’s Plunge Into Chaos” we know who man was in the beginning and how his soul became “lost,” or separated from his life source through sin, we will begin our look into God’s wonderful plan of redemption.

The Apostle Paul writes, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25f NAS)

Man’s soul as a victim of his body is hopelessly trapped in a body of death. But God, being rich in mercy toward man pours out His grace by providing a substitute death for man’s sin debt (John 3:15).

And again he writes,

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;”
(Ephesians 2:8 NAS)

Faith is vital to man’s salvation (Hebrews 11:6), but we fear that in today’s Christian religion “holy faith” is not properly taught. Holy faith is that faith that is set apart from all other faith. There are many kinds of “faith” in the world, such as, emotional faith, intellectual faith, blind faith and etc., but there is only one soul saving “Holy faith” (Jude verse 20). “Holy” designates the pure faith that is from the one and only true Almighty God and is holy as He is holy (Ephesians 2:8ff NAS). In contrast, all other “faith” is of man and cannot be pleasing to God. Without holy faith there is no redemption and salvation for man, thus we will devote this writing to the study of God’s gift of faith.

“Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a man child with the help of the LORD.” And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.”
(Genesis 4:1-5 NAS)

Why was Abel’s offering pleasing to God while Cain’s was not? This question has been debated down through the ages. The answer lies in the true meaning of the word faith.

The author of the letter to the Hebrews writes,

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.”
(Hebrews 11:4 NAS)

What does the writer mean “by faith he offered a better sacrifice than Cain?” Why was God not pleased with Cain’s offering? It seems like a “good thing” to do. How did Able know what to offer? Did Cain have the same knowledge? If Cain and Able both knew to bring an offering to God, then certainly both knew exactly what to bring. If so, how did they obtain such knowledge? Did their father Adam teach them or did God Himself speak directly to them? The answer to all these questions, and many more, lies in the true meaning and understanding of the word faith.

The word “faith” found in the New Testament of the Holy Bible is translated from the Greek word pistis, meaning primarily, “firm persuasion;” a conviction based upon hearing (akin to the Greek word peitho, meaning “to persuade”).

The Apostle Paul writes,

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ {the Anointed One}.”
(Romans 10:17 NAS)

So it must be that firm persuasion that brings about conviction and conversion comes from hearing God—not man. Thus to have faith one must hear the word of God, hence the word of God is the corner stone of faith. And also, throughout the Holy Scriptures the word “obey” is related to the idea of hearing. And obedience is doing that which one has heard, thus fulfilling the will of God

“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
(Hebrews 11:7 NAS)

We see from this Scripture concerning Noah that God spoke by His Spirit, Noah heard His word, and because he reverenced God he believed God and obeyed Him. Noah, after hearing and believing God, went to work doing exactly as God, by His Spirit and Word, instructed him. He did not do his own “good thing” as Cain did; Noah, like Abel, was truly obedient to God and it was reckoned to Him as righteousness.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
(Hebrews 11:8 NAS)

God, because of His great love for man whom He had created, had mercy and desired to redeem mankind (Ephesians 2:4 NAS). By God’s election He chose Abram (Abraham). Again we see three elements at work just as we saw with Noah. God, by His Spirit, spoke:

  1. Abram hears the Word of God.
  2. Abram believes God.
  3. Abram obeys God. In the Holy Bible these three elements are called faith.
“By faith Abraham {believed}, when he was called {heard}, obeyed, by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith {hearing, believing and obeying God} he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;”
(Hebrews 11:8-9 NAS)

Had Abraham heard and believed without obeying he would have died in his father’s house without ever accomplishing righteousness that is by faith.

The Apostle James writes,

“What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?”
(James 2:14 NAS)
“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
(James 2:17 NAS)

Obedience to the word of God is doing the works of God, thus fulfilling and giving life to ones faith.

To Abraham was born Isaac, and to Isaac was born Jacob (later named Israel), and to Jacob was born twelve sons who were the forefathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. These were the men of faith who were the beginning of the nation Israel. These men lived by hearing God speaking by His Spirit, believing and obeying His Word from a heart of love; thus the very foundation of the nation Israel was build upon the “Rock;” God speaking by His Spirit, thus the Word of God was the “corner stone” and men of faith was the nation.”

“ (As it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope he believed, in order that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be. And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore also it was reckoned to him as righteousness .”
(Romans 4:17-22 NAS)

Abraham never forgot whom he had heard and believed; therefore the object of Abraham’s “faith” was not God’s promise (the promise was the occasion of the exercise of faith); his “faith” rested on God Himself. The promises would not have meant anything to Abraham apart from believing that God loved him and that He was fully able to deliver on His promises.

From the Holy Scripture we have learned that the very first element of faith is what God has spoken by His Spirit and caused the hearer to understand. The second element of faith is a firm conviction that God’s word brings about causing the hearer to be established in an unshakeable love, trust and belief in Him. Element one and two brings about the third element which is, a full acknowledgement of God’s revelation of truth with complete surrender and obedience to the will of God from a heart of love. It takes all three of the above elements to constitute faith. If any one of the three is missing it is not faith.

Note: Prominence is given to one or other of these elements according to the context in which it is used, but all three elements are always present in holy faith.

The entire works of God and all that He commands has meaning and purpose. When His people do as He commands they fulfill His purpose. It appears then that the writer of the letter to the Hebrews is telling us that Able was instructed of God and caused to understand what He desired Able to do. Able, in reverence, believed and surrendered his own will to do the will of God; thus he obeyed and pleased God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. In doing according to God’s instructions Abel fulfilled God’s purpose in the offering of his sacrifice. Cain, on the other hand, apparently was instructed by God and caused to understand the will of God but he chose to do his own “good thing.” Cain’s offering was just an empty, meaningless ritual and he failed to please God.

“----Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous .”
(1st John 3:12ff NAS)

All the elements that make up faith were present in Able but were not present in Cain. In his disobedience he failed to do the works of God; thus Cain rejected the gift of faith; therefore he was not reckoned as being righteous (or in right standing with God).

As we continue our study we will test our definition of faith.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
(Hebrews 11:1 NAS)

Let us substitute our definition for the word “faith” in this verse of Scripture. Now hearing, believing and obeying God from a pure heart of love is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hearing God, believing and obeying Him from a heart of love brings total trust, peace and assurance of the things promised and hoped for and a deep, firm conviction of the presents of things though they are not seen.

“For by it {faith} the men of old gained approval.”
(Hebrews 11:2 NAS)

And again we substitute our definition, ----For by hearing, believing and obeying God from a pure heart of love the men of old gained approval. The Scripture testifies of their love and devotion even to death. In our next verse prominence is given to the first element of faith.

“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”
(Hebrews 11:3 NAS)

If we substitute only the first element the reading would be proper but it would not be faith. For example-- By hearing God we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. It is possible to hear God and understand His message, and even believe Him, but if we do not love and obey Him it is not faith.

A simple agreement with a known truth is not faith!!

Even the demons believe God and know His truths but they do not love Him, nor do they do His good works; they do not have faith.

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.”
(Hebrews 11:5 NAS)

By hearing, believing and obeying from a pure heart of love Enoch was pleasing to God.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
(Hebrews 11:6 NAS)

He who comes to God must believe that He is Almighty God who has authority and power over all; and that He is the Creator and Father of us all, and He is fully able to deliver on all that He promises.

The Apostle Paul asks,

“How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent (that is, called of God and anointed with His Spirit to preach)? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!”
(Romans 10:14-15 NAS)

Thus “----hearing {comes} by the word of Christ {the Anointed One}” (Romans 10:17ff NAS).

The anointed preaching of the “good news” of salvation through Jesus Christ gives life to the ear of the dead (dead because of sin) soul of the hearer causing him to be able to hear the convicting word of God spoken by the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that speaks the word of God through the preacher and persuades, convicts, gives life to and teaches and guides the hearer---“So faith comes by hearing------” (Romans 10:17f NAS) .

Paul also writes,

“Thus, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’ .”
(Romans 1:15-17 NAS)

The righteous shall live by hearing, believing and obeying God from a pure heart of love.

In the book of Matthew we find these words,

“He {Jesus} said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven’ .”
(Matthew 16:15-17 NAS)

According to Jesus God the Father had revealed to Peter that He was God’s Son. Peter evidenced his conviction with the words, “Thou art the Christ {the Anointed One}, the Son of the living God.” What was Jesus’ part in Peter’s revelation? Jesus was flesh and blood but was anointed with the Spirit of His Father to speak His word. It was the anointed teaching of Jesus that quickened the ear of Peter to cause Him to hear the convicting message from the Holy Spirit of the Father. By His Spirit God spoke to Peter through Jesus---Peter heard, believed and obeyed by following Jesus and became His devoted apostle even unto death.

Jesus continues His discourse with Peter,

“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.”
(Matthew 16:18 NAS)

What “rock” is Jesus speaking of? It is the same Rock that was the foundation of the nation Israel---God speaking by His Spirit, the hearer believing and obeying from a pure heart of love. His church He speaks of is His nation; God the Father being the foundation “Rock” and His Son, the Word of God, is the corner stone, and men of faith are the church.

“My sheep {people} hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.”
(John 10:27-28 NAS)

Death, the gates of hell, shall not prevail against His children of faith.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
(Hebrews 12:1-2 NAS)

Included in the “cloud of witnesses” is our Lord and Savior; He kept faith with the Father ‘til death on the cross, fulfilling the Father’s purpose. Jesus, the Living Word of God, is the author, the beginning, the corner stone and the perfecter of holy faith; He is our example.

“--- You, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
(Jude 1:20-21 NAS)

James C Sanford

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Man’s Plunge Into Chaos

As we further examine the tree of the knowledge of good and evil we must understand the name of the tree. It is not a tree or person of “all knowledge and wisdom” as Satan would have us to believe (See Genesis 3:5-6). The serpent is the teacher of only “good and evil” as Satan himself perceives it to be. He does not have any thing else to offer.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.’”
(Genesis 2:16-17)

God is making reference to the fruit of the trees when He says “you may eat freely” and again, “you shall not eat.” There are three words that we see as symbols as they relate to the tree of life and to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; these words are “fruit”, “seed” and “eat.” For a better understanding of the words “fruit” and “seed” used as symbols we look to Genesis 1:12.

And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and TREES BEARING FRUIT, WITH SEED IN THEM; after their kind; and God saw that it was good.” From this verse we understand the fruit is the product of the tree containing seed for the purpose of reproduction of another tree in its likeness To learn what kind of fruit and seed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil bears we must look at the root of the tree. We make use of the word “root” as a symbol for the word “source” or the source that makes the tree and determines what type of fruit it bears. As we examine the tree of the knowledge of good and evil we find that the root comes from the heart, the innermost being and the very soul of Satan.

There is not much written about the origin of Satan. But from what is written by faith we believe that Satan was an angel in the service of God (see Isaiah 14:12-15 & Ezekiel 28:11-19). These passages were addressed to the kings of Babylon and Tyre. But in their long-range implication, many scholars agree, they refer to Satan himself. We believe that since Satan was at one time a Cherubim in the service of God he had the knowledge of good, thus the doing of good was in him. There was no evil present in him and all that he did was good and pleasing to God. We believe God created him a perfect being with the ability to reason and choose. When he was in fellowship and obedience to his Creator he was pleasing to and in right standing with Him. When he was righteous all his deeds were righteous and good. Suddenly His thoughts became of himself, a conception of selfish soulful thinking; and when soulfulness was accomplished it gave birth to lust. The angel was “tempted and carried away and enticed by his lust” which was born of his own soulfulness. He desired in his heart to usurp God, to take God’s throne and rule over all of God’s creation. His thoughts were against his Creator; his thoughts were evil; thus, he now had the knowledge of evil; the doing of evil was now present in him also.

When lust had done its work it brought forth rebellion, disobedience, self-serving evil works or sin; the knowledge and doing of evil now present in him overcame the knowledge and doing of good. He would also now take the knowledge of good and pervert it to the doing of self-serving evil. There was no longer any goodness of God in him; his thoughts were no longer of the things of his Creator they were selfish thoughts. His thoughts were of himself and for himself, a total disregard for his Creator.

“Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin.”

The birth of sin was the beginning of evil; thus Satan became a being knowing “good and evil”.

“When sin is accomplished, it brings forth death;”

As a result of his sin he was cut off from the eternal Spirit of God. Thus, he became the “father,” the beginning and the source of soulful lust, sin and death. Satan is the enemy, and the tempter; he is the source for “the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil”. He is the liar and the father of lies. Fellowship with him is fellowship with death. The words of Satan are very deceptive and deadly; his words are the seed in the fruit of unrighteousness, sin, that the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil bears.

Thus we see in Satan the results of lust. When he carried out his rebellion he was cast away from his life source, his Creator; he became death. . Now we can see clearly the workings law of sin and of death.

“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
(James 1:14-15)

Satan is the father or source of or the root of lust. He is a spirit being having the knowledge of good and evil as he perceives them and lust springs forth from him and produces a tree ---or rather a person in his image or character. The tree, the serpent, is the image of Satan. The “fruit” the tree bears is sin (unrighteousness) and it has within it the “seed” to produce another tree in the image of Satan; for the seed within the fruit of unrighteousness is the word of Satan.

The word “eat” we see as a symbol for the words “listen to and believe.” Then what is God saying to Adam in Genesis 2:17? We interpret it to be something like the following,

Adam, if you listen to the words of the serpent and believe, you will take on the character of or be the image of the serpent who is in the image of Satan for “a pupil, when fully trained, becomes like his teacher.” You will have a constant source of lust straight from the heart of Satan. You will be doing “good” as Satan perceives good and you will see “evil” as Satan perceives evil. You will be so deceived you will think you are fulfilling your own desires when you are actually working to carry out his will. Further, you will be disobedient and rebellious toward Me; your fruit will be unrighteousness—you will be sin; and you will be cast away from Me as he is cast away and you will be dead as he is DEAD!!

Because man was created perfect he knew no lust, sin nor death. Therefore Satan had no fellowship with the spirit of man for life has no fellowship with death. Satan would attempt to destroy man’s fellowship with God by tempting him from the outside inward.

In the following we see Satan beginning to wage war against the word of God.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’? And the woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “you shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’”
(Genesis 3:1-3)

Adam had taught the woman well!! She quoted the law and was in full knowledge of the results of disobedience. The serpent in a deliberate effort to beguile the woman continued,

“And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
(Genesis 3:4-5)

Satan lied to her! He not only lied to her, he was tempting her to doubt that Adam had taught her the truth. He also was implying that God was selfish, and that he was withholding something from her. If he could convince her that God was withholding something from her she would not be focused upon what she already had. His intent was to get the woman to exchange God’s truth for his lie, to beguile her! Satan had no power or authority over the woman but he knew if he could get her to submit, that is to voluntarily subject herself to the fruit of his mouth, his word, she would obey him.

“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, (“the lust of the flesh”) and that it was a delight to the eyes, (“the lust of the eyes”) and the tree was desirable to make one wise, (“the pride of life”), (1st John 2:16) she took from its fruit and ate--- (Genesis 3:6f).”

Woman made a willful wrong decision. She exchanged the God’s sweet fruit of truth for the bitterness of the fruit of the serpent’s lips; she believed his lie; she was submissive to the word of the serpent; she was blinded to the fact that she already had good food, beauty and wisdom available from God.

Adam and Eve were one flesh; when the man in authority sinned both their eyes were opened and both had fleshly awareness (see Genesis 3:7). Adam voluntarily subjected himself to the voice (word) of the woman and he obeyed her. The woman was beguiled, what happened to Adam?? What caused him to partake of the forbidden fruit?

“Then to Adam God said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it (Genesis 3:17).’”

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife;”

Why did Adam listen to the voice of the woman?

“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
(James 1:14-15)

Adam knew God’s word, His laws, yet he turned his back on God’s love and His truth and turned to satisfy the lust of his flesh. Adam, being “carried away and enticed by his own lust,” became fleshly and was blinded to God’s love for him. Lust of the flesh had also robed him of his love for his wife and replaced it with selfish lust. No doubt the woman was beautiful to look upon (lust of the eyes) and she gave him pleasure (lust of the flesh), and he must have been proud of her (pride of life); Adam was confronted with the same temptation that his wife had encountered. But Adam was not deceived!

“And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.”
(1st Timothy 2:14)

The lust of his eyes, lust of His flesh and the pride of life overcame his love for God. Adam’s sin was a departure form the truth and from God, an act of rebellion.

“But each one is tempted when he is CARRIED AWAY and enticed by his own lust.”
(James 1:14)

Adam had a problem with self-control,

“lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self control.”
(1st Corinthians 7:5ff)

Because of lust Adam lost his righteousness; he lost his image of God. His soul was without hope.

Man is a three part being, spirit, soul, and body. His spirit is from God and has kindred ship to God. His soul, the seat of his intellect, is a creation of God and lives because of his fellowship with God through his spirit given to him by God. Man’s body is a creation by God from the dust of the earth. Man’s spirit desires fellowship with God because of its kindredship to God. His body, through the soul, desires things from the earth because it is from the earth. In other words, his body, through the soul, lust for things from the earth, it is earthy. The Soul is the decision maker. Adam and Eve, of their own will, decided to satisfy the desires (lust) of their five senses rather than the desires of their spirit. Their spirit was a victim of their soul.

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”
(Genesis 3:7)

The key word here is “knew”; both of them now had fleshly awareness. Adam’s spirit is now dead because of sin. He had lost the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God and was now dependant upon knowledge given to him by his five senses. He would now be led from the outside in rather than the inside out. He would now live according to the desires (lust) of his five senses. Man’s flesh had became an enemy to God and a veil between God and man; thus their soul became a victim of their bodies.

The word “worship” is derived from an old English word “worth-ship”. To worship is to contribute to or to praise something or someone for its or their value to the worshiper. Eve by the act of her “will” placed more value (worth) on what Satan offered her than she did what God had already given her. Therefore she worshiped Satan. When Adam, in the act of his “will,” “listened to the voice of the woman” he worshiped the woman. Adam had disobeyed God; but it was more than an act of disobedience, it was a change of allegiance. When He worshiped his wife he submitted to the words of the serpent through the deceived woman. He was no longer in the image of God; he was now in the image of the serpent. His identity was no longer with the spirit and soul of God, but his identity was now with that of the serpent, sinful-flesh, he had become sin in the flesh. He had forfeited his God given authority. Satan was now his god and ruler. Adam and Eve had, through sin, departed the kingdom of light and entered the kingdom of darkness.

DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND!! Rebelling against God through lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life, by an act of ones own will, is the SIN against God. MANY of man’s transgressions DO NOT EVEN INVOLVE A WOMAN.

“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned IN THE LIKENESS OF THE OFFENCE of Adam---.”
(Romans 5:14f)

Adam’s sin involved a woman; but there are many sins that do not involve a woman, just as there are many sins that woman commit that does not involve a man. There are sins inside the body that does not involve the opposite sex and there are sins outside the body that does not involve the opposite sex.

“And 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. Then the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
(Genesis 3:8-10)

Adam’s love for God had been replaced by fear!! He now feared God’s holy presence.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear, because fear involves punishment and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
(1st John 4:18)

Adam and Eve’s disobedience caused them to feel guilt, shame, fear and condemnation!

As God began to question Adam he was giving Adam opportunity to confess his sin, repent and ask for forgiveness.

“And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ And the man said, ‘The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me; she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’”
(Genesis 3:11-12)

Instead of confessing his sin Adam began to testify against his wife in an effort to release him of any blame and to place it all upon God and “the woman.” He used the term “the woman” in an impersonal way to separate and distance himself from her and her sin. Adam did not accept responsibility for his own action, he blamed the woman and God!!


Man has a need to take responsibility for his own action, not blame someone else. In his refusal to confess and accept responsibility he was also rejecting repentance.

“Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
(Genesis 3:13)

Immediately Eve began to testify against the serpent in the same manner as her husband had testified against her. Adam’s wife had taken on his sin nature. Just as she at one time was in the likeness of God through Adam she was now in the likeness of Adam’s sin nature that was from Satan. She did not accept responsibility for her own actions either!! She refused to confess her sin and she rejected repentance also.

Then came the execution of judgment; the Law they had violated judged Adam and Eve. The execution of judgment is the process through which the purity of the kingdom of God is preserved. Sin is defined, judged, condemned and cast out by the word of God, there-by preserving the purity of the kingdom (see 1st Corinthians 5 & 6). Thus execution of judgment is an act of love, mercy and grace protecting all that live in the kingdom from the destruction of sin. Because of God’s love for His children in his kingdom He has a zero tolerance for unrepentant sin. God’s creation and His children is His kingdom and His Word is His law. The Word of God is the “Corner Stone,” the “Rock” and foundation of the children of His kingdom and the destructive forces of sin will not prevail against them. All who live in His kingdom have been, by grace through faith, born of His law; and by grace through faith, live by the rule of His law; and by grace through faith, are protected by His law.

God is supreme, sovereign, just and righteous. Therefore He is the lawgiver, the judge and the enforcer of the law.

“And the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life; and I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
(Genesis 3:14-15)

Here we see a new hope for mankind through God’s promise of redemption through the “seed” of the woman. He speaks of Jesus who would be conceived of His Spirit and born of a virgin woman. Through the seed of the woman He would destroy the liar thereby putting an end to the lie. He would lay the axe of truth to the root of the tree of knowledge of good and of evil and put an end to sin (see Matthew 3:10).

“To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband.’ And he shall rule over you.”
(Genesis 3:16)

The woman would voluntarily subject herself to the husband and he would ”rule” over her. Man is still in authority over the woman.

“Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of you face you shall eat bread, ‘till you return to the ground. Because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
(Genesis 3:17-19)

Without the Spirit of Life man’s body is no more than dust; his soul is a victim of his body and suffers eternal death. Man was no longer a spirit being housed in an earthen body, he had became totally earthy and to dust he would return; as punishment, his flesh would undergo decay.

“Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever;’ Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 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 ever direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.’”
(Genesis 3:22-24)

God and all the angelic beings, including Satan, are spirit; the word “us” used in verse 22 is not referring to the Holy Godhead alone, it is referring to all in the spirit realm. Certainly man was in the image of God before he sinned wasn’t he? But after he had rejected the truth he was no longer in the image of God; but in the image of the “one of us knowing good and evil;” namely Satan. When pre-conditioned thinking is set aside one can see that the Holy Scriptures clearly identifies Satan as the “one of us” man has become like. When God warned man not to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil He knew the results of such knowledge, but evil is certainly not one of His attributes. God drove man from his presence for the same reason He had driven Satan away, life has no fellowship with death. Their sin would contaminate the environment around Him. They were no longer to partake of the tree of life.

Adam knew God’s laws, His truths, but he rejected them and turned to lust.

“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 ever direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
(Genesis 3:24ff)
“And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”
(2nd Thessalonians 2;11-12)
“Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them; for they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
(Romans 1:24-25)

And so it is that man’s sin nature is passed from generation to generation until this present age.

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--- for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam---.”
(Romans 5:12-14f NAS)

All mankind has need of repentance!!

Man’s wickedness increased from Adam until the time of Noah and is recorded in Genesis, chapter 4 through chapter 6.

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky for I am sorry that I have made them (Genesis 6:5-7).” Man was doomed!!

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”
(Genesis 6:8)
“Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did. Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.’”
(Genesis 6:22, 7:1)

Noah “alone” was found to be “righteous” before God. Thus, Noah, through faith, was a righteous man and God made a covenant with him that preserved mankind through the flood. By faith Noah built the Ark according to God’s instructions. The Ark was the sign of that covenant and all that entered received the sign. Those who laughed and mocked Noah did not receive the sign and they perished. Noah’s faith and God’s word (His promises) were the seal of God’s covenant with Noah. God closed and sealed the door to the Ark; thus Noah and his family were saved from the flood. A very important divine covenant principle to remember is that God makes His covenant with one man of faith; but all who are submissive, because of faith, to the man of faith, received the sign and is included in His covenant.

There were seven people other than Noah who entered the ark, Noah’s wife, his three sons and their wives. Seven indicates God’s perfect work. The seven people of Noah’s family were submissive and obedient to Noah and were preserved through his righteousness. Noah was the eighth person; the savior of his family, their new beginning. Noah was the savior of mankind at this time. Noah and the ark were a type and a foreshadowing of Jesus. Noah preserved mankind through faith toward God and obedience to His word and brought mankind from the old world into the new. God, through Noah, gave man a new beginning. Jesus is now mankind’s ark and eighth day; for all that are in Him, He is the safe passage to a new heaven and new earth and He is the new beginning and eternal life!!

James C Sanford

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Creation of Man

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and every creeping thing that creeps of the earth.’ And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:26-27).”

The use of the word “us” here indicates that man was to be created after the council of the Divine Godhead, or maybe even the whole host of heaven. It also appears evident that when God used the term “let us make man” that he intends to impress the mind of man with a sense of something extraordinary in the formation of his body and soul. The use of the word “Aadaam,” or “Adam,” which is translated “man,” is intended to set man apart from all other created “flesh” or “beast of the field.”

When He says, “Our image according to Our likeness,” it must be that He refers to man’s soul. Now, we know that the Divine Being is infinite, thus he is not limited, and therefore he can have no physical image after which he made the body of man. The image and likeness then must necessarily be intellectual, his soul, which is the seat of his intellect or mind, must have been formed after the nature and perfections of his God and his identity is with the spirit and soul of God, not the flesh body of man. Thus the mind of man coming forth out of the hands of its Creator was endowed with most extraordinary capacities; it was in the likeness of the mind of God.

Chapter 1 of the book of Genesis, verses 26-31 is a synopsis (a brief summary) of the sixth day creation. In Genesis chapter 2, verse 7 we find a more detailed account of the creation of man.

“Then the Lord God formed man of the dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being (soul).”

God is life; in Him there is no death; He has no beginning of days and no end of days, God is eternal life! Therefore, when God “breathed” into the man He gave man of His “Spirit of Life.” Man became an eternal being or soul. Thus God produced a spirit formed after the perfections of his own nature. God is the fountain whence man’s spirit issued, hence, the stream must resemble the spring which produced it. God is holy, just, wise, good, and perfect; so must the soul be that sprang from him: there could be in it nothing impure, unjust, ignorant, evil, low, base, mean, or vile. It was created after the image of God; and that image, the Apostle Paul tells us, consisted in righteousness, true holiness, and knowledge (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). Hence, man was created wise in his mind, holy in his soul, and righteous in all his actions.

The heavens, cosmos, the universe, the earth and all that is in it serve a specific purpose in God’s plan. In the beginning God created all things according to His sacred purpose and in His perfect order. He first created a suitable environment for all that He would place upon the earth. He created the sky for the foul of the air and provided a source of food for them. He created water for the fish of the sea and provided a source of food for them also. He created the environment before He created the birds or the fish. When God created man, by His Spirit man became a living eternal soul and by the indwelling of God’s Spirit he continues to live. This is known as the “Law of the Spirit of Life (Romans 8:1).” Man was unique---he was born of God a living soul---thus he was created to live and function perfectly, not only in a created environment, but also in the environment of God’s presence; apart from God’s presence man malfunctions.

God’s glory is seen in His love, perfection, pureness, moral beauty, righteousness, power and authority. Man was to be God’s son, His “seed” or offspring and the image of His splendor and glory. A seed has within itself the ability to reproduce in the proper environment. Just as a seed of a tree has within its self the ability, when placed in the proper environment, to become a forest of beautiful trees, like so man was to live in the environment of God’s loving presence and “be fruitful and multiply” and fill the earth with all of God’s love, brilliance and glory.

Authority is derived from knowledge, God is an all knowing and wise God, therefore He is the source of all authority. Man’s authority is derived from God through faithful obedience to the revealed will of God. God’s word is His expressed authority; apart from knowledge, wisdom and obedience to His word, man has no authority from God. Man must first know, submit to and be disciplined by the word of God before he is granted authority. Adam would, through divine knowledge and wisdom, recognize the authority of His Father and in submission to God he would be a conduit and vessel of His Father’s glory. Through obedience to the revealed will of God (faith) He would exercise dominion, or control over God’s creation. He would be the king and high priest of the kingdom that God created for Him.

God loved man whom He had created, and He prepared a special place for him.

“Then the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden and there He placed the man whom He had formed.”
(Genesis 2:8)

The word Eden in English means, ”delight.” Eden is translated from a Hebrew word Aden; the Hebrew meaning of Aden, in the context in which it is used in Genesis, chapter two, is the place (or spot) of the open door to the moment of God’s presence. In God’s loving presence is the perfect environment for man to be all that God created him to be. Eden was indeed a place of delight, a special place of the open door to Gods loving presence.

“And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
(Genesis 2:9)

There are two trees in the garden we see as symbols, not literally trees. One is the tree of life and the other is the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil. They are better understood if we view them as persons---persons who teach.

Now the “naachaash” or “serpent,” as this Hebrew word “naachaash” is popularly translated, was from among the beast of the field (Genesis 3:1). Whether the word “serpent” as used here is the proper translation, or if it is used symbolically, has been the subject of many a debate; correct translation or not---we cannot say---but we will remain consistent with the popular translation and use it as representing the “beast” that was overcome and possessed by the spirit of Satan and became “sin in the flesh” to be used against man. This “beast of the field” was apparently endowed with the gift of speech and other intellectual skills that became the tools of Satan’s evil schemes. Thus the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil, we see as the unrighteous person of the serpent or beast who had become the mouthpiece of Satan, thus he teaches the will and ways of Satan. In this so named serpent, who we believe to be “the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil,” we see “good” as Satan perceives good; and “evil” as Satan perceives evil. The fruit of the serpent’s lips is words of unrighteousness that subjects the hearer to the will of Satan and brings death to the total being of man when he listens to and believes him.

The tree of life is a righteous person, a teacher of the will and ways of God. The teacher is the Word of God in the person of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of His lips is love and true knowledge, wisdom, power and authority from the Father. In the Word of God we see love, life, peace and harmony or righteousness; a righteous fruit that sustains life for the total being of man when he listens to and believes Him.

God is the source of all that is good. Therefore the doing of good is in Him. God is aware of and can discern, and is able to judge evil, but He does not know or conceive evil. There is no evil thoughts in Him, thus the doing of evil is not present in Him. He is the foundation and the source of all truth, knowledge and wisdom. His wonderful attributes include joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and complete self-control.

“God is love---- (1st John 4:16).”

The root of the tree of life is straight from the heart or soul of God; thus the root or source of the tree of life that makes the tree what it is and determines what kind of fruit it bears is divine love. The tree of life is in God’s image, thus the tree has all of His wonderful attributes and the fruit it bears is the sweet fruit of righteousness having in it the “seed” or “word” to bring forth another tree in its likeness.

Our Lord teaches;

“A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”
(Luke 6:40)

If the pupil “eats” or rather “listens to and believes” the teachings of the tree of life he is “eating” the fruit of righteousness or rather he is partaking of the righteousness of the Word of God. Afterwards, when he is fully trained he will be like his teacher; he will be in His image having all His attributes.

In summary of the purpose of the two “trees” we understand that man, being created in the image of his Creator, has the ability to reason and choose. We see man has set before him two choices; one is the tree of life, which is the Word and the life giving Spirit of God; and the second choice is the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil. Both are teachers; the first teaches with authority and power the truth from a heart of love. The other is one who beguiles; he is a deceiver and a liar, teaching perversion from a heart of selfish lust. The first tree offers and inheritance of love, eternal life, peace and prosperity and all the treasures of God’s kingdom. The latter offers an inheritance of an earthy life of lust of the flesh; compared to the riches of the kingdom of God, lust offers a mere bowl of soup for the flesh of man (see Genesis 25:29-34). The end result of a life filled with lust is hate, strife, adversity and death, the destruction of the soul.

God desired Adam to demonstrate his love by acts of faith through his willingness to live ”by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). Now the substance of faith is the word of God heard, believed and obeyed from a heart of love. If Adam would be submissive to God and live by the word of God he would demonstrate his love by faithfulness toward God and maintain his image, countenance and authority. To be submissive is to voluntarily subject ones self to the authority of another; it is an act of faith which is an expression of love. Failure to obey God’s word would demonstrate his lack of love and faith toward God and result in loss of image, countenance of glory, and authority. And again, the Holy Scripture teaches us “God is love;” and ”the one who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1st John 4:8).”

And ”---without faith it is impossible to please Him (God)---.”
(Hebrews 12:6f)

Thus we can clearly see that without faith working from a heart of love there is no countenance, image or authority of God and no eternal life from God in man.

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”
(Genesis 2:15)

God had created a kingdom and made Adam lord and king to rule and reign over it. Thus Adam became caretaker of the domain that God had prepared for him.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ’from any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”
(Genesis 2:16-17)

God gave man all His commandments and the Law of sin and of death. God had made Adam a high priest and steward of His word and His law. Man was given full understanding that he had a choice, but a wrong choice would result in darkness and death. If Adam would listen to and believe God from a heart of love he would not be judged. But if he did not believe and obey he has been judged already (see John 3:18).

Note: Woman had not been created at this time; she was still a rib in man’s side.

In modern day thinking when we think of man we think in terms of male only. When we think of the female we think of her in terms of woman. According to God’s word when He created man He created them male and female. He first created man male; then He created man female. If man were male only, he would stand-alone; the seed would be incomplete.

”Then the Lord God said, ‘it is not good for the man to be alone, I will make him a helper suitable (corresponding to or in the image of) for him.’ And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a leaving creature, that was its name And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.”
(Genesis 2:19-20)

Of course God knew there was not a helper corresponding to or in Adam’s image among the beast of the field, but God wanted Adam to know, realize, and understand that his bride would be one taken from him and “fashioned or built” by God in the likeness of him. She would be perfect as he is perfect; a living soul as he is a living soul and have all his divine attributes.

“So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took of his ribs, closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”
(Genesis 2:21-22)

The seed was now complete. The man (male) now had a companion in his image. She had all of his divine attributes; therefore she was the glory of man.

James C Sanford