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A Country Called Heaven series
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The key to understanding the Bible is seeing that God deals with the human race on the basis of two men—Adam and Christ. In the Bible Adam is called "the first man" and Christ is called "the second Man."
Sin and death came into the world because Adam, God's first man, disobeyed God. Salvation comes to us through Jesus Christ, God's second Man. In this lesson we will learn about these two men.
God's First Man
Adam is called God's "first man" because he was the first man—the head of the human family. Man did not come up from lower forms of life. He was created by God. And he was created in the image of God. The Bible says, "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them" (Genesis 1:27).
God did not create millions of people to fill the earth. He created only one man, Adam, and He created a wife for Adam. Her name was Eve. From Adam and Eve came the whole human race.
Why did God create man? He created man for His glory and for His pleasure. God wanted a whole race of people in His own image. He wanted a race of people who would glorify Him. He wanted a race of people in whom He could find pleasure. The Bible says, "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things, and for Your pleasure [by your will] they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11).
Man was God's special creation, created in His image, and created with a spirit so that God's Spirit could dwell in him and give life to his human spirit.
Adam brought sin and death into the world.
Adam and Eve were placed in the beautiful garden of Eden and given everything they needed to make them happy. God put only one restriction on them—they were not to eat of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." God said that, if they disobeyed Him, they would surely die.
Eve was deceived by Satan and she took the fruit and ate it. Adam was not deceived. He chose to disobey God. He, too, took the forbidden fruit and ate it.
When Adam disobeyed God, he sinned. When he sinned, he died. He did not die physically, but he died spiritually. Instead of having God in his heart, Adam now had sin in his heart.
Sin and death came into the world through Adam's disobedience. Because Adam was the head of the human race, he brought sin and death to the whole human family. The Bible says, "Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men…" (Romans 5:12).
Adam produced a race of sinners.
When Adam rebelled against God, he took sides with Satan. He came into Satan's kingdom of darkness.
Because Adam was the head of the human family, he brought the whole human family into Satan's kingdom of darkness and under the power of sin.
Something else happened. There was a change in Adam's nature. He now had a sinful nature. Instead of loving God and wanting to do God's will, Adam now had a sinful nature.
Since Adam was the head of the human family, he passed his sinful nature on to his children and to the whole human race. The Bible says,
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners…" (Romans 5:19).
Adam's family brought no pleasure to God.
As Adam's family increased, people became very wicked. They were doing all kinds of terrible things. The Bible says, "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).
Every person born into this world is born into Adam's sinful family. Every person born into this world has a sinful nature. We want to go our own way and not God's way. The Bible says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…" (Isaiah 53:6).
God had wanted a race of people who would honor and glorify Him, but God's first man, Adam, produced a race of sinners. Could a race of sinners glorify God and bring pleasure to His heart? No, it could not.
Christ is God's second Man.
The condition of the human race was hopeless. We were cut off from the life of God. We were in Satan's kingdom of darkness. We were sinners by nature.
But God loved us and sent His Son into the world to be our Savior that we might have a new life through Him. He is called "the second Man." The Bible says, "The first man [Adam] is of the earth, earthy… the second Man is the Lord from heaven" (1 Corinthians 15:47).
Who is God's "second Man"? He is "the Lord from heaven." He is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus, the Son of God, is God's second Man.
God's second Man always pleased His Father.
God's first man, Adam, disobeyed God and brought sin and death into the world. But Jesus Christ, God's second Man, always obeyed His Father. He never sinned, even once. He always did the things that pleased His Father. Jesus said, "He that sent Me is with Me… for I do always those things that please Him" (John 8:29).
On two occasions, God the Father spoke from Heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased…" (Matthew 17:5).
God's second Man is "Lord of all."
Jesus Christ came to put away our sins and to give us a new life. In order to do this, He took our place. All our sins were laid on Him. That is why the sinless Son of God died such a terrible death.
Jesus died on the cross and was buried, but He rose again on the third day. After His resurrection He appeared to His believers many times over a period of forty days. Then He returned to Heaven.
God now has His second Man, Jesus Christ, before Him as the One in whom He finds all His pleasure and delight. God is so pleased with His Son that He has placed Him in charge of everything. God has made His Son "Lord of all." This means that God has made Jesus Christ Lord over the entire universe. The Bible says, "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand" (John 3:35).
Jesus Christ is the Head of God's new family.
God has not only made His Son Jesus to be "Lord of all," but He has also made Him to be the Head of a new family called "the children of God."
When we were born, we were born into Adam's sinful family. By physical birth every person is in Adam's family. This family is under God's judgment. The Bible says, "…the soul that sins, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4).
How can we get out of Adam's sinful family and into God's new family? There is only one way—we must be "born again." Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God " (John 3:3).
Every person needs to be born again. Why? Because he has been born into Adam's sinful family, which is under the judgment of God.
No matter who you are, if you want to go to Heaven, you must be born again. Jesus said, "You must be born again."
How are we born again? By believing on God's Son and receiving Him as our Savior. The Bible says, "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12).
I have a new family.
The moment I took the Lord Jesus as my Savior, everything changed! All my sins were forgiven. I was born into the family of God. I am no longer in Satan's kingdom of darkness. Instead, I am in the kingdom of God 's dear Son. The Holy Spirit has come to live in me.
I know God's love.
The death of God's Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross is the great, eternal proof of God's love for us. God showed His great love for us by giving His beloved Son to die in our place. The Bible says, "God commends [shows] His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
To those who would doubt His love, God points to His Son on the cross and says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love. I proved My love for you by giving you the most precious possession I had. I gave My beloved Son to die in your place. When you look at the cross and see My Son suffering and dying for your sins, how can you doubt My love for you?"
God receives us with joy.
Jesus used parables to teach spiritual truths. A parable is "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning." In Luke, chapter 15, Jesus gave us the wonderful parable of the prodigal son. The prodigal son represents us, and the father represents God.
In this parable, a certain man had two sons. The younger son wanted to leave home and do what he wanted to do. He asked his father to give him his part of the family wealth. We can imagine that the father begged his son to stay, but the son was determined to go his own way.
The father gave the son his portion of his wealth. The son took that which his father had given him and went into a far country. There he wasted his inheritance in sinful living.
When the son had spent all that he had, a great famine arose in the land. The son now found himself in a terrible condition. He was dirty and in rags. He was so hungry that he wanted to eat the husks that he was feeding to the hogs.
One day the son began to think about his father's house and all the good things there. He said, "How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you, and am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants.'"
He got up and started back to his father. This is what the Bible calls "repentance." Repentance is a turn-around. When you see that you have been going the wrong way, and you turn around and go to God, that is repentance.
On his long way back, the son no doubt wondered how his father would receive him. Would he be angry with him? Would he tell him that he could not come back after what he had done?
How did the father receive him? Here are the words of Jesus: "When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."
This is the only place in the Bible that pictures God as being in a hurry. He "runs" to meet the repenting sinner who comes to Him, trusting Christ as his Savior.
Perhaps you have never been saved. You know that you are a sinner. The devil says, "Don't think that someone like you will get anything from God." But Satan is a liar. What does God say? He says, "Come now, let us reason together… though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…" (Isaiah 1:18).
Perhaps you trusted Christ as your Savior some time ago, but you turned away from Him and went your own way. You have been away from God for some time, but now you are sick of your life in "the far country." You want to come back to God but you wonder how God will receive you. This parable shows you how God will receive you.
Don't wait any longer. Come to Him now. Come just as you are. You will discover that God is far more kind and gracious than you could ever have imagined. He will welcome you with rejoicing.