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Lesson 12: Creation and the Gospel *

Introduction: My dear Jewish friend dismisses Jesus as "that itinerant teacher." He does not believe that 2,000 years ago God became man and authoritatively dealt with the sin problem. What is God's answer to these kinds of charges? How many times have you sat in your home and thought that it was created out of nearby trees by a terrible wind storm? How about five million years of storms? What if you threw in a few earthquakes? No one thinks their fine home came about by accident. God essentially says "I created you and the earth, and so you can believe that I am able to become a human and defeat sin." Let's plunge into our Bible study and learn more about the link between the Creation and our salvation!

  1. Sin Soup


    1. Read Genesis 2:15-17. Have you ever seen a highway sign that states the fine if you are caught speeding? What is the "posted" penalty for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? ("You will surely die.")


    2. Read Genesis 3:8-11. What is the answer to God's question? (If you read the earlier verses in Genesis 3, you will see that they have both eaten fruit from the forbidden tree.)


      1. Why do you think that the humans are hiding? Is it because they are naked? Or, it is because they remember the penalty for eating from the forbidden tree?


    3. Read Genesis 3:12. The normal explanation that I hear for Adam eating the forbidden fruit is that he did not want to lose Eve. If you believe what Adam just said, what is the logical response to it? Should Eve be put to death? (Yes.)


    4. Read Genesis 3:13. What do you think about the woman's response? (At least she is not blaming Adam. Killing the serpent is not something that would cause her pain.)


    5. Read Genesis 3:14. Does God believe Eve? (Yes. God knew exactly what had happened.)


      1. Why is the penalty something other than death?


    6. Read Genesis 3:15. Is this penalty death? (Yes. Crushing the head would cause death.)


    7. Read Genesis 3:16. Is this penalty death? (No, at least not immediately.)


    8. Read Genesis 3:17-19. Is this penalty death? (Yes and no. Like Eve and the serpent, there is an immediate penalty of something other than death, and then ultimately death. We "return to the ground.")


    9. We looked at the "posted" penalty for disobedience, and we looked at the actual penalty. What does this teach us about God? (He tells the truth about judgment. But, He shows grace.)


  2. Grace


    1. Read 1 Corinthians 15:21. Who is the man through whom death came? (Adam.)


      1. Why doesn't the text say "Eve?"


    2. Read 1 Corinthians 15:22-23. How are Adam and Jesus linked? (Adam gave us death. Jesus gives us life.)


      1. When does Jesus give us life? ("When He comes.")


      2. To understand this link, do we have to believe in the Creation? Does the fact that we believe in an Adam help us to believe in Christ Jesus?


    3. Read Romans 5:12-14. How has Adam changed our lives? (He brought death. Even if we never violated a specific commandment, we would still face death. However, we have all independently sinned, therefore we have all earned the death penalty.)


    4. Read Romans 5:6-9. How did Jesus give us life? (Recall the penalty for sin is death. Jesus paid the penalty for us.)


      1. What other penalty did we avoid? (The wrath of God.)


    5. Read Romans 5:10-11. How did Jesus save us from God's wrath? (Jesus' death reconciled us to God the Father.)


      1. Look again at Romans 5:8. How can God both love us and have wrath towards us? (Sin. God hates sin. He does not hate us. Our sin made us His enemies.)


        1. Let's just step back a moment and think about this. Is there any situation in which our God is neutral about sin?


          1. If the answer is no, can we ever be neutral about sin? (Even though we are saved by grace, we still should strive for holiness.)


    6. Read John 1:1-5 and John 1:14. Who is the Creator of the world? (Jesus.)


      1. Why should John first mention Jesus' work as the Creator in his account about Jesus becoming a human? (We can believe the "incredible" story about the incarnation because we have tangible proof of the "incredible" story about how everything around us came into being.)


      2. Read Romans 5:18-19. Who came back to settle the sin problem and pay the death penalty for us? (Jesus. He not only created us, but He "re-created" us when He redeemed us from the death penalty. These are parallel tasks. They are parallel in credibility, and they are parallel in purpose.)


  3. New Heart


    1. Read Genesis 3:4-6. What is Eve seeking by her own efforts? (To become like God.)


    2. Read Galatians 3:1-5. Paul asks a series of questions of the Galatians. What is the correct answer? (The Holy Spirit, and the power of the Holy Spirit, come by belief and not by obedience to the law.)


      1. What does this say about Eve's efforts? (She should have believed God, and not tried to become like God through her own efforts - efforts which were directly prohibited by God.)


      2. When we try to obey the Ten Commandments, are we like Eve? (There is one significant difference, God told us to keep the Ten Commandments, and He told Eve not to eat from the forbidden tree.)


    3. Read Galatians 3:10-14. Does this alter our conclusion that God told us to keep the Ten Commandments? (No. Notice the difference between "rely[ing]" and "observing." We have to get this distinction right. Nothing that we do justifies us before God. Nothing. If you rely on your obedience to be justified, you are under a curse because we are all sinners. Faith in what Jesus has done for us is the only way to salvation. At the same time, God hates sin. We need to pursue holiness - knowing that it has nothing to do with our salvation. It has to do with loving God and loving ourselves.)


    4. Read Ezekiel 36:26-27. Recall that Paul asked the Galatians how they came into possession of the Holy Spirit - by faith or by works? What role does the Holy Spirit play in our pursuit of holiness? (The Holy Spirit living in us moves us from having hearts of stone, to hearts of flesh.)


    5. Read Psalms 51:10-12. For what should we pray? (The Holy Spirit! This is the complete picture. We are saved by grace alone, we cannot earn salvation by our works. But, even when it comes to living a life in accord with God's will, we still are incompetent. It is the free gift of the Holy Spirit that gives us a new heart, gives us a willing attitude.)


    6. Read Galatians 5:16-18 and 1 Corinthians 3:16. What is our goal for the Holy Spirit? (To live within us! To guide our every decision. God with us!)


    7. Friend, God created us, God redeemed us, and God gives us His Holy Spirit to live within us. All of these are undeserved gifts. You, like Eve, can try to work out some sort of deal on your own, but you are destined to fail. Like Adam and Eve, you will be under a curse. Why not, right now, choose the other course? Why not claim the life, death and resurrection of Jesus on your behalf? Why not ask God to send the Holy Spirit to live within your heart?


  4. Creation, Again.
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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