I originally created the above visual in order to teach my 12 year-old daughter more deeply about how salvation works, and to also show her the difference between the Old and New Covenants with respect to salvation. This blog article was inspired by it. There are three sections: God to Adam, God to the Israelites, and God to the World:
May you be blessed…
God to Adam
Soon after God had formed Adam from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7), He warned him to not eat from a specific tree… or else. God basically said to Adam, “Do this and you will certainly die.”
Genesis 2:16-17 (HCSB)
“And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.'”
Paul, in his letters to both the Romans and also to the Corinthians, would later reiterate the fate of humanity due to Adam’s transgression of God’s command to not eat from a specific tree…
Romans 5:12 (HCSB)
“…sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men…”
1 Corinthians 15:22a (HCSB)
“…in Adam all die…”
As a result, we (mankind) are all born in sin and have certainly died…
Psalms 51:5 (HCSB)
“Indeed, I was guilty when I was born;
I was sinful when my mother conceived me.”
Adam did it, therefore we all died. There is no way around it.
God to the Israelites
Later, God would choose a people for Himself (Acts 13:17-22). To that nation specifically (Israel), He gave to them a broad list of commands (sometimes referred to as the Mosaic Law or the Old Covenant), through a man named Moses, which would govern every single aspect of their lives (Deuteronomy 31:9-13). In its essence, God basically said to the Israelites, “Do this and live.”
Leviticus 18:5 (HCSB)
“Keep My statutes and ordinances; a person will live if he does them. I am Yahweh.”
Moses, however, would rightly anticipate their failure to fulfill these commands (Deuteronomy 31:24-29), bringing the Israelites not life, but death and condemnation. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, would describe the Old Covenant ministry in this same way…
2 Corinthians 3:7-11 (HCSB)
“Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to look directly at Moses’ face because of the glory from his face — a fading glory — how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness overflows with even more glory. In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was fading away was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.”
The Israelites didn’t do it, therefore they didn’t live. There was no way around it.
God to the World
Now, something completely different is being said by God, but this time it’s to the world. Such is captured here, as Paul addressed the men of Athens on the Areopagus…
Acts 17:24-31 (HCSB)
“The God who made the world and everything in it — He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Being God’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination. Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”
What God is basically saying (in essence) to the world through His many heralds is, “Believe this and you will never die.”
John 11:25-26 (HCSB)
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die — ever. Do you believe this?'”
The Apostle John quotes the Lord…
John 3:16-18 (HCSB)
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.”
But, because of Christ, there is now a way around it…
Jesus Christ never disobeyed God as Adam did (1 Corinthians 15:21-22), and He fulfilled the Old Covenant as the Israelites never had (Matthew 5:17-20). Therefore, He is qualified to be our Messiah, our Lord, and our Savior.
If you believe this, you will live.
Romans 5:6-21 (HCSB)
“For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person — though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him. Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned. In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression. He is a prototype of the Coming One. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift overflowed to the many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. And the gift is not like the one man’s sin, because from one sin came the judgment, resulting in condemnation, but from many trespasses came the gift, resulting in justification. Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone. For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
God to Adam – “Do this and you will certainly die.”
God to the Israelites – “Do this and live.”
God to the World – “Believe this and you will never die.”
The progression is simple, pointing us to the ultimate message, teaching us that it is God (in the Person of Jesus Christ) who accomplished what we could never achieve.
Does this mean that we (Christians) have the right to critique those who came before us for their short comings?
1 Corinthians 10:1-12 (HCSB)
“Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things became examples for us, so that we will not desire evil things as they did. Don’t become idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to play. Let us not commit sexual immorality as some of them did, and in a single day 23,000 people fell dead. Let us not test Christ as some of them did and were destroyed by snakes. Nor should we complain as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.”
The progression was for our benefit…
Romans 8:1-4 (HCSB)
“Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Be a herald…
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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