Even before Time began, God knew that He would need to rescue us from our own sin. But the time had to be right and humanity had to be able to understand what we had done wrong and why only God could put us right with Him.
This section consists of three readings with accompanying questions.
READ Genesis 3
This is the story of the fall. Some questions need to be asked and answered:
- What did Adam do wrong?
- What was his excuse?
- What did Eve do wrong?
- What was her excuse?
- What did God do to punish Adam and Eve?
- Why did God do this?
- What did God do to help Adam and Eve?
- What promise did God make for the serpent?
Right from the start, humanity’s response has always been to blame someone else. “It’s not my fault” seems to be our default answer to every accusation, no matter how just. Or, as the song by Blind Willie Johnson so eloquently puts it: “It’s nobody’s fault but mine.” So God had to teach us His way, at first through the old covenant of Law.
READ Ephesians 3:1-6
- What was the μυστερειον / mustereion, the “secret”, that was not revealed to earlier generations?
- Who revealed the meaning of the secret and to whom was it revealed?
READ Galatians 4:1-11
Listen to what Paul says to us. Once we were δουλοι / douloi – slaves – to sin who were unable to do anything other than sin against God. But now we are God’s children, set free by Christ so we no longer have to worry about how we can earn our own way back to God.
- What were we (see verses 1-3)?
- What are we now (see verses 4-7)?
- So what is the implication of this (see verses 8-11)?
- And where does Jesus fit into this plan (see verses 4-5)?
God is in control. He knew long before Adam and Eve gave into temptation that they were going to fall into sin. God knew that they would be too proud to ask for forgiveness. And God knew that it would be a long, long time before humankind was ready to receive and accept a saviour. As you become more familiar with the Old Testament you will see this point being proved. Even the best of the heroes of the faith were not good enough. So when the time was right, God sent His only Son to save us. This is the New Testament story. The Gospels tell us about Jesus, Acts tells us about the first followers of Jesus, and the Letters helped the first Christians to keep and grow in the faith and, by God’s grace, help us to do the same.
- Is this a fair summary of what we have seen so far? (Answer either “Yes, because. . . .” or “No, because. . . .” In other words: give some reasons.)