Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 31 December 19:
Note: Here is a short video overview of chapters 1-11 of Genesis: https://youtu.be/KOUV7mWDI34
1. Genesis 1 – “In the beginning, God….” The first thing God wants you to know is that He is the Creator, and what He creates is good, a point repeated seven times (seven — the number of completeness and perfection) in chapter one. God reveals Himself in His creation (see Romans 1), and in the first chapter of the Bible, we have revelation of The Holy Trinity – God’s oneness and His threeness – all at work in creation as One. In verse 1:2, we are introduced to the Holy Spirit (more about the Holy Spirit — https://thebibleproject.com/explore/holy-spirit/https://thebibleproject.com/explore/holy-spirit/). However, the role of the Son remains less clear at this point. The Book of John, which we will read later, completes the picture – “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 were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5) The Greek term used for “word” in John is “Logos,” a word which really has no sufficient English equivalent. Though Logos is often equated to logic, it means far more – the ultimate reality and the source of everything, including wisdom, purpose, and meaning, and life. Proverbs 8 tells us that this Logos existed before the creation. John tells us this Logos — this source of creation, life, and wisdom — is, in fact, Jesus, the Son of God. Of Himself, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) In Genesis, the first thing God commands is, “Let there be light.” John introduces Jesus as “the light of men.” Of Himself, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) As you begin reading the Bible this year, understand that the purpose of the Bible is to reveal ‘history’ – His Story. The Book (66 books that tell one story) is intended to reveal Jesus Christ, the Living Word, the Way, the Truth and the Life, The Light of the World, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior. From Genesis 2 onward, we learn why people need salvation through Jesus and why there is no other way to salvation but through Jesus. We will also learn how, just as all three persons of the Holy Trinity are involved in creation, all three work inseparably in salvation:
– John 6:44 — No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
– John 3:3-8 — Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God…. unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
– Ephesians 2:18 — Through [Christ] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
– 1 Corinthians 2:14 — The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
– Romans 8:10-11 — If Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
2. Genesis 2 – God created man to be His steward or overseer of His creation and to be in relationship with Him. The Greek word for steward is Oikonomos, which means keeper of the master’s house (see Gen 1:22-23, 26, 28; Gen 2:15; 1 Cor 4:1, 2; 1 Cor 9:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 4:10; ). God made mankind to live out God’s will in a tangible way on a physical earth, to translate His spiritual truths into physical reality – “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” The first thing God gave Adam was a job; the second thing God gave Adam was another person to love and to work with (in unity with God) so, in God’s image, Adam and Eve could love another – God is love. (1 John 4:8). Our primary command is love, and our primary means to love is work (caring for the needs of others in a tangible way — effort). God’s perfect order (The Garden of Eden) involved work and relationship with others, in Him, with Him (God walked with Adam in Eve in the Garden – Gen 3:8) and for Him. But with love comes the choice to love. Genesis 2 reveals that love and obedience to God (who is Love) are inseparable. The command to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was given by God in His perfect love (protecting us from ourselves) and was a test of love for Adam and Eve. Would they choose God over self? Would they trust God to decide right from wrong, or would they seek to define right and wrong for themselves? Would they trust God for their provision or seek to provide for themselves? Would they love, trust, and obey? It is vital for us to put God’s commands in perspective. To question God’s commands is to question His very character, His love, His holiness, and His sovereignty. To challenge God’s commands is to commit cosmic treason and to war against Love itself (Himself). Disobedience separates us from love, and, despite popular opinion, we cannot truly love others while we are in disobedience to God — “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5) In Christ, we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) who have been given the ministry of reconciliation to proclaim “Immanuel”, “God with us,” as in the garden. We are to live out Immanuel in our work and in our relationships while we await the return of Jesus and our final restoration in Him. Seek to live “Semper Fidelis Coram Deo” – “Always Faithful Before the Face of God”?
4. Matthew 1 – Here is a short video overview of Matthew, chapters 1-13: https://youtu.be/3Dv4-n6OYGI
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) — 31 Dec 19: As you prepare for the New Year, consider how you will live out and proclaim Immanuel (God with us) in your work and in your relationships with others.