Sometime ago in eternity past, a meeting was convened in the heavenlies, and going by the records we have, it was a closed door meeting between the three highest, strongest, wisest and closest persons (Genesis 1:26). The Oneness that exists between these three defies the capacity of language and description. And because language relies on human experience to furnish with terms of definitions and communication, how will it not break down in any attempt to express the most beautiful union that exist, beyond the boundaries of time and space? Words fail us here!
Anyway, Father, Son and Spirit, came into this meeting, not to deliberate in order to arrive at a resolution, rather they came to revisit and then implement a highly classified programme they had previously planned (Ephesians 1:4-5, 9, 11; 3:11, Colossians 1:26, Romans 16:25-26).
Without any angelic input, “…God (all three in one) created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27 (with bracketed explanation). In verses 26 and 28, we see what was freely given to this man (both male and female). Absolute dominion, which is control, regulation and management, of the earth. Basically, man was made a divine representative in charge of implementing God’s agenda on earth. Please note that this man had nothing to contribute to his own creation and he didn’t receive anything at the beginning of his life by labour or as a payment/reward for any work done. It is all of grace!
Elohim (God: Father, Son , Spirit) is so complete in Himself that all that is ever needed by this man was supplied by Him. Even the twenty four elders, having a sense of their own nothingness, and having only received all that appears to be their glory, they bow repeatedly and cast down their crowns (the symbol of their glory) before God (Revelation 4:4,10). We don’t know what we are meddling with whenever we ignore or abandon the grace of God, to deploy our own efforts, either in the continuation of the Christian life or even in the most mundane routines of our lives.
“Grace is the divine cure for sin and self” John 8:3-12
Fast forward to Genesis 3
Unfortunately, the first man failed. He set aside the grace of God and fell into an economy of works, *the ability to know good and evil, which was the beginning of the human conscience, and also the ability to experience good in the context of evil and evil in the context of good. Originally, man was made to live by his personal knowledge of God and not particularly by differentiating between good and evil. The former is an economy of grace (all the work is God’s and it only requires positive volition or faith) while the latter is an economy of works.
Having lost the life of God, he could no longer achieve the real intentions of God, and he could not implement or fulfill God’s predetermined programme (Ephesians 2:10, 1:4-5, Romans 8:29-30, Genesis 1:26-28). Whatever he does now, no matter how good it is externally, even if it is purportedly done for God, it is actually done for self. It is done as a result of works, not of grace; as a result of silent calculations in favour of self and not purely of God’s pleasure and purpose.
* The tree of knowledge of good and evil represents the unrealistic, satanic and carefully disguised policy of cohabitation of good and evil. The fact that we can be good in our own way. That is, the possibility of doing good works without dealing with the inherent evil in us through salvation (Luke 18:18-25). And it is also the permission to do evil to others as long as it will bring us good (Exodus 1:15-16).
In order to gain a divine viewpoint that will lead to your choice of grace over works, let us consider three personalities in the history of eternity. Lucifer, Adam and Christ. We already hinted about Adam earlier in the discussion. We will get back to him shortly!
Before the world began, which, of course, was before the existence of man, Lucifer was undoubtedly God’s highest and most endowed creature (Ezekiel 28:12-15). Unfortunately, he entertained a thought that totally obscured (despised and rejected) all that God had done for him. In his heart, he longed for what he could do for himself and despised all the gracious things God had done for him (Isaiah 14:12-15). This was the beginning of works, as well as, the introduction of sin.
It is a grave thing to discard God’s grace, which exalts His righteousness, in order to embrace our own works, which exalts self-righteousness (Romans 10:3, Isaiah 64:6). This is a serious matter. Lucifer was instantly sentenced (Ezekiel 28:17b) alongside the angels that joined him in the revolt (Jude 6, Revelation 12:7); and that was the beginning of self-works, the hallmark of Satan’s new kingdom. Lucifer wasted no time to steal the authority of man, as the coordinator of all physical creation, through deceit. And how did he achieve this? He simply reproduced the same dissatisfaction with God’s work (grace) in the woman, which led to unbelief, and then to eating the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Lucifer had succeeded in deceiving the woman by sifting out any value whatsoever she has for the grace of God, and shifting her focus (which could also be worship) from God to herself (Genesis 3:6). Being fully aware of what had happened and the implications of the same, Adam submitted to the error of works, in false humility, and likewise despised the grace of God.
Remember that this is God’s universe and it is only His plan that will eventually be fulfilled, regardless of temporary hitches, reflecting the negative volition of man, you know, man turning down God’s purpose. Man had failed but God’s plan was still on course. There was no need to create another man because the seed of the woman (Christ) will ultimately bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). Christ is the seed of the woman because he was not a direct offspring of Joseph, Mary’s husband-to-be. Mary became pregnant of Him without any “work of man”, again showing the supremacy of God’s economy of grace (Luke 1:34-35).
His entire life was a testimony against Lucifer, that God’s purpose can never be denied, even if gets delayed. The delay is due to the principle of volition. Whenever a factor involved in the materialization of God’s purpose chooses contrary to God’s will, in this case man, it only excludes him from being a beneficiary, because God will eventually have a Man that will please Him on all counts.
Now, here is a mystery and it is a production of Agape Love: only God could please Himself! Hence the Second Person in the Godhead came as a Man, so that He could fulfill this grand design of God, that man will fully cooperate with God, and at the same time, He became the only means by which all men can reproduce the same extent of faithfulness in their personal lives.
Hebrews 2:10 KJV
“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
Lucifer lost his entire position with God because he looked away from what God had done for him and he wanted to do something else for himself. Adam lost his dominion for the same reason, preferring to eat the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the symbol of independence from God and declaring sufficiency apart from the grace of God), and the effects of his lost position remain evident among us. Except those of us who have believed into the Son of God, Jesus Christ (John 3:18, 36).
Enter you and me
Now, we are confronted with the same big question, as it were, as if we were in the Garden of Eden. The two trees are in the midst of the garden, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And we are to choose one, only one. Previously, the instruction was just pointing to what not to eat, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which if we eat, we are sent out of God’s grace into the outer darkness of self-righteousness and self-works. However, today, we now have the instruction pointing not only to the tree to avoid but to the tree to embrace, the tree of life. This instruction comes to us as an introduction and invitation to Jesus Christ.
John 14:6 KJV
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 10:10 KJV
“…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Matthew 11:28 KJV
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
In order to enter into God’s economy of grace, we (have to) believe on Him, accept His terms and disdain anything that wants to set us back unto depending on ourselves, instead of Christ. If it is not of faith, it cannot be by grace. Faith, the evidence that we have seized from trusting ourselves and we are now depending on God, is the means by which we enter into all the works that God has done for us.
In this economy, no one has more access to God than you do and there is nothing God has done for one in the past, that your journey requires, that He cannot do for you. Although, those who actually exercise their privilege, pressing into this access by the Word of God and prayer, will experience more benefits of divine access like befriending God (Genesis 18:17-19, James 2:23), being certain of God’s will (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:17) and seeking to know Him more (Philippians 3:10).
This is all of grace, and we dare not credit ourselves with any evidence of growth we have in our lives. Grace is the means by which we enjoy the necessary growth that accompanies salvation. Anyone who despises Grace has despised Christ Himself, and can only struggle to live the new life. Thankfully, God, in mercy, will normally allow us to struggle for a while so that we can see the utter foolishness of trusting ourselves or trying to help Him. Have you learnt to wait on Him, to seize from your own works, in order to experience His abundant life that He gives freely?
LORD, please have mercy on me for neglecting your righteousness and going about to establish my own self-righteousness. I reject the way of Lucifer. I refuse to belittle your work of grace and mercy. I humble myself to walk with you. Henceforth, I dissociate myself from all that is not your grace. I take my place in Christ. Christ is now my life. Grace is now my method. AMEN.
Picture credits: kingdom culture, Bible Pic, Psalm 16:11 ministries