Last time we dealt with the supernatural aspects of the Universe. This time I want to bring things down to earth (literally) and focus on what the Bible says about mankind. I have three topics I want to share with you in this presentation, so let’s get started.
The Corruption in Human Nature (Sin)
The first thing we need to help people be aware of is the corruption in human nature. In the Message of Christianity, I showed that in Psalm 532-3 (ESV) the Bible tells us that “God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away, together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”
We need to help people become self conscious about this. It is very easy to see the corruption in those people over there who I disapprove of, but God expects us to learn how to see the corruption in ourselves.
God wants to protect you from yourself. If we do not agree with God on the exact nature of the problem we have, then God will not come to our rescue; He will not intervene on our behalf when we find ourselves in a bad situation where the worst case scenario is perhaps best represented by a slogan I heard from people living in Somalia.
“The slogan said “I and Somalia are against the world, I and my clan are against Somalia, I and my family are against my clan, I and my brother are against my family, and I am against my brother.”
This slogan from Somalia is an excellent explanation of what the corruption in human nature does to people living in this broken world. This is what the corruption in human nature does to people living in this world.
In order to begin recovering from this, we need the teachers in your area to help people become familiar with certain parts of God’s original design so that we can bring the corruption in our own hearts under control in our personal relationships.
Where exactly is the corruption found?
Body, Soul and Spirit
In order to bring the corruption in our own hearts under control involves having an awareness of the existence of the human body, soul and spirit and the relationship they have to each other. Let’s take a look at this so search for corruption in ourselves.
In the Bible, there are a lot of places where we are shown that every person who ever looked has a body, a soul and a spirit. This is a topic that we need the Teachers in your area to dedicate some time helping people explore it carefully as a part of the Third Task of the Teacher.
With that in mind, I am going to outline the basic structure of this topic to help anyone who wants to help the people living gathering around the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ become familiar with this issue.
My first concern is identifying Bible verses that show the existence of our bodies, souls and spirits. I want to start with the human body, because there are some religions that dismiss the body as being a distraction from a healthy spirituality. This is something that we need to avoid encouraging.
In Romans 12:1 (ESV) we are told to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice.” This means that there are things we can do with our bodies to fulfill God’s agenda for our lives. We need the teachers in your area to unpack this idea by explaining what those things are; instead of just assuming the people who come to our Church meetings are coming because they understand how to be a living sacrifice.
Now let’s take a look at the concept of a human soul in the Bible.
The Bible very clearly teachers there is an aspect of a human being that can be called a soul. We can see an example of this in Psalm 25:1 (ESV) which says “To You, O Lord, I lift my soul.” I should also mention that in the Old Testament Hebrews and the New Testament Greek languages the writers of Scripture used two very specific words to describe the soul. The Old Testament word was “nephesh” and the New Testament Greek word is “psyche.”
In addition to that, we also find the concept of the human spirit in the Bible.
The Bible clearly teaches there is an aspect of a human being that can be called a spirit. We can see an example of this in Psalm 31:3 (ESV), which says “Into your hand I commit my spirit…” It is also worth mentioning that in the Old Testament Hebrew and the New Testament Greek languages the writers of Scripture used two very specific words to describe the spirit, and these words are not the same words used for the human soul. The Old Testament Hebrew word for spirit is “ruach” and the New Testament Greek word for spirit is “pnuema.”
The reason I wanted to include the Hebrew and Greek words is to let you know there is a difference between the human soul and the human spirit, from God’s point of view. This is why the people who recorded God’s thoughts used different words for the soul and the spirit.
Unfortunately, we are not given a clear view of the difference between the soul and the spirit in the Bible. When Jesus was getting ready to be arrested, we are told that he said “my soul is troubled” in John 12:27 (ESV), only to mention later in John 13:23 that Jesus was “troubled in spirit.”
The fact that the human soul and spirit are described with different words is confused in our minds by the fact that we can be “troubled” in soul and spirit. In other words from God’s point of view the human soul and the human spirit are vulnerable to the same circumstances.
This has led to a debate over the question of whether we should think of a person as having three parts: body, soul and spirit or simply having two parts: a body, soul or spirit. Instead of digging deeper into that, I want to change directions and talk about how the corruption in our body, soul and spirits affect God’s design for gender roles.
In Genesis 1:27 (ESV) the Bible says that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” This shows us God’s perspective on the issue of gender roles for men and women by defining three things: (1) men and women are of equal worth in the eyes of God, (2) men and women have different roles and responsibilities in culture and (3) men and women have different ways of maintaining relationships.
We need the teachers in your area to help the people gathering around the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ become familiar with each one of these. There are two reasons this is very important. The first reason is that there are evil spirits out there who want to destroy anything and everything they can.
Since men and women have been made in the image of God, a part of the agenda for these evil spirits is to offend God by destroying God’s providential design for gender roles. As someone who has spent years studying the Bible and history, this kind of destructive influence by evil spirits is nothing new to me. Let me show you a few things I have learned.
When the New Testament portion of the Bible was being written 2000 years ago, there was a toxic feminist philosophy being promoted by women. In order to promote their position there were some women who would put on loin clothes and run around town half naked with spears trying to kill pigs they had released in the city streets so they could prove how tough they were.
We can also find an unhealthy perspective on gender roles in Gnosticism, which was Christianity’s biggest rival in the Roman Empire. In a book called the Gospel of Thomas, the Gnostic religion claimed that Jesus Christ said “every woman who makes herself a male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The evil spirits who promoted this idea back in the days of the Roman Empire to insult God by destroying his providential designs for gender roles are still promoting their corrupt again in our world today.
The only difference is that we have the medical technology we can use to insult God by making a biological born male into a “woman” or have a biological born women turned into a “man.” God’s enemies would have done this in the past if people would have been able to survive the surgery back then.
My point is that everything we can see clearly in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 is always going to be in danger of being under attack by God’s enemies. The corruption that exists in the human heart can make people into pawns who are being used by God’s enemies to insult God.
While we are exploring what the Bible says about our lives as part of the Third Task of the Teacher, we need to include what the Bible says about God’s response to the people who are being used as pawns by evil spirits to insult Him by destroying the beauty of His providence.
In the Bible, God’s response to the destructive influence of evil spirits is to make a Covenant.
Conclusion – What is a Covenant?
Wayne Grudem says “With respect to covenants between God and man in Scripture, we may give the following definition: A covenant is an unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship.”
That definition may remind you of a contract, but I hope the Teachers in your area will not allow the people who are gathering around the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ to think that way, because there is one very importance difference between a covenant and a contract.
The difference is that a contract is an agreement between two parties negotiating as equals, while a covenant is an agreement between a King with unconditional authority over His newly acquired slaves.
In a Covenant, the King explains what His expectations are for the people living under his authority, he makes promises and threats that others have to agree to or else. The end result of a covenant is that you can agree with the King’s demands or you can be arrested and executed for treason.
This is why the Bible says “for the wages of sin is death.” (Romand 6:23 ESV)
The first covenant we need to talk about was made before the universe was created. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit had a private conversation about how they were going to make the world around us, and they agreed on a plan to resolve the problems caused by the corruption in human nature before it became a problem.
This agreement they made is known as the Covenant of Redemption. God had a rescue plan set up before any of us were ever in need of a Savior to protect us from ourselves. The exact nature of the plan was kept a secret until the plan God made to repair the corruption in human nature was accomplished.
God’s plan was a secret until the first century, at which time God made “known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:8-9 ESV)
As a result of the covenant of Redemption, another covenant was made with a man named Abram, whose name was changed to Abraham. This covenant defines where the Savior was going to come from, and how far God is willing to go in order to repair the flaws that exist in human nature.
The covenant with Abraham is found in Genesis 12:1-3, which begins to show us where and how God was going to intervene to repair the damage that has been done to thew world by the influence of evil spirits. Another covenant was given to Moses as Mount Sinai (in Exodus 20), and its goal was to help people understand how to maintain a healthy relationship with God. God provided detailed explanation of His personal preferences for His people to follow.
I am going to stop here because I want the Teachers God has already put within your community to help you explore Christianity by doing the Third Task of the Teacher.