ETERNAL PLAN TO REDEEM MAN [Part Six]
to the eternal purpose”
of Parts One through Five
the timeless recesses of eternity past, God purposed to create a being with
both physical and spiritual natures that could freely choose whether or not to
love its Creator. Knowing that such a being would sin against Him, He also
purposed in eternity past to save him from his sins giving him eternal life.
apostle Paul wrote,
do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but
share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our
works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in
Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of
our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and
immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher,
an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. (2
a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of
God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness,
in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began (Titus
man sinned, God began to reveal His eternal purpose.
the Lord God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, You
are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On
your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And
I will put enmity between you and the woman, And
between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall
bruise His heel." (Gen.
seed of the serpent are the enemies of Christ (John 8:31-44) and the seed of
the woman is Christ (Gal. 4:4). When God promised to put “enmity” between
the serpent and the woman, He was not speaking of women being afraid of
snakes. To be at enmity with Satan and the world is to be friends with God
(James 4:4). Thus, He was speaking of reconciling her unto Himself.
if the sin of Adam and Eve were a light thing, their firstborn son murdered
his brother (Gen. 4:1-8).
continued to degenerate morally.
it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and
daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men,
that they were beautiful; and
they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the Lord said,
"My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is
indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." There
were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of
God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children
to them. Those were the
mighty men who were of old,
men of renown. Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was
great in the earth, and that every
intent of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually. And
the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in
His heart. So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from
the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping
thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." But
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Gen.
the flood, man degenerated both morally and religiously (Rom. 1:18-32). God
called Abram and promised to bless “all the families of the earth” in him
(Gen. 12:3). This blessing would be spiritual in nature (Gal. 3:8-29).
his father, Terah, “served other Gods” (Josh.
24:2), Abram proved himself to be a man of faith. When he was ninety-nine
years old, God changed his name, Abram [“exalted father”] to Abraham
[”father of a multitude”] (Gen. 17:1-6). Let us now look at...
Faith of Abraham
are three main statements concerning the faith of Abraham. First, He
believed in [or trusted] the Lord.
these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do
not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."
But Abram said, "Lord God, what will You give
me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer
fully appreciate this aspect of Abraham’s faith, consider how faith differs
from knowledge and opinion.
is derived from experience and/or reason. We know that which we have learned
through our physical senses and/or mental faculties. As stated in an earlier
lesson, it is through the use of his physical senses that man knows matter
exists. He can handle it, taste it, see it, smell it, and hear the sounds
produced by it. And it is through use of reason that man knows spirit exists.
A man knows that he is not his body; there is matter—the elements which
compose his body and there is spirit—the man within the body.
is derived from dependable testimony. Jurors in a criminal trial, for example,
do not know whether the defendant committed the crime with which he has been
charged but have to decide—on the basis of evidence—whether a verdict of
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is warranted. What they decide is a matter of
faith, rather than knowledge. That is, they either come to believe that he is
guilty or they continue to have reasonable doubt as to his guilt.
is a position that is held in the absence of sufficient evidence to warrant
knowledge or faith; there is no experience to evaluate, no premises from which
to reason conclusively, and no reliable testimony to accept. To continue the
analogy, one or more jurors may have an opinion as to whether or not the
defendant committed the crime but can neither know nor believe that he did so,
prior to hearing the testimony or seeing the evidence. A Bible example would
be the case of Nicodemus. I know the Bible says he “came to Jesus by
night” (John 3:1-2). I believe he “came to Jesus by night” because the
Bible says so. But I do not know why he “came to Jesus by night.” Nor does
the Bible provide testimony sufficient for me to believe he had this or that
particular reason, though he must have had one; no sane person acts without
had no earthly reason for thinking [and could not possibly have known] that
his descendants would be as innumerable as the stars in the sky.
it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might
be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to
those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is
written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence
of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those
things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope
believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was
spoken, "So shall your descendants be." And not being weak in faith,
he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred
years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise
of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,
and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to
perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness." (
faith worked together with his works. He
forsook his home, his family and his religion (Josh. 24:1-2; Acts 7:2-3; Heb.
11:8). He sojourned in the land of promise, never owning any of it during his
lifetime (Heb. 11:9-10), except for the
by works was his faith made perfect. There
are degrees of faith: dead faith (James 2:14-20, 26); little faith [or weak
faith] (Matt. 14:25-31; Rom. 4:19) and great faith, which is made perfect
through works of obedience (Matt. 8:5-10; 15:28; James 2:21-23). This is the
faith of Abraham. We, too, must have this faith.
he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith
which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all
those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be
imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are
of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our
father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. (