Category Archives: Sin

God’s Gift—Freedom of Choice

imagesGod gave Adam and Eve a wonderful gift. He told them how to use it. Still, they chose not to follow His directions. Do you know what the gift was? Here’s a hint:

In Genesis 2:16 (NLV), God tells Adam:

You are free to eat from any tree of the garden.”

A few sentences later, another hint:

“God made every animal of the field and every bird of the sky. He brought them to the man to find out what he would call them. And whatever the man called a living thing, that was its name.” (vs. 19–20)

1371397Freedom to Choose 
That was God’s gift to Adam and Eve in those first days of human history. It came with one rule: “Do not eat from the tree of learning of good and bad. For the day you eat from it you will die for sure.” (Genesis 2:17) Instead of obeying God, Adam and Eve decided to obey a conniving serpent. They chose bad over good.

God had given them a beautiful life on Earth, a life just shy of heaven. He wanted only good things for His humans. One of those was freedom of choice. God set Adam and Eve free to make every choice, including whether or not to obey Him. He also warned them that choosing wrong had consequences.

Today, Freedom of Choice remains one of our greatest gifts. It’s not provided by nations. It’s a gift given by God. Each of us has the right to choose between what pleases God and what displeases Him—And just like Adam and Eve, every one of us is guilty of making bad choices.

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This leads to the issue of judging others. We might disagree with the choices others make, but too often we forget that God has given them the freedom to choose. We should react to an unsafe choice or a choice to harm someone, but in most circumstances when passing judgment on others we need to remember that their choices are between them and God.

Here are two questions to think about:

  • When judging the choices others make, do you support their freedom to choose?
  • Do you believe that supporting someone’s freedom to choose is the same as supporting his or her choices?

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The Devil is in the Details

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How often do you study the pictures on product packaging? If you’re like me, you glance at the graphics and then turn the package over and read the ingredients.

For example, I have two cats that love Temptations cat treats. I’ve been buying Temptations for years. A quick trip down the cat food aisle, I toss a bag or two of Temptations into my shopping cart. I’m aware that there’s a cute kitty cartoon on the package, and I have a pretty good idea of what’s in the treats, but, it wasn’t until yesterday that I took a good look at the pictures on the packages.

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The kitty isn’t so cute, after all. He’s a naughty cat, luring and attacking his prey. Those devilish escapades on the Temptations package raced past me like a mouse trying to scurry away from . . . well . . . you know!

That’s life. We’re in such a hurry that we miss the details, and that creates a problem— because the devil is in the details. Satan can be hiding in plain sight, and we don’t see him.

The bible warns: “Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you.” Matthew 7:15 CEV

In today’s world there are many false prophets. On the outside they look innocent, but if we study the details of their actions we might find them deceitful and cunning.

So, get in the habit of noticing the details. You never know, Satan might be hiding in plain sight.

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The Story of Jesus—God’s Parable

A parable is an earthly story used to teach some heavenly meaning. If you think about it, you’ll discover that Jesus’ whole life is a parable given to us by God.

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God’s parable is a story about a god—the one and only God—sending a part of Himself to earth in a child’s body. The child, known as Jesus, God’s Son, grew up the personification of God, possessing all of His power, love, and wisdom. This part of God, the man Jesus, became an earthly example of a godly life. Then, God allowed Jesus, this part of Himself, to experience every imaginable sin that we humans can commit past, present, and future. God allowed Jesus’ body to be crucified and suffer excruciating pain until, finally, the body died. BUT, the parable doesn’t end there. God, our eternal God in the form of His Son, Jesus, did not die. HE LIVED. Jesus’ body arose from the grave and He ascended into heaven.

There are many lessons in God’s parable, but the most important is this: there is no place for sin in heaven. To claim our place there, we must believe that God loves us so much that He sacrificed Himself to guarantee us eternal life in heaven when our bodies die.

9c6573dfff65de3d68075359d135df31What did sacrifice mean in Jesus’ time?
God commanded His people to perform numerous animal sacrifices according to certain procedures prescribed by Him. Instead of humans suffering eternal death for their own sins, God was willing to accept a substitute.

First, the animal had to be spotless.

Second, the person offering the sacrifice had to need the animal—remember animals were the most important commodity providing food, clothing, and wealth in trade.

Third, the person offering the animal had to kill it. When done in faith, this sacrifice provided a temporary covering of sins.

Sacrifices had to be done multiple times to keep cleansing sin so God’s people might one day have eternal life in heaven.

BUT, THEN:

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Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice, the ETERNAL covering of sin, the ONLY way for souls to be guaranteed sin-free when bodies die. God didn’t have to sacrifice Himself multiple times to free us from sin, but only once.

Jesus told us the meaning of God’s parable:

For God so loved the world
that he gave 
his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.”

(Read the rest of what Jesus said in John 3: 1–21.)

If you are a believer, praise God! If you are a non-believer, think about God’s parable and then decide.

Will you believe?
What do you have to lose?

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Filed under Easter, Good Friday, Salvation, Sin, Uncategorized