This is the first lesson of a 16 lesson online
Bible study series. These studies provide Bible answers to Bible
questions and will guide you to God's truth as revealed by His
Holy Word. These lessons are only available at this Internet
Gen. 1 Refers to chapter 1 in the book of Genesis.
Exo. 12-20 Refers to chapters 12 through 20 in the book of Exodus.
Perhaps at some time you have said, "Nobody's perfect." You said it because you made a mistake others were aware of. You felt you needed to justify yourself but had no other explanation to offer. The Bible makes similar statements about every human being: The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psa. 14:2-3).
Anything you do, or fail to do, that displeases God is called "sin." Whenever you sin, you drive a wedge between yourself and God: Behold, the LORD's hand is not so short that it cannot save; neither is His ear dull so that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear (Isa. 59:1-2). Unless something is done to erase your sins, you will remain separated from God forever. Paul compared committing sin to working at a job. He pointed out that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23a). He was not referring to mere physical death but to spiritual death. Elsewhere he describes spiritual death as eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Thes. 1:9b).
The Bible is very much concerned with sin--not just with your sin but with everyone's sin. The Bible reveals God's great plan for bringing about the forgiveness of our sins. When we follow the plan, God forgives our sins and will reward us with everlasting life: the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23b). The Bible is about changing from death to life, from destruction to salvation.
The theme of salvation from sin, which runs throughout the pages of Scripture, is one of the attributes of the Bible showing its harmony and consistency. It is remarkable that such unity could be maintained by so many writers, who lived at different times, at different places, and in different cultures. They did not all speak the same language and did not all write in the same literary form. It is as if the books of the Bible are the instruments in an orchestra whose diverse sounds blend harmoniously under the direction of the conductor. When we recognize that the writers themselves were not the original sources of the information and ideas they expressed but were acting under the direction of God, we can understand why the Bible forms a unit.
"How To ..." books and articles are popular today. It is not hard to find information on how to train a dog, how to wire a house, how to lose weight, how to quit worrying, how to increase one's vocabulary, or how to improve one's marriage. When we read these publications, we expect them to give us a point-by-point plan for achieving a goal. If you expect to find that kind of recipe for salvation in the Bible, you will be disappointed. God has not chosen to unfold his plan for removing sin as a simple list of "Do's" and "Don't's".
Instead, God has chosen to unfold His plan by having us
consider His dealings with certain groups of people over a long
period of history. As we read the Bible we see how God
interacted with these people. We learn more and more about the
nature of God and about the kind of response He desires from us.
From the Bible we learn how the human race began and how sin
first entered the world and continued to be practiced. We learn
about God's response to those who were wicked and to those who
were righteous. Sometimes God's response involved miracles. More
often than not, God's response was communicated through men He
chose as His special agents. The record of what they said and
wrote spans a variety of literary styles. Some parts of the
Bible are simply the records of historical events. Other parts
are prayers or thanks to God stated in poetic form. Still other
parts are sermons that were preached, predictions that were
made, or personal letters that were written.
As we read through the Bible, we begin to realize that we, like the men and women of the Bible, are guilty of displeasing God. We see that we are powerless to reverse the process by which we isolated ourselves from Him. We also begin to realize that God loves us, disobedient though we are, and that He has devised a way for us to be forgiven and saved.
The central feature of God's plan is Jesus Christ. Jesus left heaven to come to earth to live as one of us. He experienced the temptations, disappointments, and heartaches that we experience. Then He died for us as a perfect sacrifice for sin. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).
The aim of the lessons in this series is to help you read,
study, and understand the Bible. If you decide to study all the
lessons in this series, you will have made a choice that may
have far-reaching consequences for you personally. The Bible can
become a mirror that enables you to see yourself as God sees you
and a messenger that tells you how to become what God wants you
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