As mentioned previously, mankind was created in holiness and lived in an environment of perfection - the Garden of Eden. Unlike the rest of creation, man was made in the very image of God. Meaning that man had the unique ability to enjoy an intimate relationship and fellowship with God. Mankind could relate to God on God's level. Lest this be misunderstood, mankind was not a god, nor was he ever equal with God. Man's entire being (body, soul, and spirit) could enjoy the presence of God without guilt or shame. God never forced affection from His creation. Mankind was free to love God at will.
Now Satan (the Devil, Lucifer) was an angel who rose up against God and demanded to be equal with Him in power and authority. God responded to this rebellion by casting Satan and a third of the angels (who also joined with Satan) out of His presence (heaven) forever.
Seeing the mutual affections of God and Man, Satan's mission became that of destroying God's relationship with His most precious creation-man! This has been Satan's passion from the beginning of time and continues to be so today and will continue until the end of the world.
Upon the creation of Adam and Eve, God gave one simple commandment. Satan took advantage of man's free will and the battle for man's soul began. Satan tempted man with the untruth that God had not provided everything they needed. That God was holding back and they were missing out. Adam and Eve listened and after being convinced that Satan's lies were true, they disobeyed the command and betrayed God.
Immediately they fell into a condition of sin. Their very consciences told them that they had disappointed God and jeopardized their holy relationship with Him. They were filled with fear, ran, and tried to hide from the presence of God. This SIN was a wedge that alienated mankind from a holy God. In discovering sin Adam and Eve realized they were naked and attempted to cover their shame with leaves. When God confronted them, he killed an animal (sacrifice) and with the skin made a covering for them. God put them out of the garden of Eden (lest they eat of the tree of life and live forever in their sin) and promised that He would make a way for man to be reconciled with God eternally.
Since that time every person is born into this condition of sin (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:19). God gave us His law to reveal not only His holiness, but our sinfulness.
“God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.” (NLT Romans 5:20)
Through the law we are reminded and convicted of how far we have fallen from relationship with God and the impassable chasm that exists between us.
“The person who sins breaks God’s law. Yes, sin is living against God’s law.”
(I John 3:4 NCV)
The law gives us a clear view of this chasm created by the wedge of sin.
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"You might think I am saying that sin and the law are the same thing. That is not true. But the law was the only way I could learn what sin meant. I would never have known what it means to want to take something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, “You must not want to take your neighbor’s things.
" And sin found a way to use that command and cause me to want all kinds of things I should not want. But without the law, sin has no power.
" I was alive before I knew the law. But when the law’s command came to me, then sin began to live, and I died. The command was meant to bring life, but for me it brought death. Sin found a way to fool me by using the command to make me die.
So the law is holy, and the command is holy and right and good. Does this mean that something that is good brought death to me? No! Sin used something that is good to bring death to me. This happened so that I could see what sin is really like; the command was used to show that sin is very evil" (Romans 7:7-13, NCV).
A person can be told he has dirt on his face. The person will go to a mirror to take a look. The mirror accurately reflects a true image. The dirt is indeed there. The person might walk away from the mirror, but his "dirty face" condition remains. Washing the mirror or taking it away does not clean the face. God's law is like a mirror. When gazed into it shows man's true condition. Ignoring or rejecting the law does not take away our condition of sin. When facing the standard of God's holy law we realize there is not one of us who has not sinned. All have sinned and fallen short of God's standard.
"There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Romans 3:10-12, KJV).
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…" (Romans 3:19-20; 23, KJV).
Let's say that a chain represented our life line to God. It was the means by which we could reach Him. The way by which we could restore the position once lost. And each link in the chain represented a law of God.
We would need to keep each law perfectly in order to be reconciled with God. In fact we would have to be born in this perfect condition. We all know this is impossible.
So let's make it a little easier. Say a person were only to break one commandment once in his life? That would be a pretty righteous person. But are they good enough for God's requirements?
If a person were hanging by a chain and one link broke, they would fall. It doesn't take breaking every link to fall from God - just one!
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10, KJV).
Who is God? Holy. Who is man? A Sinner. Sin has alienated mankind from God. It has made the whole human race at enmity with Him. We selfishly seek after those things that fulfill our depraved passions. We lift ourselves to be our own gods, running our own lives, controlling our own destinies. Humankind is bent toward evil as a tree bends to the light. Human nature is to operate in contradiction to the law of God! Why? Because we are born sinners.
As if this were not bad enough…there's more! Not only have we been separated from God because of sin, but this separation brings with it consequences.
When we go to work at a job we receive wages (pay) for the work we did. It is inevitable - that is why we are employed.
In life, wherever there is a work in sin, there is an accompanying wage (payment) for the sin committed. It is called the wage of death. When man works sin he receives death.
"For the wages of sin is death…" (Romans 6:23, KJV).
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekial 18:20, KJV).
"When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. And though there was no law to break, since it had not yet been given, they all died anyway—even though they did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did" (Romans 5:12-14, NLV).
God is life. When separated from him there is inevitable death. Like a grape on a vine. When the grape is cut from its source of life, it dies.
When Adam sinned there was immediate death and alienation from the life that is within God. Sin also brought physical death. A dead person does not respond to sights, sounds, or touch. In the same way, the spiritually dead are unable to see, hear, or touch Him. The fact of our death in sin explains our helplessness. Without life there is hopelessness and despair.
We were created eternal beings (this is part of being in the likeness of God). He created us to enjoy fellowship with Him forever. When sin entered, our physical bodies would perish, but our spirit would live forever. For those who have sinned (all of mankind) separation from God is for eternity. This means suffering eternal death in a place God created for Satan and his angels called Hell. It is a place of torment and fire. Though there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" the worst part is being banished from God for all eternity with no hope of ever getting out. Does this make God unreasonable? Does it make Him merciless and unrelenting? Not at all as we'll see in the following pages. God in His holiness can not abide sin in man. It's like trying to mix light and darkness, or good and evil.
Left to himself, mankind's condition of sin leaves him helpless, destitute, alone, hopeless, and separated from God.
But remember, after Adam and Eve sinned, God promised he would provide an answer to this devastating separation of man from Himself.