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The Character of God and the Route to Salvation

The Character of God and the Route to Salvation

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Published by: kalel21 on Aug 28, 2012
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THE CHARACTER OF GOD AND THEROUTE TO SALVATION by Tim DeForest
I have good news and I have bad news and I have good news.God created us as creatures with free will so that we could worship and glorify Him. Godcreated us—not because He needed us—but because He thought we were worthwhile andvaluable. The Creator of the whole universe took the time to create us in His image andgive us the opportunity to live meaningful and satisfying lives in His service. That’s thegood news.We messed up. We used our free will to reject God and rebel against Him. We brought sininto the world because of this, with everything (death, war, sickness, suffering,unhappiness) that is part and parcel with sin. God is perfect and just—and we have putourselves in a position where justice requires every single one of us to spend an eternity inHell. There is no sin allowed in Heaven. There are no exceptions to this. If you have
any
sin on your record, then you don’t get into Heaven. You instead go to Hell. That’s the badnews.God is sovereign and omnipotent. He knew we would blow it even before He made us—  but He made us anyways. He loved us even before He made us. He wants what is best for us. So He didn’t shrug His shoulders and decide not to create us. He created us anyway,with a built-in plan to offer us eternal salvation. God is just, but He is also merciful. Hewill punish unrepentant sinners, but He prefers to forgive. And He’ll forgive anyone—itdoesn’t matter what our sins might be. He’ll forgive anyone who comes to Him in sincererepentance. He’ll wipe our sins off our records and quite literally let us start over again as anew person. That’s the really good news.“Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to theLord, and he will have mercy on them and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” (Isaiah55:7)
GOD THE CREATOR:
The first thing the Bible teaches us is that God created everything. “In the beginning,”reads the first verse in Genesis, “God created the heavens and the earth.”
 
Why did God do this? He didn’t need to create a universe—or to specifically create us.He’s God. He is complete in Himself and does not suffer loneliness or feelings of isolation.But He created us anywayIn describing Jesus in Colossians 1:16, the Apostle Paul writes that “all things were created by Him and
 for Him
.” (Italics added for emphasis.) God created the universe—andcreated us—to glorify and praise Him. The earth is His temple and we are His priests.And God loved His creation right from the start. Genesis 1:31 tells us that “God saw allthat he had made and it was very good.”So here we have the first important aspect of God’s character. He’s a Creator and hecreates good things. He loves and cares for the things He creates. We (the human race) arethe most important part of His creation. We have been given dominion over the rest of theEarth (Genesis 1:28). God loves us and gives us the responsibility of watching over the restof His creation. He does this because He knows that a life in His service is the best andmost fulfilling life there is. “He holds victory for the upright, he is a shield to those whosewalk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithfulones.” (Proverbs 2: 7-8)So what went wrong with creation? The world was God’s perfect temple, but now it’s filledwith sin and suffering and death.
GOD THE ALL-KNOWING:
Did God make a mistake in making us? Was He shocked and disappointed when Adam andEve disobeyed Him and brought sin into the world? Did He wonder what the heck Heneeded to do next and scramble to improvise a new plan?The answer to those questions is NO--because another important aspect of God’s character is His omniscience. Psalm 139 has what is perhaps the most direct clarification of this:“You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discernmy going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is onmy tongue you know it completely, O Lord.” (Psalm 139: 2-4)The book of Job reminds us “Dominion and awe belong to God; he established order in theheights of heaven. Can his forces be numbered? Upon whom does his light not rise?” (Job25: 2-3)And then we have Psalm 147:5, which tells us “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; hisunderstanding has no limit.”
 
So if God is omniscient, He knew that we would fall into sin even before He made us. Hecreated us with free will so that we could freely choose to follow Him. But this meant we
could 
freely choose to reject Him. God knew we’d take this second option.
GOD THE LOVING FATHER:
 AND YET HE CREATED US ANYWAY 
. Because He still loved us even though we would become sinners—because He considered us redeemable no matter how far we strayed fromwhat is good.The apostle John wrote “God is love.” (I John 1:8) This is eternally true. No matter whatour sins, God will always love us.The prophet Isaiah wrote “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your Godrejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5) Psalm 145:8 reads “The Lord is gracious andcompassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.”The Bible—in both the Old and New Testaments—contains example after example after example of God’s continued love for a fallen creation. We see it pretty much right away inthe third chapter of Genesis. After Adam and Eve disobey God and thus fall from grace,they attempt to hide from Him. But God seeks them out. He does not reject them or simplydestroy them, even though they had just brought sin and death into the world. There areserious consequences for their sins, but God still cares for them. This is evident in Genesis3:21, where God personally makes garments for them to both hide their shame and givethem the protection from the elements they now needed.We see God’s love again in his willingness to forgive. When the human race becomes sodepraved that God has to send a flood to destroy them, he still saves a remnant (Noah andhis family) to preserve the race and essentially give us a do-over.We see His love when he called Abram to His service in Genesis 12, promising to make theformer idol-worshipper a great nation and use that nation so that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:3)We see God’s love as an active love when he brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt andout of slavery. He then gave them a system of laws that taught them obedience and self-discipline; imposed a balanced system of justice; protected the rights and lives of womenand slaves; set up public health regulations; and prophesized the coming of Jesus.We see that God’s love means He had a plan for us all along—even before we actually fellfrom grace He was laying out our route to salvation. That’s
why
he called Abram (later Abraham) to His service: because God had chosen him to be the father of a nation, thenGod used that nation to eventually produce our Messiah.

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