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Grace that abounds much more (Vol 01) - Life Begins with Abounding Grace

Sunday English Service - 28 JUN 20

Transcript

As you're aware very well, we completed our series on Hebrews chapter 11 just last week. Therefore, I'm going to begin a new series this week, and this series is going to be on the subject of grace. And I'm titling it as “Grace that Abounds Much More”. Grace that abounds much more.

Please turn with me to Romans chapter 5. And let me read to you the second part of verse 20. Where sin did abound, grace did much more abound. Where sin did abound, grace did much more abound. And this is where I got my title from, grace did much more abound. This is a grace that abounds much more. And you know what grace is. The most commonly given definition of grace is that it is favor that is shown to an undeserving person. And that is correct. That is one definition. But there are several other definitions also. We'll be going through all of them in the course of our study on grace, and we'll see biblical examples of that.

There is another definition for grace, and that is grace is power, ability. Now, when you look at a good sportsman, or a good musician, a very talented person, sometimes even a preacher, we have said, “That person has the grace of God.” What do we mean? We mean that that person has the divine ability given to him, divine power, anointing given to him by God. Grace means power or anointing, ability given to him to carry out whatever God has called him to do. So that is one meaning of grace. Grace is power and ability and so on.

Now, what does it mean here in Romans chapter 5 verse 20, where it says, where sin abounded, grace did much more abound? See sin is something that abounds. That means sin has an impact upon everything in this world. Sin is a terrible thing. Sin is an evil power, that when you allow it space, when you allow it to enter in, it gets into a person, destroys them spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically. And then it destroys his relationship in the family, husband and wife relationship is destroyed. Then it goes into his finances and that is destroyed. His work of his hands is destroyed. Sin has a pervading influence. That's the power of sin. It gets into every area of our life. It destroys everything about our spirit, soul, and body, in our family, finances, of the work of our hands, and everything that we put our hand in. Everything enters into a state of curse literally, as sin enters in.

And after affecting all of that it's still not over. It goes on because it affects the world in which we live because the world was created for man. The world also is affected because of man’s sin. That's what happened when Adam sinned. The world entered into a state of decay and corruption, the Bible says. So you can see the corruption in our body, in the world, in our married life, in our finances, in the work of our hands, spirit, soul, and body, in every area of our life. This is the kind of impact sin has. Finally, it affects our world. And then ultimately, takes us to the grave and beyond the grave to eternal death and hell. That's what sin does. Sin has a very damaging impact when it gets in and begins to work.

And what Paul is saying here is where sin abounded when sin has an impact like that, pervading influenced like that, grace does much more abound. What he's saying is sin has an abounding nature. That means it spreads and spreads its wings over everything about us and brings it all under its power and destroys it. But where sin abounds, God has something to counter it. And that is called grace and grace abounds much more, Paul says. That means, the grace that God gives us to live in this world, in a world of sin, in this life, the grace that is given to us is the grace that abounds much more than sin. Whatever sin does, whatever damage sin can cause, grace can offset everything because the power of grace is much more than the power of sin. What sin destroys grace can undo. What sin damages, grace can repair. Grace has that kind of a power. And that is what we're going to study about. It's a wonderful thing to study at this time. All right.

But regarding grace, there are some misunderstandings in this world because people see grace as a New Testament subject mainly because of one thing. And that is they read the Old Testament, the Old Testament seems like it's a totally different thing. They don't see any grace in there sometimes because it's rules and regulations. It's law, it’s very stringent, very tough. If a man does this kill him. That kind of thing. And some people are startled by it and say, “What kind of God is He?” The Old Testament is like this because of the laws like that, they say.

But the New Testament to them, looks totally different. Here, Jesus is full of love and compassion, mercy, kindness. So they say, “Here is Jesus. Look at him. He's totally different.” So they decide, therefore, that the Old Testament is law and there is no grace. And New Testament is grace. And that is why there is that big change of mercy and kindness and so on. And they often use this verse to point that out. In John's Gospel chapter 1:17, For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Even I, at one time when I was studying, I used to think, here it is. It says the law was given through Moses, so the Old Testament’s about the law. Terrible. And grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, this is wonderful. So I saw the Old Testament as the law and the New Testament as grace. So we thought that Old Testament does not have any grace and the New Testament has all grace.

But later on, I found out this is wrong. The God we read about in the Old Testament, the God of Law, is the one who made this plan of salvation and sent His only begotten Son, Jesus and sacrificed Him on the cross of Calvary for us, in order to provide the forgiveness of sins for us and do the work of redemption.

It is not that the Old Testament God is a different kind of God, that He is a tough God whose got tough laws, and He goes by his law, and the New Testament Jesus is different from God. No, no, no. In fact, I want to show you today that is why the first session that we have today, I've titled it is “Life Begins with Abounding Grace”. Whole world, life in this world began with grace. Grace is the beginning. Grace is the thing with which the whole world began. That's the way the Bible says it.

So let's get this confusion out of our mind. The confusion of thinking that grace is a New Testament subject and it has nothing to do with the Old Testament. And the Old Testament is just law. It is not so.

So let us go to the Old Testament today, and let's go to the very beginning. And I want to concentrate on the first three chapters of Genesis. And there I want to show you that there was grace there and you can see grace there. And I want to show you grace in the first three chapters in eight different ways quickly.

The first way, where you see grace there in the Old Testament is this. The very first revelation of God's grace is seen in why God created everything. Why did God create everything? Now, as you know, Moses writes this portion of the Bible and you need to understand why he wrote it. Because a lot of people look at the first three chapters as a creation account, written to tell us about creation, how the world came to exist. Well, true. It tells us about the creation, how the world came to exist, but it was not written like a science book telling us how the world came to exist. It is not written like even a history book telling us how the world came to exist. It is written from another vantage point, with another purpose and that is, the people of Israel had spent 430 years in slavery in Egypt and they had just been delivered from the bondage to Egypt after 430 years. In 430 years, they have forgotten a lot about God. They have been far removed from the God of their forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So now having brought them out with the mighty hand and delivered them from the bondage to Egypt, Moses now wants to write the whole story in such a way that they will begin to understand what kind of a God this God is, the God of their forefathers. They know His power because they have seen it in the plagues of Egypt. They have seen it as they crossed the Red Sea, and the sea opened up before them. They have seen it as the Egyptians drowned in it. They've seen it as manna came from heaven. They've seen it as the rock brought forth water. But they don't know the nature and character of God. They don't know the personality of this God. They don't know what kind of a God this God is. That is what they don't know. And in order to let them know what kind of a God their God is, Moses is writing here.

And what does Moses say? Moses has got this thing in mind that he wants to convey what kind of nature and character God has. That's the reason he's writing. Not just history, not just scientific account of creation. It's all about him wanting to tell people, “Hey, the God of your forefathers is this kind of God. See His heart, see His grace, see His love, see His mind, see what He was thinking about you. This is the kind of God that you have.”

Now, therefore, when you look at this, one of the questions that is asked about creation, by philosophers over the years is, “Why did God create everything?” God could have left without creating anything. Why did God create everything that we see today? It seems like He created everything with good intention, but now his intentions have been ruined. Man has sinned, so dragged the whole earth into sin and curse as a result of his own sin. Everything is in a mess. And that's why we're in a situation like this. Sin, this evil power that has come in now is pervasive and it affects every aspect of human life. The whole world is affected by sin. Does God need this? Why did God create?

Why did God create? Have you ever thought of that? A lot of people give lot of reasons. Some people even give reasons, such as that God felt some kind of loneliness in this earth. And that is why He created human beings so that He can have somebody. Well, if He is God, loneliness cannot be his problem. God is beyond all of that, my friend. God doesn't need anybody. He exists on His own. And He's doing fine without us. He doesn't need us. He did not create us because he needs us. Then why did God create?

We never asked. We never begged God to create us. He created us. It came from His mind, His thought. He wanted to create. He created because He wanted to create. Why did He want to create? Does He not know that there'll be problems if He creates? That man will sin, man will commit high treason, go against him, push Him out of his life and try to live his own life and be the god of this world? Does God not know all this? Why did He take the risk?

Seems someone asked a guy who did not marry at all and was now getting old and said to him, “Why did you not marry in the first place?” And that guy said, it seems, “I didn't marry because I thought about this whole thing. I thought the wife that I marry will give me a lot of trouble. What if she gave me a lot of trouble and our relationship failed, and our marriage failed? And plus, even if that succeeded, my children may not turn out good. They may not study well, they may not amount to anything. They may turn out to be very evil and bad, give me a lot of problem. I thought about all that. Plus, I thought also about financial situation, whether I will be able to support them, do everything the satisfactory way for them. So all of this is a big risk. That's why I never got into marriage. I just wanted to live out my life alone.” Now that's a man who just lives depending on his mind and his strength. That's all he's got. He doesn't think beyond that. Therefore, he thinks inability. He can't do it, he thinks.

But we're talking about God. God is not thinking about all the risks and problems involved and what kind of trouble He could have because God is a God of grace, ability, power. He can do anything. Therefore, if any problem comes, He can fix it. Even people that get married in this world, which is most of the people that get married in this world, you ask them… In our country, in Tamil Nadu particularly, they even threaten people say. They have a saying in Tamil saying [Tamil 00:16:20], it says. Get married and see. They threatened people. Get married and see. You’ll know then.

Well, nobody seems to listen to that. Everyday people are getting married. They're not threatened by it. They say, “Well, I'll see. I'll get married and see.” They've got some confidence because they're made in the image and likeness of God. So they know when it comes time to get married, they want to get married, they know all the risks involved. They know that sometimes it may not work out. They know that children may not all be perfect and so on. They know that so many things could fail in a marriage. Yet, they take on the challenge. They feel like they can fix anything, that they can manage. They can somehow make it work. That's why they get married with a hope. Because they're made it the image and likeness of God, that kind of faith and hope is there naturally in man.

Just imagine God and how He looks at the whole thing. God didn't shy away from creating because there was risks involved. God created because He wanted to create, without nobody asking, without nobody demanding, without any need being there. Out of the abundance of His grace, He wanted to do something. Therefore, He created. So when you look at why the world is created, you see God's grace. That's one thing.

Secondly, when you look at how God created everything, and then said at the end of each thing, He created He said, He saw that it was good. That's a very wonderful statement. Occurs about half a dozen times in Genesis chapter 1. Moses deliberately inserts it so that he can convey something through it. He wants the people to see it. God saw that it was good. The Bible says in chapter 1, verse 1 in Genesis In the beginning God created the heaven on earth. Verse 2 says, The earth was without form and void. That means it was formless and empty. In that formlessness and emptiness, God entered in there and brought order. He fixed it in such a way that everything worked together, became functional, and it served a purpose. That's how He set up everything. And every time He made changes, every time He fixed things, He said, “It is good. It is good. It is good.” Why did He say, “It is good”?

It's not like we would do sometimes. We’ll paint a house and we don't know how it's going to be turning out. So we just do it, not knowing how will it look? Then when it's done, we see and we are surprised, say, “Wow, it's good. Nice.” That's not the way God did it because God knew before He did anything that it will turn out good. He knew exactly what His creation will be like. He knew that it will be good. So He’s not one that is surprised and saying, “Oh, it's good.”

He's not self-certifying Himself that He has done a good job. That's not the reason why He says, “It's good.” He’s not patting Himself on the back and say, “Well, You've done a good job.” That's not why He says, “It's good.” It's not that last time He tried it and it didn't work out very well but this time, it looks like it's good. He didn't say it's good because of that. All these silly reasons. Sounds very silly.

Why did He say that it is good? Why did He say it so many times? Why didn't He say it every time nearly? Every time He did something like He said, “Let there be light.” And it was so and He saw that it was good. Why did He say that every time He did something? He said it not because it's good for Him that He can enjoy light, that He can enjoy the birds and animals and the fish, the sun, moon, and the stars and the vegetation and all that is created.

It's not that it's good because He can enjoy it and He can have it. It's good because it's all going to go to man. It’s going to serve man. It's going to be useful for man. And it's going to function for men and make his life so good. That is what this whole thing about “it is good” means. It's good. It's good. It's good, He says. He saw that it was good. It's good because of what it will mean to you and I, when we live in a world like that, that's why He said, “It’s good.” So there you see the grace of God.

So first of all, you see the grace of God and why He created. He created because He wanted to create. He has confidence in Himself. He knows He can handle if any problem comes. He knows he can fix it. He can redeem it. He can do everything. There you see the grace of God. And you see the grace of God in the way He did it, calling it good, good, good, good, because there you see the abounding grace of God, the grace that abounds much more.

And then thirdly, we see God's grace in the fact that He created everything for mankind. Now look at the way it says it in Genesis chapter 1 verse 26. Then God said, “Let's make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Now here the most important words are these. Then God said. The word “then” is the most important word I believe. Why “then” is most important? Because until verse 25, He's been doing the creative work. He has been setting everything in order. The formlessness and emptiness was being fixed. He created the heaven and earth and then dealt with the formless, empty world to make it meaningful and purposeful, functional.

After having done all of that in first 25 verses, then God said, “Let us make man in our image and our likeness.” Okay. So that's wonderful to think about. That shows that before God ever brought man on the scene, He wanted everything fixed, everything done, so that when He came, there was no problem. Everything was already done and finished by the time he came. He will enter into a finished work, that God will finish all the work, that man will enter into it and live. That is why when man entered into it, the very first thing that he was introduced to as he entered into the life that God had made for him, as soon as man came on the scene, I think man would have asked God, “God, what's the program?” God said, “Well, six days I have now completed the work. You're the last creation. Now let's enter into the seventh day. It's a day of rest.” “Well, is there anything else to do? Is there anything for me to do?” God says, “There is nothing for you to do. We'll get to that later on. First, rest, because I've done everything for you.” That's the kind of world that man entered into. And that is amazing. That shows the grace of God.

Plus you read verse 29 and 30. In verse 29 God says, “Behold, I have given you every plant-yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in his fruit. You shall have them for food. Notice the words “I've given you”, “you shall have them”. It's for you I have created, He says. This is all for you to enjoy, it's you to have. I have given it to you, you shall enjoy.

Then the next verse says, And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so. So God created everything for man. Everything in this world was created for man and everything was provided. And then finally, verse 31 says, And God saw everything that He had made, behold, it was very good. Now this time it's not just good. It was very good. Why it's very good? Because it's all functional, all serves man. It's all good for man. Man can have a good life. That's why God says it's very good. There you see the grace of God.

Did man ask for all this? Even if he asked, he wouldn't know what to ask. Even if he asked, he wouldn't know where to begin to ask and what to ask. Before man asked and without man asking God thought about everything in His infinite wisdom and provided everything and there you see the grace which abounds much more, amen?

And then fourthly, you can see God's grace in the creation of the woman. Now this is mentioned in the second chapter, verse 18. Genesis chapter 2 and verse 18, Then the Lord God said, “It's not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.” God says it's not good for a man to be alone. Man didn't go and ask God and say, “God, when are You going to fix me a woman? When are You going to give me a woman? I need a companion. I cannot live alone. Look at all the animals. They're all in pairs. I'm the one that's lonely here.”

It's not that he felt lonely, he went to God and appealed to God and prayed to God and got a wife. God came to him and said, “Well, it's time to have a wife because it's not good for you to be alone.” Man should not live alone in this world. He needs a companion and therefore, He gives a woman to him.

Here is something that God gives without man asking, without man even thinking about it. Man is not even knowledgeable about it, but God gives him. That's the way Moses presents it anyway deliberately. He wants the people to see the goodness of God, the grace of God that brought everything into being.

So in doing so, in providing a woman for the man, He created a capacity for love and intimacy that Adam, on his own, would have never experienced, would have never had a chance to experience.

Just imagine. We live in marriage relationship today. What a wonderful, amazing thing it is. That without us asking, desiring, without us planning, even if we planned for our lives, we would not have planned such a life. We wouldn’t know what to plan. But God planned it. That's why it's so good. It's filled with so many pleasures. And one of those things is the marriage relationship.

He created the experience of man and woman living together producing children. Just ask people who have been married and have had children and the joy of having a family, raising children, bearing children, raising children, see them grow up. They will tell you what it involves, and the pleasure and the joy that it brings to them. So with the creation of man and woman came the ability to enjoy life in its fullest expression. God wanted man to enjoy life in the fullest possible way. That's why He provided everything in abundance and everything he needed to thrive and flourish and encouraged them to enter into life and live it and enjoy it to the fullest. This is the Bible picture that Moses presents. Deliberately he is writing like that.

So he says, “Why did God make everything? Why did God make man? Why did God make the earth? Why did God make the universe? Think about it. It will show you the grace of God, the abundant grace of God. Why did God call everything that he made “good”? Think about it, it'll show you the grace of God. Why did God give everything to man, made everything and made it for man and give it to man to enjoy? It will tell you about the grace of God when you think about it.” These are the points that he gives to the people. These are the things that he wants to bring up before the people. And fourthly, he says, “You think about why God gave man a woman, as a companion, family life. Think about it, because that will show also the grace of God. That will reveal to you the abounding grace of God.” All right?

And fifthly, we see God's grace in the responsibilities that God gave to man and woman. What did He do? In verse 28 of chapter 1, a very significant verse, very important verse, we read this. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion. I want you to notice two words there, “subdue” and “dominate”. Subdue and have dominion.

“Have dominion” is talking about rule. He is telling man to rule. He has placed man as second in command next only to Him. There is nothing above man except God. Everything is below man. Man is the wise regent, the great governor of everything that God has created. That's the position He gives him, a position of authority. He says, “Dominate, rule.” Dominion means to rule.

And then he says, “Subdue.” What does “subdue” mean? When things go wrong and things act up and things go berserk and don't function in the way they ought to function, you bring order into it. And He has shown how to do it. That's the whole thing about first chapter. There was formlessness, and emptiness and God brought order. He says, “Follow that. And now, you do it. You rule it and you subdue everything and bring it under your control.”

So God gives man not only the position of authority, where He sets him up like a king, ruler, over the creation, but He also gives him the responsibility for everything in the word “subdue”. He gives them a great responsibility to govern the whole thing and keep it in order, and so on. So there you see the grace of God. Did man ask for it? Did man imagine it? Would man even have the understanding to even think about anything like that? But God sets man up in that high position.

Sixthly, here is something very important here. We see God's gifts of grace; the good things that God has given to man and the responsibilities that God has given to man. They were innumerable. The gifts of grace given by God to man were innumerable. But His requirements were very minimal. There was only one rule. There you see the grace of God.

See, life was meant to be lived in grace my friend. What is grace life like? It is not a rule book life. If it was left up to man, if it was left up to our Christian people, they would have immediately printed a rule book and given it to man. “Adam and Eve here it. Rules here. These are our rules; our church rules. Our church order, this is it.” God didn't give a rule book. God didn't give countless rules. His blessings, the gifts of grace were innumerable. Could not count if you wished to do so. So many things God has given him as gifts of grace. Gave him great responsibility, great authority, all of that. But one only one rule, and that is found in the second chapter, in verse 16. The Lord God commanded man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” 

Isn't it amazing that God would give so much to man, bestow so many gifts of grace upon man, that he cannot even count it and then just get one rule. Just one rule, “Don't eat of this tree”. Of all the trees, you made freely eat. Don't hesitate, just go ahead and eat, He says. Of any tree and every tree, you can eat. But just this one tree, do not eat of it, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now when it comes to the New Testament when Jesus came, one man asked him, “Which is the greatest commandment?” And Jesus, without having to think at all, He immediately blurted out. He said, “The greatest commandment is that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, with all your strength.” That's the greatest commandment. He reduced everything into one. That's the greatest commandment. The 10 commandments are nothing but an expansion of this one commandment. An explanation of what happens when a man trusts in God and when a man respects God and honors God and loves God in that way.

How will he live? How will he live related to God? Out of the 10 commandments, the first four commandments are about our relationship with God and how we should act in our relationship with God. The next six commandments are about our relationship with men and how we must behave in our relationship with men. So, basically, it's only one commandment, Jesus says. Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, with all your strength. And when you love God like that, you will behave like this 10 different ways to explain how a man will be when he is putting God first and loving God and living for God with all his spirit, soul, and mind and strength. That's the way Jesus puts it.

What religion has done is terrible. It has taken this this kind of life that God originally wanted for a man and now it has produced a rule book life. So that now we look at the Bible as a rule book itself. When I was growing up, there are so many rules. Rules about what color your clothes must be, rules about how you can't wear any gold jewelry. But the second chapter of Genesis itself says that God made this earth and under that were gold mines that God had put. But they said, “Even one little jewelry you cannot wear. You will not go to heaven. It will disqualify you. You must hate gold. You can only dress one color. God is a one-color God.” Rules. And if you ask them too much, they'll say, “This is our church rule. Do this. Otherwise, you’re not wanted.” You cannot have any more than what you basically need because that's the rule. If you have one penny more than what you really need, you're a sinner. You cannot have more than two sets of clothing; one hanging on your body, another drying outside. This kind of silly stuff. I don't know where they got that from.

They've got a different view of God. I think they need to come back to Genesis 1, 2, and 3. I think they started reading the Bible somewhere from the middle, I think. That's why you shouldn't start anything from the middle. That's why every time I started teaching, I go to the first chapter. It’s better to go to the first chapter. But a lot of people love to go to the last chapters. But let's understand the first chapter first.

So we made it a religion of rules. We made it a religion, first of all, that is never meant to be. Christianity was never meant to be a religion. It was meant to be a relationship with God, a very living relationship with God, between a father and child, that kind of relationship. But we made it into a religion and we made it into a rule-book religion. We produce great rules. I mean, rule, rule after rule we have produced. For everything there was rules. How long should our dress be, how long should our hair be. Everything. Rule after rule. There was no end to rules.

It's amazing how man has taken it and messed it all up. Look at God. It shows God's heart. God gave so much to man, but gave only one rule. There was so much more beauty than man could ever enjoy.

If you travel to other parts of the world and even within our country, there's so much beauty to behold. You don't have enough eyes to hold that beauty. You don't have…  Your lifetime is not enough to behold the beauty that God has put in this world. One lifetime is not enough. Many lifetimes are not enough. You need an eternity to behold all this. There is much more food than man could ever desire or eat. That's how God has made this earth. But because we didn't read the Bible from the first chapter onwards, we read it starting somewhere in the middle, we have come up with ideas of poverty and lack and want and insufficiency, and all of that.

So God has given beauty more than we could ever imagine, food and every provision beyond anything that we could ever ask or imagine. God has given purpose. God has given intimacy in family life, something that we could have never dreamed up. God has given us uninterrupted fellowship with God. In the beginning man had uninterrupted fellowship with God. He was able to talk to God, fellowship with God, right? There was freedom, freedom to choose whatever man wanted to do. Even to live for God. There was no compulsion. God was not holding him by his neck, “Serve me or you're finished.” No, it's not like that. Man can choose. Man can reject God. That's the way God has set it up. Even to love God is something that man must choose. He has the freedom to determine. There was no strings attached. Grace in its purest form cannot have any strings attached. That's the way God has ordained everything. And it was all based on trust. God trusted man fully, gave everything the man. Man was expected to trust in God fully and walk with him. That's the way God had made everything.

So when you see that, when you see that God's grace as given so much, but given only one rule, never forget that. Only one rule. That shows the grace of God, what life was meant to be lived like. Life was meant to be lived in the grace of God, in the bounding grace of God, enjoying the many gifts that God has showered upon us, walking with God, loving God, serving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. That's the way life was meant to be lived. If you do that, then there is no rule necessary. If you loved your Lord with all your heart, your mind, your soul, and your strength, with all your strength, you don't need any rules. All the rules come into that.

All right. Seventhly, there is another way that grace is seen in the early chapters of the Bible. In the beginning, is that we see grace in the way that God responded to man's original sin. When man sinned, see how God deals with it. We underestimate sin always. The Bible says sin is pervasive. It has affected every area of our life. It has even affected the world we live in. The creation, all of creation is affected by sin. That's the way the Bible puts it. Our problem is that this corrupted world is all we know. And that we really have no idea of how bad it really is.

I heard about a certain kind of fish that exists in the underground rivers in Australia, they're talking about it. In the underground rivers, under the earth, there are rivers running and there is a kind of fish they found out called blind fish, it seems. Because they're blind. No way to see. When I was told about it, I felt very sad for it because it's blind. They said, “Don't feel sad about it because the fish doesn't know that it's blind. Because it knows only blindness. It has never had an eyes to see. It was born like that. It exists like that. And it hasn't even heard anybody say anything about something that is out there that you can see. So the fish doesn't know. Fish is all right.”

And that's the way man is many times in his sin, because he's come so far away from God, he’s far removed from reality, far removed from light. The only thing he knows is sin sometimes. And as a result, he doesn't even know how bad it is. He doesn't even realize the condition that he's in. That's the way he's in. That is the way the society is in many ways.

And what happened to man as soon as he sinned? He goes and hides. Look at the terrible consequences of sin. Man, who was fellowshipping with God and looked for God to come in the cool of the evening and fellowshipped with Him every day, but now he goes and hides. Look at the effect of sin. Shame has come in. And God comes and calls him, “Adam, where are you? And why are you hiding?” He finds him and asks him, “Why are you hiding?” He says, “Well, we were naked, so we are ashamed.” Shame came. And after shame, there was blame.

When God said, “Why? What did you do? Why did this happen?” You know what he said? Other people think he blamed the woman. No, he blamed God ultimately. He said, “The woman You gave me, she gave me a fruit to eat. And that's how this happened.” Not blaming the woman. He’s blaming God who gave the woman. And ever since Adam did that, till this day, God gets the blame for everything bad that's happening in this world. Everything, anything bad that happens immediately people talking about well, “It's an act of God.” The way some people talk about God, it looks like you need to lock up God because He’s the reason behind all the disaster, all the calamities. No, God is not. So God comes into such a situation. God comes in where man has sinned and he's in shame. And He’s in the blame game. He’s playing the blame game and what is His response?

His response is grace. Where do we see grace? Not only did He come and talk to man… See, man’s sin did not cut him off of God completely. His relationship with God is affected certainly. But God was still able to hear him. God was still able to reach him, talk to him. There was this connection, God's mercy. God asks him, “How did it happen? Why it happened? What did you do?” He inquires.

And then surprisingly, God… If you and I were God we would have probably said, “Thankless fellow. We gave everything. Out of our abundance of our grace we poured out everything; all the blessings and given him innumerable blessings, only one law. What a life we set up. And look at this what he has done, what a mess. So we'll get rid of man, get rid of the world. We don't need anything.” If we were God, that's what we would have done probably. But God doesn't do that. God does not kill man. God does not destroy man. God does not destroy the world. And God does not send man straight to hell for all eternity. No. What does God do? The Bible says that God pronounced a curse upon man.

In chapter 3, let me read you from verse 16. To the woman He said, God said, “I'll surely multiply your pain and childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” Oh, there's trouble here. What kind of curse? Pain is multiplied in childbearing. There’s supposed to be some pain, but it's multiplied many times more; unbearable to the point of risking one's life as the woman gives birth to a child. And the woman's desire shall be for her husband, but her husband will rule over her. God never intended that to be like that. But this is punishment that man will rule over her. That there’ll be some inequality in the relationship between the husband and wife. It will create some imbalance, damage to the relationship so that families are affected; family peace and life and enjoyment is affected. This is the punishment. This is the curse that has come upon men as a result of sin.

And to Adam, God said, “Because you've listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.” Now it's talking about hard labor, toil which is attached to work. Because the earth is cursed, there's going to be toil in work. Thorns and thistles will be produced.

And next verse says, verse 19 says, By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return. So there’s going to be tough time. The curse begins with, first of all, childbearing problem, husband and wife problem, and then problem with the work of your hands not being able to produce as easily as before. Work has become a labor and a sweat and a toil. And then finally, death itself in the end. But people say, “Well, curse is very bad. How can God do this? He cursed man. How can God curse man? We thought God only blesses, but God curses.” See, that's why you need to understand the Bible in the way that it's written.

The word curse, the meaning of the word curse is very important to understand. For example, let me tell you in the New Testament when Jesus came, He was teaching one day and He said, “Unless you hate your mother and father, you cannot come and follow me.” Hate your mother and father. What kind of teaching is that? People are upset. How come Jesus is saying you must hate your mother and father? Well, you got to be very careful with the interpretation. Because you need to understand it the way they understood it. How would Jesus say that you must hate your father and mother because God's word says, Honor your father and mother. It says the 10 commandments and the New Testament. Jesus Himself teaches about honoring the father and mother, about that particular commandment.

Then how would He say, “Hate your father and mother,”? So He doesn't mean hate them? What does He mean? If you look into the word “hate”, it's really saying, loving your father and mother more than you love God. And living for your father or mother more than you live for God. Don't do that, it says. If you're ready to hate your father and mother in that way, love them less than God, then you come and follow me. It's not saying throw out your father and mother, forsake your father and mother, don't support your father and mother. Bible doesn't teach foolishness like that.

Same way with curse. In James chapter 3, it says, How can you curse with the same mouth that you bless with? So it's saying you cannot curse. Mouth must be used only for blessing. True. But then people ask, “Why is God cursing here? God is cursing here.” Well, you should understand what curse means.

Look at what curse means. In the Hebrew language, “to curse” means to surround someone with obstacles or to render someone powerless to resist. It's to surround someone with obstacles, put things in his way so that he cannot move. One good example is that I would say it like this very strongly that every parent has at one time or the other, in this way, cursed his child. If you can use that word, then only you will understand. You will say, “Well, we never know.” In the biblical way I’m talking about. Because what is this curse all about? What is this to surround someone with obstacles or render someone powerless to resist, put some restrictions on him?

What happens when a child disobeys? A parent comes in and he says, “You go into your room. You cannot ride your bicycle, you cannot go watch television, you cannot play outside. I want you to be in your room for this whole afternoon. You cannot do anything. Well, that's a big punishment for the guy. He'll cry about it. Well, you cry, you cry inside. Be inside the room. Sometimes they just shut the room, so that he cannot come out. Be inside that room. See what they have done is they have surrounded him with obstacles. It is to render him powerless to resist, he cannot do anything about it. He’s caught, he’s locked up. He’s put in there, he’s experiencing punishment.

Is that bad? A parent does that to the child. In Hebrews chapter 12, it talks about how God chastens those He loves. If you want to understand Hebrews chapter 12 about God's chastening, you need to come to Genesis chapter 3. Here God is chastening. That's the way this cursing happens. This is not like cursing like you and I are thinking about. We curse somebody out, we wish them evil, we wish them be destroyed, we wish that they are dead. That's the way we curse, right? To curse mean that kind of thing. But God never did that. What God did was He surrounded them with some obstacles, there was some punishment given. And why that was important? Because he's the first man, he must be punished.

It’s just like, if you have four kids in the house, when the first kid does something, all the other kids are watching what is he going to get? What kind of punishment is he going to get? If you miss it with this kid, if you do not punish him rightly, then all the other three are going to watch it and think, “Well, we can get away with it also, because this guy got away with it. I know what my dad will do. He’ll do nothing, because we watched him as he dealt with the first one.” That is why it is important to deal with the first one correctly. Then the others will follow. They will understand. By giving the punishment here, they will understand what will happen to them. So punishment is given. That is the way the word “curse” is used in Genesis chapter 3. It's not like God is cursing him out, “You will never amount to anything. I don’t want you to amount to anything. I want you to be destroyed. I want you to be gone, forgotten, abandoned.” No, no, no. He was not doing that.

I would say, just like a father chastens a child, God does it. And I would say, I would go as far as to say and it is correct to say that it is God's act of grace. God is pouring out His grace upon him. Instead of killing him, destroying him, sending him to hell for all eternity, and destroying this whole world and getting rid of the whole thing, God is showing grace. He puts man under punishment and this earth because it was to serve him and provide them all the luxuries of life. It is also come under the corruption. It is under punishment until such time when it will be restored back.

So that is God's tremendous act of grace, if you think about it like that. Just like a father chastens his child. See, maybe you've never thought about it like that. Think about it. That's exactly what God did, exactly what God did. Sometimes we totally misunderstand the Bible and say, “Well, God cursed man, and that's what…” No, no, no. God's intention was never to curse man in such a way that he will amount to nothing, that he will never recover from the sin that he has gotten into. God's plan is a recovery plan. For that this is necessary that he must be punished in this way so that all others will know that sin will have consequences. When you punish a child, there are two reasons why you punish the child. You want to show the child that sin has consequences. Disobedience brings consequences. And the second lesson is obedience brings good things, freedom, blessings.

How do you show that? That's what God is showing. God is gracious. God is trying to restore man, give him time to live under this punishment so that salvation can come, and so on.

So the seventh thing is that when you see God deal with man who has sinned, Adam who has sinned, and you see how God deals with him, you see the grace of God, the abounding grace of God. None of us would have reacted like that. None of us would have expected anything like that. He gives them more grace than anybody could expect. It's grace shown to the undeserving person. Adam was totally undeserving but grace was shown.

 Finally, the eighth things is, the grace of God is seen in the promise that is given of a Savior. And that is in verse 15 of chapter 3. Chapter 3, verse 15. God speaking to the serpent says, I'll put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and her offspring. He shall bruise your head… The word “He” singular is used, referring to a person. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel. Talking about the seed of the woman. Someone is going to be born that's going to deal with this whole matter. He’s going to be representative of the human race. He’s going to be another Adam-like person. For the entire human race, He’s going to bear the whole brunt of sin upon Himself and die on the cross and provide forgiveness of sin. And in the process, going to crush the head of Satan and die on the cross, Satan crushing His heel. This is prophesied long ago; the very moment man sinned.

God didn't just curse man out and say, “Be gone. Be finished. Go to hell.” Yes, it says God cursed but I told you what cursing means. It's chastening in essence. But God did not even leave with just chastening, He gives the ultimate hope. That's what grace does. It gives hope. It's telling man that game is not over. It's not over until I restore everything back, until the Savior comes, the Messiah comes, until Satan's head is crushed, until these things happen and then man is restored back to me. And the whole earth is restored to perfect state and man is restored until sin is done away, Satan is destroyed until everything is put back in the way that God really wants it.

I'll tell you, my friend, I don't know how better to put it. But this is the grace of God. You and I are living under the amazing, wonderful, all abounding grace of God, the grace that abounds much more than we could ever imagine. You better thank God that you're living under the grace of God. That's why you need to learn more about the grace of God so that you can really apply this truth to our life and stand on it and receive the benefits of this grace and walk in this grace every day. And live in this grace.

May God help us to do that. Meditate on these things, these eight things, eight revelations of grace in the first three chapters of the Bible. Think about it. Particularly think about how God responds to the sinner inn grace. God didn't just curse him out.

Look at God's response and we'll talk about more of it in the days to come and the whole Christian life that is now lived in grace. It's an amazing truth. It will build you up, edify you, strengthen you, and cause you to succeed in this world big time and enjoy every blessing of God to the fullest. Let’s pray.

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