What does the Bible say about mankind?

What Do I Believe About: Mankind

I believe that God created humans in His own image. Mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. Mankind has no existence or life outside of the existence of the living God. God created both male and female to glorify Himself and gave them dominion over all creation. He created mankind with the intention of having an intimate relationship with us. God made the first man (Adam) from the dust of the earth and the first woman (Eve) from man’s rib. God told them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Before the Fall, man was perfect and blameless before God. When Adam sinned against God, shame and death entered the world (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:4-25; 3:1-7; John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6).

I believe that humans were created as moral beings with the freedom to choose good or evil. We know the difference between right and wrong. However, in mankind’s fallen state, even our best deeds are sinful at their core. There is no one, apart from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is sinless (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 2:14-15; 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

I believe that sin is man’s rebellion against Holy God—it separates us from having a relationship with the Father. Every person is deserving of eternal damnation for his or her sin, regardless of its type or severity. Sin’s effect on creation is all encompassing, from our very own minds to the movement of the cosmos. All of creation is groaning to be restored when Christ returns to make a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23; 8:18-22; James 2:10; 2 Peter 3:7-13).

I believe that humans were created as immortal beings; we will live beyond our physical death. Furthermore, every person will stand before Almighty God and give an account for everything they have thought, said, and done. The saints of God will dwell with God for all of eternity, while the unregenerate will perish in Hell for all of eternity. Everything we do in this life matters to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

I believe that God also created humans as whole beings—the division between body, soul, and spirit is indistinguishable. While there is certainly an existence apart from our physical bodies, this splitting or division is not what God intended for humanity. This is another tragic reality of mankind’s sin (Genesis 2:7; Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 10:28; Mark 12:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

I believe that every human is created equal, for God shows no partiality. Furthermore, men and women, though different anatomically and in their respective roles, are viewed as equals in the eyes of God. Within marriage, the husband’s role is to be the spiritual leader of his household and to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. The wife is to be submissive to the leadership of her husband, as the Church submits to Christ, our Head. Just as Eve was created to be Adam’s helper, so are wives to be their husband’s helper. Marriage is ultimately a picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:18-22; Romans 2:10-11; Ephesians 5:21-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

The Fragrance of Christ

The Fragrance of Christ

 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. 2 Corinthians 2:12-16a NLT


In the ancient days of Rome, whenever a military general won a major victory for the empire, he would be celebrated and paraded through the streets of Rome. One of the ways people would know that the triumphal procession had begun was the sweet smell of incense coming from the pagan altars throughout the city. For the people of Rome this was the scent of victory. There armies had prevailed over their foes! However, for those who had been captured in battle this scent meant utter defeat. It was the aroma of certain death.

The Apostle Paul said that we are the fragrance of Christ among all people (2 Corinthians 2:12-17). Take a moment to ponder this truth. We smell of our Savior. We are like perfume wafting all over the earth. The aroma testifies to the fact that Christ is victorious over sin and death. They are defeated foes! To some, we are the most pleasing fragrance that they have ever known. But to others, we smell as putrid as a rotting corpse. Either you want to wear the perfume for all of eternity or want nothing more than to rid yourself of the stench.

Brothers and sisters, if this is who we are in Christ then we be about going. We must go where the fragrance of Christ has never been encountered. In some parts of the world, they haven’t even caught a whiff of Jesus. The have no idea that Jesus has won the victory. The only thing worse than someone thinking the fragrance of Christ is revolting is someone never getting the opportunity to decide for themselves. The Lord is diffusing His people in all the world to make Christ’s name known. Church, what good is perfume if it never leaves the bottle?

What Will Heaven Be Like?

What Will Heaven Be Like? Part 1

I am sure that many of us have asked this question at some point. We all want to know what it will be like when we go to be with Jesus. I know that there are a lot of stories and movies out there about people’s near death experiences. Heaven is For Real is one that comes to mind. I find it interesting that so many Christians will go to see a movie about heaven instead of reading with God has already revealed about heaven to us in His Word. This week I will be sharing a few things that every Christian should remember when thinking about heaven. Here is part one:

There is no sin or death in heaven.

We know that the wages of sin is death, according to Romans 6:23. Death is the result of mankind’s sin. God created us as eternal creatures, made in His image. If Adam and Eve had not disobeyed God, they would have lived forever with God. Death entered the world in order the prevent them from living eternally in disobedience and rebellion towards God. God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden so that they would no longer have access to the tree of life.

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever— therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:22-24 (emphasis mine)

Notice that the Lord stopped Himself in mid-sentence. It is as if He couldn’t bear the thought of not being with His people for all of eternity. But, if nothing is done about our sin, we will still be separated from Him. This is why Jesus died for us. Eternal life can only be found in the One who suffered the eternal punishment for our sins, in six hours on the cross. If Jesus had not died and rose again, we would have no hope of heaven; we would still be in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).

But, because Jesus Christ is alive, we can live forever with Him if we repent of our sins and believe upon His name in faith. But make no mistake, if we do not trust in Jesus, we will not go to heaven when we die. We will go to a place of eternal torment called Hell. And it won’t be undeserved. Even one sin against the eternal, holy Judge of the universe demands an eternal, holy judgement. John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Heaven is holy because it is where our Holy God dwells. The reason that there is no sin in heaven is because there are no sinners in heaven, only saints (Revelation 21:27). Will your name be found in the Lamb’s book of life? Will I see you in heaven one day? If you aren’t sure, please send me a message. I would love to explain to you how you can be sure.


If you liked this post, come back tomorrow for Part 2: There is No Sorrow or Pain in Heaven.

 

chiang mai air pollution number 1

Is There Smoke in Our Lungs?

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen some of the posts I have made about the air pollution here in Chiang Mai. Most of the pollution is due to the burning of rice fields for future harvests. Today the pollution is especially bad. Chiang Mai is a city surrounded by mountains, but you cannot see them at all due to the smoke. If you have to be outside for an extended period of time, you most certainly need to wear a mask.

Breathing in this toxic air will make you feel sick and sluggish. But it doesn’t happen right away. It happens slowly—slow enough to where you can’t always perceive the harm it is doing to your body. I think the same can be said of sin in our lives.

There are certain things we know are not good for us and therefore, we avoid them completely. For example, we know it is sinful to cheat on our spouses. After all, it is the seventh commandment. But a flirtatious comment or joke with someone other than your spouse is okay every now and then, right? It’s not like your actually going to sleep with them or anything. You’re just playing around!

There might be smoke in your lungs.

Let’s look at another commandment, shall we? Obviously, we know it is wrong to murder someone. I mean, that’s number 6 on the list! But, what about that guy you despise at work. Don’t you treat a dead person better than you treat him? Okay, maybe that’s too harsh. Try this on for size. What about that “weird lady” at church everyone avoids? Do you treat her like a sister-in-Christ? Or in your heart do you wish she wasn’t a Christian? At least then she wouldn’t talk your head off for 10 minutes every Sunday after church.

There might be smoke in your lungs, friend.

Tell me if this describes you. You aren’t a “full-blown” sinner like those heathens out there in the world are. You don’t smoke or drink or cuss. You go to church every Sunday. You tithe. You even teach a Sunday School class. You’re squeaky clean from the outside. But, on the inside…your lungs are black. You don’t have a thirst for righteousness or a hunger to love others. You’ve been breathing in the pollution of the world and its desires thinking that it won’t have any affect on you. Now you are sluggish when it comes to prayer. You start to feel sick when you think of reading God’s Word. Your spiritual lungs have become so damaged that you can’t even utter an “Amen.” How did this happen, you ask? You traded the fresh, clean air of truth for the toxic fumes of lies.

But there is good news! Unlike the damage of real second-hand smoke, spiritual second-hand smoke is reversible. All you need to do is repent and Christ will be faithful to forgive you and cleanse you (1 John 1:9). Breathe in the pure Gospel that saved you. Inhale the grace of God once again that was purchased by the blood of His Son. And then breathe out new thanksgivings and praises to Him.

I may not be able to do much about the air I breathe in here in Chiang Mai, but I can do something about the sin I tolerate in my life. And that helps me breathe easy.

 

Burnt World Map

When Sin Goes Unchecked the Nations Suffer

Like yesterday’s blog, I was inspired to write after having seen something on my Facebook feed. However, today’s topic is not about an up-and-coming musician, rather it is a cautionary tale for up-and-coming ministers of the Gospel. News broke today that former Southern Baptist Seminary professor, David Sills (who resigned 9 months ago), resigned due to an inappropriate sexual relationship with former student, Jennifer Lyell, that lasted over a decade. If you would like to read the report, here is the link. I do not know either of the people involved, personally, but as a Southern Baptist, I do know people who do. Some of them have already shared with me about how shocked they were to find this news out. And since I do not know what really happened, I will not speculate beyond what information has been made public. All we know right now is that the affair began in 2004 while the two were on a mission trip.

Some people on Facebook were saying that it is insane that this man’s life is being ruined, while this “girl” (who is now in her 40s, mind you) gets off scot-free. One commenter said that “they were both consenting adults, so why does she get to play the victim?” First, we don’t know all the details. Second, although the student may have been 26 when the affair began, she was still a student and he was her professor. We cannot overlook the reality that Dr. Sills was someone she trusted and was viewed as an authority figure. The fact is, he failed her as a professor and he failed her as a brother in Christ, regardless of her willingness to participate. 

Listen folks, no one is safe when it comes to temptation. Not me, not you. Temptation doesn’t care how long you’ve been a Christian. It doesn’t care how many people you’ve led to the Lord. And it certainly doesn’t care about your Bible degrees and accolades. Sin is always crouching at the door—we must rule over it (Genesis 4:7). And when it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission, if there is any hidden sin in our lives, it will inevitably ruin our witness. If we want the people God is calling us to reach to trust us, we have to be trustworthy. I’m talking truly trustworthy and holy before God! This veneer of holiness will not cut it. Know that I am preaching to myself here, too. If we want to reach the nations for Christ, we must make a priority of killing sin in our lives with the Sword of the Spirit. 

My prayers go out to the hurting families, churches, and communities that have been and will be affected by this revelation. I find hope in knowing that God’s love can cover a multitude of sins, can heal all wounds, and can forgive the most egregious of wrongdoings. Even still, may there be a flood of justice within our churches and denominations as we seek to address more unchecked sin. It will be painful. It will be costly. But, ultimately, it will set us free.

Spare me the sound of your songs. I won’t listen to the music of your harps. 

But let justice flow like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Amos 5:23-24