3/11/16 Jason about 25
Two very important things happened in the early chapters of Genesis that I rely on more and more to help explain the Gospel. Immediately after Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, Genesis 3:7 says "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked…" First, their eyes were opened to the existence of good and evil. Adam and Eve - and all people as their descendants - were given a conscience, an internal "referee" that impartially informs us of the existence of right and wrong.
This is so important to understand in a world that more and more tries to tell us that evil is relative to our culture or circumstances. Paul writes of the conscience in Romans 2, how "the requirements of the law are written on their hearts" - but I usually find it more helpful to explain how this basic foundational truth of our conscience was established all the way back in the beginning of the Bible, because it holds all people accountable to God no matter what time in history that we live or our religious background.
The second foundational truth is that Adam and Eve realized they were naked and "hid from the Lord God…" (vs.8) I find this very important to share because it vividly describes the affect of our sin on our relationship with God. It marks the beginning of a separation that leads to the eternal separation of hell. In a world where sin is thought to be relative, where what the Bible declares to be good or evil is increasingly declared by the world to be the opposite, hell is seen as an unjust punishment by an unreasonable God.
But it begins with a broken relationship. In a sidewalk witnessing conversation this week, a young man named Jason told me "I just don't see why any god would try to find little things we do wrong and punish us forever for it. To me it sounds like a scare tactic to control our behavior." Instead of taking time to explain God's holiness and love for justice, I felt it might be more important for Jason to focus on his broken relationship with God caused by his sin. True, the Bible says "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom", but it also says "perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18).
I told Jason that the Gospel is so much more than a way to avoid hell - we are offered a way to restore our broken relationship with our heavenly Father, a Father whose perfect love can cast out any fear.