by Scarlett Stough
Searching for our roots is a popular hobby for many people today. For some it is more than a hobby; it is a search for our beginnings to be able to understand our present. God has given us a peek into humanity's beginning through Genesis, the first book in The Holy Bible. He doesn't tell us every detail; but he does tell us everything we need to know about “in the beginning.” [Read Genesis Chapters One through Three.]
To have a relationship with God, the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, we need to know he created everything including us. We need to know he created us to have a purpose of becoming like God (Genesis 1:27). We need to know he set the standard for right and for wrong; we do not get to choose what is “right” for us. It is absolutely right or it is not. We do not get to choose the nature of truth; truth is fact no matter what we want or believe truth to be.
Some people teach that the law of God began at Mt. Sinai, given to the newly formed nation of Israel and applies only to the descendants of Israel. The book of Genesis, however, shows us that God gave instructions from the beginning--that sin, transgression of law, began in the Garden of Eden. The fact of sin is evidence of the existence of a law for the first family. Jesus validated God's law (Matthew 5:17-20; 7:21-27). The writers of the New Testament, the Apostolic Writings, taught obedience to God's law, not merely a letter of the law, what can I get away with type of obedience, but obedience that comes from a love of God and a love for our neighbor (1 Peter 4:12-19; 1 John 5:1-5).
When Jesus said he gave them a new commandment, he also said it was the old commandment (John 13:34-35). The new part was “as I have loved you.” There is no way to break any of the commandments without also breaking the law of love. The sacrifice of Jesus laying down his life for all people of all nations has meaning only in the context of all people of all nations coming under the sentencing of death for having transgressed God's law (Romans 1:18-32; 2:1-16).
His death does not give us license to choose for ourselves right from wrong; his death gives us freedom under his grace to choose to live righteously without fear of punishment for those failures every person has throughout a lifetime (Romans 3:21-31). The path to Eternal Life is through Jesus by his Atonement being sufficient to absolve every person of guilt through faith in him. We are given life by faith in Jesus' death in our place and in his resurrection; this faith leads us to show love through loving obedience (James 2:26).
Just as Jesus dying on the cross exhibits God's great love and both God's justice and God's mercy, so, also, a new life in Christ enables us to be forgiven when we stray and enables us to resist temptation as we endure in faith to the end of this mortal life. We live by faith, but we also walk by the Spirit who leads us to live in obedience to God's instructions to fulfill our purpose of being transformed into the likeness of God.