“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”
Genesis 1: 31
Genesis 1 – 3
Happy New Year! So we have ended a challenging year, to say the least, and begin a new one. In 2021 we at St. Aidan’s, under God’s leading, have set ourselves a challenge of going through the Bible in a year. The Blogs will support this endeavor but I need to make a few points as we begin:
With all this in mind I will now make a start with a very much shortened blog for our first day. You will see from below that the blogs will follow the Inductive Bible Study Format. A question will be there at the end for you to consider and to even discuss with the Facebook Group.
In these opening chapters we witness the creation of the universe, our world, the animal kingdom and ourselves. Human beings were created male and female in God’s image with a responsibility to care for the created. Humans were to live in a relationship with God having everything they needed, provided. They could eat from any tree but were commanded not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (2:16-17); to do so would lead to death. The serpent tempted and misled Eve who ate from the tree and gave the fruit to Adam. The relationship with God was broken and judgement came which banished them from Eden and led to death. In God’s judgement though we see the first sign of hope for the future (3: 15).
There is so, so much in these three chapters that I think you will see what I mean by primary and secondary issues and the need to focus. Let me simply list a few then focus on one: God the Creator; the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit; creation itself; order from chaos; humanity’s role in stewardship of the earth; Satan; the principle of rest; sin and judgement; free will; death; being made in the image of God; and God's salvation plan. The one issue I will touch on in a little more detail is that of original sin, but from a perspective that you may not expect, that of gratitude and ingratitude.
Imagine if you will that you were Adam or Eve. You have just been created, you have met your creator and you have been given purpose. You are to enjoy a relationship with that creator and care for the beautiful world that He has given you charge over. You have a companion, you have purpose, freedom and joy. In God's words, "It is Good!" There is one negative command; don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for you will die. It doesn’t seem much to ask does it? Gratitude leads to happiness and praise of God. It links to belief, trust, faith and worship. It acknowledges that God, the creator, knows what is best for His creation. Ingratitude goes in the opposite direction. The serpent (Satan) twisted God’s Word and tempted Eve towards ingratitude. This broke the cycle of happiness and it made it seem like there was more that was being missed. Belief, trust, faith and worship were broken and the created believed they knew more than the creator. In Romans 1: 21-24 we read, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts.” When we do not thank or glorify God our thinking becomes futile, we think we know better and God gives us over, in our freewill, to our sinful desires.
Albert Mohler says, “We need to recognize that gratitude is a deeply theological act when it’s rightly understood. As a matter of fact, thankfulness is a theology in microcosm. You come to understand an entire system of theology, an entire set of doctrines and beliefs, by what the Christian believes about gratitude and this is thus the key to understanding what we really believe about God, what we really believe about ourselves, what we really believe about the world we experience.” The truth this principle demonstrates is the need to genuinely enjoy and glorify God. Praising Him brings His power into our lives and demonstrates our belief and trust in Him. It takes us deeper into our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ and leads us away from sin
The Question of Application
Can you see examples in your life of how ingratitude leads to lack of joy, belief, trust, faith and worship; therefore leading towards sin? Alternatively can you see how gratitude for grace leads to joy, belief, trust, faith and worship; therefore into Christlikeness?
Father as we begin this year grant us grace to see, with gratitude, your love and provision through Jesus our Lord. Turn our gratitude to praise, trust, faith and worship and so enable us in this endeavor to know you more. To your glory, in and through the name of Jesus Christ your Son and our Saviour. Amen
Praise my Soul sung by St. Aidan’s
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.