THE GOSPEL OF GOD
“THE SOUL WHO SINS SHALL DIE … ” EZEKIEL 18:20
“I WILL PUT ENMITY BETWEEN YOU AND THE WOMAN, AND BETWEEN YOUR OFFSPRING AND HER OFFSPRING; HE SHALL BRUISE YOUR HEAD, AND YOU SHALL BRUISE HIS HEEL.” GENESIS 3:15
GOD: HOLY AND GRACIOUS
In the Garden of Eden God commanded perfect and personal and perpetual obedience of Adam as the representative of all mankind. As the righteous King and Judge, God had the right to demand such obedience from Adam. He promised that if Adam failed, he would die. Adam sinned against God by disobeying him and so God, true to his promise, punished Adam and all mankind with death.
Because of sin, man has a three-fold problem: He is under the penalty of sin, being a guilty sinner, and so made liable to eternal condemnation. He is under the power of sin, being an enslaved sinner, and unable to break the bonds of sin. He is under the presence of sin, with a sinful nature, and therefore sin is always present with him.
But God is a gracious God and he did not leave all mankind to perish in the state of sin and misery. Rather, in grace God chose to save his people by Jesus Christ and so deal with the penalty, the power, and the presence of sin through faith in Jesus Christ.
Justification is God’s act of reversing the penalty of sin. Jesus Christ lived the perfect life that God’s law required. And he died the cursed death the law demanded. But through faith in Jesus, his righteousness becomes ours and our sin becomes his. So in justification, sinners though we are, God declares us righteous in his sight, absolved from the condemnation of the law, because of Jesus Christ.
Sanctification is God’s work of reversing the power of sin. Jesus Christ put to death sin, conquering it through is life and death. And when we come to Jesus in faith he gives us the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit strengthens and enables us more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness. No longer slaves of sin, we become servants of righteousness.