Last week, we saw that God created us for a specific purpose. Was it to “have fellowship with Him” because He was lonely and wanted “someone to love who would love Him back,” like a widow or widower might purchase a pet dog to keep her/him company? Don’t you feel sorry for poor God?
No, God created man with a three-fold, eternal purpose for living (working for Him to build His “family business”)—one overarching objective and two essential, supporting ones—in order for His eternal purpose to be accomplished. It would make sense that our best chance of living a fulfilling, satisfying life would involve discovering and pursuing, according to the Bible, our very reason for existing, would it not?
We saw that purpose for mankind is to:
1.) Rule as vice-regent over the earth and all it contains, as God’s representatives;
2.) Reflect the image of God, their creator, i.e, ruling just like He would rule, including looking and acting like He looks and acts.
3.) Reproduce and fill the earth with offspring, perpetuating that rule with descendants who have a vision themselves to join Daddy in this family business (Genesis 1:26-28).
All mankind naturally knows how to reproduce, #3. We are not nearly so clear about #1 and #2. What does it mean for man himself to live his life in light of this commission, currently, in the 21st. century?
However, before we can fully understand and appreciate the gravity of what God is calling us do, as well as the exciting opportunities that await us when we join Daddy at work, understanding the bloody, violent history of the business is necessary. How was it first begun? What were the highs and lows of the business? What is the prognosis for the business in 21st century America?
Some are saying its time has come and gone; there is no hope in this “post-Christian” climate for the business to be successful. Is that true? A very brief outline is in order.
The Bible tells us that God’s business of ruling over the earth through man began, of course, in the Garden of Eden. The start-up there had a very rocky beginning, as it was derailed almost immediately at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
There Satan deceived Adam, God’s newly installed president in His fledgling business enterprise, into renouncing God’s leadership and following Satan’s, In doing so, he surrendered to Satan the authority to rule that God had given Adam when he was created.
That authority to rule only came to Adam as a result of his child-like, dependent faith in God alone for everything. It is called “living (ruling) by faith” in the Bible. At the Tree, Adam rejected this life of faith and adopted Satan’s way to live instead—by determining for himself what he should or shouldn’t do, what we would call “living (ruling) by his own free-will.”
Satan thus succeeded in accomplishing a hostile takeover, capturing, through deception, Adam and everything over which God had given him to rule—the whole earth. Paul says Adam, and we who were “in him,” became Satan’s slaves by following him and obeying him rather than God (Romans 6:16). Satan became, legitimately, in the court of divine justice, “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
However, “in the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4), God sent His Son, the “second man, Jesus” (1 Corinthians 15:47) to earth as a man, to fix the mess “the first man, Adam,” had made of the job. The authority to rule on the earth, now seemingly lost to man by Satan’s victory at the Tree, was suddenly in play again. God had not abandoned His plan for man to rule over the earth. He sent another man, His own Son, the Son of Man, to take Adam’s place as God’s “company president in exile.” In this legal counterattack, God sent Jesus fully armed for battle with nuclear weapons—love, grace and mercy!
With Adam, Satan’s temptation at the Tree had been to “be like God (even though you are not!).” “You don’t need God to do your job of ruling. You can make all the right decisions yourself, independently, apart from the Father, completely on your own.”
With Jesus, Satan’s temptation in the wilderness was the same. He stuck with a winner—with a slight modification. This time the temptation was “to be like God (why not, because You are!). You don’t need God (the Father) to do your job of ruling. You can make all the right decisions yourself, independently, on your own, because You are already God, the second person of the Trinity. You will do the job perfectly!”
Jesus is said to have been “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Could this somehow be what that verse is talking about?. That statement has always seemed to be a bit specious to me, even meaningless. Using Jesus as my example as to what I should and shouldn’t do makes no sense. Jesus has too big a head start. For just one day I would like to take a crack at living with no sin nature!
No, this verse does not refer to the obvious, outward fruit of sin, the sins of the flesh with which we are most familiar. This verse is referring to the hidden, root of all sin, planted at the Tree in the mind of one who, like Jesus, had no sin nature. So, this sin was a genuine, overwhelming temptation to Jesus, just as it was to Adam, and therefore to us as well. How so?
When Jesus came to earth, He was the eternal, Second Person of the Trinity, “very God of very God.” But He came as a man, created as a man in Mary’s womb, to live as God originally created man to live—by trusting Daddy for everything—and to do what man was created to do—to rule over the earth. His rule was never to be by his own wisdom, insight, understanding or power, but by complete faith in Daddy for every thought, word and deed, just as man was created to live.
Can you see how the temptation for Jesus when Satan approached Him in the wilderness is exactly the one you face on a daily basis? Read Matthew 4:1-11 in light of this week’s posting and see if you can see what Satan was tempting Jesus to do. How are you tempted the same way? Hint: In this passage, Jesus is quoting the Scriptures, not to Satan, but to Himself, to remind Himself of its truth. Next week, I will give you my take on this issue in Part 2 of the Family Business history.