God Comes to Mankind’s Rescue
1. What confidence can we have that God will come to the rescue of the human race?
JEHOVAH GOD, in harmony with the dignity of his universal rulership, works out seemingly impossible problems in a marvelous way. And after seeing the outcome, we say, ‘It just couldn’t have been done in any other way and have been so thorough, righteous and altogether good.’ (See Isaiah 55:9.) So, as the Bible shows, at the very time that the challenge to the rightness of his rule was made, God revealed that he would come to the rescue of the human race when he announced: “He [the seed] will bruise you [Satan] in the head.” (Genesis 3:15) As time went on, God would let men see the outworking of his purpose.
2, 3. (a) Who was designated by Jehovah God to be the promised “seed”? (b) For what reasons was he the logical one to be chosen?
2 Who particularly would be designated by God to be the “seed,” eventually to crush Satan’s head? Jehovah’s only-begotten Son! He was chosen as the one to serve for the primary settlement of the issue regarding the worthiness and righteousness of Jehovah’s rulership or sovereignty. Why this great one who was so close to Jehovah’s heart? Well, when Satan made his challenge it called into question the loyalty of all persons in the universe, right up to this Son of God. More than that, the question of loyalty would focus more on him than on any other one of God’s creatures, because he was the chief Son of Jehovah, next to Him in the universe. He had been coworker with God in making the universe. (Colossians 1:15-17) A challenger of God could say, ‘Of all the creatures who would be faithful in serving God, he should be.’ So Satan’s challenge brought this mighty Son of God into the limelight.
3 Furthermore, in the Proverbs, chapter eight, this Son, personified as wisdom, says, speaking of God’s creative work: “The things I was fond of were with the sons of men.” (Vs. 31) He deeply loved mankind. He gladly took this assignment to vindicate his Father, first out of loyalty to Him and, additionally, out of the love that he had for mankind.
4. Why could God not ignore sin or let it go unaccounted for?
4 Now, in Jehovah God’s love for humankind, could he condone the wickedness that Satan, along with Adam, had brought into the universe? Could God say to any sinning individual, ‘Well, I like you and want to show you mercy, so I’ll just overlook your sin’? In harmony with his justice and righteousness he could not ignore sin and let it go unaccounted for. If he should do this, he would be undermining the foundation of his government.—Psalm 89:14.
5. What happens to government when lawlessness is condoned or lawbreakers are allowed to get by with their lawbreaking?
5 We have an example of the results of being “soft” with, and, in effect, condoning lawlessness, in some nations of earth today. They have in many cases been slack and not zealous to act against wrongdoers. Criminals have been let run loose. The result has been that people lose faith in the governments and everything finally breaks down. The Universal Ruler will not let that take place with his laws.
6. How do the prophet Habakkuk and the apostle Paul point out that God does not overlook sin?
6 Accordingly, Jehovah the Universal Sovereign, in his responsibility to uphold law and order in the universe, does not overlook sin. “God is not one to be mocked.” (Galatians 6:7) At Habakkuk 1:13, the prophet says to Jehovah: “You are too pure in eyes to see what is bad; and to look on trouble you are not able. Why is it that you look on those dealing treacherously?” Only for a good purpose and for a relatively short time has he let wrongdoing take place. Really, the way that God has decided on is the only way that he can genuinely help mankind.
A LEGAL PROBLEM
7. (a) How did Adam “sell” humankind into slavery to sin and death? (b) How does Psalm 49:6-9 express man’s helplessness to deliver himself?
7 Adam had sold his future offspring, without their consent, into slavery to sin and death. The price he received for the “sale” was the selfish doing of what he wanted to do, stepping out in rebellion against God. (Romans 7:14) Man’s helplessness in getting free from enslavement to death is expressed in the forty-ninth Psalm, verses six to nine: “Those who are trusting in their means of maintenance, and who keep boasting about the abundance of their riches, not one of them can by any means redeem even a brother, nor give to God a ransom for him; (and the redemption price of their soul is so precious that it has ceased to time indefinite) that he should still live forever and not see the pit.” The price was too precious, too high, beyond the reach of all mankind. As far as imperfect man’s ability was concerned, relief was so far away that it was “to time indefinite,” actually beyond hope. So, if man was ever to be delivered, God had to act to make provision.—Compare Psalm 79:9.
8, 9. In order to maintain the dignity and righteousness of his government, what did Jehovah God have to do to help humankind?
8 In order to have dealings with those who were born in sin, though it was through no fault of their own, God had to have some legal basis on which to deal with them. (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12) Otherwise, all men would have to die forever, since God’s law required that sinners be removed from the universe. Only the sacrifice of another man, a perfect one, as a “precious” price, could buy back what Adam had lost.—1 Timothy 2:5, 6.
9 Accordingly, Jehovah needed someone—one whose sacrifice would be the legal basis—through whom he could deal. Just as a human government could not properly negotiate with criminals, so Jehovah God could not deal directly with sinful people and still maintain the dignity and righteousness of his government.
10, 11. In forgiving sins and declaring people righteous, how did God demonstrate (a) his own righteousness and justice? (b) the badness of sin, and his own mercy?
10 By establishing this legal basis, Jehovah would be able to demonstrate the rightness of his universal rulership, showing also the extreme badness of sin. At the same time he could show mercy to humans. The apostle Paul expresses it:
11 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom paid by Christ Jesus. God set him forth as an offering for propitiation through faith in his blood. This was in order to exhibit his own righteousness, because he was forgiving the sins that occurred in the past while God was exercising forbearance; so as to exhibit his own righteousness in this present season, that he might be righteous even when declaring righteous the man that has faith in Jesus.”—Romans 3:23-26.
12. What problems confront a man who desires mercifully to bring an “undesirable” into his family as a member? (Romans 5:8)
12 We could illustrate, from everyday life, the reasonableness and legality of God’s dealings. Say that a man, a householder, has an upright, clean, obedient family. He knows of a young man in jail, with a large fine against him, for some wrong that he has done. This young man has been in bad company and has learned bad ways. However, the man believes that he can help the prisoner and eventually rehabilitate him. In justice to himself and his clean, respectable family, he cannot bring him immediately into his home and make his family associate with the young man in this condition. What, then, can he do to help?
13. What steps could the man take to make the young man a fitting and legal member of his household?
13 The man could get a friend to pay the fine that would release the court’s judgment against the prisoner and get the court to give him custody. After proper training and discipline of the young man the friend could turn him over to the householder in a condition of rehabilitation, so that he could be accepted as a clean, respectable member of the household. Thus all legal requirements would be fully met. The householder would have been completely just and righteous in his dealings, and mercy would have been shown to the young man.
14. On what basis does God reconcile the human family to himself?
14 Actually, God deals with the human family through his Son, Jesus Christ, who acts as Jehovah’s representative in the matter. Those obedient to God’s arrangement come to have a legal standing with Him. They are redeemed and reconciled or brought into harmony with God. (Colossians 1:13, 14, 20) They gain a personal relationship and are able to call upon Him as “Father.”—Matthew 6:9.
GOD’S SON COMES TO EARTH
15. Why did God’s Son have to be sent to earth?
15 God’s Son, therefore, was sent to earth—to become a human, born of a woman. He could serve for the test of integrity here on earth, where the issue was raised. He could also be the ransom price for humankind. By miraculous birth through the virgin Mary he became a human son of God.—Galatians 4:4.
16. (a) How was Jesus born as a perfect child when he had an imperfect mother? (b) Why did Jesus, when a child, and also later, need special protection?
16 This son was born of an imperfect woman, but was himself perfect and unblemished. His perfect life was transferred from the heavenly, spirit realm to Mary’s womb. The angel Gabriel had announced to Mary: “Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.” (Luke 1:35) The holy spirit of God put a wall of invisible power around Mary, so that Jesus Christ would be born a perfect baby. Satan the Devil would, of course, have desired to destroy or damage that Son before he was born, if possible. Consider his later attempts to kill Jesus, as revealed at Matthew 2:7-16 and Luke 4:28-30.
17. How do the Scriptures show that Jesus maintained his perfection right down to his death?
17 Jesus, throughout his entire human life, remained in that perfect state. He was “loyal, guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners.” (Hebrews 7:26) Jesus’ life course on earth settled the question of integrity to God beyond doubt, perfectly, completely. He said, before his sacrificial death: “The ruler of the world is coming. And he has no hold on me,” and, “Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world [the Devil] will be cast out.” (John 14:30; 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4) Satan was never able to make Jesus Christ give in under pressure, therefore he had no hold on Jesus, no valid charge that he could bring against Jesus. Jesus had “conquered the world” by refusing to fall into sin with it.—John 16:33; 8:46.
18. (a) Why was Jesus’ righteousness when he was on earth not a gift? (b) If anyone else of humankind is declared righteous, why is it a free gift?
18 The apostle Paul declared of Jesus: “He learned obedience from the things he suffered; and after he had been made perfect he became responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him.” (Hebrews 5:8, 9) So it was on Christ’s own merit that God declared him righteous at the end of his earthly course. He was resurrected to life in the spirit, “declared righteous in spirit.” (1 Timothy 3:16) He was qualified and installed in heaven as the perfect High Priest on mankind’s behalf. God did not have to grant righteousness to Christ as a gift, for as a sinless human, he both had and retained a righteous standing with God from start to finish. That was why Jesus’ sacrifice was perfect and could serve as a basis for other men to be declared righteous. If others are declared righteous it is not on grounds of their own righteousness, but it is on the basis of the atonement sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In their case it is indeed a gift to them.—Romans 5:17.
19. What position does Jesus hold with respect to those who want to serve God?
19 By this faithful course Jesus qualified to become the advocate of all who desire to serve God. The apostle John wrote: “If anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper [or, advocate] with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one. And he is a propitiatory [covering] sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 2:1, 2) He is also called a “mediator between God and men.” (1 Timothy 2:5) The Devil has tried to find fault with God’s servants from the time of Abel the son of Adam. Satan is called “the accuser of our brothers . . . who accuses them day and night before our God.”—Revelation 12:10.
20. As advocate and mediator, what has Jesus done in behalf of God’s servants?
20 So, in the legal contest, Jesus Christ has appeared before God as an advocate at law. When faithful servants of God have made a mistake, committed a sin, Jesus has presented evidence before God as the Judge that they are not worthy of death—that his propitiatory sacrifice covers their mistakes and sins. He has shown that their intent was to do right even in the face of their imperfection. (Romans 7:15-19) He has called attention to their acts of faith and their calling on God in true repentance when they have sinned. (Hebrews 6:10) They do this all on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice. (John 16:23) And God accepts Jesus’ intercession for them.
HOW JESUS GETS “CHILDREN”
21. (a) How did Jesus, the one man, give his soul “a ransom in exchange for many”? (b) Why is he known as the “last Adam”?
21 When Jesus was on earth as a man he had the power to have a family of his own by natural human means. He did not bring forth that family, but gave up that potential in his sacrifice. As he said: “The Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Jesus therefore became the “last Adam.” Adam brought forth a family, an imperfect one, with bad traits. Jesus Christ brings forth a family that attains to righteousness. Individuals can transfer from the family of Adam and be regenerated through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and, by putting on the new personality, can come to be ‘in his image.’ They can be cleaned up as sons of the “last Adam.”—1 Corinthians 15:45, 49.
22. (a) How does Isaiah 53:10 show the means by which Christ comes to have children? (b) Does Christ forever keep these children for his very own, or what?
22 Isaiah the prophet, by inspiration, described some of Christ’s sufferings and said, speaking to Jehovah: “If you will set his soul as a guilt offering, he will see his offspring.” (Isaiah 53:10) Christ does not get offspring through the natural method. But as the “Eternal Father” he brings forth a family with his traits, in the manner that Isaiah describes, because Jehovah “set his soul as a guilt offering” for humankind. (Isaiah 9:6) We must keep in mind, however, that Jesus Christ, after bringing them to human perfection, turns purchased and rehabilitated humankind over to Jehovah God, “the Father, to whom every family in heaven and on earth owes its name.”—Ephesians 3:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 15:26, 28.
RANSOM COUNTERACTS SIN
23. How can it be said that the ransom provided through Jesus Christ counteracts sin?
23 Summing up the matter, we can say that the ransom provided through God’s Son counteracts the sin of Adam. Adam’s sin brought everybody down. The ransom, of course, does not save every last human soul, but counteracts the effects of the sin innate in us. How? Every last soul who wants to get free from sin and imperfection can get these wiped out and become wholly clean. Even those resurrected from the dead will have the opportunity to avail themselves of the ransom. (Acts 24:15) Those who do not get life will be persons who do not want Jehovah’s rule over them. They do not love righteousness and hate lawlessness. They are self-condemned, adding their own willful sin to their inherited sin.—John 3:17-21, 36.
24. (a) In the end, will there be anything to show as an “accomplishment” of the rebellious act of Adam? (b) Will Satan’s efforts leave any lasting mark on the universe?
24 Therefore Christ’s atonement sacrifice, administered by his Kingdom rule, completely wipes out what Adam did. The last enemy, death (the death brought to mankind by the sin of Adam), will be brought to nothing. When death is wiped out, then all that Adam did—all that he brought on the human race—will not be here at all. There will not be anything at all left to show for Adam’s sin. (1 Corinthians 15:26, 55-57) And there will be nothing left to show for the sin of the Devil, because, as the Bible says: “For this purpose the Son of God was made manifest, namely, to break up the works of the Devil.” (1 John 3:8) Satan will have completely wasted his effort and lost his life. The shadow on the name of God will be totally erased. God’s name will be fully vindicated to all eternity and those who want his sovereignty will be there, alive, to his praise.—Psalm 150.
25. How should our hearts respond as we see what God has done to rescue humankind?
25 What loving-kindness of God! And what love on the part of the Lord Jesus Christ! We can say with the apostle: “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are and past tracing out his ways are!” (Romans 11:33) Regardless of what things the world may bring to cause doubts and assail our faith, through our having a true appreciation of these things we can exclaim, ‘Such a God is fully deserving of our complete devotion and service!’—See Philippians 3:8, 9.
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Before welcoming a wayward young stranger as a member of his household, the man of the house would want him to get cleaned up
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You were born with sinner Adam as your father . . .
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. . . But you can choose Jesus as your “Eternal Father”