|Topical Bible Study||December 1961|
God’s Plan for Man—Lesson XXII
Oneness with God Restored
MAN was created in the image of God, and before Adam transgressed divine law he was at one with his Creator. This state of harmony with God is described in the Bible as being in covenant relationship with him. Adam lost his covenant relationship with the Creator when he disobeyed one of the divine requirements upon which it was based.—Hosea 6:7, margin
Those who are in covenant relationship with the Lord are his friends, and they enjoy his favor. When Adam lost the favor of his Creator he also lost life, for no one can continue living in a state of alienation from God. But God did not hide his face from his human creatures forever, for his love provided redemption through Christ, making possible a return of divine favor.—John 3:16
Alienation from God because of sin, and the consequent evils of sickness and death, are symbolized in the Bible by darkness. The whole period of the reign of sin and death is likened to a “night.” Because of God’s love in providing a Redeemer from sin and death, this nighttime of sorrow is to terminate in a morning of joy.—Ps. 30:5
God gave the people of Israel an opportunity to recover themselves from adamic condemnation through obedience to his Law. If they could have kept that Law perfectly they would have gained the favor of God and life, but they failed.—Lev. 18:5; Gal. 3:12; Rom. 7:10
The failure of the Israelites to gain life by keeping the Law of God demonstrated the need of a Redeemer from sin and death, and Jesus was that Redeemer. (Rom. 3:23-26) Hence, it is through Jesus that mankind is reconciled to God, restored to harmony with him, and in a position to receive and enjoy his favor.—II Cor. 5:19; Eph. 1:10
The church class, the followers of Jesus, are, through faith in his blood, reconciled to God during the Gospel Age. These become associated with him in the work of reconciliation.—II Cor. 5:18
When the Law Covenant failed to give life because of the inability of the people to live up perfectly to its requirements, God promised to make a New Covenant with them, and this covenant will be extended to embrace all mankind. (Jer. 31:31-34; I Tim. 2:3-6) The Scriptures reveal that Jesus will be the Mediator of the New Covenant, and that his church, exalted to glory with him in the First Resurrection, will be associated with him as “ministers” of that covenant.—Heb. 12:24; II Cor. 3:6
It will be through the New Covenant that the world of mankind will be reconciled to God. The New Covenant will accomplish this divine objective because, through its Mediator, God’s law will be written in “the inward parts” of the people. (Jer. 31:33) This implies restoration to the original perfection and divine image in which Adam was created.
When the New Covenant shall have been fully made with all the people, both the living and those who have been awakened from death, the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth. (Isa. 11:9) No one will then be without an accurate knowledge of God and of his will.—Jer. 31:34
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if all the people loved and served the Creator, the true and living God, and were not plagued by sin and death? The answers to these questions reveal how and when such a condition will become a reality.
How do we know that Adam was in covenant relationship with the Lord before he sinned?
Can anyone live forever without God’s favor?
What is one of the Bible’s symbols of sin, sickness, and death?
How did God give the Israelites an opportunity to escape death?
What was demonstrated by Israel’s failure to keep the Law?
When will the New Covenant be made, and who will be its Mediator?
What will be the ultimate and complete result of the New Covenant, and when will this be fully attained?
“The Atonement Between God and Man,” pages 27-31.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
Man was created in the divine image, and, while obedient to the Creator, enjoyed his favor and blessing. Through disobedience he lost divine favor and was condemned to death. He is redeemed by Christ and will be restored to God’s favor under the terms of the New Covenant, of which Christ will be the Mediator.