Restoring Their Image and Likeness in Man

THE UN-REDEEMABLE SIN

The first people who committed the un-redeemable sin were Noah’s contemporaries, who were swept away by the flood (Genesis 7-8). To me, Exodus thirty-two, is one of the most important texts, in the Bible, that deals with the un-redeemable sin. The text warns us against damaging the “image of God” that can restore “God’s image” in man. And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation.” But Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord. Why does thy wrath burn hot against thy people, whom thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them forth, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou didst swear by thine own self, and didst say to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.’ And the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do to his people” (Exodus 32:7-14).

Moses, without referring to the second part in the covenant with Noah, took charge of his responsibility. Moses dealt with the violators and the transgressors of the First Commandment or the sin against God; namely, the Spirit. The sin against God or against the Spirit was and still is unforgivable. Later in the history of Israel, Jesus reaffirmed the concept, “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32). 

The calf was a direct insult to God. The whole generation, except Caleb and Joshua, was not allowed to enter God’s earthly kingdom, Canaan. The circumstances that Jesus faced were similar. The people were not accepting the redemptive work of God through Jesus the Christ. The result was that they were cutting themselves off from being present in God’s kingdom. Jesus told the people that they were on the edge of committing the sin, which cannot be forgiven. The answer is very simple and it can be illustrated by “cutting of the umbilical cord of life.” Once the cord is cut, life can no longer exist. The Jewish leaders were keeping the people out of God’s kingdom by cutting the umbilical cord or the Spirit of God out of their lives. Very much like in an abortion where the supply of lifeblood is cut; the Spirit of God, in a similar way, can be stopped from flowing into the human hearts. For such, there is no redemption and no forgiveness. I had that experience when I was severely burned in a fire. Every time blood was infused through my legs, I was revived and I began to breathe. The new blood was an enormous relief from choking or dying.

It was the danger of the sin, that cuts oneself off from eternal life. To start with, please note, this principle given to Paul the Gentile Apostle in Galatians, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7; NIV). The most important person, in the world, can be blasphemed and can be forgiven; but there is no redemption for the person who mocks or who interferes with God’s or with His Spirit’s redemptive mission. These human beings, who tried to stop the Spirit to carry out God’s redemptive work in Jesus, were bordering on blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Their interference, in any way, with the salvation of another human being put their own salvation in jeopardy. The writer to the Hebrews issued this warning, “For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries.” And, “How much more punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26-27, 29)

Sin is a deliberate act of disobedience to God’s Commandments. God’s Laws were never intended to condemn man, but God’s Laws were to keep man from condemning himself. That is why Jesus announced, “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18). At the Synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus turned to Isaiah 61:1-2 and announced that He was the one to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. We read in Luke, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus closed the book of Isaiah, handed it back to leader and said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 5:21).

Everything Jesus did was in accordance with the Scriptures and with God’s Words. Jesus saw Himself as an agent of God’s Spirit, “For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; for the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand” (John 3:34-35). Again, “It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). Jesus continued, “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (John 10:37-38). Jesus said, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). The sin against God’s Spirit was and still is the sin against God. To deny that God’s Spirit was in Jesus, doing God’s bidding to save man, was and still is unforgivable. Blasphemers are in danger of cutting their own umbilical cord of salvation.

Grace to man is a gift, but for God the Father, grace was a sacrifice. We celebrate Christmas and Easter for Jesus’ birth and Jesus’ resurrection. For us it began with John three, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. There is no judgment awaiting those who trust in him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God. Their judgment is based on this fact: The light from heaven came into the world, but they loved darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. They hate the light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the light for fear that their sins will be exposed and they will be punished. But those who do what is right come to the light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants” (John 3:16-21; NLT). What Jesus was telling Nicodemus is the plain truth, that man hinders himself from being saved because man is unwilling to end his relationship with sin. In that case, man rejects his own pardon.

For God, the sacrifice did not begin on Calvary, but the sacrifice began before the foundation of the world was laid. God knew that man would fall from grace and another Man, Jesus, would have to restore the relationship with God. In the mind of God, the sacrifice was, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). And, “the Lamb of God who was killed before the world was made” (Revelation 13:8; NLT). A member of the “Us” or the “I Am,” was sacrificed to save the world. That also means, that in God’s Son’s sacrifice, God, the Father, had all the souls and all the spirits predestine to be saved, by their own choice. We read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:3-4). God in Christ, His Son, created the opportunity for man to share eternity with the Son of God. God made Christ, “the way and the truth and the life; and without him no one can come to the Father” (John 14:6). It is the name of “Jesus” that is crucial in our faith. Jesus is the believer’s passport or the believer’s identification card to heaven. In Acts, we read, “There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). John writes, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave authority to become children of God” (John 1:12). The name “Jesus” stands for Savior, or “Emmanuel,” God with us (Matthew 1:23). To blaspheme the name of “Jesus” is the same as mocking God and that is unforgivable.

Among far too many Christians, there is a strong belief that grace and love have circumvented the harsh judgment for sin, and that grace has even bypassed the Law of God. Grace covers transgressions man can deal with, but not the blasphemy against God’s grace, that offers salvation to man. Paul, the Apostle of grace, tells us, “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.” Again, “We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin” (Romans 7:12, 14). Paul’s conclusion was, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” The Commandments: “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other Commandments, are summed up in one sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8-10). Paul’s grace did not circumvent the Law, but Paul’s understanding of grace outdated the traditions of the fathers, regarding their rituals and their sacrifices. Paul was consistent with Jesus arguing with traditionalist in Mark, “You leave the commands of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.” Jesus said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’; but you, ‘If a man tells his father or mother, what you have gained from me is Corban’ (which is a gift to God instead) – then you no longer permit him (rather make him) do anything for his father or mother; thus you make void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on as law. And many such things you do” (Mark 7:9-13).

The same application fits the abortionists. Abortionists void the Law of God to please their victims with a man-made or legalized ordinance to avoid being regarded as criminals. Abortion is legalized killing or murder, and there is no forgiveness for those that have instituted the right to abort because they place themselves out side the redemptive work of Christ. For those victims, that are duped into aborting without understanding, they may receive mercy, as the Roman soldiers did when they crucified the Lord. Jesus prayed for them, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Being human, we do make mistakes or what John called sinning (past tense), (I John 1:8-10), but if we continue in sin, then we are of the devil and we are not God’s children (I John 3:7-10). Christ has taken care of every human sin that can be forgiven, but not the sin that is directed against God or against His Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:30-32). Let us not forget that God is Spirit and that God demands the truth of us (John 4:24). We must, at all cost, stop stepping on God’s Grace and on God’s Love; for God cannot be mocked (Galatians 6:7). (Quotes from RSV, unless stated).