Saturday, February 11, 2012

Creation Matters to Salvation

I suppose everyone has that one thing that makes it so hard to bite your tongue when you hear it. Maybe you’ve just overheard the conversation of two total strangers and you’re arguing with your inner-self over whether to speak up or not. Or maybe someone on television says something and you just can’t help talking back to them as though they can hear your passion and reasoning. . . .

For me, that “one thing” is when Bible-believers deny the Genesis account of Creation. I know there’s a group of readers who just rolled their eyes. Maybe you think this Old Testament stuff isn’t important – what really matters is Jesus and spreading the gospel. Maybe you feel the debate over Creation and Evolution is pointless, even silly. And the last thing you need is to be dragged into an argument that can’t be won.

But the Bible is jam-packed with passages saying Divine Creation is very important to God. You can’t really read the Psalms, the discourse of God with Job, or the account of the Creation week in Genesis without realizing the Bible’s clear statement that God is the Creator. However, there are also New Testament passages I think most Christians overlook. The doctrine of Divine Creation plays a pivotal role in evangelizing un-churched people, both here and abroad.

Beginning with the four gospels, there is a notable difference in the writers’ presentations. John wrote to the Gentiles and begins his gospel declaring Jesus to be the Eternal Word, and Creator of the World. John 1:3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” On the other hand, Matthew, Mark and Luke were written to the Jews who were already well-schooled since childhood regarding God as Creator. Their familiarity with Genesis, Job, and the Psalms meant these gospel-writers could skip this lesson and jump right into arguing Jesus to be their promised Messiah.

This pattern is continued by Paul in the book of Acts. Whenever he preached to the Gentiles, he began by introducing God as Creator. Acts 14:15 “. . . you should turn from these vain things to a living God, ‘who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them’” And Paul says to those who “worship in ignorance” to an unknown god in Acts 17:24The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth . . .”

But when Paul spoke directly to the Jews, he omitted this fact. Here, he begins his sermon recounting the nation’s time in Egypt -- Acts 13:16, 17Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt . . .” And here is Paul reasoning with the Jews in their synagogue -- Acts17:3explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.’”

When witnessing to the lost, we need to follow the examples of John and Paul and begin with the beginning of the story – God created! Many Christians today fail to recognize how un-churched our country has become. We often assume everyone knows God is the Creator, but nothing could be further from the truth.

However, our biggest mistake is when we act or speak as if the whole issue doesn’t matter at all. For you see, one isn’t truly saved by believing in a false Jesus -- someone other than the true Jesus. And the true Jesus IS our Creator.

Colossians 1:16, 17For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

You can’t hope to win a lost soul by introducing Christ and not making it clear exactly who He is: by Him all things were created! Presenting a Jesus that is not our Creator, leads to faith in a false Jesus.

But for me, the most interesting Creation passage is found in the book of Revelation. We’re told throughout the New Testament to spread the gospel of Good News that leads to salvation. Here John shows us the doctrine of Divine Creation is critical to that gospel message.

Revelation 14:6-7And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.

From this single passage, it is possible to argue that declaring a gospel without saying “God created” is not really the complete biblical gospel.

So if we take the time to look honestly at these passages we will find the doctrine of Divine Creation clearly matters to the Lord God and to our eternal salvation. Therefore, it should greatly matter to every Bible-believing Christian as well. After all, could it really be that an all-wise and loving God would start His great book of divine wisdom and revelation to us with words that are trivial and unimportant?

Genesis 1:1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

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