Our Great Need
Lesson 3

Through the senses Satan worked to successfully influence man’s mind. When, in defiance of God’s direct command, man chose to follow Satan’s suggestion, the way was open for Satan to gain control of his power of action. Made in the image of God, the human family lost their innocence, became transgressors, and as disloyal subjects began their downward career.

1. What was Adam promised would be the results of disobedience?

Genesis 2:17
Genesis 2:17

Note: A literal translation is, “dying thou shalt die,” meaning that upon the day of transgression sentence would be pronounced. In that day, man would pass from the status of conditional immortality to that of unconditional mortality. Just as before he chose to rebel against his Creator, thus separating himself from the source of life, he could be certain of immortality, so separated from Him, death became a certain reality.

2. What effect did this choice have on Adam’s children?

Romans 5:12
Romans 5:12

Note: While in the Garden of Eden, Adam stood before God as the head of the race. He represented every person who would ever be born. As partakers of his body and mind, all his descendants were, through the great law of heredity, affected by what affected him. As all of Adam’s children were born after his sin, they could only inherit that which their father had to give them, so were born with a sinful, fallen nature. Notice that it does not say that all men die because of the guilt they received from Adam, but because they sin. It was not guilt from Adam that his descendants received, but a weakened, sin-loving nature. Yielding to Satan’s suggestions, our first parents opened the floodgates of evil upon the world. The evil that began in Paradise has extended down through the ages.

3. What was fallen man’s attitude towards God’s law and authority?

Romans 8:7
Romans 8:7

Note: This verse does not describe a mild dislike, but an implacable hatred. It is not that the natural mind prefers not to respect and render obedience to God’s authority, but that it cannot. This is not to say that there is never a correct outward appearance, but the heart is unreconciled and unwilling to fully submit. Cain accepted the fact that homage was due God. He even brought a sacrifice from the best of his produce, but it was not the sacrifice specified by God, brought in the way God required. So it is with many who profess to render worship to God; they go through the motions of acknowledging Him and rendering Him worship, but it is worship according to their preference, and is no more acceptable to God than was the offering of Cain.

4. What is the condition of the natural heart (mind)?

Jeremiah 17:9
Jeremiah 17:9

5. How does this mind relate to spiritual truth?

1 Corinthians 2:14
1 Corinthians 2:14

6. How did sin affect the race as a whole?

Genesis 6:5
Genesis 6:5

Note: God’s law had once been written in the hearts of men and women, but their cherished sins dimmed and nearly effaced that writing. The impressions made by sin gradually wore away the impressions of the law. From generation to generation sin had demoralized society, bringing a continual increase of depravity and degradation. God saw that unless He intervened, there would soon be no flesh left alive.

7. What natural ability do we have to perform acceptable works?

Jeremiah 13:23
Jeremiah 13:23

Note: It is impossible for us to escape from the pit of sin into which we have fallen. The will, combined with human effort, may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but it can not change the heart; it can not purify the springs of life. There is no true excellence of character apart from God. The apostle Paul saw all this when he exclaimed, “I agree with the law that it is good.” “The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” Romans 7:16, 12 (NKJV). But he adds in bitterness of soul, “I am carnal, sold under sin.” Verse 14

8. With what does the Bible compare our attempts to do good works?

Isaiah 64:6
Isaiah 64:6

9. Instead of love for God, or an interest in others, who becomes the center of our affections?

2 Timothy 3:2
1 Timothy 3:2

Note: Sin originated in self-seeking and every manifestation of selfishness is the outworking of this principle, for selfishness is the basis of all sin.

10. As men leave God out of their thinking, what do they become?

Romans 1:21–22
Romans 1:21-22

Note: The rejection of light darkens the mind and hardens the heart, so that it is easier to take the next step in sin and to reject still clearer light, until at last the habits of wrongdoing become fixed and sin ceases to appear sinful any longer.

11. Estranged from God, what is our condition?

Ephesians 2:12
Ephesians 2:12

12. In what only is there hope for mankind?

John 3:7
John 3:7

Note: From the beginning of the world, men, instead of remaining under God’s influence, reflecting the moral image of his Creator, placed himself under the control of Satan’s influence, and was made selfish. Thus sin became a universal evil. A birth implies the beginning of a new life. This new life is not a modification of the old, but an entirely new life established on different principles.

13. How, or by whom, did God seek to reconcile us to Himself?

2 Corinthians 5:18–19
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Note: The great apostasy originally began in a denial of the love of God, as it is plainly revealed in the Word. Provision was then made whereby fallen man might have a powerful revelation of the love of God, and be given an opportunity to return to his allegiance to Jehovah.

14. How can this take place?

Galatians 2:20
Galatians 2:20

15. How often must this transaction take place?

1 Corinthians 15:31
1 Corinthians 15:31

16. By what term did Christ refer to this daily experience of death to self?

Luke 9:23–24
Luke 9:23-24

Note: The cross is a symbol of death. Death, in the sense that is referred to here, is the death of self; it is the surrendering of the will to Christ. Without this death, there is a weaving of self into all that we do. Service for self takes a variety of forms. The apparent goodness that results may give the appearance of genuine goodness, but it brings no glory to God, for it is in reality the exalting of self in the name of serving God. Though apparently very active in service for the Lord, it is actually seeds of selfishness that are being sown, and in the end it is only corruption that will be reaped.

17. Using a different term, what did Christ ask us to bear?

Matthew 11:28–30
Matthew 11:28-30

Note: The yoke and the cross are symbols of the same thing—the giving of the will to God. Just as the cross symbolizes the cutting away of self from the soul—the denial of self—the yoke is a symbol of service and obedience to Christ’s will. We cannot follow Christ without wearing His yoke, without lifting the cross and bearing it after Him. The yoke of service to Christ is indeed light compared to the yoke of sin with its burden of guilt and shame.

18. What is the unanswerable demonstration of love given by God to reconcile a rebel race to Himself?

Romans 5:8–10
Romans 5:8-10

Note: The cross speaks to the value which God has placed upon men, and of His great love wherewith He has loved us. Christ came to reveal to men to what extent the Son of God could submit to humiliation, self-denial, and suffering, in order to accomplish His divine purpose of working out the salvation of men. The cross of Calvary is an eternal pledge to everyone of us, that God wants us to be happy, not only in the future life, but in this life. But, while it speaks of His great love, it also testifies to the world, to angels, and to men, the immutability of the divine law. The death of God’s only begotten Son upon the cross in the sinners behalf is the unanswerable argument as to the changeless character of the law of Jehovah. Beholding Jesus upon the cross of Calvary arouses the conscience to the heinous character of sin as nothing else can.

 

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