Paul spoke these words in 2nd
Corinthians chapter 5, verse 20. My question is: Can this reconciliation be accomplished by man's own efforts? You may think that if we want it to be so, it will be so, but no, it must by its very nature be a gift from GOD. No angel or man could begin to show any love, faith, or desire toward GOD without the living seed of these divine affections being first formed within him by the Spirit of GOD.
All things come from above. A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from Heaven.
From the very beginning, Satan in the guise of the serpent deceived mankind into believing that he could be equal to GOD.
And you will be like GOD, the serpent said in Genesis chapter 3, verse 5. And after the fall they became separated from their Creator to fend for themselves in a cold, evil world. From the beginning, before this fall, the Spirit of the Triune GOD, 'Elohim' in the Hebrew, breathed into Adam the Breath of Life and Adam, 'man', in the Hebrew, became a living soul. This Breath of Life and this alone can make man a holy being in the image and likeness of GOD his Creator and first love. (Genesis 1:26 and 2:7).
Remember the story of the man Nicodemus in John chapter 3, verse 7? A respected teacher in Israel who questioned the LORD, not understanding what was meant by 'being born again.' And YESHUA, JESUS said,
Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' But Nicodemus totally missed the point, although he was certainly well-versed in the Hebrew Scriptures. At that moment, however, he was unable to recognize the truth in the LORD's statement and he continued to question:
How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter again into his mother's womb and be born? (John 3:4). However, twice more the LORD assured him of the fact that,
You must be born again, and added,
That which is born of flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit. (Verse 6).
Nicodemus had much to consider after this encounter with the LORD. I'm sure that later, upon reflection, he would have been drawn to the same passages in the Book of Genesis we have been looking at; and was likely convicted that the way for man to receive salvation, is to be reconciled to his Maker, through being 'born again.'
For unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of GOD. (John 3:5). In John 19, verse 39, we read:
And Nicodemus, who at first came to YESHUA, JESUS by night, also came. He evidently met with Him at the Cross to arrange for His burial. This time, he was there before the sun set. Can we doubt he believed? All who believe in Messiah YESHUA, JESUS, were once in darkness, but now, thank GOD, He has called us out of darkness, into His marvellous light. (1st Peter 2:9).
A true child of GOD acknowledges that no man can receive anything except it be given him from above. All that is good comes from GOD just as surely as all life comes from Him. The false religion of Satan is to seek that goodness from any other source. Let us examine just two sources that Satan uses: (1) A 'self-made' person believes he achieves his pinnacle of success upon his own efforts. He created it by himself for his glory. He needs no one else, not even GOD. That little seemingly harmless word 'self' is the root and sum total of all sin. How easy it is for us to miss this subtle yet so deceptive pronoun. Every sin that can be named is centered in it. Self is nothing else but the creature broken off from the Creator. The power of Satan living and working in us. That first separation from our Creator which became the fall of our first parents.
(2) The second source, equally insidious, is a religious one. Nicodemus, like Paul, came out of the Pharisee's school of learned Jews. Then as now, this teaching is primarily based on the oral law which follows the various interpretations of GOD's perfect Law, the Torah, as the rabbis saw fit to introduce at various times according to contemporary needs. But giving it the term, Talmud, which is teaching as doctrines of God, the commandments of men. Isaiah chapter 29, verse 13, and Matthew chapter 15, verses 8 and 9. Our LORD compares the religion of these 'learned' Pharisees in Matthew chapter 23, verses 27 and 28:
For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so, you also outwardly appear righteous to men but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
That very same attitude of these ancient Pharisees is with us today and the same condemnation. If we who profess to be followers of Messiah YESHUA -- JESUS -- and boast of our heavenly position in Messiah while living to self then, though professing to deny self, we stand in opposition to the Gospel while we contend loudly in words for all Orthodox doctrines.
The LORD Himself gave the Jewish Prophet, Moses, the pattern we should follow in the design of the Tabernacle. But when He, JESUS, came into our world in history in human form He confirmed this way of living in His own life, as His apostles did in their lives later on. YESHUA, JESUS our Saviour, with His Disciples showed us by example the truths which relate to our common walk as His followers. Specifically, they call us to deny self, to take up our cross daily, and to place no value on worldly pleasures. We are to walk the narrow path of life as pilgrims in holy fear and godly aspirations, as those who are not of this world but citizens of Heaven: to live in humble poverty of spirit; to forsake the pride and vanity of earthly position; to receive no honour from man or the world; and to live in total submission to GOD's will. But we must allow the Holy Spirit the freedom to move in our lives in order to achieve this high and holy calling.