Genesis 1, 2, and 3 sets the stage for the most famous love story. God creates a perfect world with no sin, death, toil, enmity, and suffering. The serpent, who is the enemy, deceives man who is created in God’s image into eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Man displays a mistrust towards the God who forbid him from eating from the tree.
Through this act of disobedience, man accuses, tries, and charges God. He is essentially saying that God is not good and is not to be trusted. He treats God’s righteous laws with contempt, sneering at what God has said and becoming his own authority.
God is infinitely holy. He is without sin and has over and over expressed displeasure over sin. He pronounces curses to man and the serpent because of his rebellion against Him. Yet, God is also infinitely merciful. His justice and mercy are displayed in the event of man’s disobedience. He does not exercise His full wrath and immediately provides a way of redemption for man. God seeks out man when he hides from Him. He also puts enmity between the serpent, the deceiver, and the seed of the woman.
This is the backdrop against which God’s glory in salvation is displayed. Sin enters the world, the world is darkened by it, and every man born of Adam is sinful from birth. This existing darkness makes it possible for God’s light of salvation to shine as hope and redemption is offered for all that will trust in Him.
To those who have been redeemed by God through His Son Jesus Christ, the hope of the gospel is the reason for our evangelism and discipleship. Sin and rebellion reign over the world. Satan is the prince of this world and is in the business of recruiting as many into his kingdom. Trouble and afflictions are the order of the day in this fallen world. Man can do nothing by himself to escape the wrath of God. Soon, this world will pass away and judgement will come.
God has freely given us His son Jesus Christ as a remedy for our sin. Christ deals with our damnation to hell by dealing with our sin. He defeats sin and death and the wrath of God is satisfied. He becomes the access to the tree of life that was kept away from man. Man can confidently approach God unlike when Adam and Eve sinned and had to hide from God.
We therefore go forth and disciple and evangelize because we are Jesus’ disciples and God has made us evidences of His glory. His light has shone upon our darkness and now we reflect the image of Christ. We have become unfit for hell and made fit for heaven by the washing of our sins.
In heaven, where the disciples of Jesus will gather, there will be no need for discipleship since we will have been perfected in the image of Christ. In hell, on the other hand, there will be no opportunity for discipleship. Only while we live on this side of eternity can we proclaim the glories of Christ to the unbelieving world, train in Godly disciplines, and grow in Christ-likeness. For this reason, we ought to maximize every evangelism and discipleship opportunity that comes our way.
When we disciple one another as believers, we essentially help each other to be more like Christ who is the perfect image of God in human form, to be mature in Christ, and to be prepared to meet the bridegroom when He comes. We help each other to safely arrive home by growing discipleship relationships. This should all the more inspire us to look out for each other as believers.
This post is essentially a reminder that our discipleship efforts find anchorage in the gospel. When Christ in Matthew 28:18-20 commanded His disciples to make disciples of all nations, it was because their eyes had been opened to see and know Christ. They were to tell the good news of a risen Savior to the sinners, calling them to repent and put their faith in Him. In other words, it is impossible to taste of the goodness of the Lord and remain silent. When we come face to face with the reality of the forgiveness offered us and the reconciliation achieved for us, we are burdened with the urge to tell it to others.