Bible Study: Heaven's hope for sinful humanity
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
Bible Passages: Genesis 3:16-19, Romans 8:18-25
Discussion Question: What's your favorite way to relax and recover after a hard day?
Food for Thought by Chad and Candace Keck*:
Some days are harder than others. Deadlines, upset coworkers, and congested traffic make the sight of home a welcome relief. Walking through the door of your house means a chance to relax, catch your breath, and forget about all the hardships of the day. With a good night's rest, we can face another day. But sometimes the difficulties won't leave.
Suffering is a real part of life. Every one of us has experienced suffering in one way or another. But it hasn't always been that way, nor was this part of God's design for us. The word genesis means "beginning," and that's exactly what we see in the first three chapters of this book.
In Genesis 1 we see the mighty power of God in creation. In Genesis 2 we see how God interacted with His creation in the Garden of Eden. The chapter closes with the creation of Eve and the formation of the family.
These are all great beginnings, but then we get to Genesis 3, one of the saddest chapters in all of Scripture. Adam and Eve had the perfect life in flawless surroundings, but they chose to do the one thing God told them they "must not" do: "eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 2:16-17).
Why is this so significant? It was the moment sin entered the world, and with sin came suffering and death. It was a costly decision for Adam and Eve, and the consequences of that sin have been devastating for all of creation ever since.
In these verses God informed Adam and Eve of the consequences of their sin. Earlier God had warned them that one of the consequences of sin would be death. They would no longer be able to live in the garden under the protection of God's presence; therefore their physical bodies would suffer under the weight of sin.
Physical pain, hardships and broken relationships: all forms of suffering that are the consequences of sin. This passage in Genesis 3 shows us how seriously God takes sin. It brings great consequences to our lives.
The Bible also tells us creation groans, and so do Christians. We groan because we understand the devastation of sin. We groan, but we groan with hope. Because of the indwelling Spirit in our lives, we have tasted hope. We have a hope that assures us of better things to come. He has chosen us, even when it feels like the world has abandoned us. He is coming for us, even when our current circumstances cause us to question His timing. This is the basis for our hope.
We are waiting to enter our forever home of heaven. And when that day comes, we will say goodbye to suffering for all eternity.
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*Chad Keck, with wife Candace, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Kettering in Dayton, Ohio.