Bible Study Knowing God

God’s Love: We are Sinners

God’s Word teaches us that we all are sinners just like Adam and Eve.  This is because we are born with a nature that can only sin.  A sinner is someone who disobeys God. Romans 3:10-18 says,

…as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

King David said, in Psalm 51:5,

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

     It surely is reasonable to think that it is unfair that what Adam and Eve did thousands of years ago affects us today. The sad truth is, from Romans 3 – we all would have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! As a Christian, I would dare say, the number of times I sin in a day far outnumbers Eve’s sins in Genesis 3. Ouch!

 Even one sin can be life changing. Sin tends to take control and alter our lives for the worse. Remember one sin brought death and changed the entire human race (Romans 5:12). James 2:10 teaches us that if we obey God completely, then disobey Him just once, we are guilty of all sin before God.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

     For some reason, some people think God doesn’t see their sin if they hide it. I guess trying to hide our sin is part of our sinful nature because Adam and Eve tried it as well. Are you hiding from God like Adam and Eve were (minus the fig leaves)? The fact is, God knows when you sin whether you think so, or not.  He knows everything.  This is a good time for us to learn about how God knows everything, and how He is always present.

God is omniscient, in other words, He knows all things.
God is omnipresent, or He is always present.

     From Psalm 139 it is clear that God knows everything about us.  He knows every thought and motive we have (1 Corinthians 4:5).  God is always present no matter where we are or what we are doing. We can’t hide from God! He has seen you at your best, and He has seen you at your worst, and still He loves you so very much!

  • Read about God’s knowing all things and always being present from Exodus 32:1-9, Jeremiah 23:23-24, and Matthew 28:20.  Write down any insights and applications that the Spirit is giving you from these verses.
  • What does the knowledge that God is all knowing and always with you mean to you? Use a Bible verse in your answer. (Examples: When I am ashamed about what I’ve done, shouldn’t I call upon God who knows everything about me, but loves and forgives me anyway? (1 John 4:10)  When I am alone and afraid shouldn’t I seek after the God who is always with me? (Psalm 139:7))
  • Read Genesis 4 – this chapter shows us clearly that sin passed onto future generations along with its awful consequences.  How do you think Adam and Eve felt about what happened in this chapter?  Remember they were living with the knowledge that their sin would affect all future generations. 
Bible Study Knowing God

God’s Love: Sin and Consequences

Genesis 2:16-17 New International Version (NIV)

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Genesis 3:1-15 New International Version (NIV)

The Fall

3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

Since God created all of us in His image, we have a free will. This freedom gave us the choice to be in a relationship with God or not. He gave us a free will so we could freely choose to love and obey Him! Don’t you want people to choose to love you, not be made to? Sadly, Adam and Eve chose to use God’s incredible gift of freedom to disobey Him.

Their disobedience of His one command brought the concept of sin into our world and put us in bondage to it. Their choice also brought sin into world. (Let me remind you, before Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, there was only good in the world.) Have you ever thought about how very different things would be without sin in the world?

Their sin brought death into the world as God told them it would. Ephesians 2:1-3 explains that sin puts us in a state of death and rebellion towards God.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

     What saddens me the most, is that Adam and Eve chose to trust in or rely on themselves and the talking serpent, who was actually Satan (Revelation 12:9).  They did this instead of trusting in God, who had just created them to love them (Ephesians 1:4). Throughout history, many people have doubted God and His existence, but Adam and Eve had a face to face relationship with Him. There was absolutely no excuse for them to doubt God. You either trust in God, or you are trusting in yourself or something else, which is sin.  Satan is always at the root of not trusting God.

  1. Adam and Eve’s perfect relationship with God, who created and loved them, was shattered.  They were now in a state of death because they chose to be. They were now imprisoned by their sinful desires. They had rebelled against God and were now His enemies. They had lost their freedom of choice – whether to sin or not, because they were enslaved to sin.  (Our freedom of choice whether to sin or not, is given back to us through trusting in Jesus Christ.  This is because Jesus Christ redeems us from being enslaved to sin.) Read Romans 3:21-24, 5:6-12, 6:5-7, and Ephesians 2:1-7.

From Genesis 3:1-13, why did Adam and Eve choose to disobey God?  Remember Adam and Eve did not have a sinful nature until after they chose to disobey God.

From Genesis 1 and 2, what type of world did God want us to live in? From Genesis 3, what type of world did we end up with because of sin? How did Adam’s and Eve’s relationship with God change? How does God want our relationship towards Him to be?

Before we become Christians, there is no way we can completely obey God, because we are held captive by our sinful nature. When we become a Christian, we are set free from the power of our sinful nature so we can choose to obey God. However, as Christians we can still wrestle greatly with disobeying God because our sinful nature is still with us. If you are a Christian, what helps you to choose to obey God? If you are not a Christian, this would be a good time to become one!

Bible Study faith Knowing God

God’s Love: Seen Through You

     Getting to know God’s characteristics will enable you to get to know Him better. Romans 1:20 teaches us that, God’s character, or who He is, is seen and understood by the things that He has made.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

     I would like to remind you, to look for God’s character in His creation.  If you have ever seen the movie, March of the Penguins, you saw the sacrificial love the penguins have for their young.  I thought, “Wow! What an example of God’s love.” 

     Let’s begin with the most important of God’s characteristics to us. It is His love. God’s love permeates who He is. God is sovereign, but His rule is acted out through His love. God is all-powerful, but every act of His power is done because of His love.  God’s act of creation was an act of love which resulted in life for all things.

God is love.

     “Agape” is the Greek word that best describes God;s love.  Agape means, unselfish love that is driven by what is best for the person loved, not by the person loving.  Agape love is a verb. ( a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence) In other words, it is an unselfish, unconditional, and sacrificial love.  I think we think God loves us out of duty not out of desire.  However, “agape” love suggests that the lover finds joy in acting on that love for something or someone.

     The Hebrew word that best describes God’s love is defined by the word “hesed”. This word is translated love, unfailing love, loving kindness, mercy, and loyalty.  It is used about 250 times in the Old Testament.  It means loyal, steadfast or faithful love.  It also stresses the idea of belonging together for those involved in the love relationship.  Both words make me think of the joy and the total commitment a bride and groom have for each other on their wedding day.  God has been waiting eagerly to love you!

  1. Read about God’s love from Jeremiah 31:3, Hosea 2:19-20, Zephaniah 3:17, Ephesians 1:4, 2:4-5, 3:17-19, 5:2, 5:23-32, and Revelations 19:7-9. Write down any insights and applications that the Spirit is giving you from these verses.

  2. What does God’s love mean to you? Use a Bible verse in your answer. (Example: When I feel unloved, I think about the fact that God loved me so much that He died for me. (Ephesians 5:2))

  3. Love should permeate everything we do.  God tells us and shows us how to love through His Word, with His Spirit.  We will never completely agape love anyone because it is a supernatural phenomenon coming from the God of love!  God does want to empower us to come as close to His love as humanly possible.  Take some time with God right now and ask Him to empower you to love someone you don’t particularly love, with His type of love.  Prayerfully thank Him for His love of you! 

     We see God’s power in creation.  Wouldn’t it have been quite thrilling to have seen God create the visible universe from things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:3)?  When I think God spoke the universe and our world into being without lifting a finger, I am dumbfounded with such power. Let’s take a look at God being all-powerful.

God is omnipotent which means all powerful, almighty.

     Many leaders throughout history have done awful and quite horrifying things because they have the power to do them.  Think of Hilter.  Just turn on the TV and you will hear how someone has misused his or her power.  No one or nothing can stop God from doing what He wants to do with His power.  Aren’t you so glad His power is permeated by His love?  If you doubt that His love leads His power, just think about His willingness to put His son under the control of sinful men and die from a man-made torture, death by crucifixion, out of His love for you.

  1. Read about God’s power from Psalm 62:11-12a, Daniel 4:34-35, and John 11:33– 45. Write down any insights and applications the Spirit is giving you from these verses.

  2. What does God’s power mean to you? Use a Bible verse in your answer. (Example:  When I am powerless to change my situation, I need to trust in God, who can turn death into life.  (John 11:43–44))

  3. No one in history has been all powerful like God except for Jesus Christ.  Some people would like to be all powerful, but thank God they are not.  Power does seem to corrupt sooner or later.  As Christians, God certainly won’t make us all powerful, but He does want us to have access to the power we need to live the right way, which is His way.  We get His power by being connected to Him through His Spirit (Acts 1:8). Personalize 2 Timothy 1:7 by writing the verse out and putting your name where the word “us” is.

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

Bible Study Knowing God

God’s Love: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

     Humans are the highlight of God’s creation.  God made us fearfully and wonderfully! King David in Psalm 8 writes about how surprised he is that God, the Creator of everything, would make us, mere humans, just a little lower than Himself.  David was amazed that God cares for us so much that He allows us to rule over His creation. David also seemed astonished that God would crown us with glory and majesty. (I can relate to what David is feeling. How about you?)  David says of God in Psalm 8:3-6,

When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him? Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God, And dost crown him with glory and majesty! Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet.

     Some of you are not familiar with King David. King David reigned as King in Israel around 1000 B.C.  He was Israel’s most famous king and is called a man after God’s own heart.  King David wrote many of the Psalms. The Psalms are Hebrew poetry and were often used as songs of worship.  David was a man who truly enjoyed God. He would lift his voice in song to worship Him because he knew God loved him and he loved God.  When you are feeling down and out, it’s always a good idea to read a Psalm or two.

     Psalm 139 tells us that God made us wonderfully, which means we are amazingly constructed! As I look in the mirror or make a foolish comment, I certainly don’t think of myself as amazingly put together. Yet the truth is, whether or not we think or feel we are God’s amazing creation, we are!

     God’s Word even says God made us fearfully which means He made us awesomely.  Do you think or feel awesome?  I don’t most the time, but God thinks I am, so I am!  I do believe God thinks of us as His beloved wonder women (excuse my modernization).  Psalm 139:14 says,

I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well.

  1. Read Psalm 139:1-16 to give you some information on Who God is and how wonderfully He has made you.  Since God created you wonderfully and fearfully, what does this tell you?

  2. From a personal perspective, describe how wonderfully and fearfully God has made you. (To answer a question like this, I know for many of us women, it is hard to get past what we think is wrong with ourselves. However, ask God to force you to look past your perceived negatives, and ask Him to show you how awesomely and amazingly constructed He has made you. Remember, a lie of our society and of course of Satan, is how important looks are. God created us with much more than just looks. Believe me, since I am almost a half century old, I need to remember this fact.) Do you think since God created you, that He would automatically think of you as beautiful? Remember, He created you to love you forever! Prayerfully thank God for making you as He did!