Foundational Truths - Mankind
What does Elim believe about humanity? In the third in our series examining our core beliefs, Jamys Carter takes a look.
This core belief sets out to place us within the context of God, existence, value and purpose.
We are men and women who are created by God, in his image and for a purpose, yet, we have been derailed by sin and sinful choices.
The hope we receive through Jesus, however, enables each of us to be reconciled and restored, both in our relationship to God and to a kingdom purpose.
Let’s start with some positives. All of us have been created in God’s image. Theologians will wax lyrical about what that actually means, with suggestions ranging from the ability to reason, having a sense of morality, having an immortal spirit, being able to enter into God’s rest, being invited into God’s work, being creative and so on.
The key thing for us to remember is that we have a unique and special relationship with God. So much so, that before creation God had already planned to send Jesus to die on the cross for us (Ephesians 3:11).
This gives us a glimpse into the value that God places in us.
The rebellious choices of Genesis 3 led to an immediate rift in the relationship between people and God, as both Adam (Romans 5:12) and Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3) were culpable for their sinful disobedience. Their sin brought serious consequences for all people.
For instance, where previously there had been no hierarchy between men and women, now, as a result of sin, that relationship was damaged and women were subjugated (Genesis 3:16). Similarly, the relationship with creation and with God was marred.
Individually, we have to remember that we cannot simply blame Adam and Eve. Our own wrong choices have continued the trend of sin (Romans 3:23).
This utterly fallen state of men and women can only be restored through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and our subsequent submissive acceptance of his lordship. Through Jesus we have redemption, acceptance and restoration.
People truly find their hope and purpose by virtue of the cross and resurrection. The fall and its consequences are more than dealt with by Jesus and his plans of redemption, although there are aspects of the ‘not yet’ to some of these promises.
Everyone can find restoration in terms of relationships. Firstly, our relationship with God is restored and we are adopted into the family (Galatians 4:5).
Secondly, the relationship between men and women is restored, removing the hierarchy imposed by the fall (Galatians 3:28).
Thirdly, our stewarding relationship with creation remains in place while all of creation awaits full and future redemption (Romans 8:19-22).
Equally, all people also find restoration in terms of purpose.
While work was always a part of God’s plan for us (Genesis 2:15), there is a missional aspect to our work now. One of the most wonderful things about following Jesus is that we are now included in his kingdom plans.
Fundamentally, in Christ, we find true relationship and true purpose.
What Elim believes
We believe in the universal sinfulness of all men since the fall, rendering man subject to God’s wrath and condemnation.
Why God’s love for humanity matters
• God’s love allows us to have a unique and special relationship with him.
• Through Jesus, we have redemption, acceptance and restoration.
• In Christ, through his death and resurrection, we find true relationship, hope and purpose.
Jamys Carter is an Elim minister and academic.
First published in the October 2021 issue of Direction, Elim’s monthly magazine. Subscribe now to get Direction delivered to your home.
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