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God’s Plan and the History of Man

What does it really mean to believe in Jesus Christ and be a Christian?

What is the point of believing anyway, when everyone has one life to live and expects death, a common end?

Why does God care so much about whether we believe or not?

There is a common misconception behind these questions: that faith is a subjective idea that originates in a person’s mind, which is human, and therefore, its meaning is found only in the person’s mind and only in his present feelings.

The faith that saves

But the saving faith isn’t only about God but comes from God and is placed in man’s heart by God. It fundamentally doesn’t originate from man. (Note: The noun ‘man’ comprehensively represents humankind, including both men and women. For the meaning of the noun “man”, see Adam, Man, Woman.)

The saving faith also points to God Himself, to what God planned before the creation of the world, and to what God will accomplish in the end. It points from eternity to eternity. Further, the true saving faith is always supported by the Word of God (the Bible), interpreted and confirmed by the Spirit of God. Any belief that is merely a hope that originates from the human mind, no matter how sincere it is, does not save the person but is merely a human mental activity.

Therefore, briefly, the true saving faith has these characteristics: (1) it is from God not only about God, (2) it agrees with God’s eternal plan and points to eternity, and (3) it is supported by the Bible and confirmed by the Holy Spirit.

But how do you prove your faith satisfies all the above criteria? Our mind and understanding itself do not and cannot prove our faith. Due to sin, there is a separation between man and God. The separation made direct proof of faith impossible for the natural man.

Both God and man need a mediator. There is no way that a natural man in his fallen nature can come to the holy God or vice versa without a capable mediator. This is about a relationship, which one should not take for granted but must contemplate fundamentally. A meaningful relationship between man and God necessarily requires a positive existence of all three elements below:

(1) access (an actual way for the man to approach God);

(2) standing (man must have worthiness of standing before God with a clean conscience without being consumed and destructed by the holiness of God);

(3) outcome (there must be a meaningful result that comes from this approaching and standing for both God and man, for God the Creator of the universe is a purposeful God, and man who is made according to God’s image is also a purposeful being – salvation is not a virtual game entertained in man’s mind).

It is the awareness of the above necessary elements that brings a person to the realization that one absolutely needs such a mediator.

This is the beginning of salvation. Seeing that God has indeed given the needed mediator and will accept a believer through the mediator is the way to the realization of salvation.

The mediator is Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man, who represents both God and man. Christ is the true and only reconciliation between God and man.

But Christ did not come to merely persuade men to believe in God, which would not have solved the problem.

Facing God Himself, man’s problem is not that he doesn’t believe, which is only a symptom, but that his fallen nature makes it impossible for him to draw near God even to begin to speak of reconciliation.

Believing God, in itself, does not save the person. One may sincerely believe in the existence of God, but that belief may be just a reflection of his conscience being honest. The reflection itself does not save him because it does not change his nature. Sin is the problem (see below), but merely believing God exists does not solve that problem. Even demons believe God, but tremble (James 2:19).

Jesus Christ came to solve the problem of sin so that man can be born again from above to acquire a new life, a new creation, which, by its new nature, is reconciled with God.

It is only with Jesus Christ that the matter of salvation is reduced to a question of belief. Believing God, alone, does not save. It is believing in God and also believing in and accepting the Solution provided by God that saves. The Solution is Jesus Christ.

Thus, true saving faith from God is directed to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This is the will and purpose of God because it is only through the Son that man shall know the Father (John 12:44-46; John 14:7-11; 1 John 2:23; 1 John 4:14). God has many prophets but only one Son. Any faith that does not point to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is created by man in his own mind, and may even come directly from Satan, the enemy of God.

Christ came to earth and completed salvation according to the plan of God He had before the creation of the world. Christ fulfilled the promise of God given to man from the beginning. Christ is the Creator of both the old creation and the new creation. For the new creation, he paid the ultimate price: laying down his life and dying for it.

“Salvation is in none other, for neither is there another name under heaven which is given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.

God has a glorious plan. It is not only the forgiveness of sins and mere salvation, but full salvation with sanctification and glorification, which is the true hope of those who believe and follow Christ while living on earth today.

The Problem of Sin

In God’s original intention, Adam, the first man, was to lead all his descendants to God. But Adam listened to the lie of Satan, turned away from God, fell into sin, and failed.

What is sin? It is not simply what we call “doing something wrong”, and God is like a policeman who wants to control us. It is not. Sin is the nature of the devil, Satan, entering into man.

When sin entered into Adam and Eve, who were the root of humanity, it inevitably entered into all their descendants (all of us) too. Sin is firstly in the nature of the fallen life and only secondly in its external manifestations (e.g., behavior). This is what is often called the “original sin”, but one needs to realize that this sin is not abstract but is a reality and is concrete in each person. Even if you do not see the true root nature of sin, you experience it in you and with others. If you doubt it, God will make it clear at the end in the final judgment.

Sin is Satan’s nature entering into man. After Adam, a person does not become a sinner because he sins but rather commits sin because he is a sinner (having a sinful life). Sinful behavior is only an outward manifestation, a symptom. A symptom can be covered up temporarily, but the nature of life cannot be covered up.

Satan is the enemy of God. Sin is betrayal and enmity against a holy and righteous God, and God cannot tolerate sin. If we take it for granted that God must forgive sin regardless of what, as if He is petty if He does not, then not only are we defiled by sin but we also choose to stand on the side of Satan and be openly opposed to God.

Sin is the greatest problem in the universe, and everything of the universe’s fate depends on whether there is a solution and an answer to this problem. If there is not, then God’s plan cannot be realized, and man will still be hopeless.

Do not mistake God’s temporary patience with sin for an acceptance of sin. God’s temporary patience with sin is a process by which God solves the problem of sin, not the final answer.

God’s plan is complete victory over sin. God’s answer to sin is the complete destruction and removal of sin so that it will no longer be found in the new man in the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:3-7, 22:3,5).

God’s Plan

After Adam fell into sin, God began to work out the salvation for man according to His plan, of which He had foreknowledge. God set His plan in motion.

According to the plan of salvation, God gives us a new Adam, the last Adam. The last Adam is the only begotten Son of God. He came into the world in the flesh and bore the sin of the world. He is sinless but became sin for the sake of Adam’s race, bore all the consequences of sin, was crucified, received the punishment due to sin, and on the cross he put sin to an end and solved the problem of our sin once and for all.

He is the Savior of us all. Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

How is the last Adam different from the first Adam? The first man Adam was a living soul; the last Adam a life-giving spirit…the first man out of the earth, made of dust; the second man, out of heaven (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47).

The Savior is Jesus Christ. God wants those who believe and are thus saved to have Christ as their head, and Christ will lead them to God. In other words, the last Adam will do what the first Adam failed to do.

Christ is the unchanging and eternal will of God.

The first Adam failed at the cost of everyone’s life, but the last Adam, Christ, fulfilled God’s plan in the regenerated “new man” on behalf of everyone who believes. Therefore, Christ did not come to earth and suddenly began to be the head of the old man on earth. This is not possible with respect to the old man, for lacking the attributes of the new life, he is not worthy. This is also unacceptable to God, for the sinner, with his sinful nature, is a direct contradiction to the plan of God. How can God accept a victory that is merely nominal but not real?!

God’s plan is much better. God’s plan concerns the new man in Christ. This is a patient and long-lasting plan, a plan that is centrally important for the whole history and future of man.

God’s plan for the new man began immediately after the fall of Adam. The entire Bible is the record of this plan from its beginning to its completion.


At every step in the process of God’s completion of His plan, there is Satan’s obstruction of God’s plan through the sin of man.

Satan’s name is ‘adversary’. But by what power does Satan, a created being (who later fell), stand in God’s way? Satan relies on sin. Sin is not a mere phenomenon, nor just an act, but a power. Sin became the poisonous hook of death. Through sin, death reigns (Romans 5:14), and Satan thinks he has won. Satan cannot stand against God except through sin. After Satan betrayed God in heaven, God did not immediately deliver a final judgment on him, for God’s plan was not simply to defeat Satan, which would have been easy for God to do. God’s directly defeating Satan with His power would not be a miracle. It would be something that can be taken for granted for the Creator to have the ability to destroy His creation.

God has a better plan that shows an even higher power and even fuller glory.

Although God’s plan has an adversary (one who resists), God Himself does not have a close rival that He has to strive to defeat. Between God and Satan, the controversy is not about who is more powerful, but whether God’s particular plan for the solution of sin and the redemption of man can be fulfilled. Satan, in his wickedness, believes that once God allows sin to enter into man, the process cannot be reversed, and God’s plan will fail because the plan is too fundamentally handicapped.

But the perceived difficulty (or even impossibility) is the very reason why God’s plan is so special and so glorious. When everything is completed, we will all understand that even Satan himself is God’s servant. Serving God is not his active will, but it is the final objective effect and result.

God will defeat Satan through a lesser race than angels, namely, man, who will overcome sin which entered into man through Satan’s lies. God will accomplish it by becoming a man himself. Jesus is that man. He is the Word that became flesh. This is the glory of God. Jesus Christ will be glorified in the final state of the “man” whom He personally redeemed. The weak is saved and glorified through the mighty love of the Son of God. Romans 8:29-30.

Such glory far exceeds the glory that a simple and mechanical creation can manifest and far exceeds the glory that can be manifested by a creation that has never had the possibility of betraying God but has only been mechanically obedient. Only when we see this can our hearts truly exalt the plan of God and worship God. Only then will we stop asking God why He permits the existence of the devil, why He permits sin in the world, why there is so much suffering in this world, and so on.

For all these are temporary, a stage in the process of God’s work, in order to achieve that future glory, which is exceedingly great (2 Corinthians 4:17).

God hates sin more than we do. When the time is fulfilled, God will complete His work, and everything will be made anew, where there will be no Satan, no sin, no darkness, and no tears (Revelation 21:3-7, 22:3,5).

The testimony of the old creation and the testimony of the new creation

Psalmist says in the Old Testament, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His ways” (Psalm 19:1).

We read it and exclaim, what a great psalm it is!

It certainly is. But that was only the Old Testament, the testimony of the old creation. In the New Testament, God has much more to proclaim in Jesus Christ and the New Creation.

The testimony of the old creation does not bring man truly to God but only shows, by contrast, the fallen man’s terrible and pitiful condition in sin.

“…for from the world’s creation the invisible things of God are perceived, being apprehended by the mind through the things that are made, both His eternal power and divinity, so as to render them inexcusable. Because, knowing God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but fell into folly in their thoughts, and their heart without understanding was darkened: professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of corruptible man and of birds and quadrupeds and reptiles.”

Romans 1:20-23

What is witnessed by the new creation in Christ is salvation, the true gospel.

The History of Man

The history of man on earth is the history of God’s work and Satan’s resistance, but it is also the history of Satan’s destruction and God’s salvation.

The history of man began with Adam and unfolded in his three sons, Cain, Abel, and Seth. Sin entered Adam through Satan’s lies. The birth of Cain revealed the helpless reality that sin had brought in the children of Adam. The birth of Abel showed the glimmer of hope that God had preserved in the children of Adam through sacrifice and the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22).

Abel, who knew God’s heart, was murdered by Cain, who did not know God’s heart. Abel was murdered not in spite of the fact that he knew God but because of it. The murder of Abel by Cain thus set the tone for the theme of human history, namely, the persecution of the righteous by the unrighteous, the persecution of the spiritual by the carnal, the persecution of the inner life by outward living, and the persecution of the eternal (invisible to the eye) by the temporal (visible) (Galatians 4:29).

But after Abel’s death, Seth was born as a replacement. The separation of the house of Seth (the sons of God) from the house of Cain shows that there was a separation between the godly and the ungodly as a protection. But later, this separation was destroyed (no doubt by the work of Satan), and sin spread like a plague over the whole earth, bringing about a total corruption, which became Satan’s triumph and a direct challenge to God’s plan (so much so that God momentarily regretted for creating man, Genesis 6:6).

It was the age of no-law, which ended with the flood and Noah (see below). But after that came a transitional preparation, characterized by the call of Abraham (see below), leading to the age of law with the history of Israel.

Through the age of no-law, God made a convincing point concerning man. God wants man to understand and be convinced of an important fact. This is that fact: As far as man is concerned, his history has repeatedly and cumulatively proven that, under a permissive and indulgent condition, man ultimately ends in corruption and perishes.

Through the age of law, God, through Israel, proved another fact about man: man in sin, even when placed under the rule of a holy law, ultimately still meets a corrupt and perishing end.

What an absolutely hopeless end for man, but it is the beginning of God in the Savior Jesus Christ.

All this is in preparation for the age of grace, in which the law is fulfilled in Christ, but life is given to man through faith by grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

The age of grace is the time we live in today.

But all this is in time. The history of man shall enter into eternity when God’s work on earth is done (Revelation 21 & 22).

The history of men in time has several important stages marked with critical events and characters to represent and illustrate God’s plan.

God uses man’s history as an illustration to explain His plan. It profits man to heed God’s illustrations.


In the midst of the corruption, the eyes of God fell on Noah. The judgment of the flood was coming. Before Noah, although God had done many things, He had not directly stepped in to take a special measure and action against mankind as a whole. This sense of measure and action was not revealed until Noah and after him in Abraham and Israel as a whole.

Now, God was going to intervene. Shockingly, this first intervention should be to destroy the creation of God’s own hands, including man and all animals that had breath.

But God was not scrambling an unprepared response.

In the midst of corruption and ruin, God points the future of man (represented by Noah) to a way to salvation through judgment.

Before this, man walked in his sin. Although he was walking in the presence of God, and everything was in God’s sight, he did not receive God’s call according to a specific plan. Throughout the time before Noah and the flood, there was no law and no judgment.

However, in complete freedom, man who had fallen into sin was revealed to be a completely hopeless race (Genesis 6:5).

Complete freedom leads to complete hopelessness, as evidenced by man from Adam to Noah.

But today, the very personal and social goal those who do not know God want to achieve is the same kind of freedom. It is really freedom from God’s discipline. But people do not know what they are asking for. Look at the condition on the earth today: Man desires indulgence. Man strives diligently, even aggressively and proudly, for the freedom of indulgence.

Man has long forgotten the flood of Noah’s day.

But God has prepared an ultimate end for the whole world, in which sin with all its defilement will be consumed in fire (2 Peter 3:7; Revelation 20).

However, in Noah’s time, all corruption was drowned and swept away in a flood. It was not the final judgment but a demonstration of it.

God did not leave man to his own devices, which would inevitably lead to destruction. God’s judgment was to be completed on earth, yet God’s mercy shall endure through Noah’s family. The old world and its people, as well as its works and history, except for Noah and his house, were to be drowned and buried completely by a great flood.

The flood

The flood came upon the world in which Noah lived. “And all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened,” Genesis 7:11.

“And the waters were so great on the earth that all the mountains of the earth were overwhelmed. ” Genesis 7:19.

The entire surface of the earth was overwhelmed by the flood. “The waters were higher than the mountains by fifteen cubits, and all the mountains were submerged.”

Fifteen cubits is roughly about seven meters. Any person or animal, even if they ran to the top of the mountain, would still be submerged. This is a disaster from which the people of the land could not escape. The height of standing on the ground is always limited. Even if you get to the highest point, the result is the same as those who are much lower than where you are.

The flood illustrates a fundamental principle about salvation: when the judgment of God comes, a person’s relative moral height is not his ground to be saved. No one can argue he must be saved because he is better than many others. The Ark only is salvation.

Where did so much water come from? It was not a great rain in our usual concept about climate. It was an outpouring ordained by God at the creation of the world. It was the water stored in the heavens that was poured out once, designed for that one-time judgment, and never again.

This was prepared on the second day of Genesis 1. On that day, God separated the waters that were under the firmament from the waters that were above the firmament (Genesis 1:4). On the days of Noah, the waters that were above the firmament (heaven) were poured down.

Neither the second day of creation nor the day of the flood was considered good in the eyes of God, unlike God did the other days, which he saw as good (Genesis 1).

God did not enjoy exercising judgment.

Salvation through Judgment

However, judgment is necessary. Salvation is through judgment, not merely salvation from judgment.

Without judgment, there would be no salvation. It might seem to us that God’s purpose was to judge, and He only forgave Noah’s family out of mercy. If that was the case, we can’t object to it because God is righteous and has the right to judge. However, from the divine perspective, God’s purpose was salvation. What God actually did was destroy all the sins of the earth in order to save Noah’s family from sin.

Seen from the outside, Noah’s salvation was that he was saved from perishing in the flood, but seen from within himself, he was saved from that sinful generation. What Noah received would not have been salvation if he had escaped the flood but found himself in the same world that was so thoroughly defiled by sin, so thoroughly infested by the plague of sin. God’s plan would have no practical meaning for the righteous (represented by Noah) nor any satisfaction for God.

Noah was saved not only from the flood but also from the corruption of the world caused by sin.

Noah’s family was a new beginning of man, the seed of the new dispensation of that time. If that old generation had not passed away, Noah and his family would have eventually been destroyed by the sins of that generation, even if the flood had not destroyed them.

The purpose of God is salvation. Judgment is only a necessary condition for salvation.

It is salvation through judgment, not merely salvation from judgment.

Here, God saw Noah alone as a righteous man but saved his whole family. This is a spiritual principle of God’s salvation. God’s plan is to save a family that belongs to him, not man as an individual. Noah’s family is an illustration of God’s plan for eternity. As a human illustration, it is never perfect, but what is represented is perfect.

Salvation by Faith

Noah’s family was saved in the Ark. All others were swept away. God turned a chapter on human history and demonstrated his willingness to start all over again in order to accomplish His plan.

The next chapter approaches closer to the central theme of God’s plan: salvation by faith to the elect who believe.

Noah’s greatest characteristic was his belief in God. Not only did he believe in the existence of God, but he also believed in what God had warned and what God had promised. With this significant characteristic, many details suddenly seemed so unimportant.

God knows the kind of person He has chosen. The burnt offering that Noah offered immediately after he came out of the Ark, on his own initiative, was offered from his heart. It was true faith. It showed what kind of man he was and why it satisfied the heart of God! In the fragrance of that sacrifice, Noah reminded God of the slain Abel, who offered the same sacrifice for the first time in human history.

In the sacrifice offered by Abel, God saw the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.

All heaven and earth thus knew that God had not chosen the wrong man. Not only was God completely right, but Noah was also completely sanctified in the fragrance of the burnt offering.

However, putting aside Noah’s character, the fact is that he was saved. It is a fact that no one can deny.

Could not God have called a meeting of the people of that generation to discuss or elect who should be saved? If we are to compare with human standards, was there no one else on earth at that time who could rise and challenge Noah, argue with Noah, and convince everyone that he was at least as worthy as Noah?

However, when Noah came out of the Ark and set his feet on the freshly dried ground, was there anyone standing before him to argue against him and resist him?

No. All those whom God did not choose died.

Salvation is a fact. Salvation is not an argument. How petty we often are engaging ourselves in arguments about salvation! Salvation is an act of God. Ask Noah about salvation. He was saved by entering into the Ark in faith, not by winning an argument.

Man has no right to argue with God or argue with the one who is saved, nor does it profit him anything in doing so.

But the saved also have nothing to boast about because it’s all by God’s grace.

At the same time, destruction is also a fact for the one who has perished. The fact of salvation is manifested more clearly in contrast with the fact of destruction.

Although the gospel and the evangelists are a show for the world to see (so that others may have either a chance to wake up or an opportunity to mock), salvation and destruction themselves are not a show but are hard facts in the ultimate reality.

All these facts are finally fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Noah’s Ark was only a figure.

The Tower of Babel

After Noah, however, his descendants multiplied on the earth, and once again, men betrayed God in their sins.

They said, “Come! We will build a city and a tower with its top reaching to heaven, in order to spread our name, lest we be scattered over the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4.

This was one of the things that men did in the days of Nimrod before the tribes of the earth were scattered over the earth. The people did not want to be scattered everywhere. They wanted to build a city and a tower.

First of all, a city. This would be the first city that man would build after the flood. The first city before the flood was built by Cain, who was also eager to build a city then. But the scenario of Babel was fundamentally different from that of Cain. Cain was an exiled murderer who left the face of God with his sins and built a city for himself and his descendants for protection in order to feel safe. That was the natural behavior of a sinner when he turned away from God.

However, Nimrod’s building of a city and a tower was a fearless declaration that man wanted to establish a center outside of God.

The tower of Babel was not man’s desire to achieve heavenly righteousness in his own way. At the time, man was not thinking of righteousness, either God’s righteousness or man’s righteousness. Nor was the tower of Babel simply making man himself the center. Rather, it was a common center for man to establish for himself, and there is a difference between the two.

The Tower of Babel is the ultimate expression of man’s pride, the pride of collective unity and agreement. It is a testimony against man and his history, showing that the old man after the fall would refuse to be centered on God. Not only would they not seek God, but also they would actively set up a center for themselves outside of God. Man will have a tower of Babel rising in the sky as a symbol of the center of calling for all mankind. Looking at that tower, people proclaim: let it be a symbol of our unity, representing the highest will and ideal of mankind, so that all mankind may be united, lest we fall apart and be scattered throughout the earth.

Doesn’t this sound familiar?

This is man. He wants to act according to his own will. Man’s original desire was not only reasonable according to his ideas, but even sounded noble (the religions invented by man later, as well as modern humanism and its special offshoot, communism, all belong to this category).

In particular, it was the “Age of Heroes”. Nimrod was a great man. His heroism surpassed all others. Although he had the power to make himself the center of the crowd, he did not do so. This may appear to be a personal humility on the part of Nimrod, but in fact, this is the greatest deception of the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel is not a conspiracy concerning one man, but a noble ideal arising from the heart of men. But it is precisely this highest of ideals that man lets himself be deceived by (the real deceiver behind it is Satan). This is the characteristic of Adam’s race, and this is the tragedy of man after sin has entered him.

Thank God that He stopped the Tower of Babel. If the Tower of Babel had been formed according to the will of man and had really united all the people on the plains they had chosen at that time, what would have become of the society of the earthly people? There would have been a unified government and a unified ideology, but neither the government nor the ideology would have been based on truth and life. These would be based on man’s own will, imagination, and ideals. But they would soon realize that unity based on ideology requires the rule of a strong man, and that for the strong man to be able to rule over all the people of the earth, he cannot rely on governmental powers alone, but must resort to a stronger “spiritual power” behind him. At that point, Satan himself naturally comes in and reigns as the king, in complete control of man. Man would no longer be just lost (needing to be found) but an absolute and open enemy of God.

Had that been the case, man would have no part in the salvation and eternal life of God in Christ.

So God, in His mercy, stepped in to prevent it. God was not concerned that man was too capable. That was not God’s concern. The Tower of Babel occurred after the great flood of the earth. God made a covenant with man after the flood and brought the human race into the “covenant generation,” so God promised that He would not stay out of the course of human history, as He had done in the “covenantless generation” before the flood. This time, God could not allow man to act according to his own will and imagination without restraint, for otherwise, man would surely perish on his own once again.

The LORD God then disturbed the language of the world and scattered the people over the whole earth. It was God’s initial will that man should be governed on earth according to the family unit, but this did not work for man due to the effect of sin. God then used the languages and nations to govern the people on earth.

God knows the way to keep people on earth temporarily until salvation in Christ comes.

From then on, the history of man on earth in the eyes of God was centered on the elect of God. It is not because God has forgotten the other families, tribes, and nations of the world, but God will use a chosen people as mankind’s representative to bring salvation in Christ to all the tribes and nations of the earth. Acts 14:16-17.

God Chose Abraham

Man’s eternal hope rises with God’s election of one special man, Abraham. Genesis 12:1; Hebrews 11:8-12; 13:14.

After the flood, while people were scattered throughout the earth to form many languages and nations, God prepared a suitable cradle for the sons of faith in the earth at that time. In order for this suitable condition to mature, God sometimes directly intervened in the formation of human society.

After that, God came to call a man whom He had predestined and chosen beforehand to be the father of faith. This man was Abraham (father of the nations), whose name was Abram (great father) at the time of his calling.

This was the first time God did such a special thing on earth. It was a major event.

When Adam was created, he was the beginning of mankind, and whoever inherited Adam’s life also shared in Adam’s future and bore his blessings. But Adam sinned, and those who were in him (including all flesh) fell into sin. Man lost the foundation of blessing in Adam’s line.

Now, God’s plan of salvation began to be carried out further in Abraham. God’s plan was in two parallel lines, one visible to the eyes in flesh, the other visible only to the eyes in spirit. According to the first line, God would choose a man on earth, through whom God would bring in Christ, the promised Savior, through a visible genealogy. According to the second line, the man who was chosen would become the father of faith to illustrate the principle of faith. The Spirit of God would bring all the sons of faith to Christ through faith. Abraham became the chosen man.

This simple-sounding plan of parallel lines is at the heart of all God’s work on earth.

God’s plan is to establish another family, the family of God on earth. This family also begins with one man as the Father. They were to receive the call and promise of God, not a general call and promise, but a specific call and promise that had never been revealed in the past. They thus have a response in faith to God, not a response in the natural flesh, but one according to the divine light that appeared in their life. (Faith is always a response to the call and promise of God; without this divine promise, man’s faith is either false or superstitious.)

They will henceforth live under a new order. They will be born by faith. Not “live with some aid by faith”, but live by faith. That is, they have a special life, which is alive in faith, and only in faith, and outside of faith, this special life cannot live. In the past, man was “born of Adam”, and all those who were born of Adam lived according to the flesh and were of the same nature. Now, there will be a new race of people who will be born by faith; that is, they will have a source of life other than Adam.

“The righteous shall live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11.

But although Abraham was the father of faith, the endpoint of faith is the eternal Christ of God.

All this is the mystery of God hidden in Jesus Christ, starting from Abraham, through the whole history of the Old Testament of Israel, until Jesus came to this world in flesh, went to the cross, died and rose again, and completed the creation of the “new man”.

This new humanity is the people who have received new life in faith in Jesus Christ, who are the true “children of Abraham” (Romans 9:8).

The first step in this calling is to leave: Leaving the land, the family, and the father’s house, and going to the land that the Lord will show.

Leaving Idols

In Genesis 12, there is no detailed mention of Abram’s father’s house. But in Joshua 24:2, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘In ancient times your fathers, Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived on the other side of the great river serving other gods, and I brought your father Abraham from the other side of the great river.’” From there, we know that Abram’s father’s family and their local, native people were idolaters.

When did people begin to worship idols? There is no record of people before the flood worshiping idols. There was no showing of idolatry immediately after the flood, at least until the time of the Tower of Babel. What the Tower of Babel represents is not a definite idol but the pride of man, proclaimed according to the will of man as the common center of man apart from God. However, there is a hidden work of Satan behind the Tower of Babel, which manifests man on the surface but has Satan working behind the scenes. Likely, idolatry came soon after the Tower of Babel.

Idolatry is a new dimension of the fall of man.

Previously, there had been man’s corruption, defilement, and rebellion against God, but those were the natural manifestations of Satan after he tempted man to sin; now, Satan led man to a completely different level. This is a tremendous step in the fall of man, an astonishing fall that even exceeds the corruption, defilement, and rebellion against God in man himself. Satan has inserted himself into the heart and mind of man, and has taken power in man (occupying the central seat of power in man), robbing him of the deepest treasure in man, which was given to him in God’s creation. The treasure is man’s intuition and sense of God in his spirit and soul.

This treasure is only available to man. Satan has now seized this treasure, blocking it between man and God, and intercepting in man’s heart the channel and resources through which man could have communicated with God and received blessings.

There is a deep ability of judgment in the human spirit (this is intuition given by God, not a learned knowledge or ability), which, before sin, was normally reflected in worship, love, and gratitude to God, but has become fear and dread after sin.

But man at that point has not degenerated to the point of idolatry. Now Satan takes some of the remaining worship and the fear, intercepts them, and puts them together, transforming and intensifying them into worship and fear of Satan. Satan also allows many demons who follow him to appear in man in many forms to share in the “spoils”.

After this point, man is not only a victim of his own corruption, but he has elevated the corruption in him to a religious position, where the idols (demons) occupy the original place for God and take a higher position than the conscience of man, making his conscience a puppet.

Thus, man is not only corrupt, but religiously corrupt. Man’s depravity then reaches its lowest point and cannot be further depraved.

It was in the midst of such depravity that the glorious God appeared to Abram (Abraham) and called him to leave his own land, his own tribe, and his father’s house and to go to the land that He would show him.

The saving faith began to rise like a flame of fire in the first man on earth. Man was sinking in sin, but God rose and lifted him out of his weakness and wickedness, and put His own will into him with His glorious call, which was the very breath of God, just as the breath of life had been breathed into Adam’s nostrils, but this time it was not the life of Adam, but a higher life, the life hidden in Christ.

This intention of God is far better than that of restoring man from the deepest fall to the original sinless Adam. He will set apart the chosen ones into a new hope, which is neither the hope of sinful man nor even the hope of the original sinless Adam, but a hope that is worthy of the power and love of Him the glorious God, a hope that men could not even think of. From now on, He will be their God, the personal God of their lives, the God of the corporate, communicating with them, drawing near to them, living with them, and giving and fulfilling their new life in faith, while they become His witnesses.

Of all the people, God chose only one at the time of Abraham. At that time, it was only a preparation for faith, which is not just a subjective idea of man. The faith that leads to salvation is the faith that God places in the heart of man, pointing to God Himself and to salvation itself, which God planned before the foundation of the world to accomplish finally.

The faith that began with Abraham points to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who came to earth 2000 years later after Abraham (2000 years ago before the present time), according to the promise.

“Jesus Christ, the descendant of Abraham…” (Matthew 1:1), and “the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; John 1:34).

The Word became flesh (John 1:14). The Word was God (John 1:1).

This is the basic frame of the story of man. God’s plan for man leads to deeper dimensions. See Friends of the Bridegroom and The Great Ending.