Title Sovereignty in Salvation: The Doctrines of Grace on blue mountain background

When God created the universe in six days, He described everything He made as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). As fallen human beings, it is difficult, if not impossible, for us to comprehend what it means to live in a world where everything is perfect. No sin. No disease. No suffering. No death. Even our greatest imaginations of a true utopia pale in comparison to life in the Garden of Eden prior to the Fall. Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect communion and fellowship with their Creator and with each other, both being “naked and not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). We all know what happened next in Genesis 3: the serpent deceived Eve into eating from the tree of which God commanded our first parents not to eat, Adam willfully chose to disobey God, and all of creation was cursed as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin. Paradise was gone, innocence was replaced with shame, the perfect fellowship that Adam and Eve once enjoyed with God was now broken. Access to the Tree of Life was now blocked off by the cherubim.

Title Sovereignty in Salvation: The Doctrines of Grace on blue mountain background

If you were to enter into a time machine, go back to the year 2005, and ask my 14-year-old self to explain the Gospel, I would have likely said that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the third day, and by believing in Him, we can have eternal life. This is certainly not a wrong answer, but at the time that, was the extent of my understanding of the Gospel message. I didn’t see it as the very core of every single aspect of the Christian walk, but instead as the truth that we have to initially believe in order to get saved. But throughout my high school and college years, I grew in the faith and the Holy Spirit began to illuminate more and more truth in my heart and mind from the Scriptures. I began to see that the essence of true spiritual maturity is never to graduate from the Gospel, but rather to always be reminded of it! The more I began to study about my Lord and Savior as prophesied in the Old Testament and revealed and explained in the New Testament, the more I began to fully appreciate the meaning of what Christ did for me 2,000 years ago.

The resurrected Christ who sits at the right hand of God and is exalted on high has bestowed His grace on every member of his body and calls every member to serve. But Christ has gifted some believers within the church body for a very specific purpose: to establish churches, to minister the Word of God, and to equip others for service and ministry. These gifted leaders are given to the church by Christ to help prepare every member to actively serve in the ways Christ has gifted them:

7But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” 9(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that he also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)” 11And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;” (Ephesians 4:7-12; emphasis added)