“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Freed by Grace, by Randall D. Kittle

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In a vision I saw Adam and Eve in a cage. At first it was very dark, so that I could barely see them. Both of them were wearing fig leaves. Then everything became brighter (actually, a little less dark, since it was still rather dark) and I noticed Adam and Eve were now wearing animal pelts. Suddenly, a large hand reached down from heaven holding a key which glowed with a brilliant light. Written upon the key was the word “GRACE.” As the hand turned the key within the lock, the door unlatched and opened. With this Adam and Eve stepped out of the cage. When they were out of the cage, the animal pelts fell to the ground, and the entire scene was filled with radiant light.


The Universal Prison
Before the fall, man was a brilliant reflection of God, and as such his character and nature was like that of his Creator. God had no difficulty communing with man for his attributes and desires and will were perfectly aligned with God.

However, with the fall man’s nature was no longer purely like God’s. Adam and Eve now not only knew right from wrong, they knew that what they had done was wrong. Sin entered into the life of mankind and began to work its work of death. Immediately following the fall, Adam and Eve no longer loved each other with the pure love as God loved them and they had loved one another. Sin had tarnished their nature such as to begin to blame one another.
“Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate’” (Genesis 3:12).

Sin changed not only Adam and Eve’s relationship, it changed their ability to commune with God. Instead of communing with God in the cool of the day, Adam and Eve now embraced darkness — trying to cover up their weaknesses through the wearing of fig leaves and hiding in the bushes. God, who formed man and woman so that He could have a loving, personal relationship with them, was no longer able to fully embrace man as before, for He can never embrace sin. God still sought them out, and replaced their fig leaves — their attempts to hide their sin from God, with animal pelts — God’s prophetic foreshadowing of His restoring work for man.

Man, created in the very image of God and given the most glorious freedom, had now become a prisoner of sin.
“But the Scriptures have declared that we are all prisoners of sin, so the only way to receive God’s promise is to believe in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 3:22). With their sin, Adam and Eve became shut up in a prison of sin, confined by the guilt and unrighteousness they now possessed.


The Universal Pardon
Though mankind is a prisoner of sin, because of our great God it is not merely a dungeon where we have been chained to death, destruction, or despair. Far greater, God has bound man to an inseparable destiny. A destiny of being the recipients of His reconciliation and those who receive the blessing of having all things restored. Just as all men have been held in the universal prison due to sin entering into mankind through Adam and Eve’s first sin, so now God was going to extend a universal pardon for all man’s sin through the atoning work of one man — Jesus Christ. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned … For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to … For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:12–19). The universal prison of sin was overcome by the universal pardon of God’s amazing grace purchased for us by the priceless blood of Jesus Christ.

Grace — God’s unmerited favor toward us, His desire and delight to give us far more than we could ever deserve — is what brings salvation to mankind. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it is
“… by grace you have been saved …” Grace is the great key handed down from heaven to bring emancipation to the children of God. Grace breaks the bondage of sin and takes the prisoners and restores them to sonship with the King! It is this amazing grace that made the prophets of old wonder and set the heavens to singing.

God has forged this great key of grace by the rending of His heart and the spilling of Christ’s blood, but how do we lay hold of it?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith …” (Ephesians 2:8). Grace will only trip the tumblers of the prison door of sin when faith lays hold of grace and thrust it in the lock. Only when we pick up the key of grace, making it our own possession through faith, can it open the door of our captivity and set us free. Grace came and opened the doors to set us free, and it is faith that steps through the door that grace has opened to enter into restored relationship with God. Let each of us make certain we have laid hold of God’s amazing grace through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and then enjoy the freedom of being in relationship with the living God, Creator of all things, who loves us with an unending unfathomable love.


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