In the beginning, our first ancestors knew the all-powerful God and feared nothing.
A very good world
God created a good world and made humanity in his likeness.
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth....So God created human beings in his own likeness. He created them to be like himself. He created them as male and female...God saw everything he had made. And it was very good."
Genesis 1:1, 27, 31
Our role in God's world
God entrusted our ancestors with authority over his good creation.
“You have made them a little lower than the angels. You placed on them a crown of glory and honor. You made human beings rule over everything your hands created. You put everything under their control.”
What went wrong?
Our ancestors betrayed God and their sin corrupted his good world.
Satan deceived our ancestors into disobeying God.
“‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent [Satan] 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.’”
Sin and death
Their sin infected all humanity, bringing death and fear.
“Sin entered the world because one man sinned. And death came because of sin. Everyone sinned, so death came to all people.”
We rejected God's rule. Our world came under Satan's power and we began worshipping false gods.
“But my people have traded away their glorious God. They have traded me for worthless statues of gods.”
What powers do people fear?
Out of love, God sent his Son Jesus to defeat the forces of evil and rescue us from sin.
Jesus's power over nature
Jesus calmed storms and healed the sick.
“What kind of man is this? Even the winds and waves obey him!”
“Large crowds came to him. They brought blind people and those who could not walk. They also brought disabled people, those who could not speak, and many others. They laid them at his feet, and he healed them.”
Jesus's power over evil spirits
The spirits knew Jesus's power and feared him.
“When [the demon-possessed man] saw Jesus a long way off, he ran to him. He fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Jesus, Son of the Most High God, what do you want with me? Swear to God that you won’t hurt me!’ This was because Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you evil spirit!’”
Jesus's power over death
Jesus raised people from the dead.
“Then Jesus called in a loud voice. He said, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with strips of linen. A cloth was around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the clothes he was buried in and let him go.’”
What do you think about Jesus's power?
Jesus's death and resurrection free us from sin's power and Satan's rule.
Jesus willingly suffered a shameful death for us on a cross.
"Pilate [the governor who had Jesus executed] said: 'Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?' Jesus answered, 'You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.'"
God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, proving his power over death, and gave him authority over everything.
“[God] showed this [His great power] when he raised Christ from the dead. God seated him at his right hand in his heavenly kingdom. There Christ sits far above all who rule and have authority. He also sits far above all powers and kings. He is above every name that is appealed to in this world and in the world to come. God placed all things under Christ’s rule.”
Jesus broke Satan's power and defeated evil forces.
"So Jesus became human like them in order to die for them. By doing this, he could break the power of the devil [Satan]. The devil is the one who rules over the kingdom of death."
"He took away the weapons of the [spiritual] powers and authorities. He made a public show of them. He won the battle over them by dying on a cross."
When we trust in Jesus, we receive God's Holy Spirit and power over fear.
Through Jesus, God brings us into his kingdom and sets us free from sin's rule.
“He has saved us from the kingdom of darkness. He has brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. Because of what the Son has done, we have been set free. Because of him, all our sins have been forgiven.”
"Jesus could set people free who were afraid of death. All their lives they were held as slaves by that fear."
God frees us from sin's power through the Holy Spirit.
"But you are not ruled by the power of sin. Instead, the Holy Spirit rules over you. This is true if the Spirit of God lives in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ."
Will you follow Jesus, trusting his power over your fears?
God's saving power
God saves all who believe in Jesus. His victory over death gives us power over fear.
“I’m not ashamed of the good news. It is God’s power to save everyone who believes.”
“And you will know God’s great power. It can’t be compared with anything else. His power works for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:19
Who will you trust?
Left: Seek power and freedom apart from God. Trust in yourself or other powers to control the spiritual forces around you.
Right: Trust Jesus to defeat sin and evil forces and free you from their control.
Where are you placing your trust now? Where do you want to place your trust?
A suggested prayer
In prayer, we express our decision to trust Jesus. We simply tell God that we are turning from ourselves and to Jesus to rescue us from sin, defeat evil and give us his powerful Holy Spirit.
All-Powerful God, I need you. I confess that I have rejected your rule and sought life apart from you. Thank you for sending Jesus to free me from sin and Satan’s power through his death and resurrection. I give my allegiance to Jesus as my only source of life and power.
I desire to be filled with your Holy Spirit and to follow you with my whole being. Make me the person you want me to be to serve your good purposes on the earth. Amen