Summary: The entire New Testament is dedicated to revealing the dynamic process of God's grace empowering us with the love and dedication of Jesus.
An old man lay drunk in the street causing a policeman to confront him with: “Get out of the street or I am going to run you in.” A young preacher witnessed this and was moved to interrupt the policeman: “If you will allow me I will aid the old man.” The policemen grumbled something and walked off as the young preacher squatted down beside the old man and asked: “Is there anything I do for you?” The old man looked up through bloodshot glassy eyes and replied: “You got anything to drink on ya?” The preacher spoke gently: “no I do not.” “Ya got a smoke?” questioned the old man. “No,” answered the young preacher. “Well then, I recon you cannot do a damn thing for me,” retorted the old man. The preacher held out his hand and asked: “How about I help you move to where you can lean your back against this building.” “Ok,” the drunk meekly said. The young preacher aided the old man in getting out of the street and positioned where he could sit next to the building wall: then he sat down next to the old man.
They sat there together in silence, leaning against the building, for quite some time. The young preacher finally broke the silence by asking: “You hungry?” “Nope,” replied the old man. Again there was a long period of silence, which was eventually broken by the old man. “You a preacher,” he asked. “Yes I am,” replied the young man, “I graduated from a very prestigious bible college, preached at a very prominent church, was fired and now I am preaching Sunday nights at my father’s church.” The old man looked quizzically at the young preacher and said, “Why in hell did they fire you. You get too friendly with one of the deacon’s wives?” At which point the old man began laughing. He was so taken with his version of humor that his laughing transitioned into fits of coughing, mixed with laughter. Eventually the old man regained his composure and just sat there looking at the young man like a teacher waiting for an explanation from a misbehaving 2nd grader.
The young preacher eventually took a deep breath, slowly let it out and quietly said: “no … they would probably have over looked that.” They sat there for a spell, the old man still staring at the preacher. Eventually he spoke: “Well, why in hell did they fire ya?” The young preacher turned to look directly in the face of the old man, “They fired me because I would not preach health, wealth, and happiness sermons that made the people feel good about themselves.” The old man grinned and asked: “Did they pay ya good?” “Yes they did,” replied the preacher, “very good.” “Then you are a dummy,” snorted the old man, “a real dumb ass. They are the ones that hired you and it was your job to do what they told you to do.” “I do not work for man,” the preacher coldly responded, “I work for God.” “Does God pay ya,” quizzed the old man. The young preacher sat there, staring off into the distance. The old man jostled the preacher while questioning, “Just how much does God pay ya?” “Eternal salvation,” the young man replied, “eternal salvation.” “Bull crap,” the old man snorted, “everyone who asks for salvation gets salvation … salvation is a free gift from God … it ain’t pay … grace is unconditional you big dummy!”
They continued to sit there, in silence, for a long time. Eventually the young preacher turned to the old man and said: “I agree that salvation is not pay. I misspoke when I allude to that … but I do not believe it is right to say that God’s grace is unconditional.” “Like hell it ain’t,” snapped the old man. “I was saved by grace because I believed in the existence of Jesus Christ and I said so in the sinner’s prayer. And … and, once you get saved you are saved for the rest of your life because God’s grace is unconditional.” The young preacher looked directly in the old man’s eyes and quietly stated: “You believe that with all your mind don’t you? There is nothing I could every say or do that would cause you to question this belief?” The old man looked coldly at the young preacher and letting out a sigh he said: “you are a dumb ass … no wonder they fired you.” A warm grin came across the young preacher’s face and he replied: “Yea, maybe I am … at least let me go into the restaurant across the street and get you something to eat.” “Ok,” the old man replied.
In the beginning God declared that a relationship would exist between Him and Adam. The foundation of this ‘Edenic Covenant’ is recorded in Genesis 2:15-17: Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” It is important to note that this covenant relationship between God and man was not a bilateral agreement. God and God alone established the conditions of His covenant relationship with man: Adam had nothing to say about conditions stipulated in the covenant agreement.