The story of the human race began so well. The first people, Adam and Eve, lived in total harmony with each other and enjoyed their first Sabbath-rest with their God. But Genesis 3 came after Genesis 2. The holy couple chose Satan and his empty promises rather than God, and they invited every manner of corruption into their once-perfect lives.
Guilt and fear replaced innocence in their relationship with God. It got worse. Genesis 4 followed Genesis 3. Cain's hatred for his brother Abel erupted into murderous rage. That sad chapter closes with succeeding generations boasting of their hot tempers and willingness to use violence.
And here we are. We are born flawed and broken, selfish and at odds with one another. But we have been rescued by Jesus Christ, forgiven of our sins of the past and newly strengthened and commissioned for a better life. The healing has begun. Our once-broken relationship with God has been reestablished. We have been reconciled through the shed blood of the Lamb. Sabbath-rest has replaced guilt and fear.
It is God's great wish and commission that we should also be reconciled with one another. Though Satan will try to use every difference between us as a wedge to drive us apart into suspicion, resentment, and fear, the Spirit within us leads us to love, respect, and appreciate other people. It is the goal of this reading plan to help you think through and live out the implications of Romans 15:7: "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."
--Pastor Mark Jeske