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 (Manna 14)
The Worth and Status of Man
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We cannot help but marvel at the wonders of the creation - the boundless universe and the countless stars, the birds of the air, the beasts and insects of the earth, the fish and creatures of the sea, and the numerous varieties of plants which exude fragrance and bear nutritious fruits, each according to its season. God provides all these not only as everyday sources of food but also as objects to please the eyes and relax the mind. If man only realizes that he is more valuable than all these, then he will have self-esteem and self-respect, desiring a virtuous life. Otherwise he will resign himself to a hopeless life.

The Bible states: “the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7). “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” (Gen 1:26). “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.” (Gen 1:29). Clearly, man is created by God after His own image to rule over the creatures.

If man realizes this, he will understand how noble he is and that he is in an exalted position. However, those who believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution, think that they evolved from monkeys.

But there is a great distinction between man and animals. Man has a soul. When God created man, He used earth to form the physical body and then, breathed into him so that he became a living soul. Hence, man is composed of two parts, namely, the physical body and the spirit. The physical body belongs to the earth. The spirit belongs to God. The Bible records: “and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Eccl 12:7).

The Lord Jesus tells us, “Man shall not live by bread (material things) alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4). He further said, “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (Jn 6:63). Therefore, the worth of man lies not in the physical but rather in the spiritual. That is why Paul says, “I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Cor 15:50). The physical body will die, decay and turn to dust (Ps 89:48; Gen 3:19). But the spirit of man is given by God. It is imperishable and indestructible (Job 19:26).

It was Christ who pointed out the worth of man: “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” (Mt 16:26). Paul also states, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Cor 4:7). To Christ, even the whole world cannot be exchanged for a life. It’s a pity that many do not realize how precious their souls are. They are ruled by their base impulses, performing evil and unclean deeds, fornication, greed, hatred, jealousy, murder, incest, blasphemy, insolence, etc (Rom 1:18-3 1). The worth of man is not determined by their status in life but by their inner self (2 Pet 1:4).

We have mentioned previously that man has two kinds of life - the physical life from our parents and the spiritual life which is not from our parents. The spiritual life is the breath that is given by God, enabling the spirit to have eternal life. In order to receive eternal life and to be reconciled with God as His children, we must first believe in Jesus Christ, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. Then only can we be considered as born again in the Lord Jesus Christ and have the living hope of salvation for the soul. Peter teaches: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are afar off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.” (Ac 2:38, 39). Man must, therefore, repent first of his sins, receive baptism for the forgiveness of sins, then pray for the Holy Spirit which is the guarantee of our inheritance and salvation (Eph 1:13, 14). In this manner, through baptism, the old self was put to death and buried with Christ, then raised again to walk in the newness of life (Rom 6:3,4). The reborn man is unlike the former walking dead which, like dead bones, has no spiritual life. Receiving the Holy Spirit is like receiving the breath of God, enabling our spirit to live eternally. The Bible teaches, “The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4). Thus, we are restored to the positions of children of God. Since we are sons of God, God will send the spirit of sonship into our hearts to bear witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and therefore, heirs of God (Rom 8:16, 17; Gal 4:6, 7).

From the above teachings, we may conclude that the worth and status of man do not depend on a few decades of life and fortune but rather on the eternal spiritual life. Those who died in the Lord shall be resurrected at His coming (1 Cor 15:20-22). Those who are born again and are waiting for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ shall have their physical bodies transformed into spiritual bodies and be taken up into heaven (1 Thes 4:16, 17; Phil 3:20, 21). This is the greatest need and hope of the human race.

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