ALTHOUGH mankind had fallen into a futile way of life as a consequence of their rebellion against divine rule, God did not leave humans without hope. The Bible explains: “The creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20, 21) Yes, God provided hope for the offspring of the first human couple. It was the assured hope that mankind would be set free from inherited sin and death. They could be restored to a close relationship with Jehovah God. How?
2 When Adam and Eve sinned, they robbed their descendants of the prospect of enjoying a satisfying life forever on earth. In exchange for license to decide what is right and wrong for themselves, they sold their future family into slavery to sin and death. Born into that family, their descendants may be likened to slaves confined to a remote island where cruel rulers reign as kings. Indeed, death has ruled as king over mankind enslaved by another king—sin. (Romans 5:14, 21) There seems to be no one who will rescue them. Why, it was their ancestor who sold them into slavery! But a benevolent man sends his son, who brings the full price required to obtain freedom for all who are in bondage.—Psalm 51:5; 146:4; Romans 8:2.
3 In this illustration the man who rescued the slaves represents Jehovah God. The son who brought the price for freedom is Jesus Christ. He had a prehuman existence as the only-begotten Son of God. (John 3:16) He was Jehovah’s very first creation, and all other creatures in the universe came into existence through him. (Colossians 1:15, 16) Jehovah miraculously transferred the life of this spiritual Son into the womb of a virgin, making it possible for the baby to be born a perfect human, the price needed to satisfy the requirements of divine justice.—Luke 1:26-31, 34, 35.
4 When Jesus was about 30 years old, he was baptized in the Jordan River. At his baptism, he was anointed by holy spirit, or God’s active force. Thus, he became the Christ, meaning “Anointed One.” (Luke 3:21, 22) Jesus’ ministry on earth lasted three-and-a-half years. During those years, he taught his followers about “the kingdom of God,” the heavenly government under which mankind will return to a peaceful relationship with Jehovah God. (Luke 4:43; Matthew 4:17) Jesus knew the way for humans to lead a happy life, and he gave his followers specific guidelines regarding happiness. Why not open your Bible to Matthew chapters 5 to 7 and read some of his teachings in the Sermon on the Mount?
Would you not feel deep gratitude to the one who liberated you from bondage?
5 Unlike Adam, Jesus led a life of obedience to God in every way. “He committed no sin.” (1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 7:26) In fact, he had the right to live forever on earth, but he ‘surrendered his soul’ to pay back to God what Adam had lost. On the torture stake, Jesus gave up his perfect human life. (John 10:17; 19:17, 18, 28-30; Romans 5:19, 21; Philippians 2:8) Doing so, Jesus provided the ransom, or paid the price needed to buy mankind back from slavery to sin and death. (Matthew 20:28) Think of yourself laboring in a sweatshop, leading a life of literal slavery. Would you not feel deep gratitude to the one who arranged to liberate you from bondage and to the one who volunteered to sacrifice his life for yours? Through the ransom arrangement, a way was opened for you to return to God’s universal family and lead a truly satisfying life, free from enslavement to sin and death.—2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.
6 Knowing and appreciating this undeserved kindness of Jehovah gives you all the more reason to apply in your own life the words of wisdom found in the Bible. For example, take one of the most difficult principles to apply—forgiving others when they have offended you. Do you remember the words found at Colossians chapter 3, verses 12 to 14, which we considered in Lesson 2? Those verses encouraged you to forgive others even if you might have a cause for complaint against them. The context explains why, saying: “Even as Jehovah freely forgave you, so do you also.” Once you take to heart what Jehovah and Jesus Christ have done for mankind, you will be moved to forgive others for whatever offenses they may have caused, especially if they repent and apologize.