Wednesday, October 15, 2008
What? You Mean It Was True!!! (Part III)
In our last episode Adam and Eve had just eaten the forbidden fruit . . . The Bible states that after consuming the fruit Adam and Eve's eyes were opened. This means that they now recognized that their nakedness was exposed and it also means that they understood that they had done something very wrong. This is evident in their hiding themselves from God when He entered the Garden for His evening stroll. When God asked Adam why they were hiding themselves, he answered that it was because they were naked. Adam then blamed Eve for their disobedience and Eve then blamed the serpent. God then pronounced curses on each of them for their role in this act of cosmic treason. Most interesting was the curse He pronounced on the serpent. Keep in mind that this was no garden-variety snake. This snake was under the influence of the Adversary, satan himself.
God said to satan that He would put enmity between satan and the woman; between satan's offspring (the wicked throughout the ages) and the woman's offspring (the faithful throughout the ages, epitomized by Jesus Christ). Enmity is defined as, "positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will ". So basically this curse created an enduring hatred and warfare between those who would be the followers of satan (offspring) and ultimately the prominent child of Eve and His followers (Eve's faithful offspring). God goes on to say that satan will do harm to this ultimate offspring; but this offspring will utterly crush satan and triumph over him. This passage of Scripture has been dubbed the "proto-evangelion" or "first pronouncement of the Gospel". It is here that the redemption of the now fallen human race is promised.
So what does this all mean? What does it have to do with you and me today? Well, Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden affected all of us. Adam was declared, by God, to be mankind's perfect representative. Not perfect as in he was incapable of failing; but perfect in that all of mankind after him would be of equal character and capability. Therefore, we can never say that if we had been in Adam's place we would not have done the very same thing. It's easy to play Monday-morning quarterback and tell Adam what he should have done. The truth is, we would have fallen just as hard.
But here we have it, a fallen creation. What is God going to do? The more proper question is, what had God already done? The remainder of the Bible is God's revelation of His glorious plan of redemption for fallen mankind. To demonstrate His grace, glory and might, God chooses one man, Abraham, and his people to be the example of all these truths throughout human history. You might say, "why him"? The answer is simply because he was God's choice, period. From the introduction of Abraham, God's dealings with him and his people come to fruition with the entry of the Savior Jesus Christ some two thousand years later. Now, I would be posting forever, if I were to attempt to recap the whole Bible for you. No can do.
Man's fall radically altered his nature. Prior to that fall, man had perfect fellowship with his Creator and could stand before Him without a mediator. With his fall man did die just as God warned him. He died spiritually and volitionally, the instant he ate the fruit. Man's physical death was progressive with time. That spiritual and volitional death made man completely unresponsive to God. Man no longer wanted to be with God, nor obey God, nor love God. With the onset of spiritual and volitional death, men became haters of God and set out to be their own god. This all was to the absolute delight of the Adversary.
Now I ask you, if you were the Adversary how far would you go to prevent man from ever be reconciled to the God you hate more than anything in the universe? Would you influence man to worship himself or gods that didn't exist? Man is incurably religious. Yes, even the atheists. We will worship something or some one; it's built into us. Whether it's money, power, sex, self, science, allah, Oprah or Obama, we will worship something. The Adversary is very aware of this; so would it not be a useful tool in your tool belt to have as many false religions around as possible in order to keep men off the trail of the true God? Wouldn't it be amiable to your cause if you could keep people so distracted by economic issues and wars and racism and various supposed rights? Wouldn't you prop up false teachers who come performing signs and wonders that they claim come direct from heaven's throne-room? Wouldn't you promise prosperity, health and influence if it would keep people from reading the truth from Scripture? Speaking of Scripture wouldn't you do your best to discredit the Bible and make it seem unreliable and irrelevant? Wouldn't you promote killing more potential believers in Christ by killing them in the womb? Wouldn't you place innocent children in homosexual homes in order to completely obliterate their understanding of sexual roles?
How far would you go if you knew that there's no way in heaven you can strike directly at God Himself? How far would you go having already been kicked out of heaven and knowing that you ultimate home is hell and eternal torment? Would you drag as many as you could to go down with you? satan would and he's working on it while your sleeping.
Of course, all our modern knowledge will tell you that this is all mythology. That this is insecure man's way of dealing with the unknown. Science has proven that we all come from slime, hasn't it? Or could that be another of the Adversary's ploys to keep you with him where he's going? What say you?
So here it is. What has God done to make this date with the devil avoidable? Here is the ultimate question? How can a sinful man stand justified before a Holy God? There is only ONE way. Every single human being since Adam's fall in the garden stands condemned before God. Without some kind of intervention on his behalf every man will justly join the Adversary in hell for all eternity for both the infection of original sin AND the actual sins every man commits. God has only one penalty for sin, that penalty is death(Romans 6:23a, " For the wages of sin is death . . .). There's no community service, there's no paying a fine, there is only death. God is just and therefore He must punish sin, every man's sin. But God is also loving and He does not want to banish His entire creation to hell. So what was required was that someone would fulfill all (each and every one) of God's righteous laws and live a perfect life (in word, thought and deed). This perfect man would also have to pay the penalty due to those who had sinned against God and endure their punishment in their place. This is because God had decreed that without the shedding of blood there is NO forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22, "Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."). It's God's rule, deal with it!
I submit to you that the man who accomplished this task was none other than Jesus Christ, the ultimate seed promised to Adam and Eve way back in Genesis. Jesus was the seed of the woman and He is also the Son of the living God, the triune God. This second person of the Godhead was given human flesh in the womb of the virgin Mary and was born into the world of sinful man. He lived 33 years without so much as a sinful dream, fulfilling the law and willfully laid down His sinless life on the cross of Calvary. His death and His death alone was sufficient to satisfy this just demands of Holy God for sin. And because Jesus was sinless death could not keep Him and God raised Him from the dead. This gracious act of God now paved the way for sinful man to be born again and reconciled to God. This miraculous act, planned before the world was ever created, enabled God to carry out His justice while at the same time extend mercy to repentant sinners. It is often said that in this transaction, mercy and justice kissed each other.
What is required now is that man confess and repent that he is a fallen, rebellious and sinful creature who is in need of a Savior; if he is to avoid the Adversary's fate. Man must place his trust in Jesus Christ ALONE for the forgiveness of his sin and rebellion. This being done, God has promised that that man shall in no way be condemned. His sins will be forgiven and the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to his account. This is indeed GOOD NEWS for sinners like me and you! The only catch is that you must accept this good news now, today. Because a day is coming when God is going to settle all accounts. We don't know when that day is; it could be one hundred years from now. It also could be tomorrow. And it would be the tragedy of tragedies to appear before the judgment seat of Almighty God and utter these bewildered words: "What? You mean it was true!"
I know there will be severe objections to what I have written here. If you were satan, wouldn't you have objections?
Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:3)