Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Solus Christus: Where Did It All Go Wrong?

In Ge. 1, Moses tells us that God created everything good. When God completed the crown of His creation—man—and looked back on all that He created, He called it very good. When He was done creating it was all perfect. Of course, we merely have to wake up in the morning and look around to see that creation didn’t stay in the perfect state in which it was created. Where did it all go wrong? That question brings us to today’s devotion for Advent:
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”
20 The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. (Ge. 3:1-23)
Adam’s transgression plunged humanity into sin and made us all in dire need of a Savior. Paul tells us that the “one trespass [i.e. Adam’s sin] led to condemnation for all men.” But, why did Adam’s sin affect the rest of humanity? The sixteenth question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is helpful here. It asks in question 16, “Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?” and it answers, “The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.” When God made His covenant with Adam, He made it with all humanity, and therefore, when Adam broke the covenant he did so as the representative of all humanity. His sin was our sin; because of Adam’s sin, we’re all sinners in desperate need of redemption. Since biblical covenants include posterity (cf. Dt. 5:1-3), we fell with him in his first transgression and consequently lost communion with God, are under His wrath and curse, and are made liable to all the miseries of this life, death, and hell itself. We are certainly in desperate need of a Savior.

I have a friend who likes to say, “Don't forget the pigs... the further they get away the better they start looking... Always remember where He found you; don't forget the pigs....” He is alluding to the story of the Prodigal Son from Lk. 15, where the wayward son eventually finds himself in a pig sty, finally comes to his senses, and goes home to his father. His point is that we can’t forget where God found us, and if we do, the greatness of God’s grace and love for us wanes in our eyes and we start to feel like we deserve it. For God’s grace to us in Jesus to look as glorious as it truly is, we need to remember the sinfulness from which He saved us. We need to remember the pigs. During Advent, for the incarnation of Christ to look as glorious as it truly is, we need to remember that He came to save His rebellious people—a people “dead in [their] trespasses and sins.” We weren’t just sick, hurt, or injured. We were dead in our sinfulness. We need to remember the sinfulness we inherited from Adam. We need to remember where He found all of us when He came into the world.

On this day of Advent remember where God found you; don’t forget the pigs. Remember the sinfulness and rebelliousness of your life before He found you. Remember that, because of Adam, you, like the rest of the human race, were dead in your sins when He found you and that you’d still be there without Him. But, also remember that “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,” saved you from those sins, gave you new life in Christ, and gave you a heart of flesh for your heart of stone. Ask God to remind you of both the greatness of your need for redemption and the vastness of His grace to you in Jesus. Ask Him to work that truth into your heart so that you can’t help but love Him more and more every day.

By His Grace,

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