If It Were Not So: Hope in Christ – Part One
Psalm 78: 6,7: “That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”
One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was that no matter how wretched I think I am, how much I mess things up, or how much I wish I could change, God’s grace is much bigger than I.
In the beginning we are told of God’s beautiful creation. We read in Genesis that God spoke and a world was born. He looked around and saw that everything was good. No matter how much beauty we see in this world today, that beauty is always tainted by sin. Yet, when God created this world, that very first week, nothing was marred. Nothing was wilted, dying, or dried up. Instead, the world was full of lush goodness. Everything He formed had His mark of love.
God was not content with simply creating a beautiful world full of living things. He wanted more than that. He wanted you and I. And so on the sixth day of His work, God fashioned a man. He created that man, Adam, in His own image – that man might have His likeness. He created that man to be His friend. He wanted to have a relationship with him. He wanted this man to enjoy the created world and to be happy. God created man and, for man’s own happiness, He created a woman, Eve, to be his companion.
God knew that the beauty, the joy and the peace would be short lived, but that knowledge did not prevent Him from continuing with His work. You see, God knew Eve would disobey and that His beautiful creation would need to be separated from Him. Yet, He loved them so much that He allowed them to have their own free will and choose whether they would listen and obey.
There had been war in heaven and Lucifer, the most beautiful of all angels had sinned against God. He had boasted and cried out to the heavens that he would be like the Most High God. Lucifer exalted himself before all of creation and God had cast him away.
When God’s work was done and He had rested the seventh day, He gave instructions to Adam and Eve. In the midst of the Garden of Eden, was the Tree of Life and another tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God said they might freely eat of every tree in the garden, but that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not to be touched.
One day Eve was walking through the garden and a serpent called out to her: “’Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’” Genesis 3:1
I would imagine that Eve was surprised at first. She probably had a small voice inside of her saying, “Don’t talk to him!” But for whatever reason, Eve stepped closer and listened.
“And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’” Genesis 3:2-3
She knew what God had said. She had known only love and goodness since the day she was created. And, still, she doubted Him. She listened to the serpent.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’” Genesis 3:4
Satan was persuading her, deceiving a child of God. He was leading her in the wrong direction. He was convincing her not to believe God’s Word. And so she thought about it. And she believed the serpent.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat…” Genesis 3:6
I can’t imagine how she felt. Then again – I am full of sin. I have tasted sin. I know what sin is. Perhaps she felt a sense of power, or a sense of shame, or maybe she got a rush of adrenalin the way men and women often do when they think they have gotten away with a sin. Whatever she felt inside, it didn’t stop her from pulling her husband to sin with her.
“… and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” Genesis 3:6-7
Adam, while he was not the one to initiate the sin, partook fully by taking the fruit from her hands and putting it to his lips. He chose Eve over God. Here he was enjoying another perfect day in the Garden of Eden when he sees his wife coming toward him. He must have known immediately that something was wrong. The covering of God’s light had disappeared from her and she was naked before him – no longer an image of perfection.
I can imagine his face falling as he looked over the woman he loved. The woman who had been given solely for his pleasure; for his devotion; for his companion. “Eve,” he cried out, “What have you done?” She would have explained the story to him, telling him about the serpent who had spoken to her. Telling him that the fruit was good for food, that God had not told them the truth. And he reached out his hand and grasped the fruit, knowing he would die. He had loved Eve more than he loved God.
Their eyes were opened. And they were afraid. Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves to hide their shame. Fear caused them to hide from their Creator. And when God called to them, they didn’t take the blame on themselves. They placed the burden of sin on someone else.
“And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat’. And the LORD God said unto the woman, ‘What is this that thou hast done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.’” Genesis 3:12-13
On the day of judgment, we will each have to stand on our own. We will not be able to blame our spouse, our parents, or our miserable circumstances. We will stand alone and accept responsibility for our own sin.
This sad story has a beautiful ending – a promise. God had known before he even spoke the first words; calling the world into existence; that His beloved children would sin against Him. He knew their disobedience would come. And He had a plan already in place.
“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, ‘Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.‘” Genesis 3:14-15
In this verse, at the very beginning of the Bible, we see God’s first promise of a Savior. He knew we would need a way out. In His loving grace and mercy, a plan was set in motion that would give the entire world a chance to come unto Him again, to live in His presence.
And so we are given the incredible gift of Christ Jesus, the unblemished Lamb who was slain. Jesus died that second death that would keep us from God for all eternity. And he conquered death and rose again. He is waiting to take us home. For now, we each have a choice to make. We can either follow Him, or we can choose a different path, but the choice is ours.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:16-21
On the day of judgment, will you stand naked before God? Or will you have the covering of Jesus blood making you righteous in His sight? It is ever so important to study God’s Word – to hide His Word in your heart. The Devil, the old serpent knows your weakest points and he is the master of deception. Do not allow the evil one to deceive you for you were chosen by God and HE wants you for His own.