Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Gospel: A Set and Divine Foundation from the Beginning

The Gospel: A Set and Divine Foundation from the Beginning

       This time of year as set forth in me a joy unspeakable, not out of duty, not out of a set arraignment, but for the joy of knowing God.  I recently saw the birth of my twins and began to wonder if these two would be my last-born children here on earth.  I know that God sent Jesus as His only begotten son (John 3:16) through the seed of the Spirit in the womb of a woman.  I automatically began to pray over these newborn bundles of joy and wondered what life would be like for them in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.  One thought set in my mind was “The Gospel.”  These children of mine are children of the seed of flesh and destined for death.  It’s a tragic truth that we do not think about when you are just trying to get them home from the hospital.
       This time of year has also been set aside as a remembrance or a turning back to the beginning.  The Jews celebrate this time of renewal through Rosh Hashanah.  The portions are beginning again and a time of repentance is before us.  As a believer in Jesus as Messiah the festivals celebrated are duly a remembrance and a time set for the day of return.  The word teshuvah is exactly this statement of returning.  In the garden, we see an amazing action performed before verdict is given that goes unnoticed by many, if not most believers and is a tragic miss that is left void in our lives.  I believe this tragic misfortune that goes unnoticed is the root cause of the feeling of “duty” that we place on self to be loved and accepted by God.
        In the garden we see that Satan temps Eve and subsequently entices Adam to take part in the occasion.
Gen 3:6  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.
Gen 3:7  Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Gen 3:8  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.

        We notice that the first reaction to taking part in sin is revealing, they knew that their eyes were opened, holy smokes batman we have just broken the one rule that God set up for us.  The absence of life reveals our nakedness it shows us the things we do not like about ourselves.  Truth will reveal the hidden details, and it is in this that we try to cover up and hide. 

        Notice Adam and Eve’s response is to cover up what has been revealed, they make it their task to cover up what has been made wrong.  This is such a testament to our way of thinking, it is much easier for us to correct the wrong ourselves; however, it does not lead to life.  Your work will never lead to life; it cannot, will not, and has never been able to save you.  Even if the intentions of the heart are for good, you will never be able to save yourself or someone else.  You may be on the mission field in the middle of a jungle out of duty, instead of life, and it will never be your means of salvation or fulfillment of the void in life. 

        God shows up in the midst of the garden, noticed they heard the sound of God walking in the garden.  This reminds me of being alone in a room and hearing the sound of footsteps rustling on the sidewalk.  The anticipation of the sound always leads to the stress of the unknown.  Yet this approach was not one of decimation, but of relationship.  This is the approach we miss when we read the garden account, we forget that a relationship has been established and now we see how God brings forth the gospel even in the garden.

        God does something that we miss, we miss and forget the purpose of why we are sons and daughters.  He questions the means by which they sin, He tells of the enmity between woman and the snake, and then he performs a sacrifice.   At this point in the garden, no judgment has been given.  God provides “garments of skin” and thus, provides the first sacrifice we see in scripture.  This sacrifice came before judgment, the blood spilled before a word uttered in punishment, and his compassion shown before they were removed from the garden.   A relationship was established gloriously before he gives the terms of how life will be outside of the comfort of the garden.  Man had fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).   Yet, in the midst of falling short,  redemption was already on His mind.  God rescued them, redeemed them, and then He sent them in the world to live in dependence upon Him and not of themselves. 

        The Gospel was shown in Adam and Eve admitting their faults; Jesus preached “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”  We must realize that God has provided for us a sacrifice in the form of being clothed in Righteousness.  God being the Gospel clothed Adam and Eve in the righteousness that he provided through the sacrifice he made on their behalf.   We see judgment show up in Genesis 4:5 when Cain offered his sacrifice of the fruits of the field.  The fruits of His labor! 

        The Gospel in the garden before they were moved out of it was the sacrifice of the animal that clothed their nakedness.  The question is not what are you doing to clothe yourself; the question is have you accepted the robes of righteousness through Christ at the finished work of the cross?  You see God preceded your sin by offering Christ on our behalf, pouring out His judgment on the only one who lived righteously.  Being clothed in righteousness is having your works exposed for what they are, nakedness.  The Gospel exposes and sheds light on our self-effort, no matter what that self-effort looks like. 

       I was exposed in college through my efforts to perform every kind of ministry opportunity available, yet it did not cure the ailment of self.  I tried and tried to make it happen, the mission field was my acts of righteousness, my tracts of faith, and my alter building to attempt to sacrifice those sins and never live in them again.  In such things, there is no life.  We can be called to any form of ministry in and out of country, and if there is no life in the calling then there is no power behind it.   We can gather in small groups and pray to our hearts content, yet if it is without life, there is no power. 

        Are you living out of duty? Or out of life? Are you exposed by the righteousness of God?  Have you heard is voice? Have you heard His footsteps?  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for they shall be called sons of God (Matt 5:9).   Righteousness is out for you and it will chase after, pursue, and hunt you down until you fall into its fate, being clothed.  God does that!   The Gospel is God, The Gospel is being Clothed, The Gospel is infinite, and The Gospel is for those who hear.

         Seeing my children born into the world in frailty and nakedness exposed them for what they are, dependent.  Adam and Eve experienced it and so do we.  

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