Thursday, April 5, 2007

God made a commitment to do what is necessary to save me

Continuing to consider the commitment of the cross, I am staggered by God's willingness to do what must be done for a wretched sinner like me to be redeemed.

It was necessary, for my redemption and yours, that Jesus die for us. Many have rejected Christianity because of the bloodiness of the cross. They say there was no reason for the cross. They claim there could have been another way. In essence they are suggesting God really had the choice to forgive Adam, the first human sinner, for His disobedience. He didn't have to mandate Adam's spiritual death because of sin. He could have just said, "Awww... never mind, It's alright, I forgive you".

Genesis 2 & 3 help to reveal why Christ's death was the only way to save me and you.

Genesis 2:15-17 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

Genesis 3:4-13 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."

God makes a prohibition against eating from the tree. He declares that eating from the tree is sin. He has attached His authority to this prohibition. He is clear, the consequence for eating from the tree is spiritual death. Satan comes along and convinces Adam and Eve that God was lying. He says "you will not surely die". He further tells them they will be like God if they eat. By eating the fruit, they essentially state-"We are God, we will do what we want". In human terms, what choice does God have at this point? If He simply overlooks the sin or forgives the sin, taking the offense against himself with no reciprocity, in essence He ceases to be God. It is like the child who is told not to touch the glass. When the child defiantly touches the glass the parent relents. The child takes the place of the parent. The child controls the situation. If God simply overlooks the violation of His will He has allowed creature to author the rules. It would mean He is no God at all and His justice means nothing. To make matters worse, if God simply overlooks Adam's sin, He would have proven the serpent right. Because a Sovereign God was manipulated by the creature, He would no longer be God. In fact, the creature becomes God and fulfills Satan's promise to Eve- "you will be like God". Eating from the tree was a direct attack on God's Holy and Just character by Satan himself and Man allowed Satan to use him. For God to remain God, He could not simply overlook Adam's sin, He must judge and punish it- for the protection and promotion of His own Glory.

So, what does the cross have to do with all this? Well, as you think about the situation, there really was only one way to save human beings (Adam, Eve and their progeny). Redemption was only possible through the atoning death of a worthy substitute.

You see, there is another matter wrapped up in the sin of Adam that has passed to us. When Adam rebelled against God He personally attacked the character of God. Assault against God's character must always met equally with His Holy wrath. God's wrath is holy as it stands in direct opposition to sin. For all the sin there is, there has to be an equal amount of God's wrath poured out on that sin for God to be God. This meant that two things must happen to save us:

1. There would have to be a representative man (it would take a like substitute, not an angel or an animal, but a fellow human being) who would fulfill God's moral will, where Adam fell.

2. God's wrath for the sin of those who would be saved must be poured out on that perfect substitute.

Wonderfully, and to show the long-time commitment of God to save me (and you, who trust in Christ, by God's grace), God reveals how He would accomplish my (our) salvation directly on the heels of the text that records the fall of Adam, our first representative-

Genesis 3:15 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."

God would provide a man (to be perfect, after Adam's fall, He would have to be the "God-man") to crush the devil, yet in doing so, He would sustain injury. This is the lucid imagery of stepping on a snakes head. The snake might bite and injure you, however, you could drive your heel down and crush his head to kill him. This is what Jesus did for me on the cross! He sustained definite injury (some might say permanent injury, since He still bears the nail prints, etc.), yet defeats Satan by satisfying God's wrath- crushing his head on Calvary.

God could have simply condemned the human race to hell and poured out his wrath on them. We all deserve just that. Instead, despite all that it would require of Him, He agreed to go the only redemptive route He could, and still remain God- He sent his Son to live the life I could never live and endure the wrath I should have received. God made a commitment to saving me and do what is necessary to accomplish this. The evidence of His commitment is Jesus nailed to the Cross. When Jesus says "into thy hands I commit thy spirit", I must not lose sight of all that God has committed to regarding His glory and my redemption.

1 comment:

Frontier Forest said...

But why and how could the God of the Universe choose me? And I wonder why God made such a commitment to save me before the very foundation of the world? Questions for sure… but my only answer… for sure.. GRACE! “Great Riches At Christ’s Expense.”