Over the past couple of weeks I have been meditating on Genesis 3, seeking to understand original sin in a deeper and more profound way, desiring to better understand the human condition, dreaming about what could have been and ultimately looking forward to what will be when we are with Christ in Glory.
What I found was not what I was looking for, but likely what I need the most. I continually aspire to greater knowledge and understanding, getting caught up in lofty thoughts, perpetually meditating on the peripherals. What I found was the theme of the entire narrative of scripture – Grace.
You are all likely rolling your eyes at me, “Of course it’s grace, Stephen!”
You’re right, of course it’s grace.
Yet I am constantly not amazed by it. My entitled attitude makes me think I deserve it. Admittedly, this blog is strictly for me, a confessional, I think I just need to scream (write) from the rooftops (my desk) how little I know about and how little I appreciate this completely disproportionate grace I have been given.
I have lost the awestruck wonder of God’s grace, if I ever had it at all.
Adam and Eve sin, insufficiently cover themselves from their nakedness…and in nakedness feel free to insert weakness, defenselessness, or humiliation. Adam then proceeds to blame God for giving him the awful temptress of a woman, Eve and Eve decides to blame the serpent.
God should have killed them, really, he should have.
I love the Old Testament, because the sin is just so obviously wrong – murder, adultery, idolatry, and rape…the list goes on. One could take the high road and feel pretty good about not committing those heinous sins, but as I read it, Jesus tends to hold up a mirror to my own heart. I consistently see myself more clearly in the Old Testament than anywhere, especially in the whoredom of Israel.
Back to the point.
He really should have ended humanity. That is the easiest route for him to take, I figure anyways.
Instead he curses them. That’s typically where I end up. The past few weeks he brought me back a couple of verses to the curse of the serpent.
In the curse of the serpent, before he even address the punishment coming to mankind, God promises the serpent that from the woman will be one coming that will crush the head of the serpent. From mankind, will come one who will abolish evil, righting every wrong, bringing justice to all injustice. The fall will be entirely reversed and everything in heaven and on earth will be recapitulated, through this seed, the God-Man, Christ Jesus.
This grace is absolutely immense. Mankind can mess up that badly, and rather than wipe us out completely, God decides to actually use us as part of the answer?
It was beautiful to meditate on the order in which God chose to address the issue. God’s blessing is announced over humanity before any punishment is given, before any known repentance is even offered! God speaks to the identity, purpose and calling of Eve before addressing any repercussions to her actions. As a parent, I far too often model the exact opposite of this; discipline first and hard, followed by some affirmation and blessing, essentially trying my best to rebuild what I just tore down. Our Father does not do this at all…Adam and Eve could not even grasp what they had done, had not repented and deserved punishment, and yet he showed them grace first – focussed on and highlighted their wonderful purpose and identity.
Sin does require death, and they hadn’t covered themselves sufficiently with the fig leaves. So they are covered with animal skins. Could this be the first sacrifice? Could we see here an anticipatory sacrifice to the sacrificial system of Leviticus?
When I turn from him feeling naked, humiliated, shamed, embarrassed or whatever it may be my instinct is consistently to cover it myself. Rather than accept my exposed vulnerability, I try to cover myself. I clothe myself with confidence, pride, anger, and hard work functionally trying to be my own saviour. Yet in Christ’s eternal sacrifice he is saying “Stephen, let me cover this, let me clothe you with myself, with my sacrifice.”
The gracious offer to be clothed with his purity and righteousness is one I don’t deserve, and yet, is given to me freely and frequently and often is received without true thanksgiving. His grace is astounding, and present immediately in scripture. I’ve forgotten it, and unfortunately have gotten accustom to it and read over it.
Thankfully, in his grace he will continually draw me near, revealing to me my need for a saviour, my need to be clothed by him and his sacrifice.