Saturday, December 19, 2009

Far as the curse is found - The Promise

God, in his amazing grace does not end His story with the fall. He continues the story with…

2. The Promise

Before God tells Adam and Eve of the consequences of their sin he first announces judgement upon Satan. “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” (Gen. 3:15).

It doesn’t look like it a first, but this is a promise of amazing grace. And it comes in the form of a curse upon the serpent. Martin Luther called Genesis 3:15 the “proto-euangelion” – the first gospel announcement. And that it was.

Notice that God tells Satan that He will make Eve his enemy – “I will put enmity between you and the woman.” What is new here is not Satan’s hatred of the woman. Satan hates. He hates everything about God and that includes everything and everyone God has created. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The theif comes only to steal, kill, and destory.” The apostle Peter said that, “Satan prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” So it is nothing new that Satan hates the woman. What God is changing in his curse upon Satan is that the woman will hate Satan; that she will be his enemy.

Even though she was now a sinner and would have to live with the consequences for the rest of her life on earth the woman would not love the serpent. She would not follow after him and trust him. This is God refusing to give her up. This is grace. This is beautiful, blessedly jealous love.

The late great James Montgomery Boice writes,

Suppose God had not created enmity between Satan and the woman. In that case Adam and Eve would have become like Satan, and from that time forward they would have seen everything from Satan’s warped and inverted perspective. That is, they would have considered God to be the utterly evil one and Satan to be the saviour. They would have loved evil and have hated virtue. They would have called truth falsehood and falsehood truth.
And of course this is exactly how the first chapter of Romans describes the inevitable downward spiral of humanity apart from Jesus Christ.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32)

God demonstrates grace in making it clear to Satan that he cannot have the woman. And not only that. God says that he will put enmity between Satan and the woman and her descendants. In other words God is promising that he will have for himself a people.

Something very interesting happens in Genesis 3:20. Adam names his wife “Eve.” Until this moment she is simply, “the woman.” Now she has a name that means “life.” Don’t miss the significance of the timing. Immediately after God pronounces his judgement which includes their inevitable death Adam gives his wife a name that means “Mother of the living.”

Adam understands the promise God has made. He understands that God, in his mercy will not allow Satan and sin to have the final word. Adam could have named her, “Thanks a lot!” or “Look at the mess you’ve made.” But her gives her a name that means “life.” Adam is not being urealistic or naïve. He simply believes God’s promise.

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