January 31: The Hope of Life in the Midst of Death

For the past couple of days we have been reminded of the entrance of death into our world. God, in his love for mankind, provided us with the liberty to choose if we would love and trust him. Of course we know what happened. Adam and Eve chose to reject the one true God and rather to listen to the god of this age- the serpent. He tempted them to use knowledge to become good like God, rather than to freely receive God’s gracious life in order to be good like God.

As we also said yesterday, sin is a real thing. It is something that is released into the world and must be carried by someone. In the Old Testament the word for forgive is the Hebrew word nasa. Nasa means to carry, to bear up, to lift, or support. Who will carry Adam and Eve’s sin? Who will bear them up? Who will support them under the weight of this shame and death that they now bear?

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In Genesis 3 we see three things that God does to answer this question. Three things that will give them the hope of life in the midst of death.

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.” 

First, God promises an offspring of Eve that will crush the offspring of Satan. In the verse above, God is speaking to the Serpent (Satan). One day there will be an epic battle for the souls of mankind. A human offspring will rise up and crush the head of sin and evil. Yes, it will bring a wound (bruise his heal) to this man, but in the end, the man will defeat sin and death. He will put death to death, destroy Satan, and abolish sin. This is hope for life; a great promise that we believe is fulfilled in the life of Christ himself. He is the offspring of Eve who crushed the head of our mortal enemy while being “bruised” on the cross.

Genesis 3:21. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Second, God temporarily covered their shame when he made clothes for them out of animal skins. This, of course, required a blood sacrifice. This sacrifice would prefigure all the blood sacrifices yet to come. The sacrifice of animal blood would allow God to cover humanity’s sin until the ultimate blood sacrifice could be made by Christ on the cross. This too is hope for life.

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Genesis 3:22-24. Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Third, God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden and away from the Tree of Life. But how is this hope for life? If humanity were to take from the Tree of Life they would receive eternal life, but eternal life trapped in a dying self. Before man can have eternal life, he must first have true forgiveness.

At the beginning of this blog post we said someone has to carry our sin in order for there to be forgiveness. Someone has to take sin’s punishment and defeat it. Who will do this? God’s answer is God- Jesus Christ the God-man is that person. He is the new Tree of Life, offering his life and his hope to all who would take and eat.

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