Genesis 3:21-24. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
22 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.
This story in Genesis 3 can be a bit confusing. If God is all about us being alive, then why on earth would he drive Adam and Eve out of the garden and block their way back to the tree of life? Wouldn’t the tree of life be the cure to eating from the tree of knowledge, and the death that came with it? Isn’t the solution to all of man’s problems right there in front of them?
But let’s look at how God explains it – Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever.
Here’s the shocking reality that we are left with by the end of Genesis 3 – Death is the only way to God’s life.
God wants us to live forever, that’s why he offered the tree of life in the first place. But now that we are infected with sin, living forever would be dying forever. It would be getting worse and worse without end. Without hope. And so God, in his grace, drives the first family from the garden and blocks the way to the tree of life.
Now they can die. We all can. And in dying we can find a resurrection unto eternal life. Eternal life that comes through a sacrifice for sin. A lesson God teaches them as he clothes them with garments of skin from an animal that had to die sacrificially so that they might live.
Death is inevitable. Read Genesis 5 and you will see over and over this phrase “and he died.” Everyone dies. Why? Because everyone is born dying. Both physically and spiritually. Without a work of God’s grace, we are all moving further and further away from God. A destiny, that apart from a divine intervention, will lead to death.
What is that intervention? What will prevent our death? Death…and then life.
God’s salvation plan, starting right here in Genesis 3, is to rescue us through death and resurrection.
God wants us to live, but first he needs us to die. God wants us to live in his eternal life, so first HE will need to die. Jesus came to earth and experienced our death for us. He was driven out by God into the wilderness to be tempted and trialed like us. He was blocked from eternal life in his mortal flesh on the tree of death – the cross. But then, three days later, that same cross became our tree of life!
This is our union with Christ – union with Christ’s cross so that we might experience Christ’s resurrection. Union with Christ’s death defeating death. A death that removes all of sin’s power over us. Sin can no longer control us or kill us. What’s the worst thing that can come as the result of our sin? Death. But now in Christ, death is actually the best thing that could happen to us.
This is why we can taunt death with Paul and say:
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
“To live is Christ” is union with Christ’s death in order to find life. His death is now where our peace, and hope, and joy are found. And it is in the daily putting to death of our selfishness and learning to embrace the dying of self-sacrifice that we find true living. And it will be in our death unto resurrection that we find Jesus, our tree of life, waiting for us on the other side.
Do you fear death? Can you see your need to die in order to live?
You in Christ
How does knowing that in Christ you have passed from death into life impact you today?
Christ in you
Is there a specific way that you can bring life to someone by sacrificing for them today?
Playlist: From Death to Life
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