Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An Illustration of the Gospel

Several years ago I was preaching systematically through the gospel of Matthew and on a particular Sunday morning had arrived at chapter twenty-one which begins the last week of our Lord’s life on earth culminating in His crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. That same Sunday afternoon I was to begin teaching systematically through Genesis in our Discipleship Training hour. So as I started preaching Matthew twenty-one that morning, I stated that the Holy Spirit gave much attention to the last week of our Lord’s life in the gospels and that its account is very important and central to the gospel. After the morning service was over and as I was refreshing my lesson on Genesis chapter one, I realized just how much the last week of our Lord’s life paralleled the first week of creation – that the creation account actually paralleled the redemption account and testified of the Lord Jesus. It was from this that the Lord helped me to better understand the mystery of redemption as shown in Christ and His bride, the church.

Before I get into the illustration let me set the stage with some biblical truths that are necessary if we are going to understand this mystery. The Bible speaks of Adam as the first Adam and it speaks of Jesus as the last Adam – “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). And also in Ephesians 5:22-33 we read about how marriage is to be like Christ and His bride, the church. It is from viewing the proper function of the marriage and the God-given roles of husbands and wives, that are to parallel the way Christ relates to the church and the church relates to Christ, that we see the failure of the first Adam in redeeming his bride and the success of the last Adam (Jesus Christ) in redeeming his bride.

In order to illustrate the gospel and what Christ accomplished for His bride we need to look at what Adam could have done differently, the effect of that on Eve, and her willing response to Adam as a result.

What Adam could have done differently:
Let’s suppose that Eve, after having been deceived by the serpent and having eaten from the tree which God told them not to eat from, that she offered some of the forbidden fruit to her husband. And let’s suppose that Adam refused to eat the fruit because of his love for God and he said to Eve, “I cannot eat that fruit and disobey my heavenly Father who has always been good and more than gracious to us. I delight to do His will and I cannot sin against Him.”

Now let’s suppose that they heard the sound of God as He came walking in the garden and Eve went and hid herself because she had sinned and was afraid, but Adam went to meet with God and he said to Him, “Father, my bride has sinned against you and has eaten from the tree which you commanded us not to eat. You have said that the wages of sin is death – that we shall surely die if we eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So Father, I want to pay Eve’s sin debt and I want to die in her place.” To which God accepted.

From her hiding place in the garden, Eve watched as God nailed Adam to a tree and she watched as Adam endured the wrath of God for her and she watched as Adam gave up his spirit and died. Then she watched as God took Adam off the tree and laid him in a tomb and sealed it with a stone. Three days later Eve watched as God came back into the garden and back to the tomb, removed the stone and said to Adam, “Arise My Son! The death you died was not your own for you never sinned against Me and with you I am well pleased!

The effect of that on Eve:
Surely Eve’s heart would have been broken over her wickedness and Adam’s willingness to give his righteous life as a substitute for hers. She would have mourned that her sin caused the death of her husband who had never sinned.

Eve’s willing response to Adam as a result:
Eve would have been moved to repentance, recognizing her sinfulness and Adam’s righteousness, she would have turned to Adam for forgiveness and she would have said to him, “O Adam! Please forgive me. It was my sin, my disobedience that caused your death and I am sorry.” To which Adam would have replied, “Eve, you are forgiven – it was for you I died, even while you were yet a sinner.” Then Eve would have said, “Your love for God is beyond dispute, your love for me is beyond dispute, and therefore, from now on it is my desire to live under your loving leadership.”

Had Adam done this then Eve’s obedience to God would have been restored through her loving obedience to Adam because Adam would never lead Eve to do anything in violation of God’s will. However, we know that this is not what the first Adam did – but it is what Jesus Christ the last Adam did! O what a Savior and Lord!

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