There is a way to be good again.
I am so thankful that this way has nothing to do with my own positive thinking or good behavior. That sure wouldn’t get me very far. It has everything to do with Jesus and what He has done for me to make the way possible. It has everything to do with His grace. He is the way (John 14:6). And we see the beginnings of the way and His plan for our redemption in Genesis three.
I have always read this chapter on the fall of man as…well…the fall of man. I thought Adam and Eve really screwed up and therefore made a mess of things for the rest of us. I always kind of looked down on Eve, but as one of the gals in my Bible study reminded, you know we would have done the exact same thing!
But I’ve been missing something big. What I have failed to see woven throughout Genesis three and the curse is grace. I only saw the curse. But there was hope in spite of the curse. And Adam recognized that right away. He even expressed faith in what God had promised by naming his wife Eve (Genesis 3:20). Sheesh. I always thought Eve was named Eve from the moment God formed her from the rib He took out of Adam. How did I miss that all these years?! And the hope that Adam clung to was not just for him. The hope is for us too.
“And this is where we, too, find hope. We grieve over the hurts that the curse causes in our lives–difficulty conceiving, disappointment in marriage, dead-end jobs, disease-ridden bodies. But we do not grieve as those who have no hope.
Here Adam shows all of us who have inherited his nature of sin how to stare the curse of death in the face and celebrate the promise that this curse is not God’s final word. God’s final word is his Son, Jesus, who said, “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life (John 5:24 NLT). This was Adam’s hope, though he could not have articulated it this way. And this is our sure and certain hope while living in a world that is still so deeply impacted by this curse. (Guthrie, p77)”
A sure and certain hope in Jesus. That is something I can cling to in this broken world. I could go on and on about the things I learned in this lesson. I’m pretty sure I could have spent the rest of the ten weeks just camped out in chapter three. But you probably don’t want me to write a novel…and I want to hear some of the things you are learning anyway! So here are just a few more things that I have had on my heart this week:
*Eve had everything she could ever need or want from God and yet she allowed Satan to bring doubt of God’s love and discontentment with her circumstances. Rather than fix her thoughts on what she knew to be true about God and resting under His authority, she listened to Satan twist and add to God’s Word and eventually gave into temptation. I often let Satan weave the same kinds of doubts and discontentment into my own life. It even happened this past week as I struggled with a decision I had made! This lesson was a good reminder of the importance of knowing God’s Word and having it so engrained in me that I can use Truth to refute the enemy when temptation comes. To know God’s Word I have to daily be in God’s Word.
*I never really thought about how Adam and Eve were not cursed personally but had to experience the effects of the curse. And we are still experiencing the effects of the curse today. I had always thought that the curse of pain in childbearing was simply that there is a lot of pain involved in childbirth (and if you get an epidural even that pain is minimized, right!). But to think about how that pain is also infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, childhood diseases, disabilities, and even the pain of birthing our children into a fallen world. There is a reality of sin and death involved when our precious little ones enter the world. A reality that is really hard to make sense of. Studying Genesis 3 helped me make a little more sense of some things in my heart. I am so thankful that the curse is not God’s final word.
*”If Adam and Eve obeyed God about the tree, they would live. If Jesus obeyed God about the tree, he would die. Jesus obeyed. And through his obedience he gained for us far more than Adam lost for us through his disobedience (Guthrie, p81).”
*What about being angry with God? The curse and pain of this world wasn’t God’s intention but a result of sin. While God understands and welcomes our raw emotions, I think we need to be careful that we don’t place the blame on God himself. He is our Creator, Savior, Redeemer, the One who is making all things new, and the One who gives us a reason to live in hope. The curse and pain we experience in this world is a result of sin. And while we live in the curse and definitely feel the pain that is a result of the curse we can rest on Jesus’ promise that everything that is broken will be healed and restored. I need to place the blame where it belongs and place my hope in Christ.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:3-5 (NLT)
*As I read through the last chapters in Revelation I was struck by how God recognizes the pain and emotions we are currently experiencing in this world. He didn’t just say *pouf* I will return and everything will be perfect. He is not an impersonal God but is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). He empathizes with what we are going through today even mentioning that He himself will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death. No more sorrow. No more crying or pain. On the day when Christ returns, the curse will be gone for good. In the midst of a hurting world, I am so thankful that “we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).
I was going to keep it short today…but obviously that didn’t happen. There was so much in this chapter!
What about you? What was especially interesting and challenging to you from Genesis 3? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
Also, one last thing. Nancy has offered to answer some of our lingering questions. I’m so excited about this! So, if you have an unanswered question or something that you are still struggling with in the study, leave it in the comments section. I will keep a running list of all the questions and do a separate post at the end of our study with her responses! Thanks, Nancy…you are the best!