THE STATE OF CORRUPTION DUE TO ORIGINAL SIN, EFFECTING EVERY PART OF MAN’S NATURE, MAKING THE NATURAL MAN UNABLE TO KNOW OR OBEY GOD.
Genesis 3 records the fall of mankind and its far-reaching effect,
Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat plants of the field (Genesis 3.17-18, ESV).
Likewise, we find a statement of the extensive effect of the fall in Paul’s letter to the Romans,
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now (Romans 8.19-22, ESV).
Due to the fall there is a brokenness that appears to be inherent in creation. As a result of Adam’s sin, the peace and fruitfulness of the natural world as it was in Eden has been shattered.
To be sure, the extent of the fall also reached mankind; however, in as much as man differs from the rest of creation, the effect of the fall on man differs from the effect of the fall on the rest of creation. The fall had a particular, moral effect on man. While still bearing the image of God, this image has been marred. Drawing on several Old Testament passages Paul writes of man,
‘None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.’
‘Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.
‘The venom of asps is under their lips.’
‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.’
‘Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.’
‘There is no fear of God before their eyes’ (Romans 3.10-18, ESV).
We are born in sin. We continue in sin. Apart from God’s saving grace through Jesus, we die in sin. As we are all sons and daughters of our covenant head, Adam, we are all guilty with Adam in his first sin. As we have all continued in Adam’s rebellion against God’s commands, we are all guilty in ourselves. We are dead in our sin and held captive by sin and death. We are corrupt in every part of our being. We deserve God’s eternal wrath and curse, “for the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6.23, ESV). We need a Savior.
THE RELEASE FROM A CAPTIVE CONDITION, DELIVERANCE, BUYING BACK
Genesis 3 records the words from God to the serpent, announcing his curse on the serpent and foretelling the serpent’s sure demise,
Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
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 (Genesis 3.14-15, ESV).
Throughout the Old Testament we find promises of a coming seed, a Son, who would bring blessing, justice, rule, and the grace of God to the people of God. In the Abrahamic covenant, there is a promised seed of whom Paul writes,
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to your offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ (Galatians 3.16, ESV).
Isaiah prophesies to Ahaz saying, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7.14, ESV). In Matthew’s gospel we find these same words repeated, explaining the angel’s message of comfort to Joseph.
‘She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel’
(which means, God with us) (Matthew 1.21-23, ESV).
Jesus is the promised seed who would crush the serpent’s head, the promised seed who would save his people from their sins.
Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, came as a man to glorify his Father by redeeming his people from sin through his self-sacrificial and atoning death. The author of Hebrews writes,
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption… Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant (Hebrews 9.11-12, 15, ESV).
Those who have faith in Jesus Christ are redeemed from the curse of the law. No longer slaves to sin and death, we have been set free from the law of sin and death by the sinless One who died a sinner’s death in our place, and we are called righteous.
THE NEW CREATION IN WHICH THE RIGHTEOUS WILL ABIDE WITHOUT SIN IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD FOR THE GLORY OF GOD
Genesis 3 records the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden as a result of their disobedience.
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—’ therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 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 (Genesis 3.22-24, ESV).
Before the fall, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden in unhindered communion with God. In the midst of the garden was the Tree of Life. The Garden of the Eden is the original temple, the original holy place, the original glory scene, and Adam and Eve could not remain there in sin. While Adam and Eve could not remain, their expulsion was not entirely hopeless; rather, it came with a shadowy promise of redemption and return through the promised seed of the woman.
Throughout the Old Testament, types, shadows, and prophecies make the future glory that has been established for God’s people increasingly more clear as they reveal more and more of the glory of God himself. Embedded in the curse and the covenants is the same promise of redemption and return to glory through the promised seed. “Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’” (Genesis 12.7, ESV). Paul expounds on these words writing,
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ” (Galatians 3.16, ESV).
Pictured in the nation of Israel, the tabernacle, the temple, and the promised land is the reality of God’s kingdom, ruled by his King, inhabited by his people, and filled with his glory.
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40.34-35, ESV).
Foretold by Ezekiel is a vision of the New Temple in the New Jerusalem.
Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar…
…And he said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen this?’ Then he led me back to the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, ‘This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes’ (Ezekiel 47.1, 6-9, ESV).
Each of these scenes finds its grandest fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the true and better King of the true and better Israel dwelling in the true and better Jerusalem where the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb is the true and better temple. John records his glorious vision of this fulfillment with these words,
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever (Revelation 21.22-22.5, ESV).
In our sin, we deserve God’s wrath and curse. According to his will, God chose a people in Jesus Christ to be his own before the foundations of the world. In his justice and love, God sent his Son to die for the sins of his people that we may have life. By his Spirit, God works faith in us uniting us to Christ. By his power, God keeps his children for the day of glory, and so Peter writes,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1.3-5, ESV).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have been created again in Christ for glory.