John 3:16, 17
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
This is the second of two Gems entitled with three words each, all beginning with ‘R’!
- The first Gem has the title, Rule, Ruin, and Redemption.
✡ Genesis 1:26 – Adam was given Rule under God and over all the earth! ✡ Genesis 3:1 through 7 – That Rule was transferred to the devil when Adam obeyed him rather than God! This brought Ruin to the world! ✡ Genesis 3:15 promised a Redeemer, fulfilled in Jesus Christ!
- This second Gem overlaps the third ‘R’ word of the first Gem, the title being Redemption, Resurrection, and Radiance! So let us further explore Redemption!
Before we can fully understand the extent of what needed Redemption, we need to understand the extent of Ruin that Satan’s Rule brought on creation!
The fall ruined humanity!
- We are now plagued by death! God had warned Adam in Genesis 2:16 and 17, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Adam and Eve ate, and they both died!
✡ They died physically, but not right away! According to Genesis 5:3 through 5, “...Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son...Seth. After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years ...and he died. ” ➔ There is no biblical record as to how long Eve lived. ➔ Man was designed to physically live eternally, but Adam lost that immortality. Jesus came to restore what Adam lost (see I Corinthians 15: 49-54). And so, we shall be in the Lord’s image (see I John 3:2), and so we shall also be im- mortal! (see John 10:28).
Note: We are already immortal in that we will exist forever! However, in heaven we will have eternal and abundant life! In hell we will experience eternal death (unending pain and suffering)!
✡ Their spiritual death was immediate! ➔ Spiritual death means being separated from the Lord! As Saint Paul wrote in I Corinthians 16: 21 (Easy-to-Read Version), “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be separated from God — lost forever!” ➔ Spiritual death is eternal! In II Thessalonians 1:8 and 9, Paul is writing about “...those who do not know God, and...do not obey...our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with ever- lasting destruction from the presence of the Lord....” ➔ Adam and Eve separated themselves from God by hiding “...themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” This is an indication of the deeper problem of sin – trying to distance oneself from the presence of the LORD God!
- All of humanity is infected with sin and death, according to Romans 5:12 (Good News Bible) – “Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned.”
✡ The human spirit, which God designed to be joined to- gether with Him, is now dead in sin – unable to es- tablish divine connection! ✡ The spirit within a person being dead in sin, that is, not being able to connect with the Lord, leaves only the soul to direct the life of that one! In Hebrew thinking, the soul is often equated with the heart (or the mind as we think of it today). Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and des- perately wicked, who can know it?”
- The only lifestyle that such a person separated from God can manifest is called in Galatians 5:19 through 21 the works of the flesh:
Now the works of the flesh are evident; which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. ✞ While not everyone manifests these eighteen listed works of the flesh, humanity as a whole certainly does! ✞ And notice, this is not even a complete list of what the flesh of unregenerate man can manifest! For Paul ends his list with the phrase “...and the like...,” meaning there are a lot more ungodly manifestations the flesh can produce!
A Christian hymn called The Light of the World is Jesus begins the first stanza with the words, “The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin….” …a true statement! Is it any wonder that humanity for the most part is a mess! The world of humankind is lost in sin! Hence our featured Scripture:
But God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16 and 17).
This is Redemption:
- Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son, came into this world and lived a sinless, perfect life we, as sinful human beings, could never live!
✞ As it is written in I Peter 2:22, Jesus “...committed no sin nor was guile found in His mouth.” ✞ Hebrews 7:26 (Good News Bible) tells us, “Jesus, then, is the High Priest that meets our needs. He is holy; He has no fault or sin in him; He has been set apart from sinners and raised above the heavens.”
- He then freely offered His life as a sacrifice before the Father for sinners! He died on the cross bearing our sins – the sins of the whole world! (see John 10:18; I John 2:2).
- Then He rose from the dead three days later! Jesus’ resurrection was proof that the Father accepted the sacrifice of His Son to pay for all sin of all mankind for all time! (see Hebrews 10:12).
- Now He lives forever…
✞ ...to receive all who come to Him in faith believing! (see Hebrews 11:6; John 6:37). ✞ “...to save to the uttermost who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25).
But redemption goes beyond saving human beings! For when Adam sinned all creation suffered under the curse of God!
- Genesis 3:14 – The serpent was radically changed! For the LORD said, “…you are cursed…more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.”
✡ Apparently, before the curse, the serpent was an intel- ligent upright being, perhaps the most beautiful of God’s sub-human creations. ✡ Eve did not at all seem surprised that the serpent could talk (see Genesis 3:1). ➔ Was he that intelligent? ➔ Had the woman carried on previous conversations with this creature?
- Genesis 3:15 is called the proto evangelium or the first announcement of the gospel: God said, “…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
✞ The ultimate Seed of the woman is Jesus Christ! He will bruise the head of the serpent, delivering Satan a deadly blow when He rose from the grave! ✞ What about the serpent bruising His heel? ➔ A bruised heel is not deadly. Satan could not ultimately deal death to the Lord Jesus! ➔ I find it interesting that crucifixion is the only known lethal punishment that will bruise the heel of a person! It happens when a nail is driven through the heel into the wood of the cross!
- Genesis 3:16 – The Lord spoke to the woman: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children….”
✡ If death was not part of God’s original plan, then any children that would have been born before the fall would live forever! ✡ Hence, when death was introduced because of the curse, many more offspring would be needed to populate the earth!
- But what of the last half of Genesis 3:16? “…your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
✡ it seems the woman was originally designed to have more independence. But God’s present order is evi- dent in these Scriptures: ➔ I Corinthians 11:3 – Paul writes, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of every woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” ➔ Ephesians 5:23 – “...the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church....” ✞ So as not to ruffle too many feathers, I point to Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.” ➔ How did Christ give Himself for the church? He died for the church, to bring it into existence, and to bring it eventually to perfection! ➔ The head of the woman is the man – But he is to be the man who is willing to lay down his life for his wife!
- Genesis 3:17 through 19 – God told Adam:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake, in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you...in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground....” ✡ And ever since the whole of creation has been under the curse of God!
But there is hope!
✞ One day all creation will be once again returned to its Edenic perfection! (See Isaiah 11:1-16; 65:17-25). For in Romans 8:19 through 21 (Good News Bible) it says: All of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his children. For creation was condemned to lose its purpose, not of its own will, but because God willed it to be so. Yet there was the hope that creation itself would one day be set free from its slavery to decay and would share the glorious freedom of the children of God.
And Redemption will be complete!
We have only covered the first word of the second three, Redemption, Resurrection, Radiance! We will try to tackle the last two in the next Gem.