Devotion on Notable Firsts of the Bible (The First Promise), 24 April 2015 Anno Domini
14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen 3:14-15)
There is something very important to each of us that happened on this date – something of personal and particular importance. Can you guess what it was? Lend me your ear and I will share the little secret: Today is the first day of the rest of your life! The question is, “What will you do with it?” This may seem like an over-simplification, but it is true to the bone, is it not? There is a first for everything including our physical births, but also including our spiritual births in Christ.
One of my favorite hymns, Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, is composed by John Greenleaf Whittier. The meaning, taken in the context of the sinful nature of man, is wonderfully true; however, the title might mislead some, who are not grounded in Scripture, to accept the Universalist notion that God truly is the spiritual Father of all mankind – He is not! We will discuss in this devotion the reason why God is not the spiritual Father of all mankind even though He is the Maker of all.
“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The first beginnings of all mankind from a single pair of parents seem small and insignificant until one considers what a mighty river of mankind can flow from such tiny headwaters of the Lord. If one was to visit the headwaters of the largest river in North America (the Mississippi), he would find a small, meandering stream flowing from Lake Itasca (less than 2 square miles in size) that is only about twenty feet wide. The observer would be totally unimpressed unless he knew the magnitude of that river hundreds of miles to the south; in fact, the Mississippi flows 2,300 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Knowing that bit of geography, one would be forced to realize that great and mighty results can have very small beginnings. It is with this in mind that we consider this promise given in Genesis 3:15. All of the billions of people upon earth today, and all of the billions who have ever lived in the remote reaches of centuries past, have sprung from these two primordial parents – Adam and Eve.
But just as not all children of the same parents share the characteristics of their parents, or even of each other, so there are two channels of mankind – two separate families, so to speak – that are quite different in both natural and spiritual disposition. For the purposes of expressing the scriptural implications our text today, reinforced by innumerable others to follow, we will divide all of mankind into two families – the Family of God, and the family of their father, the devil (or serpent). Every man, woman and child born into the world is a member of one, or the other, of these two families – no exception, no middle ground. There will be no cold, or tepid, Christians in Heaven. The Lord hates luke-warm Christians and will spew them out from Hs presence. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:15-16)
There will be no hedging of bets when it comes to eternal salvation! To quote an unlikely source, General George S. (Blood & Guts) Patton was asked how he dealt with lukewarm friends. His response, “Make an enemy of them as quickly as possible – then you will KNOW where they stand!” There is some wisdom in that remark because a lukewarm friend is already one of your most dangerous enemies. In great matters, there is no middle ground; and the state of a man’s soul is no middle ground affair. So how do we distinguish the bloodlines of families to determine the DNA of each and to which family they belong?
Adam had a choice to obey, or to disobey, God in the Garden. Though Eve was deceived, Adam was not! He sinned with his eyes open. God had told him directly what to expect if he partook of the forbidden fruit. Before woman was created, God said to Adam: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17)
It seems likely that Adam did not adequately and forcefully impress this command upon Eve for she truly was deceived by the serpent. “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” (1 Tim 2:13-15) You may be wondering, “Why, then, did Adam partake of the poisoned fruit knowing its outcome?” We are not explicitly told, however, I believe that Adam, being a subordinate type and figure of Christ (though clearly unmeritorious), loved his wife Eve enough to share her fate. This is consistent with Christ dying on behalf of His Bride, the Church. “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” (Romans 5:14) We learn in verse 15 that the one to come is Christ. “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” (Romans 5:15) Now to the point of Two Families:
TWO SEEDS – Seed of the Serpent:
The stain of a single drop of sin contaminates the entire blood stream just as a single cell in the bloodstream of the causal organism, ”Mycobacterium lepromatosis,” is sufficient to cause the eventual death of its host via leprosy. This is true because sin, like leaven, permeates the whole of its environmental reach. God is not able to tolerate sin of any dimension in His presence. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) I hope all who read this devotion will admit that their works of the flesh are of no worth at all. We all are transgressors of the law – plain and simple. Until we admit that, we remain in the same category as the unbelieving Pharisees. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Are you an exception? We are all born with the sin-tainted blood of Adam coursing through our veins. The very best of us are born with this fatal affliction. The Bible compares sin to leprosy. It begins small (as with Adam) and eventually takes other the whole body, gradually rotting away the organs and flesh until it, at last, takes the life of its victim. At its outset, it may be concealed for a time; but the putrid sores and flesh eventually are beyond concealment. The odor alone betrays the victim. Sin cannot be covered either. If untreated by the blood of Christ, it will murder its practitioner.
So what does one need to do to join the family, or seed, of the Serpent? The answer: Nothing at all. You are born with an incurable disease of sin, and you shall die with it. You are a member of that family of the damned whose allegiance is to your father, the devil. “If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:42-44) If we love not God, and His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, we cannot hear His Voice and will tragically remain in the family in which we were born. We are entitled, by birth, to hell.
TWO SEED – the Seed of Promise – Jesus Christ!
Following Romans 3:23 in which we are told that all have sinned, we find a very comforting word from Paul: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” (Romans 3:24-25) I am happy to proclaim that, based on God’s promise, there remains a cure for our deadly disease, and a release, by way of adoption, from that family of the Serpent – and into the Family of God. Jesus Christ is that Seed of Promise made to Abraham toward which Abraham looked for salvation. He has been the Seed of Promise through all ages of human history. Few have known that Seed from Abraham until today; but those who know Him, and claim Him as Lord and Redeemer, are members of the Family of God by way of adoption. We are now beneficiaries of another Bloodline – not that of our carnal births – but that of our spiritual rebirth in Christ. The effect of the old diseased blood of sin is removed and sanitized by the pure and sinless blood of Jesus Christ. It is His imputed righteousness by which we shall be called the Children of God by adoption.
“ According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 1That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Eph 1:4-11) There are just some points that cannot be adequately made in the common vernacular. God has stated the case best in the above text from Ephesians. So I have plagiarized heavily on the Word of God.
How can you know with certainty that you are a child of God? “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14-16) Have you received that assurance of adoption, friends?