Friday, December 3, 2010

Is There Any Way Out?

Reading: Genesis 4-7  
God's Word is eternally true. That is a glorious and wonderful truth. But it does have its down side. For instance, when “the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17) Now that is just plain true. And no matter how much we might wish it were not, it is. So, right after Adam and Eve cut themselves off from God in their rejection of God and His Word, they had to leave the Garden, the place in which they walked with God, the Author of Life, and here is what we find:

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him....Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.…Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died....Altogether, Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died....Altogether, Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died....Altogether, Mahalalel lived 895 years, and then he died....Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died....Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died....Altogether, Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died. (Genesis 4:8; 5:5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 27, 31)
Then in Genesis 7:22, we read, “Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died.” In fact, as a whole, Genesis begins with man in a garden, a paradise where he walks with God, and ends in a coffin (Genesis 50:26). Why? Because God's word is eternally true. So in John's Gospel we read, “ For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Jesus did not need to condemn the world. It was already condemned. The Word of God in Genesis 2:17 had already condemned us the day Adam disobeyed God. In Adam we all die!
So is there any way out?
Ever since the garden, mankind has engaged in a lifelong effort to save our lives. Why? Because we don't want to die. We are looking for a way out of the judgment. We are like the death row convict who keeps making appeals, even though he is guilty. Is there a way out?
There are two notable exceptions to the “...he died” clause in Genesis. The first is about Enoch. After reading about six men in chapter 5 of whom it says, “...he died,” we get to number seven, and read,

Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:24).
Then the chorus resumes with the eighth, ninth 'he died's' and the tenth being everything that breathes dying. But Enoch gives us hope. And in what is our hope? Enoch walked with God. The problem man had to begin with was that in cutting himself off from God he died. Life is in God (John 1:4). To live, one has to be connected to God. We are given no details, but all we need to know is that somehow one can walk with God and live.
The second notable exception is Noah. After the ninth man was declared dead, Noah is introduced, and the state of humanity is described as, “The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” And so the Lord declared, “"I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." (Genesis 6:5, 7) Then we read,

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. (Genesis 6:8-9)
God destroyed all living creatures in keeping with his word of Genesis 6:7, and Genesis 2:17, but Noah and his family were spared. Again we find hope that there is a way out of the judgment, the eternally true judgment of Genesis 2:17. There is a favor that is available. And it is somehow connected to walking with God.
There is however, a small problem. As we continue reading, going beyond the flood and its death wreaked upon all humanity, we discover, “Altogether, Noah lived 950 years, and then he died.” (Genesis 9:29) Noah only escaped death temporarily. But how do we escape it permanently?
In Adam, all die. But in Christ, all are made alive—through faith in Christ. Jesus Christ walked with God in a way that neither Enoch nor Noah did. Jesus walked with the Father perfectly. He did only the Father's will. And yet we read of Him,

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" (Mark 15:39)
He died. Those words don't fit. He wasn't born of Adam. He never sinned. Yet, He died. But God raised Him from the dead, vindicating Him. And now, because He died, all who walk with God through Him escape death permanently. Though we die, yet shall we live (John 11:25). Now, I am really glad that God's word is eternally true...with no downside!

Are you walking with God? Jesus paid for your sin that you might be able to walk with God, forgiven, no longer hindered by your sin. Life is found in Him. Are you plugged into life? Or are you still dying? Living grows out of life!