Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The First Promise and The First Sacrificial Lamb - Ash Wednesday - Mar 5, 2014 - Text: Genesis 3:15, 21
Our text is Genesis 1: 15, 21: 15I 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. 21And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. This is our text.
Our theme for Lent through Easter this year focuses our attention on the main character of the Passion, even the main character throughout the history of Israel and the Christian Church, indeed, the main character of all Holy Scripture, the Lamb. We will begin with the promise of a Savior and the first sacrifice made to clothe Adam and Eve. We will follow God’s giving of the sacrificial system as a way of reminding people that the price for sin is death, that blood had to be shed. We will see the lamb as the main character pointing us toward the One Lamb of God and His once and for all sacrifice on the cross. We will witness Jesus giving us His Holy Supper wherein He gives us His body and blood to eat and drink, thus participating in His life and His death. And finally we will witness and participate in His resurrection foreshadowing our own resurrection to eternal life where He will welcome us into His heavenly home and robe us with His robes of righteousness. This evening we begin by taking up the theme of the first promise and the first sacrificial lamb.
Some of you may have seen the tie I often like to wear that simply states, “In the beginning God created. . .” I like that tie because it states what needs to be stated, especially in a world which is constantly denying the truth of Holy Scripture. In the beginning God. In the beginning God created, all things, our of nothing. Although our world has attempted to get people to believe otherwise, the fact remains that God was there at the beginning and He tells us how He created all things out of nothing. God said it and that settles it.
God created all things out of nothing and then God created a perfect man and a perfect woman and placed them in a perfect garden which He also created for them. God gave them work to do, to tend the garden, not as a punishment, but as a joyous living of their lives.
Yes, in the beginning God created all things out of nothing and in the beginning, all things were perfect and holy. In the beginning there was no death and dying. In the beginning Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with each other and with God. Of course, we are living after the fall into sin, so we really have no idea of what that might have been like.
Sometime after creation, that is after God created the perfect world and after He created the perfect angels, one of the angels, Lucifer by name, which, by the way, his name means light bearer making one wonder what high position he may have had in heaven. Anyway Lucifer thought more highly of himself, rebelled against his creator, even God Himself and was cast out of heaven because of his insubordination.
This fallen angel, Satan himself, being cast out of heaven hates everything that is of God. He hates God and all God created. He is a liar and the father of lies. He is deceptive and his whole purpose and goal is to destroy everything that is good and from God. This Satan approached Eve and Adam who was with Eve, in the garden and questioned them concerning their relationship with God. His tempting question to them is very similar to the question he uses to tempt today as well. To Adam and Eve he simply asked, “Did God really say?” Did God really say you could not eat from a certain tree. Is God taking away your freedom? Today we hear this question asked, “Did God really mean . . . what He said?” And I would add, does God really mean what He says in His Word?
Eve and Adam listened to Satan, believed Satan, disobeyed God and sinned. Their sin brought imperfection into the perfect world. Their sin brought God’s just judgment and curse on the world.
After Eve and Adam sinned God came calling and He came calling the one who was created first, the one who was in charge and responsible, He came calling Adam. Adam made excuses and blamed Eve, and even God Himself. Eve blamed the serpent. And so God meted out His just judgement and punishment. Cursed was the serpent, the instrument Satan used to tempt Eve and Adam. The serpent was cursed to crawl on his belly all the days of his life and was to become a bane for humanity.
Next, cursed was Eve. Her curse would include pain in bearing the image of God, in procreation and child bearing and a continual desire for her husband, that is both a desire for a husband as well as a desire to usurp his role as the responsible party for the family.
And finally cursed was Adam and the earth. The earth was no long perfect, instead, thrones and thistles and weeds would constantly be a bother as Adam would work and sweat to raise food to eat. And the ultimate curse was the consummation of God’s threat that dying they would die. Adam and Eve began to die a physical death. Rather than live forever in perfection on this earth, now because this earth was cursed as were they, now they were destined to die and their bodies would return to dust. Death and dying were now a part of the imperfection and curse of the world. Adam and Eve also died an eternal spiritual death, or at least they would be doomed to such an eternal spiritual death had not God continued with His promise to send a Savior, a Redeemer to pay the price for their sins.
Thanks be to God that He immediately stepped in and made a promise. God’s promise was, I will send a Savior who will have His heal bruised in other words, He will die. Of course, God did not give all the specifics concerning the Savior He would send when He first announced that He would send a Savior, and perhaps it might be better said, He would send a Redeemer, that is He would send someone who would redeem, trade His life for the life of all people. He did say that this Savior, this Redeemer would be the son of a human woman, in other words this Savior would be a Redeemer in that He would be a human being trading His life for the lives of all humanity.
He also let us know that in dying, the Savior will defeat Satan, or as He tells it, Satan’s head would be crushed. The price for sin was set in the beginning at death, physical death and apart from God, eternal spiritual death. Satan demands this payment. The price for sin must be paid and God promises right here in the beginning that He will pay the price.
The next words we have is that God provided clothes for the man and the woman. God made garments of skins, skins from animals which were killed, meaning that blood was shed. Although this was not spoken of as the first sacrifice, indeed this is what we have witnessed, the sacrifice, the shedding of blood for the sin of Adam and Eve. Yet, this sacrifice did not pay the price for the sin of Adam and Eve. This sacrifice merely provided for a covering of clothes for them to wear to cover their bodies, to cover their sins. This sacrifice, as is true for all sacrifices throughout the Old Testament simply pointed to the cross, the one ultimate sacrifice for all people, once for all.
In the beginning God created all things perfect and holy. In the beginning God set the price for disobedience and sin. The price for sin was death. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned. Immediately God stepped in and promised to pay that price for them and for all people. Even to this day, by faith in Jesus, we will not pay that price. In the Garden of Eden it was the sacrifice of the lamb that foreshadowed that Jesus would be the Lamb of God who would pay the price. On Calvary Jesus paid the price for sin, earning forgiveness for all people. Through the waters of Holy Baptism, through the words of confession and absolution, through the very Word of God, and through the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ, He distributes and gives out that forgiveness that He earned and we know that with forgiveness is life and salvation. On the last day He will raise up me and all believers and He will give to me and all believers eternal life, robing us with His robes of righteousness and stirring in us to say, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.