Two Gardens

Sometimes my soul groans with how messed up this world is. All around I see people who are hurting, broken, wounded by sin. But our world won’t even acknowledge the idea of sin – we call it a mistake, a bad decision but sin? No – that’s some outdated notion that post-modern people have outgrown. And what is even worse, is that we now call sin good, and celebrate it with pride.

But if we put down the smart phone for a few minutes, and allow ourselves to face that deep groaning in our hearts, we come face to face with the awfulness of sin, both in ourselves and in those around us. We can try to talk ourselves out of the truth but we know, deep down, that this is not how it’s supposed to be. This world we live in is marred by evil and pain and death.

In Genesis 3, the first man and woman were faced with a decision much like what we face every day. Do I trust God or not? Do I believe that what He says is true or do I go my own way, believing that maybe He is holding out on me? After all, that was how the serpent deceived Eve in the garden – by causing her to question God’s goodness towards her. So she took the fruit and ate, and gave some to her husband and he ate. And in that instant, they lost all the goodness of fellowship with God and with each other. What had been perfect was now marred by their rebellion against the God who created them and loved them. And so, all of us since then have been born into a state of rebellion against God and all that is good.

You may object. How is it possible that children – babies – are born in a state of rebellion? If you are a parent you know that you did not teach your kids to say no when told to do something, to hit or bite when they want their own way, to steal, to scream and demand when they see something they want. It’s the inherent state that we all enter the world in. We are selfish creatures who have no problem loving ourselves (pop psychology not withstanding). We easily put our selfish needs and wants first. Its others we have trouble loving. That day long ago, in that garden everything became twisted and wrong.

The amazing thing is that our holy God, who cannot look on sin, had a plan to take care of our problem long before it ever happened on that fateful day in the garden. From eternity past, He loved us and implemented the perfect plan to bring us back from our ruined state. In fact, on that day in the garden, God made a promise of such importance that it resonates to this day. He promised the deceived and now broken woman that He would take care of her. He told the deceitful serpent that “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise Him on the heel…”Gen 3:15.  You see the payment for sin is death. The man and woman knew this when they rebelled against God.

I know that sounds odd to post-modern ears. But this is the best news ever told. The serpent’s seed, Satan, will no longer win the day. His head will be crushed – but in the process, the woman’s seed, or offspring, will suffer a terrible blow to His heel.

There was another day. It was a dark and terrible day, when the offspring, or seed, of the woman, took up His cross and walked to His death. This perfect man took the wages of sin on Himself because of His great love for all of us. He lived a life in perfect harmony with God the Father. He never rebelled because He was born of a virgin and was therefore free of the genetic, inherited trait all the rest of humanity is cursed with – sin. That day, His heel was bruised by the nails of the cross. He suffered in our place and paid the penalty of death for us. We owed God a debt of perfect righteousness or we pay the penalty of death. It was a debt you or I could never pay even if we had a million lifetimes to try.

But God had a plan. He would pay the price Himself through His own Son. How do I know that God accepted His payment on my behalf – and yours? Jesus dead body was taken from the cross, and laid in a tomb in another garden. But He didn’t stay there. He was raised from the dead on the third day. And now He ever lives to make intercession for His people. Those who by faith turn from their sin and rebellion and believe in Him.

Who is this? He is Jesus the Messiah. The Son of God who was fully God and fully man. The one who loves you and gave Himself up for you.  Will you turn from your sin and believe in this wonderful One who God promised so long ago? You see, God did not leave us without hope.  That day in the first garden, He already planned to set us right again. In the second garden, He fulfilled His promise. But you must believe to become part of His family. Will you?

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