We come to the last few verses of this third chapter, a monumental chapter. Some would say the most monumental chapter in the entire Bible. Remember, Genesis is the book of beginnings. It is the inerrant, inspired, divinely authored, historical record of origins. Genesis, particularly chapters 1 through 11, is history written by God through Moses to explain to us why the world is the way it is physically, socially, morally, and spiritually. Everything that we need to know about origins is found in these first eleven chapters of Genesis.
Now, we have gone through the first two chapters, which deal with the world the way it is physically, and there’s more about that in the section later to come on the flood, which dramatically altered the physical form of the earth itself. We have come from dealing with the way things are physically, chapters 1 and 2, the material world, into the way things are in chapter 3, in the immaterial world. And here we learn about social matters and moral matters and even spiritual matters.
As the first two chapters tell us about the creation of the universe in six 24-hour days and constitute a perfectly accurate history of the material creation, chapter 3 tells us perfectly accurately about the problem of sin which affects man socially, morally, and spiritually. I understand that we can’t expect the unbelieving minds of our world to accept this divine history. I expect that and it’s so. The unbelieving world has never accepted the history of the book of Genesis. Godless, unbelieving people are not subject to the Word of God. That is a sad truth.
But far sadder is the reality that most who call themselves Christians question the literal, historical accuracy of Genesis, and thus they, too, are guilty of rejecting Scripture at a very most critical point, its very opening chapters. Now, we chronicled something of the rejection of the quote/unquote Christian world of a six-day creation. And just for a moment I want to let you know that what Genesis chapter 3 says about the history of sin, about man’s social and moral and spiritual condition, is also rejected by those who claim to be Christians. That’s sad because this is a perfectly accurate history.
And again, we would expect unbelievers to reject the history of the way things are morally in our world, but we’re somewhat surprised to see Christians distrust this account. You say, “Well, what are you saying?” Well, I’ll give you an illustration. I was given an article written by Ken Ham, who is a notable creationist and scientist, and in the article, he writes this: “I can recall a number of instances over the past year where Christian leaders, pastors, and theologians have insisted that Genesis 1 through 11 was written as a metaphor; that is, figuratively.
“I even specifically asked some of these leaders if the account of Adam, the garden, and the fall were metaphorical, and the reply was a resounding ‘Yes.’ In a recent phone call,” he writes, “a man who writes for a well-known ministry made the statement to me that, quote: ‘It’s not a matter of whether there was a literal fall or not, but whether the fall was literal.’ Confusing? Well, what he is saying is that the written account of Adam, the garden, and the serpent is not literal history, but a literary device to teach us that we are fallen, that we are sinners.”
Why would anybody reject Genesis 3? Why would anybody who calls themselves a Christian who says they believe in the Bible reject Genesis 3? Well, they reject Genesis 3 in order to accommodate their rejection of Genesis 1 and 2. If you’re going to reject Genesis 1 and 2, you’re going to have to allow for billions of years and not six days. In order to accommodate that approach to Genesis in chapters 1 and 2, you have to also reject the historicity of Genesis 3. And so they say Adam was a metaphor, not a real man. And when the Lord God called to Adam, “Where are you?” Was He saying, “Where did I put that metaphor?” to Himself?
Some facts: Adam’s name is used 27 times in the Bible. Luke chapter 3, verses 37 and 38, includes Adam in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. In fact, the genealogy of Jesus Christ starts with Jesus Christ and goes all the way back to Adam. The fourteenth verse of the epistle by Jude says Enoch was the seventh from Adam. First Chronicles chapter 1 includes Adam in the genealogy of real people. And Romans 5:14 says “Death reigned from Adam to Moses.” And 1 Corinthians 15:22 says, “In Adam all die; in Christ are all made alive.” And 1 Corinthians 15:45 says, “The first man, Adam, became a living being.” Even Job 31:33, “If I have covered my transgressions as Adam,” says Job.
So we could conclude that if Adam is only a metaphorical type or a literary device, then is that true of all the other people in all the other genealogies and all the other comparisons to Adam? And then, to be logically consistent, is Jesus Christ nothing more than a metaphor? I say that because this is a key for us tonight. It is in this account of Adam that the elements of salvation first appear in biblical history. Let me say that again. It is here in this account of Adam that the elements of salvation first appear in biblical history.
Ken Ham said in that article, “If the gospel is based on a metaphor or literary devices, then it has no real basis in history and can be interpreted many ways, opening the way for many meanings for salvation,” end quote. It is foolish to believe anything other than that Adam was a real man and Eve, a real woman. And what is recorded in Genesis chapter 3, as in Genesis 1 and 2, is actual history. That becomes critical at this point - absolutely critical - because here at the end of chapter 3, God introduces the plan of salvation, and it is tied specifically to the man and the woman and the events that are chronicled in this chapter.
Let me read verses 20 to 24 to you. “Now, the man called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all the living. And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, and now lest he stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever.’ Therefore, the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out, and at the east of the garden of Eden, He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Now, when you read that, it sounds like sort of a collection of things that need to be sort of scooped up in a summary fashion to just kind of close the story off. At first, they might not seem to have any significant connection or relationship, but they do. Because in these verses, verses 20 to 24, are critical matters. What you have here in this amazing little section is the introduction of salvation, the introduction of redemption. And this is literally pregnant with meaning. Here is the true protoevangelium, here is the first gospel, here is the first promise of the gospel unfolded, the plan of salvation, the plan of redemption.
I can’t resist saying again as I often consider, that here again with very few words, with an amazing economy of words, God has said all that needs to be said about the vast reality of salvation. Here in this text are given the necessary components for salvation. Here is the theology of redemption from man’s side and from God’s side. For here in the verses that I just read to you, five brief verses, from man’s side, faith and repentance are introduced. And from God’s side, atonement and security are introduced.
And that essentially sums up salvation. Man believes with a penitent heart, and God provides atonement and secures the believing sinner for eternity. That is the sum of the plan. What is required of the man or the woman is to repent and believe. What is required of God is to provide atonement and secure the sinner - and it’s all here. The salvation of sinners, their deliverance, their rescue from sin has always been by faith and repentance through atonement and the power of God to secure us unto eternal life.
Now, not all that could be or will be said about faith is said here. Not all that could be and will be said about repentance is here. Not all that could be and will be said about atonement is here. And not all that could be and will be said about security is here. But those are introduced here. Faith and repentance and atonement and security are expanded in the Old Testament, they’re expanded again in the teaching of the gospels, and they find their fullest expression through the epistles of the New Testament.
But here, very early, in the same chapter as the fall and the curse, these necessary elements for redeeming sinners are present in clear terms. We will see on the part of Adam faith and repentance and on the part of God atonement and security. I just remind you now, the Bible is progressive. It is a progressive revelation. Listen carefully. It does not go from error to truth, it goes from incompleteness to completeness. It’s all true, but it’s not complete until the revelation is closed.
What you have here, then, is the introduction of the great doctrinal heart of salvation. And isn’t it wonderful that it happens in the third chapter where man falls and where man is cursed and woman is cursed and death reigns? But it is immediately after that curse that the Holy Spirit of God inspires Moses to write the record of redemption in its first and initial expression.
So what we’re going to look at are those four great truths. Two from the side that is human, two from the side that is divine. Let’s start with man’s side. If there is to be salvation for the sinner, if he is to be delivered from the power of sin, which has now taken over, if he is to be delivered from the curse, if he is to be delivered from Satan, if he is to be delivered from death, there must be faith. Salvation, all through Scripture, from here to the very end of redemptive history, is always by faith - always by faith. No time was ever anyone saved by works.
Even here in Genesis 3, salvation is clearly by faith. And what do we mean by that? Simply believing God, believing God as He speaks. That is to say, believing whatever God has said. Now, obviously at this point in redemptive history, God hadn’t said everything He was going to say. But faith required that you believed His Word to whatever extent He had revealed it. Believing the Word of God, trusting the promise of God, believing that whatever God has said is true.
Now, let me ask you a question. Did Adam and Eve always believe that whatever God had said was true? No. Up to a point they did. Then Satan came into their world, and Satan tempted them to believe that God had not told them the truth, right? Satan said to them, “Ah, you shall not surely” - what? - “die.” God said the day you eat of the tree you’re going to die. Satan said God’s a liar and, obviously, Adam and Eve believed Satan. They believed the serpent’s lies. That, frankly, is how you could define anyone’s unregenerate condition, where you are not committed to believing the Word of God.
In fact, the serpent led them to conclude that God was not honest, that God was not true, that God was not to be trusted, that God did not tell it the way it is. Satan convinced them that God couldn’t be trusted, that God wasn’t really good because if He was good, as He purported to be, He wouldn’t withhold from them the knowledge of good and evil.
It’s pretty amazing, really, to think about the fact that in spite of what they could see, in spite of what they could experience about the goodness of God, in spite of the obvious power of the Word of God evident around them - because by His Word, He had created the entire universe in which they lived, including the paradise of Eden - even though they could see, even though they could experience the goodness of God and the power of the Word of God and walked and talked with God in the cool of the day and knew Him intimately and knew Him personally, even though all of that was true, they were led to a point in the midst of experiencing God’s perfection where they didn’t trust Him. Amazing.
And now they’ve fallen into sin, and it was very evident because the very first thing they did when they were aware of their sin was to cover their nakedness and shame. They begin to feel the impulses of guilt. They begin to feel the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life. They begin to feel all the evil impulses. They knew they were alienated from God. They began to hide themselves from God, and immediately they knew that Satan was the liar, right? They knew Satan lied, and they must have known that God told them the truth all along because they began to experience decay.
But immediately, faith is exercised. They turn from having trusted Satan to trusting God. Look at verse 20. “Now the man called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all the living.” Now, you read that at first and you say, “Well, that’s just a fact.” Well, there’s a lot more there than that. This is a testimony to Adam’s faith. Adam named his wife. That’s right, he named her. Up to this point, she hasn’t had a name, she’s just been “the woman.” He names her Eve, and I hasten to say, you know what that means? It means life. The word eve in the Hebrew means life. And whatever language they spoke in the garden, this name meant life.
Why would he name her life if they were under the sentence of death? God had just imposed death on them. And he turns right around and names his wife “life.” Now, there was a promise in creation, Genesis 1:28, and you remember that promise. God had made man and woman, He blessed them, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth.” So what God was saying to them was they’re going to reproduce. They were going to reproduce and populate the world. And they might well have thought that because of death entering into the scene, that was never going to happen. That was never going to come to pass. They would just die and it would all be over.
Except for the fact - go back to chapter 3, verse 15 - that God had said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed,” and He’s talking to Satan. “He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel.” You remember that promise? God says to Satan, “I’m going to put hostility between you and the woman.” That’s a good thing. God is saying to Satan, “You think you have that woman? You don’t. You think you’ve got her on your side permanently? You don’t.
“You’re going to be her enemy and she’s going to be your enemy, which means she’s going to be on my side.” Right there, God was saying, “I am going to take that woman for my own, I’m going to redeem that fallen sinner.” And that fallen sinner is going to become the enemy of Satan, that is a pledge of salvation. “And that enmity, that hostility is going on not only between you and the woman, but between your seed (that is, the progeny of Satan, all those who are the children of the devil) and her seed.” Her seed. This means she is going to have children.
She’s going to have children who are going to have hostility toward the children of Satan. And in the end, one of her seed, identified as “He” in verse 15, shall bruise you on the head. One who comes out of that woman is going to deliver a crushing blow to the head of Satan, while Satan will only be able to bruise Him on the heel. Who is that? Christ. We went into that in detail. So in the midst of the curse on Satan, God says to Satan, “Your curse is you think you just captured humanity permanently, you think you’ve just taken over Adam and Eve for your own.
“I want you to know it isn’t going to be that way. The woman will not belong to you, she will be your enemy and you will be her enemy. And out of her loins are going to come those who belong to me, will be the enemies of those who belong to you, and in the end, out of her loins is going to come One who will crush your head, and all you’ll be able to do is bruise His heel.”
Based on that promise that the woman would have a seed who would destroy the serpent of paradise, who would destroy the one who had destroyed their lives, on the basis of the promise of Genesis 3:15, and that’s all Adam had to go on, that his wife would have children, life would come from her, and one of those who would come from her would crush the serpent’s head. On the basis of that promise of God, he names his wife “life.” That’s an act of faith. That’s such an act of faith that what Adam is essentially saying is, “I believe God.”
Contrast that - here’s Adam living in paradise and he can see the hand of God. He can see the power of God. He can see the perfection of God. He can experience the wonder and the glory and the goodness and the truth of God. And he walks and talks with God and there must have been conversations about glorious, divine realities. And in the middle of all of that that he could see and touch and smell and taste and experience, he won’t believe God, and he decides that God is a liar and Satan tells the truth. Amazing.
Contrast that with the attitude here. Here, he calls his wife “life” because she was the mother of all the living. Well, I got news for you, folks. At the time that he named her, she was the mother of nobody. She was the mother of nobody. Now he’s exercising faith in God about what he cannot see. Isn’t that amazing? When he had all around him and within him the true wonders of God’s perfection, he didn’t believe. He was seeing but not believing. Here, he is believing without seeing. This tells me that Adam trusted God. God had only said one thing to him, just one thing, really, that he gripped about the future and that is that there would be a seed who would come.
That is further delineated in what God said to the woman. “I will multiply your pain and childbirth.” You’re going to have many children and painfully so. So God promised her children, and out of that line of children, One would crush the serpent’s head. And Adam believes that. Let me tell you something else. Adam longed for One to come and crush the serpent’s head, who had stolen their perfection. He’s now on God’s side.
Between the curse that ends in verse 19 and the naming of Eve in verse 20, Adam became a believer in God. This is the great promise of the gospel, that God will bring One who will destroy Satan, who will crush him, who will bring life to a sinner. Adam believed it. He couldn’t see it. Eve was the mother of absolutely nobody, but he believed that out of her would come a Savior to destroy Satan and rescue man from the devil’s tyranny. He believed it.
You see the gospel there, don’t you? What does gospel mean? What’s another expression for gospel? Good news. Is that good news? Let me tell you something. Adam had been lied to by the serpent and so had Eve and they knew it. They knew it because they expected to be made like God and instead they were unlike God. Instead of entering into some new level of relationship to God, they were totally cut off from God. They knew that the devil was a liar, and they wanted him crushed, and they wanted to be delivered. I’ve got to put this somewhere in that book I keep telling you I’m going to write about deliverance.
It’s essential to understand here that Adam is exercising faith. The woman will have a Son, and that Son will triumph over Satan, and that Son will restore paradise, and that Son will rescue the lost. He didn’t doubt God’s promise. Sounds like Abraham, doesn’t it? Abraham believed - what? - God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. That means he was justified because he believed God.
Now, obviously, Adam hadn’t a lot of revelation. He didn’t even have the Old Testament, let alone the New, but whatever God said, he believed, and what God said was a Savior would come who would crush the usurper, crush the enemy, destroy Satan and rescue the sinner, and that’s good news. And Adam knew himself a sinner who needed to be rescued. So by faith he believes the promise of God that she would be the mother of many, not only the many but of all. And of those, One would be the Redeemer.
So naming his wife Eve was an expression of his faith in the promise of God. As far as it was possible, he believed God. Put another way, there was nothing God had said that Adam didn’t believe. And, folks, let me tell you something. As you progress through the Old Testament, as you progress through the New Testament, at any point, saving faith only requires that one believe all that God has said. And from here on, God has said that He will provide an atonement, He will provide the conqueror of Satan and sin who will restore paradise and rescue the sinner.
So here was Adam and Eve certainly with Him because she accepted this name. They were exercising faith. You remember Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And Hebrews 11 says, “By it, men of old were approved.” Adam was the first man of faith. And I think along with him, of course, Eve as well.
And I would add this. Such faith can’t really exist without repentance. It can’t exist without repentance. And so I believe inherent in his faith was repentance. It was essential. If he was going to say, “God, I believe you,” he was essentially saying, “No longer do I believe Satan.” He was saying, “I need a deliverer, I need a rescuer, I need someone to come and crush the serpent’s head, I need someone to come and rescue me from the tempter.”
You see, repentance involved for Adam a dramatic change. His attitude toward Satan changed, as much as his attitude toward God. All of a sudden, he didn’t believe Satan. All of a sudden, he despised Satan. He was no longer enamored with Satan. He was no longer seduced and deceived by Satan. Once he was only a believer in God, then he became a believer in Satan. Now he is truly a believer in God and he’s rejected the enemy of his soul. And now he believes God for the destruction of the devil.
And all that the devil said and all that the devil induced, he wants destroyed. He wants it the way it used to be between himself and God. So there’s an element here in this expression of faith that we could identify as repentance, and doubtless, as I said, the woman had the same conviction. She also knew that Satan was a liar and that God was true. She accepted her name and with it, the hope of redemption and the seed that would come from her to bring sin to its end and to bring back paradise.
A footnote on verse 20: She was the mother of all the living. Just a reminder, the other night on TBN, you may have heard Benny Hinn waxing eloquent, saying that Adam and Eve were not the only humans in the world, that there were many, many other humans in the world. And this was a revelation that God had given him, he said. And all the people sitting there affirmed how wonderful it was to have this information - this misinformation. It couldn’t be any clearer, she was the mother of all the living.
There is no way in Hebrew to get around the fact that nobody existed at this point except Adam and Eve and all the living people came out of the womb of Eve. There isn’t any pre-Adamic group of humans. There wasn’t some colony somewhere else on the globe. She was the mother of all the living.
So the gospel of salvation promised in chapter 3, verse 15, is received by faith in verse 20. They believe God. They reject Satan. They long for the One to come who will crush the serpent’s head and rescue them from sin and death. And, friends, that’s the essence of saving faith, isn’t it? Believing that God is the Savior, that God’s word is true, that God’s promise is true, that He is going to rescue us from sin, He is going to destroy the enemy of our souls. According to Habakkuk 2 and verse 4, and it’s repeated several times in the New Testament, The righteous live by faith for by grace are you saved through faith. And so here we see this wonderful dawning of redemption.
Let’s look at a second element. Turning from man’s side, faith and repentance, for a moment to God’s side. Salvation from man’s side requires faith. But from God’s side it requires atonement - it requires atonement. Verse 21, “And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” And I know you can read that and say, “Oh, well, that’s just a simple, straightforward fact,” but there’s so much there. I’m going to try to cram it into the next ten minutes and we’ll have to finish this off next time.
Here is sovereign initiative again. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” They didn’t ask for it. They didn’t participate in it. God did it. He acted in grace toward the sinner. Now, behind atonement is grace. We can bring the component of grace in. You can’t have salvation without grace and grace comes in because God initiates the covering. God initiates the satisfaction. God initiates the atonement. God acts in grace toward the sinner.
Here is God’s grace expressed toward this unworthy couple who deserve death and deserve hell. And verse 21, “And the Lord God” - -- and I just want to comment on that. From verse 8 on in chapter 3, you see the term “the Lord God.” From verse 8 on, Moses uses the Lord God, Jehovah Elohim, not just Elohim, the creator’s name, but Jehovah, the Lord of grace. So now you have Elohim, the creator, who is also Jehovah, the Lord of grace. And Moses is deliberately presenting God not only as the creator, Elohim, but as in the Hebrew, Yahweh, the One who is gracious and merciful. And so we see that again repeated in verse 21.
God acts in grace, He acts in mercy, He acts in compassion for the sinful, shameful couple. Back in chapter 2 and verse 25, “The man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed.” There was nothing to be ashamed of. They never had a sinful thought, never had a wicked impulse at all, and their nakedness was not a problem. But in chapter 3 after they sin in verse 7, “Immediately the eyes of both of them were opened, they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” They were feeling impulses and thoughts that were sinful for the first time and they were related to their sexuality.
Because of lust and sin, they (immediately feeling guilt) covered themselves even though there was no one there to see them but each other. They were still ashamed. Nakedness is not acceptable to God. Being a nudist is going back to nature but it is violating God’s intent. Adam and Eve knew there was reason to feel shame. Nudity of any kind, nakedness of any kind is a dishonor to God.
God reinforces this sense of shame by Himself making for them a better, more permanent, and more modest covering of animal skins. But what is interesting about this is for God to do that, He had to kill an animal. It was God Himself who made the garments of skin. This is the first time death occurs in history and God is the executioner. There never has been death. There never has been the death of an animal. In fact, all animals were vegetarians up to this point, even those animals that we associate today with killing. Here is the first death and God slays the animal, takes the skin of the animal and uses it to cover Adam and Eve.
And God is saying, “I understand there is reason for shame. I understand there is reason to cover your nakedness. I understand that.” There’s more to it than this. This is a magnificent picture of salvation. Nobody can make an adequate covering of his sin by himself. Adam and Eve tried to put together a covering out of leaves but it was an inadequate covering. Only God can make the covering that is acceptable. Here is the picture of atonement where God, through the sacrifice - listen - of an innocent victim, an animal, guilty of nothing, is killed so that a garment can be made to cover sinners.
This is a picture of God covering the naked sinner with a garment of righteousness, with a garment of salvation through the substitutionary sacrifice of an innocent victim. Who was that innocent victim? Christ, who died as the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world, and by His death, a garment is procured to cover the sinner. This introduces the whole matter of substitutionary death of an innocent victim. This is the first sacrifice. This is the first, we could say, picture of the Lamb slain for sinners who was spotless and undefiled and pure and substituted for sinners. This is the idea of covering. Atonement means covering.
How is God going to accept the sinner? You say the sinner believes. Is that enough? No, God must provide an atonement. Justice must be satisfied but the sinner cannot bear the punishment because he will perish eternally, and so God takes an innocent one, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, He becomes the Lamb. And God sacrifices Him, as it were, and in that sacrifice skins Him in the sense of His righteousness and uses it to cover the naked sinner.
So here is the first look at substitutionary death by an innocent victim to provide a garment of covering for an unworthy sinner. God Himself chooses the substitute. God Himself executes the substitute. And don’t you miss it for one moment. As I pointed out in my book on The Murder of Jesus, it wasn’t the Jews that put Jesus on the cross and it wasn’t the Gentiles that put Him on the cross. Who was it? It was God who put Him on the cross. It was God.
And here is the first death in history and it was a death to cover sinners. And there is a picture of substitutionary atonement and imputed righteousness to cover the sinner that’s unfolded throughout the New Testament. It’s pictured in all the sacrifices of the Old Testament. Immediately into chapter 4, let me show you something, in verse 3, Cain brought an offering to the Lord, and what did he bring? Crops, fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part, also brought of the firstlings of his flock and their fat portions. He brought a blood sacrifice. He brought animals. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering.
You say, “Well, maybe Cain didn’t know.” Oh, he knew. God Himself had established the sacrificial system when He Himself killed and took the skin of that animal as a covering. God Himself established substitutionary atonement by the death of an innocent victim, He established that and Cain violated that. And you remember how, in fury because his offering was rejected, he killed his own brother.
This finds its expression in Hebrews 9:22 where it says, “Without the shedding of blood, there’s no” - what? - “remission for sins.” From here on, there’s going to be sacrifice. “Noah” - chapter 8, verse 20 - “built an altar to the Lord, took of every clean animal and every clean bird and offered burnt offerings to the altar.” From now on, the sacrificial system is in place. Oh, it gets systematized when Moses comes along in the book of Exodus, the book of Leviticus, the book of Numbers, and the book of Deuteronomy.
I won’t take the time, but in Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Numbers, Deuteronomy, all through that, the sacrificial system is delineated and then its application is played out through all of Old Testament history. And then comes Jesus Christ who is the Lamb Himself, truly offered for the sins of the world, the only One who could bear the sins of the world, the only One who provided a covering, all the other animals simply being a picture of the atonement which Jesus would provide. And so you have right here in the third chapter of Genesis the introduction of this glorious truth of atonement. All the sacrifices, including this one, looked forward to Christ.
Now the picture of Christ is beginning to take shape. He will be born of a woman. He will be the seed of the woman, which could be an allusion to a virgin birth. Normally, a woman doesn’t have a seed, the seed is the man’s, but this would be the seed of a woman. A virgin-born Son would come, He would be born from Eve’s womb - that is, He would be human. But He would be more than that because He would have the power to destroy a supernatural being, who is Satan Himself, and the only one who would have the power to do that would be God Himself.
So here you have initial indications that the good news is there’s going to be a man, there’s going to be a man born of a woman, born of a virgin, there’s going to be a man who will crush the head of the most powerful supernatural creature in the universe. There’s going to be a man come who is also going to be a sacrifice for sin, whose substitutionary death will provide a covering for sinners.
Throughout the prophets of the Old Testament as well, the prophets were looking forward to this wonderful fulfillment. Prophecy after prophecy after prophecy of the One who would come and be the sacrifice for sins. Many times, by the way, the prophets indicted Israel because of their indifference toward the sacrificial system. God gave that to them to pre-figure continually the sacrifice to come in Jesus Christ.
And, of course, the most wonderful and complete text of Scripture on that sacrifice in the Old Testament is Isaiah 53, where it says, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, our sorrows He carried, yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” What a great statement.
Here in Genesis 3, then, is the initial introduction of the essential truth of atonement. We know now from Genesis 3 that salvation is by faith, and faith means believing all that God has said, and that means the good news that God has given that He will redeem sinners and destroy the enemy. It is believing that God would send a man born of a woman to crush the serpent’s head. It is believing that God alone can cover the sinner, and the sinner can’t cover himself with his own efforts, his own leaves. That’s the good news. Faith in God that God’s Word is true, that God’s promise will come to pass, and that God will provide a substitute and by that substitute, He will cover the sinner with a righteousness not his own.
Well, we have to stop at that point. I’m going to kind of redefine things next time, and I want to give you two more thoughts. Salvation requires faith and I include repentance with that. Salvation requires atonement from God’s side. Thirdly, also from God’s side, it requires security. And I’m going to throw in a bonus: From man’s side, it includes hope - hope - so that believers live by faith mixed with repentance and hope. That’s our part. And God provides the atonement and the security. Let me tell you, folks, that’s wonderful, wonderful truth, but the best is ahead of us as we go through the final verses next time.
Father, what can we say about the glory of your Word? It is marvelous - marvelous - to see the consistency from the very earliest part in the plan of redemption. We thank you, Father, that no sooner had man fallen into sin and death, no sooner had he been cursed than you granted him faith and began to illustrate that you would provide a substitute to cover his sin. What grace is this to those who are utterly unworthy, deserving only of death and hell.
And yet you took Adam and Eve, who didn’t believe you, didn’t trust your Word, didn’t believe in your goodness, became believers in the arch-liar, Satan, and you rescued them because of your great grace and you’ve rescued so many since them, including us. And for that, we praise you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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