Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Grace and the Law - Part III

     God’s grace was revealed in the act of creation. “In the beginning, God created…” (Gen. 1:1) Since God is the creator of all things, He has the right and authority to expect that His creation revere and respect his established laws and instructions.
     God planted a beautiful garden sanctuary in which He placed Adam and Eve. He walked in the garden with them. He spoke with them. His grace overflowed as He provided for every need. However, He gave them one restriction, one instruction or rule—one law—one DO NOT.
     Genesis 2:16 “And 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 (not if) you eat of it you will surely die.”’ The law and the consequence.
     Adam, not Eve, received the first law directly from God.  What does Genesis 2:16 say again? “And the LORD God commanded the man…” What did God say the consequence for disobedience would be—you will surely die. Genesis 3 recounts the now familiar story. The serpent tempted Eve. Adam was with her, but did not stop her from eating. Then when she offered Adam a bite of that beautiful shiny red crunchy delicious sweet apple, he ate; the deed was done. Through one act of disobedience sin entered the world. One law, one rule, one do not given by God…ignored as they succumbed to the temptation of the serpent.
     What was the revelation gained? What knowledge did they now have that they did not have before. What wisdom came with that costly bite…Genesis 3:7—“they realized they were naked…” They traded the perfection of the garden and intimacy with God for the immediate knowledge that they were naked.  
     That doesn’t even make sense to you and me, does it? But let me ask you, how many times in your life has God cautioned or warned or instructed you to DO NOT and yet you did it anyhow? Think back over your lifespan, remember after receiving Christ as Savior and Lord the times the Holy Spirit nudged you and said stop, wait, don’t…danger-danger-danger…and you chose to ignore. Remember the consequences. Looking back it doesn’t make sense that you would ignore God, but at the time….
      Adam and Eve gained the knowledge to determine between good and evil. Like us, they paid the consequences of disobedience to God. 
     In Genesis 3:22 we read, And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”  Grace in action!
So Adam and Eve were put outside the garden, and Genesis 3:21-24 recounts the story:
1.   God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them (blood sacrifice) Grace.
2.  He spoke with the holy US (verse 22) about not allowing them to eat from the tree of life      Grace.
3.  He banished him from the garden to work the ground from which he had been taken—consequences of breaking the law, the one DO NOT – still Grace…they did not instantly die…God did not unmold them….
4.  He placed on the East side of the Garden of Eden; cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life.
     Although they would never be allowed to return to the Garden of Eden, God put them out on the east side of the garden—not pushing them away from God but toward the East—toward God (Matthew 24:27)
     When the Tabernacle was built, the only gate in faced east and the Tribe of Judah from which Christ would be a descendent camped outside the eastern gate.  Nothing God does is random or coincidental. When we break His law there are consequences, however, Grace abounds even then.

     Next time, we will continue our look at grace and the law.

©Joyce Powell

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