Where Is Jesus in the Bible? (lesson 2)

July 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Biblical Teaching | 3 Comments
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In lesson one we learned that Jesus is everywhere in the Bible. Let’s look at just a few Old Testament examples.

When Adam and Eden sinned in the Garden of Eve, they ruined it for everyone. No matter how many times I read Genesis Chapters 1 – 3, I almost can’t help feeling a little surprised that they did the only thing they weren’t allowed to do. It shouldn’t surprise me, though. Sadly, I am more guilty than them in my regular disobedience to God. And it definitely did not surprise God. He told the serpent who had successfully tempted them to sin:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Genesis 3:15

Somehow, one of Eve’s descendants would one day defeat the devil. That descendant turned out to be Jesus. In the Person of Jesus Christ God came into this world as a man born of a woman to reverse the curse which God had pronounced because of Adam’s sin.

Long before that, though (but still many years after Adam and Eve had been kicked out of the Garden), God decided to flood the earth and kill all the sinners – except for one sinner and his family. God chose one man – Noah – and He told him to build an ark, so that everybody that believed what God said through Noah would be spared.

And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.

Genesis 7:15-16

That really happened. It’s not a myth or a fable. But why an ark? Why not put Noah on a mountain or in outer space? Because the ark is a picture of Somebody. It’s a picture of Jesus. Everybody who gets inside the safety of Jesus’s salvation is going to be spared when God destroys the world again (this time by fire, not by water). The story of Noah’s ark is true: a male and female giraffe really did get on a big ship with all the other kinds of land animals, and a big world-wide flood really did happen. But the key to truly understanding the message of this is to understand that it typifies important truths about Jesus.

Years after Noah (but still way before the New Testament), God found a man named Abram, and promised that he would be the ancestor of a great nation. God promised that through him would come the One who was promised in Genesis 3:15. Abram waited a long time, but he finally had a son named a Isaac, and here’s what God told Abram/Abraham to do with him:

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

Genesis 22:2

Isaac wasn’t Abraham’s “only son” in the sense that we think of it. God is using that language in a special way to denote that Isaac was Abraham’s special beloved son, and the son who would be the legal “firstborn” designated to carry on Abraham’s lineage.

And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Genesis 22:9-13

This story is true and factual, but, again, it is also given to illustrate a message and to point to Someone else, because thousands of years later, God would send “His only Son, the Son that He loved” to be an offering, and He would not stop Him from being slaughtered. Jesus went to the Cross on what used to be Mount Moriah, and He was the Lamb of God – the Lamb who was not spared – the Lamb who was slain.

Do you remember when all God’s people wound up in bondage in Egypt, and God forced Pharaoh to let them go free? Almost as soon as he did, he changed his mind and came after them. They were trapped between the oncoming Egyptian army and the Red Sea.

And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, [even] all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

Exodus 14:21-23

This event really did happen, and God truly did deliver His people out of bondage, but the event was not just about Moses parting the Red Sea. It was also a picture of Jesus coming into this world where we were all in bondage to sin and Satan, and delivering us from that bondage, and leading us out, victorious over our enemies.

There are so many more true Bible stories we could go through. David slew Goliath, which is a picture of Jesus standing up to the mighty powers of this world and defeating them when they all thought He was dead. Jonah was swallowed by a big fish and went down into the sea, which is a picture of Jesus going down into the grave and coming back from the dead. Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah and Ezekiel and Jeremiah, and all the other prophets are types of our great prophet and priest, Jesus, about Whom they were prophesying. When Samson picked up the city gates, and carried them 30 miles away, the Holy Spirit gave us an image of Jesus picking up the burden of our sins and carrying them as far as the east is from the west.

The whole Bible from cover to cover is really about Jesus. He’s the hero, the main character, the protagonist, the reason for the whole thing. He’s the author and the finisher, and He is on every page and in every word. That’s exciting, but it’s also important to remember. When you read the Bible, look for Jesus. When you teach the Bible, teach it as though it is about Jesus. When you do your devotions, give your devotion to Jesus.

Put It On and Pack It On

December 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Posted in I Corinthians, Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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When you think of the Apostles who comes to mind? Paul? Peter? James? John? Which one of these was the “greatest” Apostle?

For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

I Corinthians 15:9

We sometimes think of Paul as the greatest of the Apostles, but he thought of himself as the least. He didn’t even think he deserved the name “Apostle.” Before Jesus saved him, he had been a relentless bounty hunter of Christians.

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

I Corinthians 15:10

God intervened in his life, and this intervention was what made the difference. Paul, on his own, would never have turned to Christ. He attributed his changed life solely to the grace of God, even though he sounds a little like Popeye the Sailor when we read, “I am what I am.” He recognized that he owed everything to God, and that he was no more and no less than what God had made him. God’s grace motivated Paul to outwork all the other Apostles, but God got all the credit and glory for it.

Becoming a Christian is not a pass to get out of hard work. Christian men, especially, ought to be the hardest workers in the world. God created men to work, and work is not sinful. It was sin that brought a curse upon work.

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Genesis 3:17-19

Sin took the joy out of hard work, but in the Gospel we find redemption, and we remember that God made us to work hard, so we can work hard and find joy and fulfillment in it once again because we are in Christ – we have been made right with God.

I want to look at a few principles that remind us – as Christian men – how we are supposed to think about work:

I. Put It On

When a man goes into battle, what should he wear? Armor.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Ephesians 6:10

Don’t be a spiritual wimp. Get in the battle.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11

The armor of spiritual warfare is God’s armor – that He’s provided for us. Our enemy is not an army of Godless sinners. He is not the person who has wronged you, and he is certainly not the person you were close to when he let you down. No, this is a spiritual war, and our spiritual enemy is Satan.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:12-13 (emphasis added)

“Take unto you” the armor. Put it on. Get in the battle and give it everything you’ve got.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Ephesians 6:14-17

The belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness and the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace and the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation are all defensive weapons. We need to think about the Gospel and our salvation every day. But the sword of the spirit is an offensive weapon. Here is where we get our “payback” against the devil for attacking us, but we had better be reading the Bible and doing what it says more than once or twice a week. We had better be practicing with our swords and not going around without them.

II. Pack It On

As men, we can never have too much spiritual ammunition, and we must not whine and say it’s too heavy or too hard to carry.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

II Timothy 2:15

As a Christian man I am called to be a workman that will not get outworked. I am called to force some Bible knowledge into my head – to “pack it on.”

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Ephesians 5:18

I must not be lazy, packing on a bunch of indulgent, childish junk. I must not be “packing it on” with with video games and gadgets and a bunch of time-sucking hobbies. I need to be emptying the garbage out of my life so that I can pack on the Holy Spirit – so that I can be filled with Him. I can’t be filled with garbage or vanity and the Spirit at the same time. A real man isn’t afraid to say no childishness, nor to say yes to the Lord.

Next time we will learn to “pass it on” and “pour it on.”

Beware the Foretaste of Fatality

September 27, 2013 at 10:53 am | Posted in The Fives | 5 Comments
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The first man lived a long time under a death sentence.

And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

Genesis 5:5

When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden by disobeying God and eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he knew the consequences.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:16-17

So why did Adam not die that very day? Some Bible scholars believe that God withheld the execution of the death sentence out of pure mercy. Under this theory Adam may have received a nine-century reprieve. Others believe that when God said, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” He was referring to the spiritual death into which all humanity is now born (“dead in trespasses and sins”), even though Adam might not have taken it that way at the time. Furthermore, “that day” Adam did die in a sense: His death was assured and he began to be subject to the aging process, disease, and fatal injuries. I fall into the latter category of commentators, being of the opinion that God did not “change His mind,” but, either way, God made sure that Adam (and Eve) no longer had access to the Tree of Life.

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Genesis 3:24

Nobody relishes the thought of a trip to the doctor which culminates in the pronouncement, “You have X amount of time left to live.” Adam received a great gift of grace from God to have his execution delayed by hundreds and hundreds of years, but we have to wonder if he felt strong pangs of guilt and regret every time another human being around him bit the dust, so to speak.

We tend to think of our own mortality when we attend a funeral, see a hearse drive by, watch a tragic story on the evening news, or have a “close call” with a speeding semi truck. We might be better off, though, if we made a permanent mental connection with our death and its ultimate cause: sin. No person can be righteous enough in his or her own power to earn eternal life, but those who have already received this glorious gift from the Savior ought to think soberly about the connection between sin and death, and ought to strive to resist the temptation to sin.

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (emphasis added)

The Trap of Looking instead of Listening

April 10, 2013 at 11:22 am | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Traps of Lawless Living | 4 Comments
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An angel appeared to Samson’s mother before his birth and declared to her that Samson’s purpose in life was going to have to do with delivering God’s people from their Philistine oppressors.

For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

Judges 13:5

It seems likely that Samson’s parents must have relayed this information to Samson when he grew older, but Samson’s life seems to have been more of a series of side-tracked adventures than of purposeful and steadfast accomplishment. Part of his problem was that he allowed curiosity to distract him, and he was strongly tempted by what he saw.

And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. Then his father and his mother said unto him, [Is there] never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. But his father and his mother knew not that it [was] of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel. Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and [he had] nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, [there was] a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.

Judges 14:1-8 (emphasis added)

Certainly, eyesight is a great gift from God. Visual learning is one of our primary means of acquiring knowledge. However, while there are certainly some illustrated sermons in the Bible (where the prophecy of Scripture is acted out rather than communicated verbally), by and large, Christianity is a “verbal” religion. “Thus saith the Lord” was the preface to many if not most of God’s great specific revelations. Scripture is replete with commands to “hearken” (to hear and to listen). The “let those who have ears to hear” outnumber the “let those who have eyes to see.” At the beginning, when mankind first fell into sin by failing to heed God’s words, the tendency to look rather than listen played a key role in the decision to disobey.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Genesis 3:1 (emphasis added)

And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:6 (emphasis added)

Samson was guilty of ignoring what he had been told to do and going about to see what he might see. As Christians, we must remember to walk by faith and not by sight, and that faith comes by hearing.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

October 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Ecclesiastes | 7 Comments
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John Steinbeck’s famous novel, Of Mice and Men, takes its title from a line in a poem by Robert Burns. The idea is: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” King Solomon (centuries before either Burns or Steinbeck) considered this idea, as well. However, Solomon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was well aware that most of the plans in a fallen world are evil plans.

But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

Ecclesiastes 8:13

Some of the most influential people in our world today are extremely wicked. They have “big ideas” and “big plans,” but these men, despite their influence, are actually very small men, and their ideas are of little consequence, compared to God’s plans. As one wise preacher said, “A sure sign that the sun is setting is that small men cast long shadows.”

Some of our biggest ideas and cleverest inventions are badly misused. We have the internet – and it is mostly used for trivial or wicked things. We have television, but most of what we watch is vain entertainment. We have the ability to store vast amounts of music on small disks or devices, but most popular songs are completely foolish. We carry cell phones with us everywhere, but too much of our communication amounts to gossip.

As finite creatures we are not able to grasp the comprehensiveness or the beauty of God’s plans. Christians want to know God – even to know the mind of God – but the mysteries of God keep us from making one of the mistakes of Adam and Eve.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:17 (emphasis added)

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:5-6

We need to remember that God wants us to be wise, but we also need to remember that true wisdom comes from Him, and we can never be wiser than Him.

This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

Ecclesiastes 9:3

Death is the “last enemy” from the perspective of “under the sun,” but one day Christ Jesus will put all things under His feet.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

I Corinthians 15:25-26

In Ecclesiastes Chapter 9, we get some advice on marriage:

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 9:9

Solomon spoke these words from experience. He had he turned away from God’s plan for marriage and turned to idolatry. Marriage is a gift from God. I Peter 3:7 calls a husband and wife joint heirs of grace.

For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Ecclesiastes 9:12

We all make our plans, but ultimately what matters most is our part in God’s grand plan.

The Solution to the Problem of Shame in Marriage

February 16, 2012 at 11:03 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 6 Comments
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Last time I wrote about Adam’s and Eve’s response to the problem of shame. Now we see:

God’s Response to the Problem of Shame

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

Genesis 3:9-11

God says, “Okay, admit what you’ve done – we both know about it. Then we’ll talk about whose lies you believed.”

Practical help #1: When your spouse has wronged you, make sure he or she knows you are open to honest confession and you are ready to forgive – before you start getting into the cause (whose fault it was, what was the motivation, etc.)

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I Peter 4:8 (emphasis added)

Pursue the opportunity for your spouse to ask for forgiveness. Banish the idea of, “He/She is gonna have to come to me first!”

Practical help #2: Stay in the Bible. Almost all sins are the result of believing lies, and the Bible may be the only truth you hear all day.

The practical response of Adam and Eve to the problem of shame was a sinful attempt at hypocrisy – portraying themselves as something they no longer were: less shameful. The practical response of God to the problem of shame was:

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21

The purpose of clothing after the Fall was to be a reminder that we are not what we once were. In marriage it is important to remember that my spouse is a fallen sinner – and it is even more important to remember that I am a fallen sinner.

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 10:12

Love does not pretend there are no sins. Love deals with sin in reality – by recognizing that sin needs a God-ordained covering. Married couples in a redeemed, Christ-honoring covenant should not revert back to the state of physical nakedness which Adam and Eve enjoyed before the fall – at least not in public. That would make a mockery of God’s prescription for depicting our reality. That would be the equivalent of saying, “My spouse is supposed to forgive me, and I’m wicked, so I might as well let my wickedness all hang out.” What sort of grace-recipient flaunts evil in the face of the grace-giver?

Another principle we learn from the way God dealt with the nakedness of Adam and Eve after the Fall is how He covered them. He did it with a covering that He Himself provided. It was a covering that was bloody, so that it pointed to the covering of righteousness which would one day be provided by Jesus Christ the Righteous. God’s response corrected their response. It pointed to their ultimate redemption. It allowed the correction of the broken covenant, so that, in Christian marriage, we can once again be naked and unashamed.

Clothing should not draw attention to what it is meant to cover.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Isaiah 52:7

Feet are beautiful when they go to people who need to hear the Good News. Feet are beautiful in marriage when they are the feet of husbands and wives walking toward each other, or alongside each other in God’s path.

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

Proverbs 31:20

Hands are beautiful when they are comforting, lifting up the hurting, extending in fellowship, raising up to God, building God’s kingdom, or giving to the poor. Hands are beautiful in a marriage when they caress, when they are held, when they are carrying the other spouse’s burden.

And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

Psalm 104:15

Faces are beautiful when they are shining with God’s love, and when they are expressing the joy of His Spirit. Faces are beautiful in a marriage when they are beaming into one another, when they light up at the sight of one another, and when they are so familiar that they are a picture of faithfulness.

Most of my body ought to be covered up – God invented clothing as a reminder of who I am and of what He’s forgiven me. The parts of my body which are normally uncovered – my feet, hands, and face – are to show that I gladly serve the One Who has forgiven me.

The Problem of Shame in Marriage

January 30, 2012 at 9:30 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 5 Comments
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Adam and Eve broke the covenant that God had made with them. You and I have done the same thing. When we break covenant with God, we are not trustworthy to be in a covenant with someone else. Not only that, but, as a proven covenant-breaker, I become skeptical that the love of my spouse will cover my sin. Right after Adam and Eve sinned, they were still naked – but now they were ashamed.

Adam’s and Eve’s Response to the Problem of Shame

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:7

The opening of their eyes was more than just a realization that they did not have something covering their bodies. Nor was it a realization that suddenly sin had made them unattractive. They “knew” they were naked – they had a flash of insight about their vulnerability before each other and before God. Their response was, “Cover it up! We don’t understand this new condition, but it’s shameful and we don’t like it!” Suddenly, for the first time, the man and woman were struck with fear that they might no longer be liked or accepted by each other or by God. For the first time, human beings felt the desperation of fearing that their Creator would not be pleased with them.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:8

Our response when we break covenant is to hide or cover it up from the one person who is mostly likely to know about it – and from the one person we must deal with in order to receive forgiveness. “Scatter and hide” is the first instinct of a covenant breaker. But it is not the first instinct of our Covenant Keeper. He came to Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, and He comes to us in the “arbor” – the safety zone – of our marriage, and He lets us hear His voice. God’s response to the problem of shame, which is vastly different from Adam’s and Eve’s response, is what we will examine next time.

Regaining What Was Lost in Marriage

January 9, 2012 at 11:17 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 8 Comments
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Genesis Chapter 2 ends with a very strange cliffhanger:

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:25

In our previous lesson on marriage we saw that there was no shame in Adam and Eve concerning their bodies because they had not yet sinned. This, though, is still begging the question in a sense. If there was no reason for them to be ashamed, why does the Bible make a point of saying that they were not ashamed? The answer is: Because, even if their bodies were “perfect,” being naked is still dangerous unless there is sinlessness. Adam and Eve had the ability to use words. They had the ability to exercise trust. They had desires. We can say these same things about ourselves, but the difference is, for Adam and Eve before the Fall, all of these were based on their relationship to God, and specifically their covenant with God.

The covenant was God saying that He would give them everything good and that He would be with them. They were to enjoy and tend everything that He gave them except for that one tree: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam’s and Eve’s part of the covenant was to leave that tree alone. We know that they did not do that.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:5

This was Satan’s lie, but what made it an effective lie was that there was some partial truth in it. Adam and Eve really would “know” good and evil if they ate from the tree. What Satan intentionally left out was that Adam and Eve weren’t supposed to “know” good and evil. They were only supposed to know good. When they ate, they lost their innocence.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:6

The fruit of the forbidden tree did not make them “wise.” It gave them “knowledge.” Knowledge without wisdom is dangerous. In addition to losing their innocence, they lost their protection from temptation.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:7

They also lost their lack of shame and their freedom.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:8

They lost:

1. Their innocence
2. Their protection from temptation
3. Their lack of shame
4. Their freedom
5. Their minds! (Trying to hide from God?!)

In other words, they lost their covenant.

Nakedness refers to more than just the lack of material covering – the lack of clothes. It refers to the freedom to enjoy your spouse without the danger of what a sinful person can do to you when you trust. Eve now had the ability to use her words to demean. She had proven a desire to be independent from God. She had thought of herself first. When we break covenant with God, we are not trustworthy to be in a covenant with someone else. When we experience a broken covenant we no longer have the assurance that love will cover sin.

This is why “agape” love in a marriage is the only hope for recovering a semblance of the “naked and unashamed” condition which Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. That is very important because the “naked and unashamed” condition glorified God.

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I Peter 4:8 (emphasis added)

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 10:12 (emphasis added)

He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

Proverbs 17:9 (emphasis added)

Love is the remedy for shame-producing sin. I will cover my spouse’s sin with my love if I truly love (“agape”) her. Additionally, though, I must remember that I myself am a fallen sinner.

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

My response to my own sin must be to confess it, forsake it, and ask for mercy.

Desire in Marriage

September 14, 2011 at 8:52 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 2 Comments
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Last time, I described the effects of the curse brought about by sin on the first marriage.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Genesis 3:16 (emphasis added)

There is a common misconception among Bible teachers that sexual desire itself is part of the curse, but that is not true. For wives, the curse is finding pain in the one relationship that fulfills the roles God created you for as a woman. The “desire” that is part of the curse is not a desire for intimacy. It’s a desire for unlawful control. It’s a desire for coup d’etat. It’s a desire to stage a rebellion in your marriage, and to seize control for yourself, even though this desire often operates at an almost subconscious level.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Genesis 4:7

That Verse is about Cain and Abel, but it illustrates the early Bible concept of “desire.” The “desire” of women that is part of the sin curse is the same desire whereby one person desires to rule over another person.

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

I Timothy 2:12-15 (emphasis added)

The curse will not be done away with in this life. But its effects can be mitigated through the disciplines of Godly marriage.

So, why did God’s curse upon women tie them to the very thing they were ordained to do?

1. To show God’s redemptive glory in the picture of marriage; and
2. To sanctify husbands and wives through the marriage covenant and relationship.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Galatians 3:13

The curse of our sin was tied to Christ, and bearing that curse was the very thing He was ordained to do.

The Marriage Curse

August 22, 2011 at 9:20 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 9 Comments
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Going by what is taught in the Bible, we have to admit that both men and women are affected by the fact that we inherited a fallen sin nature. There is something in the fallen nature of women that wants to rebel. There is something in the fallen nature of men that wants to shirk the responsibility to lead. The world, which for the most part rejects that the Bible is really true, gets this wrong. The world’s portrayal of the stereotypical male who is a bad husband is the “alpha-male” who is overly aggressive and bossy and domineering. The stereotypical picture of these men is that they love to be “leaders,” but they lead with too much force and ego. However, that is a worldly lie, because it is not really the deeper problem. The real problem with men in marriage is that they are not really “leading” because they are not modeling forgiveness or selfless giving.

The Bible gives a pass to neither men nor women when it comes to both of them abdicating their God-ordained roles in marriage.

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

I Timothy 2:14

Transgression against God in marriage will break the covenant boundaries of God’s protection. That’s why headship and submission are so important. I did not say that headship and submission are “natural” – but they are vital, and the roles of men and women – according to God – cannot be swapped.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Genesis 3:16

Child birth and home-keeping are two areas where women find much joy. Married women’s lives tend to revolve around their children and their husband – “the home.” Even when they are at work outside the home, for most women, their hearts and minds are still occupied throughout the day with the welfare of their children and husbands. Even after Adam and Eve sinned, they were still commanded to be fruitful and multiply – and to be married. The curse that God placed on them because of their sin was that the child-bearing and the marriage relationship would now be marred by pain and sorrow. Pain and sorrow are in this world we live in because sin exists in this world.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Titus 2:3-5

Suppose Adam and Eve had never sinned. Women would still have been subordinate, but that would have been the best thing – because their desire would have been to be subordinate to their husbands. (The other part of the curse had to do with pain in child birth. Men don’t experience pain in child birth. This, too, is part of the curse, because the exact thing that women need at that time is empathy, and men have no way of giving it, having never experienced anything like it.) The desire that Eve had – to be subordinate to Adam – still exists in women today, but, because of the sin curse, this desire exists alongside a competing desire to rebel against authority. Women are, in a sense, doubly cursed, because the man you are commanded to be subject to is a fallen sinner like you, and on top of that he will be an abuser (at least mentally and emotionally at times, if not physically), a terrible leader, insensitive, uncommunicative, and prideful. Eve, in her sin, wanted to take the lead in her marriage relationship, and because that was a disobedient and sinful thing to do, God pronounced a curse such that all future wives would have a desire to take that lead, and that desire now competes with their role of subordination, which causes much heartache and many complications in marriage.

Of course, the Gospel has an answer to these problems, which we will look at next time.

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