We were introduced to Grace last week when God had to do for Adam and Eve what they could not do for themselves. When they recognized their guilt for sinning—evidenced by their sudden awareness of being naked—they tried to cover themselves by sewing leaves together. Their feeble and inadequate effort was replaced by God’s adequate work of sacrificing an animal and using its skin to make a covering for them.
That act of covering sin gave us the picture of Atonement – God covering over sins with the ultimate intention of forgiving those sins when Jesus would die on the cross.
Grace covered their sins. But Grace also kicked them out of the Garden. Wouldn’t that be justice? Punishing them for sinning? No.
There was a second tree, a permitted tree prior to eating from the forbidden tree. It was the Tree of Life. A tree representing the promise of eternal life in relationship with God prepared for the Righteous. Since they were no longer righteous but had chosen unrighteousness, it now became a forbidden tree.
The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die. (Gen 2:16-17)
The Tree of Life wasn’t forbidden until they chose unrighteousness over righteousness.
Adam was created as God’s prototype—His master copy—the key man from whom all other keys would be made. He first represented mankind in righteousness and then in unrighteousness. Before he sinned he lived as the original design—man walking in fellowship with God. After he sinned he represented the state of fallen man who now needed to be redeemed in order for God to restore him back to that original design.
Until that restoration process was complete, and to keep Adam and Eve from eating from the tree of life and remaining unrighteous forever, God had to kick them out of the garden and place guards to keep them and anyone else from coming back in.
God wanted fellowship with them forever…but not like that.
Unrighteousness isn’t compatible with righteousness.
Light has no fellowship with darkness.
Impurity cannot walk with Holiness.
So God covered their sin, kicked them out and kicked in His plan of reconciliation. All acts of grace.
Then comes justice: God cursed the ground. Gen 3:17-19
Adam, since you have chosen unrighteousness, your life will be ground focused, earth-centered, not heaven focused or God-centered. And since the ground is now cursed, life that issues from the ground is going to be hard, empty, burdensome, prickly. Instead of living within My blessings, you will live unfulfilled—seeking fulfillment from your own achievements.
Your concentration, your loyalty, even your devotion and desire for Me is now divided, distorted and detached.
Sounds hopeless, but there was a plan in the works—the plan of reconciliation that we can see looking back and connecting the dots. The first dot was when God cursed the snake. 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)
Connect the dots.
Another dot was God sacrificing animals to make coverings for Adam and Eve.
A third was God pointing out the Tree of Life, evidence His intention for eternal life with man remained fixed.
But now, catch a glimpse of a dot God hid within Cain and Able’s story.
After the garden, why would fallen man want to connect with God anymore? He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart... (Eccl. 3:11)
In an attempt to seek fellowship with God, to honor God with an offering, Cain presented something from the cursed ground. Able sacrificed an animal. Why did God reject Cain? His offering reflected the unrighteous act of his father and came through the cursed ground. Why did God accept Able? It mirrored His grace for Adam and Eve and ultimate plan of reconciling man to Himself.
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. (Heb 11:4)
Wait, later doesn’t God accept offerings from the ground?
After Cain killed Able, Eve had Seth: the appointed one. Appointed to what? To re-introduce God’s intentions of righteousness. Seth is the pathway to how we get back on track.
God’s not going to throw away the plan because of man’s failure: If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. (2 Tim 2:13)
To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. (Gen 4:26)
Memory can be a curse or a blessing. The memory of stories of Adam walking with God created desire to restore that privilege.
Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called on His name; They called upon the LORD and He answered them. (Ps 99:6)
Not just calling out His name but calling on His name, believing in all that name represents, as a child calls to his parent expecting something to happen.
And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered. (Joel 2:32)
WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED. (Rom 10:13)