Sin– disobedience to God– brought at least three things into this world that were never meant to be a part of this world:
1. Shame (2.25-3.13)- sin is foolishness, and that brings shame; sin affects even our physical bodies, so there is now shame in nakedness.
2. Pain (3.14-19)- the devil is out to hurt us; children and marriage can hurt us; working and eating can hurt us.
3. Death (3.19-24)- God now guards the way to eternal life, because He did not want man to live under a curse forever. And shame, pain and death are all judgments against sin.
One cool thing of note: Christianity is not like other religions. Notice that in verses 14-15 God puts enmity between mankind and the serpent. Other religions often have an element of good vs. evil, forces of light vs. forces of darkness, ying and yeng (spelling?). But here it says God is in complete control of the battle. The devil is at the mercy of God! The battle is between the children of God and the children of the devil.
And praise God for the seed who crushed the head of the serpent! This seed eventually took our shame, pain, and death for us on the cross. Amen.
Gen 2.4-17: God places a man in a beautiful garden to work it and keep it, and then gives him a command that is for his good.
Gen 2.18: With all that God gave him to do, man’s problem is being alone.
Gen 2.19-25: God solves the problem by giving him a perfect companion.
Marriage is God’s solution to mankind’s biggest problem. You could really boil sin down to mankind trying to be alone. Adam and Eve sinned because they did not help each other obey God. Eve acted alone. God gives His people commands, and when they disobey they are acting independent of their Maker. They are acting alone. Even when two people commit sexual immorality, it is two people acting selfishly. They are acting alone. Sin is mankind trying to be alone. God’s solution to man’s alone-ness is marriage. God’s solution to mankind’s sin is marriage– between Christ and his bride.
Three reflections on the seven days of creation:
- God works for the good of his people (Gen 1.1-1.25)- John Sailhamer points out how Day 2 is the only day with no mention of “good.” And it’s because there was no real benefit for mankind with the mere separation of water from water. This highlights that God was really creating a good “land.”
- God wants his people to reflect Him (Gen 1.26-31)– Mankind is to bear God’s image. And God’s blessing is to “be fruitful and multiply.” And God called it “very good.” A land full of people who reflect the Creator is very good!
- Rest is a reminder about creation- (a) The Sabbath command is grounded on the fact that God rested on this seventh day. (b) There was no evening and morning like the other six days. We are still in the seventh day until God creates the new heavens and new earth. Rest reminds us about the new creation! (c) Jesus rose on the day after the Sabbath, on the first day of a new week. The resurrection brought in a spiritual new creation! Rest reminds us about creation and Christ!
In all this, do not miss the fact that “God said”, and things happened. God always creates by His Word! Pray for God to similarly create new hearts in unbelievers by the Word of His gospel.
As of now, I am still filling the pulpit at Kailua Baptist Church on the east side of Oahu. We like them, and they like us. They seem to like my preaching, which is encouraging because I have simply tried to be faithful to the text of Scripture. By all accounts, most, if not all, want me to be considered for the permanent pastor position. That is why right now no one wants to call me “interim,” because that usually disqualifies you from the permanent position. And as long as everyone there wants God’s Word to lead them, then I am happy to be considered as a permanent candidate.
Natalie loves the people there as well. She has quickly become good friends with one of the deacons’ wives, and is at a ladies’ retreat today. She has become a great cook at home! She would just ask you to pray that God would grant her a job in the immediate future.
We had an awesome month with Gracie. She went home last weekend. All I can say is it is amazing how God preserved our relationships. She enjoys being with us as much as she enjoys being with her other family on the Big Island. God just has to become more important to her for her to make the decision to live with us.
All in all, God is gracious to us. I still can’t believe I got to start preaching from the second Sunday I stepped off the plane!
A brief outline-
12-14: Paul’s personal testimony about how grace changed him
15-16: Paul’s summary of God’s mercy in the gospel
17: Paul’s doxology in response to these two things
Some struggle with the flow of thought from verse 11. Verse 11 says, “…the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.” And that last phrase seems to remind Paul of how undeserving of this ministry he is. So he talks about how he used to be a persecutor of the Church and how grace changed him. And two quick notes about the “chief of sinners” phrase: some look at this passage and think we are all supposed to say this about ourselves, namely, that ‘I am the chief of sinners.’ But Paul’s teaching is not that we are all the foremost of sinners, but rather, that he actually was the foremost of sinners. He actually killed Christians! And if God can save the foremost of sinners, he can save anyone.
Secondly, why does he say, present tense, “I am the chief of sinners”? Does he still sin just as he did before he was converted? May it never be! He is trying to convey God’s mercy in the gospel, meaning, none of us are deserving of eternal life– especially Paul, who used to persecute Jesus! So Christians should not call themselves “sinners” in the same way they used to be “sinners” before conversion, but we should call ourselves “sinners” in the sense that a million years from now, we will be just as undeserving of salvation as the day God gave us new hearts.