Devotions in Genesis (week 5 – ‘The Fall of man and The Promised Savior.’): (With material taken from James Philip’s commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith)
Monday: read Genesis 3:13-19 and Romans 5:12. One of the consequences of the Fall is commonly called ‘Original Sin.’ Adam and Eve were ‘the root of mankind’. Just as a tree – trunk, root and limbs – is one organic unit, so we as branches are not only from Adam but in him, and so we share the guilt of Adam’s first sin not only as our inheritance but as something we were involved in from the start. Though we attempt to deny that we were there in the garden, Romans 5:12 insists we participated in Adam’s first sin with the emphatic words: “Death came to all men, because all sinned.” We all sinned when Adam did, since he represented us before God.
Meditate and Pray: As we pray, let’s humbly admit that our sin problem has a long-standing history. Knowledge of this should produce in us a willingness to confess our sinfulness in a more extensive way, rather than just as a few private mistakes. God grant us the willingness to confess our sinfulness as deeply as Daniel did in Daniel 9:4-5: “O Lord, the great and awesome God…we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled, we have turned away from your commands and law.”
Tuesday: read Romans 3:9-24. Paul describes our guilt in the Fall, using the Old Testament, so that ‘every mouth’ (v.19) is silenced before God’s verdict. We have become as our Confession says: ‘wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.’ This does not mean that we all commit crimes of the deepest dye, nor that we are unable to naturally perform works of charity and love. But it does point to the infection of sin in all areas of our lives. Mentally, emotionally, intellectually, volitionally and spiritually: we have lost the original righteousness which was ours in the garden, and therefore need a Savior to live in our place a full human life in all its parts.
Meditate and Pray: Using Romans 3:21-24, give thanks that now there is a righteousness from God freely given to sinners by faith. We lost our original righteousness in the garden of Eden and can never retrieve it by our good works or intentions – ‘but a now a righteousness from God, apart from the law of good deeds and self-effort’ can be ours! Why? Because Jesus Christ came down and lived a totally righteous life; died a completely righteous death and rose to take His righteousness to heaven on our behalf!
Wednesday: read Genesis 3:13-19 and 1 Timothy 2:14. We saw in last Thursday’s reading how Adam and Eve foolishly sought to shift blame away from themselves: “The woman which you gave me to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Today we learn that though Adam was not the first to eat the fruit, he was nonetheless deeply guilty in his own right. Compare Adam’s blame-game with 1 Timothy 2:14: “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived…” Adam has no excuse! He was not deceived as Eve was! He ate the fruit with his eyes open, as W.G. T. Shedd says: “According to Paul, Adam was seduced by his affection for Eve, rather than deceived by the lie of Satan. He fell with his eyes wide open to the fact that if he ate he would die. But in loving his wife more than God, he “worshipped and served the creature instead of the Creator” (Rom. 1:25).
Meditate and Pray. As you see the depth of Adam our father’s sin and realize that such idolatry is man’s universal condition, use these words of humble confession (hymn 248):
‘Who was the guilty who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee.
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; I crucified thee.’
Thursday read Genesis 3:1; 14-15 and John 8:44. Notice Satan’s first attack on the truth: ‘Did God really say?’ This is Satan’s goal as the ‘father of lies’: to sow sinful distrust of God’s Truth. As James Philip says: “Through the doubt of God’s Word there came the incitement to step beyond the bounds that God had placed on man. Satan suggested “It is not fair of God to place this restriction on you”, and went on, in effect, “Do it, and then you will be as God, knowing good and evil.” You see what has happened? They were being incited to step out of their creaturely position. The prohibition was a reminder to man of his creatureliness, and disobeying it was an assertion of independence. Thus, in addition to disobedience, there is the fact of pride rearing its head. It was a true insight that made St. Augustine say ‘Pride was at the heart of the story of the Garden of Eden’.”
Meditate and Pray: Take the words of Psalm 119:11 to heart in prayer: “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you” and ask God to help you store up the precious truths of His Word all through your life as a protection from sin.
Friday: read Genesis 3:15-24 and Romans 5:18. The fall-out of sin increases. Not only is man alienated from God by a guilty fear that makes him hide (v. 8); not only is he degraded to the point of dishonestly blaming the woman for his sin (v. 9); he is also separated from God in verse 24 by the flaming sword in the hand of the cherubim, which was to ensure that man would not be able to enter the garden again. A terrible sentence, as James Philip says: “The essence of this separation is that although man can shut himself off from God, he cannot open the door again, back into fellowship; he locks himself out into a bondage from which there is no human means of escape.”
Meditate and Pray: Give thanks that Jesus is the “way, truth and life…no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).” Yes, the way was shut for any son of the first Adam to re-enter the garden. But Jesus came down as the ‘second Adam’ to re-open the door of paradise again by a perfect obedience in place of Adam’s disobedience. Read Romans 5:18 again and see how Jesus is the ‘One new man’ who opens the door to the free gift of life after so many centuries of its being locked by the sin of our first parents.