The Path to the Cross IV
21 Apr 19
The Path to the Cross: The Cost of Freedom
Turn to Gen. 3 / Romans 5
Over the last several weeks, we’ve been on a journey to discover the purpose of Christ’s path to the cross. So, if you find yourself a little confused about some of the things I say - check out the previous sermons and notes on our website. We want to know what His death and His resurrection accomplished. Those who are familiar with the narrative can sometimes minimize Jesus’ sacrifice - reducing it to simply payment for sin so we can go to some place called heaven. If that is all Christ accomplished on the cross, true, that’s enough - more than we deserve – however, it falls short of all He accomplished, and it falls short of all we can experience in this life.
So, what did Jesus accomplish on the cross? To discover that, we must go back to the beginning in Genesis - back to the garden - commonly referred to as the Garden of Eden.
Over the past few weeks we have discovered that the Garden was not created exclusively for humans. Spiritual beings (elohim in Hebrew) were there as well. The Garden was intended to be like a “family room” - a place where both human beings and elohim - spiritual beings hang out with God. I say a family room because it’s for God’s family,
Family? Like sons and daughters? Yes, like sons and daughters. Are not Jews and Christians called sons and daughters of God? Yes. We also see this same language with spiritual beings. They are called sons of God. Many references in Scripture, but his is just one.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Morning stars – Hebrew - angels. We also have Sons of God (bene` elohim) which are, as we’ve talked before, also known as the divine council, God’s “co-workers.” Remember, in Psalm 82, these members of the divine council are called sons of the Most High. Sons, family. And God’s family extends to the spiritual realm and the physical and they’re invited to hang out in the garden with God.
Why do we need to know that? Because we meet one of these sons of God in Genesis 3 – the serpent. He is a guardian cherub (not a snake, but a bronze serpentine shining one - impressive creatures - the Incredible Hulks of the spiritual realm). He’s ticked (later, many rebel) because these puny little humans are God’s pride and joy – sons and daughters as well.
To top it off, God gives them authority to rule over the earth. This cherub becomes jealous and prideful. He wanted to be in charge; he wanted to be worshipped; he wanted to be God. So, he comes up with a plan to deceive Adam and Eve.
The serpent has this conversation with Eve, and this follows:
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Three things that the serpent (later in the NT he gets the title “devil”) caused to happen:
1) He convinced them to distrust God.
I would even say disparage, which means to lower in rank. They failed to acknowledge or trust the supremacy of God. Only God’s in charge, and He had only one rule - don’t eat from that tree - it was for their protection, but the serpent convinced them otherwise - “Can’t trust God. He’s not trying to protect you.”
2) He convinced them to elevate self.
They thought they could gain wisdom and thus be their own rulers - live according to their own rules. In essence, Eve said this - “I don’t need God to tell me how to live my life.”
The third thing we often miss it. Isaiah 14 & Ezekiel 28 tells us that this cherub was full of pride and wanted to be worshipped. What is the essence of worship? Bowing down. Surrender. Submission. That’s exactly what Adam and Eve did. He tricked (beguiled) them and thus …
3) He convinced them to deify him.
They didn’t actually bow down or say, “You’re God, we’re going to worship you” but they submitted in attitude and action – they deified him. The Bible calls that idolatry, sin, and sin is rebellion against God. In Scripture sin can be referred to as an entity, a rebellious attitude or action. And rebellion has consequences.
This is where people think God steps in and He’s angry and He makes up a bunch of rules and consequences just to punish us! “If you break my rules … you’re going to suffer!” That’s not God. When God said, “Adam, don’t eat from that tree,” He said is as a loving father establishing the rules for their protection. “Son, don’t eat from that tree. You’ll die.” Not out of anger - but out of love.
But, they had freewill - and they did what all kids do. And their eyes were opened. They realized there are some serious consequences for disobedience. If we were to read Gen. 3, these are the consequences we would find (from last week).
God said you would die … a lot of things died.
1) They suffered guilt. Their innocence died.
Anyone here …?
2) They suffered shame. A healthy self-image died.
Proper respect and honor for the body. Anyone felt shame – hide – because of who you are?
3) They suffered fear. Trust of a loving God died.
4) An innocent victim suffered death. Another life died.
5) They suffered chaos. A peaceful and orderly world died.
Increased pain/ toil / suffering …
6) They suffered mortality. Their physical and spiritual life died.
7) They suffered separation. A healthy relationship with God died.
No longer had access to the family room
8) They suffered captivity. Their freedom died.
After they sinned, they heard God approaching so they hide. Listen to what God said,
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
Now this is Chad’s interpretation, but there’s a couple of places where I see this idea in Scripture. “Where are you,” is rhetorical. This is what I think it means -
“You are no longer where you belong.”
You belong with Me, not with him!” And,
“You are no longer who you should be.”
“You’ve become broken.”
Let that sink in for a moment …. Every person’s condition …. (love God, love others)
Let’s connect some dots. What Adam experienced in the garden is what we all experience (all those things that died).
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
What’s the point?
Sin is the door in which death enters.
When we sin, and we all have, we open the door to death. Side note - who is the lord of death? The devil - that’s what the curse in Gen. 3:14 is all about. The serpent wanted to be at the top, but God made him the lowest. When we rebel, we open the door to death and place ourselves under his authority (captivity).
We have all sinned. We have all disobeyed God somewhere in our lives – all become slaves to sin somewhere. Read through the Bible and you will find, “Yep, I broke that law ….” And that is all it takes - one sin, one act of rebellion to bring death and condemnation. Where does condemnation come in? If you’re not innocent - you’re guilty, and if you’re guilty, there is a consequence. Rom. 5:16 - judgement followed the one sin and brought condemnation (death).
But it’s not just about sin. There’s something bigger.
Sin brings death and death destroys God’s design for being human.
We were not designed to live in guilt, and shame, and fear, and chaos, and captivity and so on. We were not designed for death, but we all experience it – we were designed for wholeness, yet we’re all broken – not quite what God designed.
So, what do we do? What hope do we have? If we’re dead and broken – dead people can’t fix themselves. If we’re guilty, we can’t make ourselves innocent – we need someone else to cure our condition – to forgive our sin and make us alive!
And that is what the Bible is all about! It’s not all about how horrible we are, and that we all deserve Hell? The Bible is all about God’s grace and His love for humanity. It’s all about God’s plan of reversing sin and death and undoing the deception caused by rebellious sons of God. The Bible reveals God’s plan of healing broken people and freeing slaves.
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
How do we go from death to life? How do we become human again? How do we become innocent again?
We receive. Receive what? The free and abundant gift of grace.
For it is by grace that we are saved – rescued from death. God’s grace is abundant - meaning that no matter how much sin you have, God’s grace abounds beyond. If we were to convert sin to pounds – 100 pounds of sin / 200 pounds of grace! You can’t out-sin God’s grace and love – God’s grace always weighs more!! But you do have to receive it. You do have to receive God’s only provision for forgiveness and life - His Son, Jesus Christ. Trust Him, Elevate Him, Repent from all those other things you’ve deified.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Jesus took the path to the cross, so we would not have to - not only to forgive sin, but to destroy the consequences of death and give us life - now, in this world. He wants to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) - and He wants us to believe in the truth because only the truth will set us free! Free from what? Free from the lies. Free from death. Free from condemnation. Free from guilt. Shame. Fear. Free from captivity. He wants you back where you belong – in a relationship with Him now and in the new family room – a new heaven / earth – the new garden. And He wants you whole, not broken – He wants you to be human again.
When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again on the third day, He reversed the consequences of death and gave us life - life abundantly. Let me ask you, are you alive? Or is your life full of shame, guilt …?
To some, you have never experienced life - receive Jesus Christ and be forgiven and free. (John 5:21 / 1 John 5:12)
To some, you have received Him, but you’re still listening to the lies of the enemy - believe the truth, trust in God and be free.