Theme: A Time for Judgment
This week’s lessons show us how grace came unexpectedly to Adam and Eve when they sinned, and that this same grace is given through Jesus Christ to all who will come to him for salvation.
Scripture: Genesis 3:21
God doesn’t take the blame, however. He places it where it is belongs. And he judges it too, as he did in the case of our first parents. In this case he began with the serpent: “Because you have done this,
‘Cursed are you above all the livestockand all the wild animals!You will crawl on your bellyand you will eat dustall the days of your life.And I will put enmitybetween you and the woman,and between your offspring and hers;he will crush your head,and you will strike his heel’.”(vv. 14, 15)
God judged the woman, saying,
“I will greatly increase your pains inchildbearing;with pain you will give birth to children.Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”(v. 16)
To Adam God said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’
‘Cursed is the ground because of you;through painful toil you will eat of itall the days of your life.It will produce thorns and thistles for you,and you will eat the plants of the field.By the sweat of your browyou will eat your fooduntil you return to the ground,since from it you were taken;for dust you areand to dust you will return.’”(vv. 17-19)
In these three judgments, God decreed suffering for the man and woman, as well as their offspring, and foretold an eventual physical death for them and their posterity.
I suppose that at this point you may be wondering what happened to grace, the theme with which we started, since thus far the story seems to be one only of sin and tragedy. True, but it is against the dark background of sin that grace emerges. Grace means God’s favor to the undeserving. So it is only in the context of sin that grace can be appreciated.
Where is God’s grace here? It is in three things.
Adam and Eve did not die, at least not immediately. Some writers have pointed out that Adam and Eve did die spiritually, which they showed by trying to hide from God when he came to them in the garden following their disobedience and fall. That is true. But physical death was also punishment for sin, and God had said, “When you eat of it you will surely die.” The King James translation says, “On the day you eat of it, you will surely die.” Adam and Eve must have expected a swift execution of that sentence. Yet after the judgments had been pronounced and God had left them, they were still standing there in the garden. Fallen, but alive! In other words, they now had time to repent of their sin and believe God about the Savior who would come, just as earlier they had doubted God’s word and disobeyed him.
Next week we are going to talk about common grace, which means the grace God shows to all people whether or not they come to personal faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior. But already we have an example of common grace in the way God gave Adam and Eve time to repent and believe him.
It is the same today. If you are not a believer in Christ and are nevertheless alive, that alone is an example of the common grace of God. If you are not in hell, where your sins will eventually take you if you do not repent, it is because God is gracious. One day you will die and be judged, but today is still a day of spiritual opportunity.
How is God’s judgment against Adam and Eve specifically seen and experienced today?
What is the first way God’s grace came to Adam and Eve in the midst of his judgment against
them for their sin?
Reflection: Consider how God showed you his grace in the past by not bringing upon you the judgment you deserved for a sin you had committed. Praise him for his mercy and forgiveness through Christ.