Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 33)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

In our last study we looked at God’s Eternal Plan that Father, Son and Holy Spirit purposed together “before time began.” We’ve seen the Eternal Plan Revealed and The Plan to Rule. Now we’ll look at The Plan to Overcome.

The Plan to Overcome

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Genesis 3:7-11

When we last saw Adam in the Garden of Eden he had just named his wife and they were both naked “and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). However, in Genesis 3:7-11 we see Adam and his wife hiding themselves from God because of shame and fear. What happened?

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:1-6

Enter the serpent that was “more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” God “made” the serpent? He did. Was it a mistake? No. Keep in mind that God is revealing the plan Father, Son and Holy Spirit purposed “before time began.”

The serpent deceived the woman (1 Timothy 2:14) with lies about her relationship with God and with God’s command to her husband. What the serpent did was “evil” and we know that the serpent is “the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). The serpent began by deceiving the woman in the garden of Eden (2 Corinthians 11:3) and from that beginning point reached out to deceive “the whole world.”

Once the woman and Adam ate of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and hid themselves from God’s presence.

What’s God going to do? He sounds upset – “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Adam blames his wife and she blames the serpent. Did what Adam and his wife do throw a wrench into God’s eternal plan? Watch how God handles it.

So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.’ To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.’ Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

When God saw everything that He had made, He said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). However, in what appears to be a short period of time, God is upset with three of the living creatures He had made and is speaking about being cursed, eating dust all the days of life, enmity between creatures, bruising, sorrow, pain, toil, sweat and death. The question here is whether something went terribly wrong with God’s plan from before time began. Let’s remember the plan.

 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was … Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:3-5, 24

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Ephesians 1:3-5

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:8-10

“… according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.” Titus 1:1-2

“… knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:18-21

It is because we understand what is in God’s eternal plan that we can understand why He said this to the serpent – “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” The Hebrew word for “bruise” is shûwph and means “to crush, gape, seize, break, overwhelm.” We know from Scripture that the Seed of the woman is Jesus Christ. God said Jesus would crush the head of the seed of the serpent and the seed of the serpent would crush the heel of Jesus. Both were realized in Jesus’ death on the Cross.

It’s important for us to see that before God spoke to Adam and his wife, He spoke to the serpent and revealed the part He (God) would play in overcoming evil  – “He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel. God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 is explained by God’s Son in John 3:14-17:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

God also revealed the important role “the woman” would play  in overcoming evil – “I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed.” God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 is explained by the angel Gabriel in Luke 1 – 

Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JesusHe will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end …  The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:30-33, 35

This is God’s plan of overcoming evil; a plan Father, Son and Holy Spirit designed together in eternity. In the next part of our study, we will look at how God executed the plan from the day Adam and his wife left the garden of Eden through thousands of years of human history.

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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