The Bible is a love story that threads redemption from Genesis to Revelation, focusing Jesus as the Alpha and Omega, and the central figure of this divine romance. Truly we are as a bride, even the city of God, adorned in the radiance of glory and every precious stone. Even more, the scriptures end with the bride being clothed in crystal clear walls of jasper, seventy-two yards high. The beauty of the Lord is beyond our imagination, but the bride’s Husband’s brilliance is the only thing one will see outside the city. In all this, do we understand where God STARTS redemption? Do we understand what it took for God to get us to New Jerusalem?
If redemption is a thread going through the entire Bible, it is the wisdom of God to find out where that thread started, and what seed truth surrounds that first occurrence. In doing so, we peer into God’s heart to understand this love story that is patient that all would have their names written in the book of life, and thus have entrance into God’s glorious city.
. . .he took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 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 loin coverings. NASU
The need for redemption starts here, in Genesis 3:6,7. Take your first notes here. The thought of nakedness is what happens immediately after disobedience. Compare Rev 16:15-16 (“Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. As God closes the plan of redemption, and draws men to the Har-Magedon, He reminds us of where this all began, and that nakedness had to be dealt with.
The second note to make in Genesis 3:6,7 is man’s response to being unclothed: he took from the earth, and in his own effort covered his nakedness. Religion is man’s attempt to deal with nakedness through works, and through the law. But, in the end, what comes from the earth will be dust, and has no redemption ability.
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.” NASU
The ground is cursed and thus fig leaves and vegetation can never redeem man. There is only one acceptable vegetation: Jesus the tree of Life, who is the root of Jesse, and called the BRANCH. This vegetation was cut off from the land of living (ISA 53:8), and when grafted to it will produce fruit that remains throughout eternity.
First Instance of Redemption
Gen 3:21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
Sometimes something in scripture can stare you in the face and because of its brevity you miss it. I knew this scripture passage well but one day I saw it: Genesis 3:21 is a very important scripture. It is God response to our nakedness. It is God’s start of the plan of redemption. God exchanges man’s vegetation and efforts to cloth himself with the only acceptable clothes: sacrifice. For it is here that God slays an animal, takes its skin, and cloths man through the spilling of blood. It is here that God acts out redemption. It is here that God prophesies that there will be a blood shed, a sacrifice given, that will cloth man eternally, and be the LAST sacrifice. Every animal slaughtered, and every drop of blood that spilled to the ground prophesied of that day on the cross. They pointed to it.
This next picture we see in redemption breaks forth from this seed truth. Cain and Abel contrast the picture of acceptable sacrifice further. Cain offers that which is from the earth, while Abel offer that which cost a life–a life that pointed to the cross. The sacrifice of vegetation led to jealousy, and jealousy lead to murder. Ironically, the offering of blood leads to producing fruit, and the offering of vegetation to the works of the flesh.
Gal 3:26-28 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. NASU
The plan of redemption allows us to walk as a son of God, clothed with Him, and adorned with His radiant beauty. We see both bookends: on one side we see God covering Adam’s nakedness, and on the other end we find our true identity as the bride and city of God, joined to Jesus, and remaining clothed for eternity in Him. Our identity is in Him, and there is nothing more for Him to do. It is finished. The plan of redemption is complete. So what about our life after accepting redemption? Why do we seem naked at times, hiding ourselves from God? Why do we struggle to have faith? And, why do we find it hard to finish the race well? Many that preach the finished work message miss the most relevant message for us who are believers: the message of how to really walk.
2 Peter 1:2-11. . .seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature. . .. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; NASU
Redemption is not just about our entrance into the city of God. It is also about our walking in way that we are Jesus’ pleasure on this earth. We are to walk pleasing Him. We are to practice diligence, moral excellence, God’s knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. All through the New Testament we see that not only our identity in the finished work of redemption defines us, but also what we do with that redemption. None of these qualities are done through vegetation, as with Adam. They are done because grace is supplied, and everything pertaining to His divine nature and promises have been granted to us. We have a body like Adam’s, but we have a treasure inside. It is up to us whether we make use of the treasure. It is up to us to choose to walk and stay diligent. If all I have done is received the gift of redemption, understanding my identity in the finished work, yet not truly walk as one who is from a different kingdom, I am not guaranteed not to stumble.
I choose to practice these things because of His redemption. I choose to have mercy on myself when I do stumble. And, I choose to be able to say that this year I will walk in a more mature way than last year. We are a people called and chosen to be the New Jerusalem. We need to walk like we are now residents of that great city.
January 8, 2012
John Robert Lucas