Sun am 11 March 2018 – Kobus Swart
Rev.13:8; (Luke 3:38); Gen.1:26; Heb. 2:6-7; Rom.8:28-29; Isa. 14:13-14; Prov.14:12; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 1:10 – Phillips; (Col.1:15-19); 1 Cor. 15:20-24 & 28
Why did God allow the fall of man in the Garden of Eden? The Sovereign Almighty God could have prevented it, but He allowed it! How easily God’s children can partake of His grace and receive all His gifts only to become wholly distracted from His original purpose. We lose the consciousness, the focus and the reason for the call. God knew from the beginning that Adam would take the downward turn and it would be necessary to incorporate the ministry of grace. How many of you know that God was not surprised at the fall? God did not intend that fallen man should become so enamoured with the calling of grace that he would overlook the call to realize God’s purpose. Yet this has been the inner perversion of all God’s fallen sons. Man is ever prone to interpret God’s work as it benefits and relates to himself without concern for the realization and yearning desire hidden in the Father’s heart. God’s original plan is still His ultimate purpose for man. We must constantly remind ourselves of Father’s original intention with man.
Redemption is not the only theme in God’s economy. It is important but it is not the only theme. Grace was never meant to just clean man up after the fall. It was to reposition him to get back the original purpose of the call of God. The new birth means an end of the first Adam’s identity in us. The moment we are born again, the influence that the first Adam had should come to an end. Then we become part of the last Adam who is the ‘second man’ to usher in a whole new humanity focused on Father’s original purpose. God was not caught off guard by the fall. We know that! His foreknowledge comprehended full well that man was a moral agent and what he would do. God made provision! The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).
Here are some questions that some of us may have in our hearts: why did God allow the present reign of sin, sorrow and death? Why did He permit the serpent to tempt our first parents? Why did He put the forbidden tree in the centre of the Garden? Could God not have prevented all possibilities of man’s fall? Could the Almighty God not have intervened in time to prevent the full accomplishment of Satan’s design? What makes us ask these questions? A failure to understand God’s ultimate purpose! He could have prevented the entrance of sin but the fact that He did not, should be sufficient proof to us that its present permission is designed ultimately to work out for some greater good. That is the God we serve, He had something greater in mind! The tree of life which is typical of the life-giving last Adam, the Son, was also in the Garden but Adam has not yet discerned its supreme value. That is why he went for the wrong tree; something in Adam was not fully developed. Even before Adam sinned, he needed a vital birth relationship in order to become a true son according to Father’s plan. Yes, Adam is called a son in the genealogy (Luke 3:38) but in terms of the definition of true sonship (spiritual maturity), he was not there yet. The first Adam was created with natural life; he became a living soul. The Last Adam, which is Christ, was a life-giving spirit. Adam was a living soul who needed a process to bring him to the life-giving spirit of the last Adam.
The mistake we often make is the false assumption that Adam in his innocence and sinless state was everything that God had ever purposed him to be. Adam was created without imperfection, that was the handy work of God, but he was not tried and tested yet. He was not fully developed and tested yet. His spiritual development could only come through moral choices. God gave Adam and Eve the freedom of choice.
Oswald Chambers: “It was according to the plan of God that Adam by a series of moral choices will be required to take part in his own moral development. That is, he was to transform the life of nature into the spiritual life of obeying God”. That is the process Adam had to go through. The question I was asking while studying this: what would have happened if Adam and Eve partook of the tree of life in the garden which represents Christ? If Adam, created neutral, were to voluntarily turn God’s way and choose dependence upon Him, he would thereby be able to receive of the tree of life, representing God’s own life. God would then have life union with man and that is what we define as sonship. It is sad but not surprising that the word ‘sonship’ has been misunderstood in many circles and even rejected by many beautiful Christians. This is something that I trust this family has embraced. Sonship means spiritual maturity, a relationship with Father God. That is what God was after for Adam.
God could have programmed Adam and Eve to do only what He told them to do, but He did not; it was never in His mind. Otherwise, you would have lost the maturity to make healthy choices. Life is a matter of choices. If God had made us like robots, the one main thing we would lack is character. God made all of us different, He loves variety. He wants sons and daughters that have grown up. Sin, sorrow and death are the lessons taught to us by God. God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28-29). That is for all of us! When you go through a crisis, do not rebuke the devil. When you go through something, the first question you should ask is, “God show me Your hand; there is something here that You are working out”. God can use Satan to do that. He used Satan in the life of Paul and in the life of Jesus. All things work together for good so God has an ultimate purpose in mind! It is not just to forgive our sins. Experience is the best teacher. What we experience as history will judge us in the end. Many Christians stumble over the same little sin over and over again. So we do not learn and history repeats itself.
Ultimately, Father God has a plan for humanity! God did not want to create robots. Man was given autonomy to rule (Gen. 1:26). God preferred for them to do that, although He could have done it. We must distance ourselves from the wisdom of the world because there is a wisdom that is coming from the world that tries to sound better than God. What is God’s plan for man? What is man, that You remember him? Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him? “You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honour, And have appointed him over the works of Your hands (Heb. 2:6-7). God’s purpose is actually for man to rule and have dominion with God, not independent from God. The wisdom of the world wants you to take a shortcut.
In the fall of man, we see that man chose to rule independently from God and that is why they went for the wrong tree. Take note of the worldly governments, and note this attitude. But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly. In the recesses of the north. ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’ (Isa. 14:13-14). What arrogance! “I will, I will”. That is man ruling his own life and destiny without God! There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death (Prov. 14:12). God has ordained this to be for an appointed time.
Paul said, I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me (Gal. 2:20). Now we are in Christ, we have to be renewed in our mind. Look in the mirror of the word and say, “Father I want to be what Your word says”. Ultimately it will be man with Christ in God. So we move from being man-centred to God-centred. Father’s original purpose did not stop with the cross; He had an intention with man from day one.
For God had allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposes in his sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfilment in him (Eph. 1:10 – Phillips). This is God’s plan! How can we constantly stumble, fall, want grace, and want this and that? Let us grow up! Two weeks ago, we talked about being seating with Him in heavenly places. The Father purposed in Himself for everything to be centred in His Son, but the Son wants to reveal, glorify and satisfy the Father (Col. 1:15-19). That is a beautiful picture of the attitude we should have. While universal dominion is the ultimate intention of the Father, in His Son, we read: then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power…When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:24&28). There is the final picture! God will be all in all! God has chosen to bring humanity to this place where we can become totally consummated in Christ – perfected, brought together, compacted in Christ. That is not the end. He then hands everything to the Father so that God can be all in all!