Garden of Eden, stained glass window in Church of Saint Leu Saint Gilles in Paris, France. For editorial use only.
It was a pleasure worshipping together yesterday. If you had any problems joining in, please let me know. It was great to see so many out for the "Virtual Coffee Hour" yesterday, including some new faces and voices. We are learning new things every day about putting this technology to good use!
"Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony" is a lyrical overview of what we believe as Christians. We’ve been following it daily, thus far looking at its preamble and God as Creator. Now it turns its focus from creation to sin. But since sin is something which is always in the picture, so we do well not to ignore it.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was For everything in the world—
good for food and the lust of the flesh,
pleasing to the eye, the lust of the eyes,
and also desirable for gaining wisdom, and the pride of life—
she took some and ate it. comes not from the Father
She also gave some to her husband, who was but from the world (1 John 2:16).
with her, and he ate it (Genesis 3:6).
We know that we have come to know him
God said, "Because you ate fruit from the tree if we keep his commands. Whoever says,
about which I commanded you, “I know him,” but does not do what
‘You must not eat from it...'" (Genesis 3:17). he commands is a liar, and the truth is
not in that person (1 John 2:3-4).
[For the fall of humanity into sin, see Genesis 3. On the serpent, see, in addition to Genesis 3, Revelation 12:9 and 20:2.]
The Contemporary Testimony sums up its six paragraphs on creation, as it relates to humankind, with these descriptions in paragraph 13. We are given the opportunity to walk with God, to live by the Creator’s word of life, and to know the nearness of God. The beauty of this is all summed up in Genesis 2 as life in a garden (from which we get the word paradise.) But, we are told, Adam and Eve chose to listen to a lie, rebelling, trying to be like God, thus falling into sin and fear, going into hiding.
The New Testament book which most clearly picks up the themes of Genesis 3 is the first letter of the apostle John. John is very aware that the world’s attractions are alluring (2:15-17), and he is very concerned that we not be deceived into sin (2:1, 2:26, 3:4-7). We will sin (1:8) even as we try and keep God’s commandments (2:3-4). Because of this, darkness (1:11) and death (2:14, 5:16-17) surround us. And yet, even with all of this identification with the rebellion of Adam and Eve, First John is a book of joyous victory over sin and death, because (and only because) of our advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous One (2:1). Because of Jesus, we regain our created place as children of God (3:1); we can abide in him and the shameful hiding is a thing of the past (2:28).
Our experience confirms that, even as we are isolated and alone, “sin is lurking at the door” (Genesis 4:7). Sin is a part of our human condition. But because of Jesus, my sinful state does not have the final word; the final word is victory in Jesus (1 John 5:1-5). The end of our story is not death, but life (5:11-12). This victorious way of living is summed up in First John in relational terms as “fellowship,” both with God and with one another (1:3, 6-7).
My encouragement to you today is to be in active fellowship with one another. “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). Who do you know who could use encouragement today? Pray for them now while you are thinking of them, then pick up the phone and call them. You will be glad you did.
Joan suggested our song for today, a beautiful version of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” with some lyrics which may be new to you (as they were to me), from Austin Stone Worship. Listen and be greatly encouraged!
Let's pray: "Father, it is our desire to walk with you, live by your word of life, and enjoy your nearness, always. This good desire is marred by sin. Thank you for faithfulness expressed through your son Jesus, who restores us to our rightful place as your adopted children and puts us in good fellowship with you and with one another."
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Go with this blessing:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
PS – My Online office hours on Tuesday are 11am-noon. Drop in if you'd like to chat, or just say hi!
PSS - If you know of someone not receiving these "Elbow Bumps" and who would benefit from reading them, please pass it along to them; we're happy to add new readers to our mailing list.