thumb licks [christmas edition]

Does X-mas really take Christ out of Christmas?

Jesus ripped up Santa’s list. Naughty or nice He can rip up yours too.

Christmas in a Nutshell.

10 Ways to bring the gospel home this Christmas.

Having trouble finding parking while Christmas Shopping? The science of parking.

The first Christmas: myths and realities.

Who were the magi? Maybe not what you think.

Will the real Saint Nick please stand up.

The Story. What the real Christmas is all about.

The Advent: resurrection, restoration & creation

The Incarnation [Odd Thomas]

Ditto. A classic Christmas lights photo that I’ve often thought about duplicating.

faithful deception: Judah & Tamar

It is easy to be confused by the events in this world. You can wonder until you are dizzy-in-the-head if there really is a God who controls this mixed-up world where natural disasters, broken and battered families, rape and child molestation, and murder are common chaos’ that make the news. It can be difficult to see how God is still in control. If only God would spell out the meaning to the mixed-up events of our lives and add clarity to the confusion when He seems absent. Can you fully trust God among the chaos? Has He forgotten His plan and purpose to save? Can you prove to me that He is really at work in this wicked world?

Just as the story of Joseph gets under way [cf. Genesis 37] it is stopped by a short story of his brother Judah. At first it appears to be an unnecessary and untactful interruption. However when you take into account the remaining chapters of Genesis are about the sons of Jacob [mostly Joseph] it fits. The redneck soap opera of Jacob’s family takes a Jerry Springer Show twist in Genesis 38 with the sinfulness of Judah following in his father’s footsteps. In God’s grace He will transform Judah as He did his father Jacob from a godless goober to a godly man fit to be a patriarch carrying the covenant promises of God to future generations.

You would think Jacob would learn from his father and grandfather, Abraham and Isaac, who dreaded the thought of their sons intermarrying with Canaanite women because they knew it would cause them to wander from God [24:3, 28:1; cf. Proverbs 1:10-19, 5:1-23]. Judah did not heed the advice. He fathered three sons [Er, Onan, and Shelah] with a Canaanite woman and then he arranged his eldest son Er to marry Tamar, who was also a Canaanite woman. We do not know much about Er other than he was a wicked man that God simply killed. This left Tamar a widow.

According to the customs of the day a widow would normally marry her husbands brother. He would care for her, protect her, and give her sons to keep the family inheritance alive. Since the ancients did not have elderly living facilities their children would naturally care for their aging parents [Deuteronomy 25:5-6]. Onan happened to be the lucky guy to get Tamar as a wife. He was happy to have sex with her, but misused her and refused to care for her much less see that she bore children. He disobeyed God by not fulfilling his obligation to care or provide for Tamar. Like his brother Er, God killed Onan too. Again Tamar was left a widow.

So Tamar moved into her father-in-law, Judah’s house [cf. Exodus 21:7-11]. He promised to take care of her and give her his youngest son, Shelah. He was too young to marry and he asked her to wait until he grew up. He was afraid to lose yet another son. However, years later when Shelah had grown up, Judah did not keep his promise to give Tamar to him as a wife. So, like Eve who ruled over Adam [3:16], Sarah who gave Abraham her maidservant Hagar to sleep with [16:1-16], and Rachel who gave Jacob her maidservant Bilhah to sleep with [30:1-8], Tamar also took matters into her own hands rather than trusting God by faith.

Timid Tamar transitioned into bold Tamar. While Judah was weak after the death of his wife, Tamar dressed up like a prostitute [cf. Deuteronomy 22:23-24] and stood on the street corner where she knew Judah would pass by and see her winking eyes. Judah took the bait not knowing it was his daughter-in-law because she veiled her face. Judah had sex with her, but did not have the cash on hand to pay for the trick so as collateral he gave her the equivalent of his credit card and drivers’ license. She accepted. After the deal was done Tamar snuck into her widow clothes as if nothing ever happened, but she couldn’t hide for long. God was growing a baby in her belly and conviction in her soul.

As soon as Judah round up some cash to pay for his one-night-stand he sent a servant to find her but she could not be found. In fact, when he asked the other men in town they did not know of any prostitutes in the area. Judah seemed to think he’d been swindled. As time passed, it was revealed that Tamar was being immoral. So Judah [mister morality himself]] following customs of the day sent for her to be burned. To save her life she confessed to being pregnant and had the proof that the daddy was Judah. No DNA results were needed, she had his property in her hands.

Judah was caught red handed. While blushing he also confessed, “ She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” [38:26] And he stayed pure from her the rest of his life. Tamar later gave birth to twin boys [cf.25:19-28, Psalm 127:3] naming them Perez and Zerah. The two boys possibly replace the two sons Judah lost. Ironically Jacob—the trickster—had been tricked into believing his son Joseph was dead [instead sold into slavery] by his son Judah who was also trickster like his father who was then tricked by Tamar into becoming the father of his daughter-in-law’s children.

What is the point of Judah and Tamar’s immoral interruption included within the story of Joseph? Like a chaotic commercial break at the beginning of Joseph’s story, it is there to teach you many things about God and man [as is the point of all Scripture]. What do you learn about man and God from the story of Judah and Tamar?

First, you cannot escape the sight of God. God sees everything. He even sees what you think you can keep secret. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place.” [Proverbs 15:3] You might be able to keep your life tucked away and tidy from those around you, but there is nothing you can keep covered from the eyes of God.

Second, what you cover God uncovers, but what you uncover God covers in His mercy [Proverbs 28:13]. God has His ways of uncovering your dirt and exposing your sin—as He did with Judah and Tamar. This can lead to serious embarrassment, shame, and guilt. There are no secret sins. God sees them all and He will bring them out into the open, if necessary, to call you to repent. “Be sure your sin will find you out” [Numbers 32:23].It is better to shed light on your sin before He does. If you do, He will cover you with His mammoth mercy. In the midst of misery God’s mercy is marvelous.

Third, God can even use your sinful messes for your good and His glory. Like father like son, both Jacob and Judah are sinners. And Tamar who takes matters into her own hands like other leading ladies before her is a sinner. God has to intervene for this story to be straightened out and make sense. And God in His grace and glory will prepare Judah to become a covenant patriarch as He did with his father, Jacob. Sin does have consequences—sometimes immediate, other times eternal—but God works them out for His good and yours too [Romans 8:28-29].

In God’s providence, faithfully uses the deception of Judah and Tamar to keep Jacob’s family line alive through their scarlet threaded twin Perez. And Perez paves the way to the lineage of king David [Ruth 4:18-22; 1 Chronicles 2:5, 9-15] and ultimately the King of King—Jesus Christ [Matthew 1:1-6]. The Messiah was to be “the Lion…from the tribe of Judah” [Revelation 5:5]. It was God’s plan that the Savior of the world would come through the family line of sinful Judah and his Canaanite daughter-in-law. And as part of God’s plan He would also be deceived before His death by a close companion [Matthew 26:4, 57-66; 27:24-26]. As Kurt Strassner says in his commentary on Genesis 38,

“Do you see? God is in control; and Jesus is the goal of all human history! God was determined that his Son should be glorified as king! And God was determined that we should have a Savior. Nothing and no one was going to thwart his plan! Not Judah’s sin; not anyone’s sin against us; not even our own sin. God will work all things for the good of his people and the glory of his Son!”[1]


[1] Kurt Strassner, Opening Up Genesis (Leominster: Day One Publications, 2009), 146.

thumb licks [9.25.11]

Baptizing Heathen Words. What words have Christians redefined?

How to Get the Most Out of Your Pastor’s Preaching.

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters. As a new father for a daughter these perked my attention.

Acts and Baptism: Implications for Parents. Before baptizing your children consider this.

Four Steps to Kill Sin. Sinclair Ferguson tackles the mortification of sin.

Homeschooling Blindspots. Some interesting insights as we consider homeschooling overseas.

Love Tap. Encouragement for the timid [watch video below].

a case for penal substitution

The cross work of Christ is not just a payment for the wages of sin, but it is man’s means for cleansing from and victory over sin and death. In essence, that is the doctrine of penal substitution. The doctrine of penal substitution is one of the glorious truth’s of the Bible.

First, the doctrine of penal substitution is biblical.

From beginning to end penal substitution is central to the message of the Bible [cf. Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 1:4; 17:11; Isaiah 53:5-6; Hebrews 9:22]. The truth that Jesus Christ satisfied the justice of God and took upon Himself the wrath due sin.

Second, penal substitution is necessary for real forgiveness.

God cannot waive the wrath due sin. It is out of line with His character to do so. He cannot sweep sin under the rug. Justice demands a consequence. Sin robs the bank of God’s justice [Psalm 97:2; Proverbs 17:15]. The only remedy is to seek forgiveness, but forgiveness always has a cost. Injustice must be made right. For my sin the cost was the death of Jesus Christ. My cost is that without Christ I cannot escape death. He made up what I owed. I sinned, but Jesus suffered for it so I would not have to suffer the hellish consequences of my sin.

Third, the fame of God’s name is at stake.

An injustice against God unpunished with would make the nature untrue. If it were not true He would be a liar. His name would be tarnished. In my place condemned Jesus hung pun the cross to demonstrate the justice of God. Therefore my response is to put faith in my Merciful Justifier Jesus Christ [Romans 3:25-26].

Fourth, God cannot be untrue to His Word.

God has said that the the soul that sins must die [Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:20]. Since He declared it, it is decreed. Therefore, from the beginning of man’s sin God has provided a sacrifice. For Adam God sacrificed an animal to cloth his shame. For Cain and Abe;, God honored the righteous sacrifice. For Abraham God provided a substitute sacrifice in the place of his son [Genesis 22]. For the sins of Israel God atoned through the blood of animals. For my sin and yours God sent the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, to the cross as my sins sacrifice.

Glory to God for the gift of penal substitution. May it humble us to the core and motivate us to serve Him for life.

thumb licks [9.18.11]

10 Questions Leaders Should Be Asking. Great for leaders and anybody for that matter.

Without the Gospel, It’s Not Missions.

Why Doesn’t Anybody Talk About Sin? A good question with good insight.

Who is Responsible for a Child’s Education? Is it the parent or the school?

Lonely Me: A Pastoral Perspective

Is Patience Dangerous?

guilt [and false guilt]

The gavel slams and the judge declares, “Guilty as charge!” Someone you did not expect over hears your gossip and confronts you. You are caught with your hand in the cookie jar just moments after mom told you no more cookies. Guilt. What is it? What if you got it?

God is offended by sin. Sin is personal opposition to God and makes us legally guilty before God. Guilt is culpable for sin. It is not the greatness of the law that makes sin worthy of punishment, but the greatness of the Lawgiver.  “No sins are small when committed against a great and generous God.”[1] Paul affirms, “the judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation (Roman 5:16, cf. James 2:10-11).”

God desires us to change from our sin, the guilt of our sin, and back in his glorious grace. There is a great sadness that comes from not being saddened by knowing our sin. As observed in the first narrative in the Bible (Gen.3:1-13), Adam and Eve desire the fruit of the forbidden tree and disobey God to have it. Their disobedience leads to guilt and a cover-up. Rather than disobedience and covering up sin the Bible is clear on how one should deal with the guilt of sin.

Guilt is a close companion for a Christian because it points us to our need for Christ. Guilt is a real reminder that I must not sin anymore, and that I need to follow Christ (Gal.3:24; Rom.5:8). Like stated above: guilt is good.

How does one deal with guilt biblically? First, acknowledge your specific sin (Prov.28:13; Ps.51:4; 1 John 1:7-9). Second, confess to God that you have sinned. Confession is simply agreeing with God. Calling your sin, sin.  Third, if the person is unsaved they must confess Christ as their Savior and forgiver of their sins (Rom.10:3-10). Finally, if the person is saved they must confess to God their sinfulness and continual need for God’s grace. Now there is so-called false guilt, which is disobeying what one thought was God’s Word and continuing on in their same sinful patterns. This is a misuse of what God’s Word says about guilt, and this one needs to confess their sin.

What about false guilt? Guilt is guilt. True guilt or false guilt it is culpable for sin. False guilt has nothing to do with what’s true and accurate, nor is it related to true repentance, but is still must be dealt with as a sinful response to what is false. For example, a girl could have been molested as a child and respond in guilt over a situation in which she committed no identifiable sin. Even though she committed no sin, her guilt is a sinful response to the situation. The Scriptures say that “Whatever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). This girl may have been blamed or punished for things that she didn’t do, or been told she was worthless. A person with extreme guilt over something that was not a sinful act needs to work on viewing their behavior with the truth as revealed in Scripture so that they can live in peace and experience freedom in Christ.

Guilt caused by sin requires an understanding of confession and forgiveness. The Holy Spirit working in the conscience triggers this kind of guilt. The individual should desire to do something about the sinful behavior. By resting in the grace of God and seeking His forgiveness and restoration I can experience freedom from guilt. Guilt must be dealt with, otherwise it begins to distort other problems in our lives (Gen.4:11; Prov.28:1; Eph.4:26-27). I do not deal with guilt by dealing with the feelings of guilt, though I do not discard the feelings guilt may bring (Ps.32:1-5; Prov.14:30; Ps.38:1-8). The feelings are rooted in the problem that made one guilty; therefore the problem is what needs to be dealt with. When we deal with guilt biblically God promises us restoration (Lk.15:11-32; Mt.5:23-38). We also are seeking to be God’s kind of people by changing our thinking and behavior (Rom.6:11; 1 Cor.6:9-11; Eph.4:22-24).


[1] J.I. Packer, Christianity Today (January 2005), p. 65.


Jacob’s Journey—from recluse to reconciliation [part 1]

Jacob is not the poster child for godly examples to emulate. He is 70 years old, single, jobless, a total momma’s boy, and is now homeless on the run from his brother because he ripped off his birthright and father’s deathbed blessing. Jacob is literally between a rock and a hard place, but mostly from his own trickster tactics. The only glimmer of hope is a dream he is given from God on his first night alone away from the comforts of home. In the dream, God passes the torch of covenant promises given to Abraham and Isaac to Jacob and also promises to be with him until he comes back to the Promised Land.

Today we are going to walk in Jacob’s sandals and see how he moves from being a recluse to reconciling with his brother. Jacob’s journey is Hollywood script or screenplay material. His story is full of adventure, romance, drama, and with twists and turns has sort of a happy ending. We begin immediately following Jacob’s dream as he enters the land of Laban, his uncle [Rebekah’s brother].

Sowing and Reaping: Jacob—the trickster—gets tricked into marrying two sisters [Genesis 29:1-20]

As Jacob arrives at Laban’s sheep farm, he gets a glimpse of the beautiful bombshell, named Rachel [which just so happens to be Jacob’s first cousin]. Immediate Jacob gets to work to impress this gal. Since, Jacob comes to Laban empty handed he is asked to work. In exchange, Jacob bargains for a bride—the beautiful Rachel [meaning lamb/ewe].

Now Rachel had an older sister, named Leah [meaning wild-cow]. She had a crazy lazy eye. Both girls were unmarried probably because Leah was not much of a looker. And Jacob, like all the other guys in town, wanted to marry red-hot Rachel. Laban made Jacob work for seven years to earn the right to marry Rachel. And in one of the most romantic verses of Scripture, “Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.” Isn’t that so sweet and sappy?

Ironically, Jacob reaps what he sows [cf. Galatians 6:7-8]. After tricking his brother Esau he seems to think his life is prospering: he has escaped the hand of his brother, God promises to bless him, and he is about to marry the woman of his dreams. The big day arrives and Laban throws a wedding feast. Obviously, Jacob has a few too many glasses of wine at the wedding to notice that Laban pulled a switcheroo and gives away Leah rather than Rachel. The next morning when Jacob rolls over in bed he stares into the wandering eyes of his new wife Leah. I can only imagine Leah smiling at Jacob with a crooked buck-toothed grin.

Jacob confronts Laban deceptive plan, but Laban gives a lame yet legitimate reason, “It is customary for the oldest child to be provided for before the younger.” Though true, it is still a low blow. Jacob, the persevering romantic, loved Rachel so much that he was will to work seven more years for Laban. God is using Laban to chisel at Jacob’s character. When Jacob finally works fourteen years to marry Rachel he expresses his love for her over Leah. This begins another sad story of favoritism that will rip apart this family.

A Family Fiasco: 12-Tribes of Israel are Born [Genesis 29:31-30:24]

Jacob gets what he wants—Rachel, but as soon as he marries her God closes her womb. Like Jacob’s mother and grandmother, Rachel is barren. Since, Rachel is barren, Leah sees this as her gateway to Jacob heart. Leah gets pregnant, all the while hoping, Jacob would finally love her because she would make her hubby a daddy. It did not quite work out as she planned. Three baby boys later she was sure Jacob would fall for her. Yet Jacob had no love for Leah. She has four-and-no-more until she gives praise to God. It took four pregnancies for God to finally get a hold of Leah’s heart.

Rachel, like any sibling wants babies too. She sees her sister and becomes jealous. So in an overdramatic outburst she demands Jacob, “Give me children or I shall die.”[1] Jacob responds in anger that it is God whom controls her womb. Could Jacob be growing in his faith? I think not! For immediately, like Sarah giving her servant Hagar to bear child, Rachel gives her servant Bilhah to Jacob. It does not look like Jacob is trusting God as his father Isaac did by turning to God in prayer. Rachel also takes matters into her own hands and Jacob did nothing about it. In fact, he went along with the adulterous sin. Rachel’s servant Bilhah gives birth to two boys, Dan [meaning judge] and Naphtali [meaning wrestle]. Their names are fit to Rachel’s sibling jealousy and lack of trust in God.

Not to be outwitted, outplayed or outsinned Leah in turn gives Jacob her servant Zilpah to sleep with. Leah brags about it when Zilbah who gives birth two boys and names them Gad [meaning luck] and Asher [meaning happy]. Leah, like Rachel, forgets to see that the blessing of children is from God. Doesn’t this family seem a little redneck? They would more accurately be dubbed, rebellious. The story gets stranger as Jacob’s firstborn son Reuben finds some mandrakes [an herbal aphrodisiac]. He gives them to his mother Leah. Rachel is a freak for mandrakes and she trades bedtime with Jacob to Leah—paying her as like a prostitute. Jacob-the-pimp doesn’t question the ethics of his wives and sleeps with Leah. She gives birth to two more sons, Issachar [meaning hire/wages] and Zebulun [meaning honor].

Somehow Leah resorts back to having babies out of jealousy—always a bad idea. And somewhere Rachel prays to God, He graciously answers, opens her dead womb, and gives her a son. They name him Joseph [meaning may he add]. Joseph was the youngest boy until Rachel later had Benjamin [cf. 35:18]. Add up all the boys from four momma’s and Jacob is the proud papa to a bakers dozen—12 boys + 1 girl, Dinah.

Through this dysfunctional, jealousy-ridden, polygamist family, God would safeguard His covenant in Jacob’s sons. This family would become the initial branches of the twelve tribes of Israel through whom Jesus would be born and heal the human sin problem, which was so evident in Jacob’s family. By God’s grace alone He saves this family from themselves. Revelation 21:1-14 reveals how these twelve sons who came from the four conniving women in Genesis will mark the gates of heaven where Jesus is awaiting those He has also saved by His grace.

It Never Fails: God keeps His promises [Genesis 30:25-31:55]

According to Jacob, it was about time to move out on his own. He is 90 years old, has two wives, and twelve children from four different women. What his mother thought might be a few day flee from Esau ended up being twenty years working for free for Laban [his father-in-law]. He built for Laban a sizeable ranch that pulled in some fat-cash.

Through demonic divination Laban learns that he has been blessed with wealth and power because Jacob has the covenant blessing of God upon him. Jacob desires to return home to the Promised Land to his father Isaac, however, Laban like a crooked used car salesman seeks to keep Jacob around the ranch by offering to finally pay him a reasonable salary. Jacob, like his father [Isaac] and grandfather [Abraham] rejects the gift and entrusts himself to God in faith. God honors Jacob’s faith and makes him a very wealthy man. Though it may seem like Jacob is taking advantage of Laban the truth is God is making right a wrong by giving Jacob what he earned during twenty years of faithful and fruitful labor for Laban.

God is big on keeping His promises. He has promised to be with Jacob and get him back to the Promised Land. God calls, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” [31:3; cf. 12:1] Jacob responds immediately in faith. His wives also respond in faith [note: Rachel steals the household idol]. Jacob loads up the kids in the camel caravan and leave Laban’s home in secret while he is out giving the sheep a haircut. They leave undercover possibly out of fear that Laban would come up with a sly way to keep Jacob working around the ranch.

When Laban finally found out that his daughters and grandchildren were gone he and his relatives pursued Jacob for seven days until they caught up with him. Ironically, the same Laban who tricked Jacob into marrying both of his daughters became rich because of God’s blessing upon Jacob. He cheated Jacob by changing his wages ten times and complained that Jacob had been deceptive with him. However, God protected Jacob by appearing to Laban in a dream and commanding him not to harm Jacob in any way. Laban only accuses Jacob of stealing his household idol, but he was unaware that his wife Rachel stole them and was sitting on them.

Jacob honors God by praising Him for all blessing he and Laban have received [31:42]. Then Jacob and Laban shake hands and agree Jacob will take no more wives. They built a monument to remember the covenant. Laban kisses his daughters and grandchildren goodbye and the men part—Laban went back home and Jacob to his old home in the Promised Land. This set the stage for a story for Jacob to meet his brother Esau for the first time in twenty years [come back next week to find out what happens].


[1] These words would later proved to be prophetic and tragic; Genesis 35:16-19.

doctrine of original sin and the church

The doctrine of original sin teaches that every single human being who ever was, is, or shall be inherited from Adam a sinful nature that makes us predisposed to wickedness and rebellion against God. Because of the fall, we are hardwired towards evil. We sinned in Adam and died through his trespass, inheriting his guilt and a corrupt nature (see Romans 5:12-21). We are born into the world with a bent towards evil and in need of a Savior.

If the doctrine of original sin can give us a more accurate view of our own history, it can also give us a more realistic appraisal of the world’s future.

The doctrine of original sin can also help the church from drifting away from what matters most. The danger of incessant polling and trend watching is that the church’s target will always be changing. We will be forever doomed to chase relevance, manage people’s perceptions of the church, and catch up with the cutting edge. The nice thing about the doctrine of original sin is that it focuses our attention on issues that are a little more timeless. People will always be sinners. So our main problem is not lack of integration or balance, or lack of success or education, or even poverty and injustice, as serious as these problems can be. Our main problem will always be sin. And hence, we are always in need of a Savior.

The doctrine of original sin forces us to take a more honest look at ourselves and our remaining indwelling sin. This goes for all of us church goers and church leavers. Church goers need to admit that they don’t always look much like Christ. Many of them need to own some responsibility for the negative impression people have of the church. Others need to see that they live in a wacky Christian subculture that, for all its blessings, looks strange to outsiders. Churches need to realize they have often been more adept at welcoming clean-cut, suburban families than pierced, indie-rocker, artist types. The church needs to follow up with those who leave and be patient and humble enough to hear their complaints, whether they prove to be justified or not. And disgruntled “church stinks” crowd needs to be careful that their disillusionment does not become an idol, that they do not find their identity in being jaded. And ask yourself, “What am I not disgruntled about?”

The church will be full of sin so long as she is full of sinners. But as sinful and mess as the church makes itself to be it is still the beautiful Bride of Jesus Christ.

The church is not an accidental part of God’s plan. Jesus didn’t invite people to join an antirelgion, antidoctrine, anti-institutional bandwagon of love, harmony, and reintegration. To be sure, He showed people how to live. But He also called them to repent, called them to faith, called them out of the world, and called them into the church.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). If we truly love the church we will bear with her in her failings, endure her struggles, believe her to be the beloved bride of Christ, and hope for her final glorification. I still believe the church is the hope of the world–not because she gets it all right, but because she is a body with Christ for her Head.

Don’t give up on the church. The New Testament knows nothing of churchless Christianity. The invisible church is for invisible Christians. The visible church is for you and me.

This is adapted from the book, Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion [Kevin DeYoung & Ted Kluck, Moody Publishers Chicago, IL. 2009] pgs.208-226.

thumb lick thursday [5.12.11]

You Might Be an Idolater if…

How do we know if we love something too much? Where is the line between a healthy enjoyment and an idol? Idolatry is often subtle. It can creep up on us in the form of good desires, like getting married or excelling in the work place. You may have created idols for yourself if… [The Greener Grass Conspiracy]

Parenting 001

Does it seem like parenting has gotten more complicated? I mean, as far as I can tell, back in the day parents basically tried to feed their kids, clothe them, and keep them away from explosives. Now our kids have to sleep on their backs (no wait, their tummies; no never mind, their backs), while listening to Baby Mozart surrounded by scenes of Starry, Starry Night. They have to be in piano lessons before they are five and can’t leave the car seat until they’re about five foot six.

Eating with a Mission

How we eat and who we eat with can communicate quite a bit about what we believe. Something as simple as eating not only creates natural opportunities to be intentional, loving, and missional—but meals can also be a reflection of our theology.

45 Stunning Examples Of Bird’s Eye View Photography That Captured The Beauty Of Earth

Here is an awe-inspiring collection of Bird’s Eye View photography that is a special technique of capturing photographs from an elevated location. This gives the bird’s eye view of the object being photographed. In Bird’s Eye View Photography, the camera is usually not supported by land based structure rather it is hand held or mounted and photographs are taken through triggering the camera either remotely or automatically.

What Love Wins Tells Us About Christians

Everyone knew in advance that Rob Bell’s next book, Love Wins, would surely raise eyebrows and create some debate. But no one, including the author and his agent, expected what did happen. Scot McKnight give “10 [interesting & insightful] things we can learn from one of Christianity’s biggest controversies.”

uMove

thumb lick thursday [4.28.11]

Shifting Religious Identities

A new study shows American’s shifting spiritual choices, including rising numbers of people with no religion, within a generation.

The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself

Preaching to ourselves is the personal act of applying the law and the gospel to our own lives with the aim of experiencing the transforming grace of God leading to ongoing faith, repentance, and greater godliness. A good teacher or evangelist is first a good preacher to himself. [24] – Joe Thorn, Note to Self, Crossway, Wheaton, IL. 2011.

Preaching to yourself demands asking a lot of questions, both of God’s Word and especially of yourself. To preach to yourself is to challenge yourself, push yourself, and point yourself to the truth. It is not so much uncovering new truth as much as it is reminding yourself of the truth you tend to forget. [32] – Joe Thorn, Note to Self, Crossway, Wheaton, IL. 2011.

Simply Herald Christ

Paul, in his own estimation, was not a philosopher, not a moralist, not one of the world’s wise men, but simply Christ’s herald. His royal Master had given him message to proclaim; his whole business, therefore was to deliver that message with exact and studious faithfulness, adding nothing, altering nothing, and omitting nothing. And he was to deliver it, not as another of man’s bright ideas, needing to be beautified with the cosmetics and high heels of fashionable learning in order to make people look at it, but as a word from God, spoken in Christ’s name, carrying Christ’s authority, and to be authenticated in the hearers by the convicting power of Christ’s Spirit. – J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. IVP, Wheaton, IL. 2008. 52.

Preach Christ [and conviction of sin]

It is not conviction of sin just to feel miserable about yourself and your failures and your inadequacy to meet life’s demands. Nor would it be saving faith it a man in that condition called on the Lord Jesus Christ just to soothe him, cheer him up and make him feel confident again. Nor should we be preaching the gospel (though we might imagine we were) if all that we did was to present Christ in terms of human’s felt wants. (“Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Do you want peace of mind? Do you feel that you have failed? Are you fed up with yourself? Do you want a friend? Then come to Christ; he will meet your every need”–as if the Lord Jesus Christ were to be thought of as a fairy godmother, or super-psychiatrist.) No; we have to go deeper than this. To preach sin means not to make capital out of people’s felt frailties (the brainwasher’s trick), but to measure their lives by the holy law of God. To be convicted of sin means not just to feel that one in an all-around flop, but to realize that one has offended God, flouted his authority, defied him, gone against him and put oneself in the wrong with him. To preach Christ means to set him forth as the One who, through the cross, sets men right with God again. to put faith in Christ means relying on him, and him alone, to restore us to God’s fellowship and favor. – J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. IVP, Wheaton, IL. 2008. 69-70.

The Story of Jesus is True

Dr. Keller began his talk with listing three statements that he was going to prove. 1) Why it’s important that the story of Jesus is true. 2) Why it’s important the story of Jesus is about Jesus. 3) Why it’s important that the Gospel is not a set of bullet points, but rather a story. He spent the remainder of his message giving eight arguments that answered the above questions. After the talk, Keller stayed for a book signing. The event was sponsored by Lemuria Books, Reformed University Fellowship and Belhaven University.

Matters of the Heart: what God says about the core of man

The Bible is says followers of Jesus Christ are to live in a way that reflects Him. A Christian is a “little Christ.” This can be a difficult role to fulfill especially when other people, even Christians are not acting, speaking or living for Christ. How do I live in a dirty rotten world? How Can I shine the light in a dark world? What is God’s view of self, success, & stuff? Does it matter what I do with my free time? So how do I live in the world, but not become like the world? What is the matter with my heart?

the heart of the matter

What is the heart? The heart is not just a muscle that pumps blood, the shape of a card you receive on Valentines Day, nor where romantic feelings come from. It is said that you cannot understand a human until you understand the heart. The Bible describes the heart as your inner man [spirit, soul, mind, emotions, passions, will, etc.]. The heart is the real you, where your beliefs affect your behavior. It is the control center of a your life. [Read More]

key to understanding your heart

Have you ever had a set of keys that you just did not know what they unlocked? I use to have a small box of mysterious keys I no longer knew what they unlocked. I still keep many of them around just in case I have a door or padlock that I cannot open. Hopefully you are not missing a key to something important that I’ve borrowed and forgot to give back to you? It is frustrating not having a key to unlock something valuable to you [i.e. home, car, safe, etc.]. Sometimes it might feel like your heart is locked and you do not have the right key to understand. [Read More]

Heart Distracters & Hardeners

God, you really didn’t mean to say that?

What does it really mean not to love the world? What does it mean for me? Does it mean I have to give up listening to unchristian music, R-rated movies, MTV, video games, making lots of money, gossip magazines, or my short shorts? If you were really honest you don’t want the answers, especially from a 2000-year-old book that may seem out of touch with today’s culture and trends. [Read More]

i love the world

John says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world.” [1 John 2:15] But then in another place John says, “For God so loved the world…” [John 3:16] and Jesus says, “As [God] sent Me into the world, so I have sent [believers] into the world.” [John 17:18] So on one hand, I am not supposed to love the world, but God loves the world. And on the other hand, I am not supposed to love things in the world, but Jesus sends His followers to live in the world. Okay, let’s decipher and answer: What is the world? Should or shouldn’t I love the world? How can I love the world? [Read More]

the colossal compromise

Compromise is a part of life. Everyday you are faced with decisions where you have to give up something good for another good. Do I study or do I play soccer? Do I visit this family member or do I visit this old friend? Do I go out to eat for pizza or a hamburger? Do we go on vacation to the beach or the mountains? Compromise is simply changing the question to fit the answer. Sometimes you cannot have both and you must compromise. Sometimes compromising is not this simple. Sometimes compromises can have a great affect on you and others depending on which option you choose. Sometimes people compromise deep-rooted beliefs or sacrifice morals to get what they want. [Read More]

lead me not into temptation

Temptation is something every human faces. Temptation in and of itself is not sin, but it is the first stage towards sinning. Temptation comes at you like blazing arrows at from Satan, the world, and your wicked heart. Your only vaccination to combat the constant nagging attacks of temptation is using the Word of God and loving Jesus Christ. Jesus was tempted, but did not sin [Hebrews 4:15-16]. Therefore, He knows the full weight of temptation because He did not give into it. [Read More]

hypocrisy

In the early days of acting a hypocrite was considered a good term. It described an actor who could put on many different faces or masks. Actors in the Greek theatre wore masks depicting an emotion. The masks were large, often twice the size of an actor’s face, so they could be easily seen. The Jews used the word hypocrite to describe a liar, deceiver, two-faced, or one who hid his true nature behind a mask. [Read More]

the spiritual war and your enemy

From the beginning to the end of Jesus’ ministry he warned, overturned, taught, and fought against spiritual foes. Much of Jesus’ ministry portrayed power encounters, exorcisms, and exposes a real supernatural warfare in this world. Since, spiritual warfare is real, how do we deal with it? [Read More]

Noah (Part 3): The Covenant

Doesn’t it feel great to finish a big test? Or come to the end of a long school year? Or arrive at the weekend from a drudging week on the job? Or come to the close of a long hard trial in the family or with friends? You get home sit down with a sign and say, “It’s finally over.” I am sure Noah felt some relief as he saw the waters begin to reside and land began to appear. After all the darkness and drowning of God’s wrath in Genesis 6-8, chapter 9 is a breath of fresh flood-free air.

Noah Worships God [Genesis 8:20-22]

After the flood subsides and God dries the ground, God called Noah and his family to step out of the Ark. What does Noah do after getting off the boat? Does he stretch? Take a shower? Take a nap? Go to MacDonald’s for a burger and shake? No. The first thing he does shows his hearts highest priority. The first thing the father of new humanity does is gathered dirt, sticks and some clean animals to sacrifice [cf. 7:1-3]. He builds an altar to the Lord. The first thing Noah does is worship God.

Genesis 8:20 reads, “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.” After living through the devastation that God wrought upon the earth Noah is convicted of his own sin knowing that he too should have been killed like everyone else in the flood. Therefore, he offers a burnt offering for the atonement of his sin [cf. Leviticus 1:4; Job 1:5; and ultimately foreshadowed in the death of Jesus for sin]. God was so pleased with the odor of Noah’s repentant worship [cf. Leviticus 1:9,13,17] that He responded by promising to never flood the earth again.

God blesses Noah’s obedience and worship [Genesis 9:1-7]

God blesses Noah’s obedience building and boarding the big boat, and blesses his God-centered worship and confession of sin. “Bless” appears over 80 times in Genesis. If a word appears that much it must be a major theme. When God blesses marriages, families, lives are restored. God is good. He is a giver of good gifts [James 1:17-18].

How does God specifically bless Noah? He gives Noah children that will fill the earth [cf. 9:1,7; cf. 1:28]. Biblically, children are a symbol of God’s blessing. God celebrates new life. God gracious sends His people out into the earth to fill it again. However, the new world is now different.

The peaceful harmony between creatures is broken because animals eat humans. God must make provision and man is able to eat meat of animals. Up to this point in human history everyone was a vegetarian, now you have the privilege of killing and grilling beef, bacon, birds, and fish on your BBQ. As a steward and dominioneer of God’s green earth, man is not to abuse his right to kill beast. Also, man is called to continue to respect the sanctity of human life because man bears God’s image [cf. 1:26-27].

God Keeps His Promise and Gives Noah a Covenant [Genesis 9:8-17]

What is a covenant? Once you turn 18 you are a legal adult. You don’t need your parents to sign a consent form anymore. A covenant is not a consent form or a contract. It is a treaty of guaranteed promise [i.e. marriage, oneness]. It is a binding agreement that brings relationships together. The covenant given to Noah is originated and crafted by God for Noah and all his descendants, which includes you and me.

There are some important truths to understand about God’s covenant to Noah. First, this covenant is universal, meaning they cover all people for all time. Some covenants, like the New Covenant, are limited. The New Covenant is only for regenerate followers of Christ. Second, this covenant is unconditional, meaning that God will uphold it no matter what man does [9:15; cf. 8:1, remember]. He will promise to keep His covenant no matter what. Some covenants are conditional and dependant upon the obedience of the other party involved in the covenant [cf. 2 Chronicles 7:14, Promise Land]. Be careful not to make all God’s covenants unconditional and universal because they are not.

Third, this covenant came with a signature. God promised that He would never again send a cataclysmic flood and that the seasons would continue by His provision. What sign did God give of His covenant? The sign of the covenant was the rainbow to remind God’s people of His promise [i.e. Abraham’s circumcision, Lord’s Supper, Baptism, rings in a marriage, etc.]. God gives meaning to the rainbow: God kills sinners, but not yet nor through a flood [cf. Isaiah 54:9-10]. Through the covenant God restores His intentions to bless people—even sinful people—because God is good.

Life After the Flood [Genesis 9:18-29]

Man is still tainted by evil [cf. 8:21b]. Noah responded to God’s kindness by growing grapes, getting drunk and passing out naked in his tent, and as pastor Mark Driscoll says, “like a Redneck on vacation. You don’t see this kind of stuff in your kid’s church coloring book. You don’t sing, ‘in the arky-ark, no drunky-drunky.’”

Ham, Noah’s son, walks into tent searching for his dad in the nude and tattles to his brothers. The other two brothers come into the tent backwards out of respect and cover their father’s shame. Whatever happened, no one knows, but one thing is for sure: it is not a good thing when a son walks in on his dad drunk and naked. This is a really bad day recorded about Noah.

What is the point of this sinful situation including Noah? Is sleeping naked sinful? No. Is it that drinking alcohol is sinful? No. Drinking alcohol is not sinful, but drunkenness is. The point of this sinful inclusion is simply that sin remains the human predicament even after the flood.

After Noah’s hangover, he wakes up. He realizes that his sons have dishonored him [cf. Exodus 21:15-17; Deuteronomy 21:18-21; Mark 7:10]. We all have sinful fathers, but they still need to be honored. In Genesis 9:25-27, Noah’s declares cursing and blessing directed toward his sons. Ham’s son, Canaan, is cursed to serve the line of God’s people that would come from Shem. Canaanites are forever labeled unclean perverts. It was also promised that Japheth would prosper for God would dwell in their tents. In Genesis 9:28-29, the genealogy resumes [cf. 5:32] as Noah dies and the human race again begins to grow and still sin.

In conclusion, what do we learn about God from the narrative of Noah? First, God is holy. His love and justice demands that sin be punished [6:5, 11-12]. Second, God is personal. He is sorrowful that He made man [6:6]. Third, God values life, especially human life [9:1-6]. Fourth, God keeps His promises [9:8-17] and remembers His people [8:1]. Fifth, God is Father. Even when you earthly dad is sinful and not a good example, you have a great on in your Heavenly Father. Honor both.

Is Jesus seen in the story of Noah, the ark, the flood, and the covenant? You bet! First, Jesus is a better Noah. Like Noah, Jesus was chosen by God, He was favored by God, He faithfully preached though many rejected and mocked, He was obedience to God, He offered sacrifice to God. Second, Jesus is the ark of salvation to escape the impending flood of God’s wrath by fire [2 Peter 2:5,9]. The ark was the only hope of salvation for Noah and his family. Jesus is the only hope of salvation for you and your family, even Canaanites [cf. Joshua 2:14; 6:17, 22-25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31].

Third, Jesus is the author of the New Covenant fulfilled in His death, sealed by His blood, and confirmed by His resurrection. Those who repent and respond to Jesus in faith will be saved. Fourth, Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for man’s sin once and for all. You do not need to sacrifice an animal on the altar. Jesus did that for you with Himself on the cross. Repent of your sin and believe in Him, as your Savior, and you will be saved [2 Corinthians 5:21]. Jesus is the hope promised through Noah.

spreading His fame

All praise to the name of the savior who reigns.
He’s taken our blame, embraced all our shame,
He’s raised from the grave so his fame we proclaim.
Salvation by grace through faith in his name.
Jesus, the beautiful and blessed Son,
Immutable, majestic one
Who was resurrected from the grave
for the depraved.
He paved the path for some
Place faith in His passion, son
Be saved from the wrath to come.
He’s fabulous, His status is immaculate
I’m lacking the vernacular to adequately capture His glory.
Incomparable, unconquerable, all powerful, unstoppable
Absolutely phenomenal.
No obstacle He can’t navigate.
He’s God and so He fascinates.
With Him it’s impossible to exaggerate.
Lord of all continents,
Source of all consciousness,
His compliments are the consequence of His accomplishments
Every sphere of life, He’s the Lord of it
And every other power is either fraudulent or subordinate.
At first we snubbed Him,
Now His vessels of mercy love Him.
Your highest thought is infinitely unworthy of Him.
Beyond vocabulary His actions vary,
His wrath is scary
All His adversaries are imaginary.
He has no competitors.
Ask Nebuchadnezzar, bro
He’ll mess you up, have you eating grass,
You can bet He’s amazing.
He takes in blatant, flagrant vagrants, breaks them, remakes them, and shapes them
to hate sin.
Jesus!
There’s no better name!
That’ll never change and He’ll forever reign while we spread His fame.
All praise to the name of the Savior who reigns
He’s taken our blame
Embraced all our shame
He’s raised from the grave so His fame we proclaim
Salvation by grace through faith in His name!

By Shai Linn

hell, wrath of God, and eternal judgment

When Jesus mentions hell it is not a joke, myth, or suggestion about what life is like on earth. When He speaks about hell His words are not vicious  or bloodthirsty, but chocked with tears. He loves and cares for people too much therefore He takes a lot of time in His teaching to warn us to avoid it.

When Jesus teaches about hell it is often graphic and vivid. He relates to hell as a place of eternal punishment, eternal fire, the fiery furnace, the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place reserved for those who rebel against God. Jesus shares with a story about two men who have very different ends to their lives. From this story there is a lot of insights about hell:

1.  Hell is real (Luke 16:19-23a).

Hell is not a land-of-make-believe for those who are more evil than Mr. Rogers. “Hades” is a real place. So real is hell that Jesus talks about it a lot. Sometimes more than heaven. If God the Son talks about hell, it’s real.

2.  Hell is really not fun (16:23b-24).

I enjoy Billy Joel’s music, but it is ignorant to say that “I would rather party with the sinners than cry with the saints.” Hell is not a party or place that anyone should desire. The rich man in Jesus’ story says “in torment”, “I am in agony in this fire.”

3.  Hell is real eternal separation from God (16:25-26).

It is a wonderful comfort to know that at any moment, place and time God is with us. He is our Immanuel. I could not imagine being in a place without God, but that is how hell is described, “between us and you a great chasm has been fixed…none may cross from there to us.”

4.  Hell is for rejects (16:27-31).

Hell is for those who reject God and His redemptive plans in Christ. It does not matter if you were a good person, paid your taxes on time, live by the Golden Rule or follow most of the10 Commandments. Just one breech of the law is rejection of all of it. There is no rescue for rejects postmortem. You must chose to follow Christ today, in your one lifetime. In the story Jesus shares about the rich man, the man pleads for his family who are still alive that someone would warn them. Yet he does not remember and chose to forget that many had warned him. If he or his family does not listen to the warnings from God’s teachers [i.e.  Moses and the Prophets] they will not listen to a dead man.

A parent’s have concern over their children’s safety therefore they say, “Look both ways before you cross the street,” “Don’t stick your figure in a light socket,” “Do not drink Drain-O.” This is what Jesus is saying when He speaks about hell. Jesus is pointing out the signs of clear and present danger if you continue to ignore God’s plan. He doesn’t use the scare-tactic, but speaks plainly as a parent who care often do when warning their children of matters of life or death.

Love is what motivates Jesus to talk about hell.

Jesus wants you to listen to Him and avoid it. The cross is where His motive of love led, and there He bore the wrath of God for your sin. Gods love is often misunderstood. “God is love,” (1 John 4), but just because God is love doesn’t mean He loves everything or that His love is His chief attribute. He is also holy, gracious, merciful, just and righteous. God does not love sin (Ps.5:4-6), in fact, He hates it.

God would not be loving if He left sin unpunished.

Imagine living in a world where sin, injustice, and lawlessness reigned. Imagine if police officers let thieves and rapists roam the streets free. Imagine if judges and juries let murders and molesters be dismissed without charge from the courtroom. You would not say those law enforcers were just or right. If God did not deal with sin, He would not be a just Judge or good authority.

Hell is a loving necessity.

It is a place where evil is to be locked up. God created hell to deal with evil. He made it to be a final, inescapable prison where all evil, rebellion against God will be confined never to poison men again. Given all the evil in the world today it is a great assurance to know that God notices it and has a plan to do something about it. God does not overlook evil.

Hell seems unloving when you do not have a good understanding of what sin is against God.

God is holy and without sin. Sin cannot go unpunished from a perfect God. God’s holiness and our sin are infinitely great, therefore, the greater the crime, the greater the punishment. Sin is an eternal offense against God therefore it deserves an eternal punishment. Sin against God is treason. If you were to disobey a king in the Middle Ages you were receive the death penalty. Thus it is so with the King of the Universe who seeks to care for His creation (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Hell is real. It is no joke or laughing matter. Since Jesus was serious about its future realities, you must be serious about it today too. Rather than asking God, why He would send anyone to hell, you must ask: How can it be that you have been so merciful to a sinner like me?

Hell, Rob Bell, and reviews of the book Love Wins

There has been much stir over Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. Bell will tell you he does not want to be labeled a universalist [check out Bell’s interview’s with MSNBC and Relevant], however his book seriously and dangerously advances the cause of universalism from a popular and influential level.

Yesterday, I perused Love Wins at a local bookstore because I was unsure I wanted to buy it. To say it simply, Bell promotes an unbiblical picture of a God without wrath and a skewed portray of His love and justice. He gives unclear indication that man needs salvation from God’s wrath now, nor faith in Jesus Christ in this life to have salvation in eternal life. Bell states his beliefs in heaven, hell, judgment, the cross, and salvation, but takes a quasi-philosophical approach rather than biblical approach to Jesus’ teaching on the subjects.

Bell historically likes to ask questions and create discussions, but again leaves you unsatisfied with answers and in this book leaves you with more questions about God, salvation, and His understanding of the authority of God’s Word. I am not one to bash people particularly other pastors, however, as a pastor it is my obligation to protect Christ’s church from potential false teaching that could distract His sheep. Rather than writing another review, I thought I’d pass along some great reviews already circling around from faithful followers of Christ and intricate exegetes of God’s Word.

Great Reviews of Rob Bell’s, Love Wins:

Great article on Hell:

Great Books on Hell:

the consequences of sin

Have you ever fallen so hard that you hurt yourself and needed help? I remember a few years ago, Hannah, a gal in our church fell so hard that she fractured her scull on the concrete sidewalk. She did not remember her fall after the initial impact, other than what other people tell her. Supposedly she was able to get up from the sidewalk and say, “My head hurts, really bad,” but doesn’t remember anything. When visiting her in the hospital she was noticeably dazed and confused. The fall left her with some immediate pain and sickness and long-lasting consequences such as memory troubles, headaches, and cautious attention to future activities. The consequences of the Fall of Mankind in the Garden of Eden were not at all different.

First, there are immediate consequences to the fall of man [3:7-13]. The major immediate consequence of the fall was death [Romans 3:23]. No longer was man innocent. They now knew right and wrong and their innocence could not be undone. This was not the only immediate consequence for sin.

Immediately sin brought guilt [3:7]. Satan promised Adam and Eve freedom, instead they received guilt. They thought sin would bring freedom, but all it brought was bondage. Their guilt caused them to be ashamed. They once were naked and unashamed, now they were naked, humiliated, and ashamed. They noticed their nakedness. Now, no one told them they were bare-naked, they simply felt open and vulnerable because God uncovered their hearts.

Immediately sin brought alienation from God [3:8-13]. Man was fooled into thinking they would be like God, instead they found themselves hiding from God. Like little kids hiding from their parent they tried to duck and cover from God but that is impossible [i.e. talking to bf or gf, porno under bed, drinking, immodest outfit, homework, etc.]. How silly is it to hide from an all-knowing, ever-present God? Sin makes you stupid. Have you ever watched COPS? Sin makes you do silly things. Sin alienates mankind from God, which breaks their relationship with Him.

Do you notice God has a lot of questions of Adam and Eve? Why so many questions? Through a few direct questions God quickly uncovers man’s heart. What you cover, God uncovers. However, what you uncover God covers. What Adam and Eve should have done is confessed to God immediately. When God asks, “Where are you?” They should have responded, “Here I am, I have sinned against you, God.”

You cannot run from God, for long. He is a pursuer. Man does not seek God; God seeks man. He is on a mission to “seek and save the lost [and hiders].” No matter how far or fast you run God, He is right there. You cannot shake Him. He is a pursuer because He is a lover. Will you stop running? Are you willing to come out of hiding and uncover your shame?

Second, with the fall of man came specific curses and consequences for specific characters [3:14-19]:

Character Curse Consequence
Serpent [14-15]

 

Note: he has already Fallen.

Cursed above all animals

Eat the ground [Cf. Is.65:25]

Made enemy of Seed

Death and promised judgment [3:15]
Woman [16] Pain in childbearing, childrearing, childbirth, & parenting [cf.Gen.1:28] Desire to rule over husband [i.e. control, dominate, manipulate, boss, cf. 4:7]
Man [17-19]

 

Note: Man was with Eve when she sinned. God holds him responsible for family.

Ground is cursed [17]

Struggle against the ground [18-19]

Go back to the ground [19]

Banished from the Garden [23]

Ground treat man like man treats God.

Weeds will mock man. Work will mock man.

Alienation from the land and Paradise. Relationship with ground and God affected.

Third, there are long-term consequences because of the fall of man [Genesis 3:20-24]. Shame caused the two-sinners to sew fig-leaf-undies to cover their nakedness. Like soldiers arming themselves with protection and defense they cloth themselves with weak and useless greens.[1] Notice God does not shame them even more because of their new Fruit of the Looms; rather God replaces their man-made coverings with a sacrificial garment [v.21]. God does for man what they cannot do for themselves. God sheds animal blood to give them a garment to wear, which begins the biblical theme of sacrifice, which weaves its way through Scripture.

The consequences for sin are serious, but God in His grace sends a sacrifice. Adam and Eve’s garment is the first sacrifice of many bloody sacrifices to come that stretch all the way to Jesus Christ on the cross [cf. John 1:29]. He is the Sacrificer for mankind’s sin, and therefore the self-declared Savior for mankind.


[1] Cf. Deuteronomy 28:48; Job 1:21; Isaiah 58:7.