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"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice -- the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him." Romans 12:1

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Redemption Journey: The Beginning

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The Scripture reading for this Sunday is Genesis 3:1-24. This text will serve as an introduction to our Lent Series – Redemption Journey. We will also come to the Lord’s table as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

 In Genesis 2:15-17 – a text that must be understood in order to properly understand Genesis 3 according to Walter Bruggemann and many other scholars – God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, instructed him to care for it, and permitted him to eat of any tree in the garden except from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” That is the only prohibition placed on Adam in the garden and with it there is no explanation. It is a simple command: “Don’t eat from that tree or you will die.” That was enough. God had provided for Adam and gave him the boundaries necessary for flourishing in the Garden.

But then comes the tragedy of chapter 3. The serpent approaches Eve and distorts God’s speech in Genesis 2:15-17 just enough to open up the new possibility of a way contrary to God’s. The prohibition to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was a given, is now scrutinized as though it is an option. The serpent alters death as a boundary and turns it into a threat and great damage is done. Walter Bruggemann writes, “The given-ness of God’s rule is no longer the boundary of a safe place. God is now a barrier to be circumvented.” After the serpent’s intervention, verses 6-7 reveal the result: … she ate, … he ate, … and their eyes were open and they realized they were naked.

They had disobeyed God’s simple command: “Do not eat from that tree.” And the punishment for that crime, as stated in Genesis 2:15-17, was death.

Take some time before Sunday and read through Genesis 2 and 3, especially Genesis 2:15-17 and then chapter 3. Because it is here, in God’s sentencing of His first people that redemption is promised and grace abounds. The punishment is heavy, yes, but it is less than promised and legitimate. These are themes that we will pick up throughout this Lent series, because when the facts warrant death, God graciously insists on life for His people.

The challenge for us through this Lent series will be to see in ourselves our need for redemption, to reflect and repent for our disobedience, and to thank God for His redemptive work in Christ that removed from us the penalty of having to pay for our own sins. 

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  • Simon du Toit
    Simon du Toit Thursday, 07 February 2013

    This passage reminds me of how small and insignificant humans are, and yet somehow God loves each one of us.

  • Andrea Schinkel
    Andrea Schinkel Friday, 08 February 2013

    I'm sorry I'll miss this one (going to a friend's dedication for their babies), but I'll try to listen next week to the audio file. Good reminder that all of us need salvation.

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