Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Salvation’s Greatest Benefit

1 JOHN 5:1-3 – Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

THEME OF THE DAY. SALVATION’S GREATEST BENEFIT. Think with me on what happened in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned against God. Think deeply on all the consequences of their decision. Don’t just settle with “They sinned.”

First, they disobeyed God – And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16–17). This act severed the created purpose of human beings; to obey the Creator.

Next, the choice by our first parents brought guilt and shame into human relationships – So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths (Genesis 3:6-7). This nakedness wasn’t only physical, but spiritual and emotional. They experienced the paralyzing emotions of guilt and shame. And all humanity suffers the same plights.

A third consequence from the garden was the rupture of their relationship with God – And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8). Before our first parents sinned, hiding from God or distancing their relationship with Him never crossed their minds. They enjoyed God. Now, they are running from God.

A fourth consequence of what Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden was create a spirit of independence and rebellion against God – But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself (Genesis 3:9-10). Our first parents never experienced independence from God. They welcomed depending on Him, but then sin comes into their lives. Now every human being is in the bondage of sinful fear and independence. The relationship between a loving Creator and His creature is broken and cannot be repaired by man.

But then comes the promise of the Redeemer – “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This is the first prophecy of our Savior, the Lord Jesus. Salvation is coming and with it, restoration of what was lost in the garden of Eden. Now go back and think through what was regained in our salvation. Our created purpose, obeying God, is reclaimed. We can now obey God with pleasure. What about guilt and shame? Gone. Carried away in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Our relationship with God? Because of Christ, He is no longer a holy Judge whose wrath hangs over us. He is our Heavenly Father. We are restored in the relationship. Finally, our sinful independence is slain at the cross and we are able to gladly, willingly, and with praise, depend upon our good and loving God again.

What happened in the garden of Eden was a lot of bad, bad things. Yet, what happened at the cross of Christ has reversed the curses and we now walk in the freedom of the Gospel. May He be praised forever for such a marvelous work of grace.

PRAYER: “Father, I praise You for the ability through Your Son to obey Him.”

QUOTE: “Obedience is not only due God, but our awesome privilege to do so”