God’s Covenant Chapter 2

Preaching the Word of God

God Said… Chapter 2…God’s Covenant (Adam)

God told Adam that he must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and if he did he would die.

This warning to Adam is the foundational thought (revelation) of God’s Everlasting Covenant relationship with man including both Biblical Covenant revelations and Theological Covenant interpretations. A covenant is a contract or agreement between parties that contain performance terms (requirements), benefits (blessings), and penalties (curses) based on performance (obedience).

Our Understanding and keeping of this Everlasting  Covenant relationship is key to our having a correct relationship with God. The first ingredient of this relationship is faith. The Bible says that man cannot please God without faith and that “faith is believing there is a God and that God rewards those who diligently seek Him.”

God’s first revelation of “a covenant with Adam” was the commandment to Adam and Eve concerning life and death, good and evil, and a blessing or a curse. God gave Adam and Eve total freedom in the Garden of Eden except they were not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and if they did they would die.

After each day of creation, God said that everything was good, but on the day that God created man, He said everything was very good. The creation of Adam took place after God had said let us make man in our image.

What it means to be created in the image of God is never directly explained. However, we can verify several ways we are like God from the study of God’s Word. For example, man has been given both the capacity to reason (rational) and the freedom to make decisions (volitional). As we read about God we see that He is perfect in all His ways including His rational and volitional capabilities. This is not the case with man, we have these capabilities but they are limited or flawed in comparison to God’s.

Yet, God has granted man certain freedom defined by God’s Everlasting Covenant relationship to use these traits. Not only do we see God’s perfection as a rational and volitional being, but Scripture also shows us that God is a relational and emotional being. The man also has these traits. God is perfect in all His ways. The image of God in man is flawed due to Adam’s sin.

God has granted us the ability and authority to think and make decisions. He gave us dominion but holds us accountable. God’s Everlasting Covenant relationship defines both the bounds of our freedom and the responsibilities granted by God. God has defined what He expects of man in His Everlasting Covenant. This is not negotiated but declared by God. All mankind (even those who refuse to acknowledge Him) from Adam to the present are held accountable by the same covenant, God’s Everlasting  Covenant that was determined before the world was created.

God does not play a “shell game”. He does not try to trick us but shows us open hands that contain His blessings and His curses. God has placed life or death (blessing or curse) before every human, depending on whether they obeyed or disobeyed His commandments.

As we study God’s Everlasting Covenant, we will see that it is progressively revealed through several people. This first glimpse was given to Adam. Not only is this a basic building block (first revelation) of God’s Biblical Everlasting  Covenant, it is the fundamental principle of the written Law of Moses and is the foundation of the Theological Covenant of Works.

All of God’s covenant revelations are closely related (part of the Everlasting Covenant)and this is demonstrated by the tight coupling between the spoken covenant revelation to Adam (don’t eat) and the written covenant revelation to Moses.

Even though the written law through Moses was not yet revealed the covenant concept of choosing life or death had been initiated through Adam! Death has reigned from Adam to Moses. The Bible tells us that by Adam sin came into the world, and the result of sin is death. Because of Adam’s sin, sin and death have passed to all men.

This concept of all mankind’s accountability was further revealed by the covenant revelation through Christ. The Book of Romans restates the covenant concept of disobedience bringing death, stated to Adam when it states that the wages of sin are death, which is equivalent to God telling Adam that eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would bring death. Elsewhere in Romans God’s word states that “that all have sinned”.

The Bible shows us that God is a covenant-making God. This arrangement with Adam and Eve was considered a covenant even though God did not use the term at the time that He gave Adam the commandment. Later, in Hosea, God states that Adam broke His covenant and rebelled.

God defines His relationship with man through His Everlasting covenant. We use the singular form of the word covenant here in the same manner that Scripture does when it states “God is a faithful God that keeps His covenant (singular) for a thousand generations.”

The Old Testament covenant revelations are shadows or pictures (typology) of the New Covenant that is fulfilled in Christ. All of these progressive revelations remove the shadows and shine a spotlight on Jesus. All of God’s covenant revelations culminate in what God defines as the everlasting covenant of Jesus’ blood.

These progressive covenant revelations define the everlasting covenant showing us who God is and what God expects of mankind. These revelations contain a description of both the freedom and the responsibilities that God has granted to us, both promissory and obligatory.

As we study the revelation of God’s eternal covenant, we will see that He gives us progressive views in His covenant revelations through Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Levites (Priests), and David.

All of these are only shadows (typology) of the “better covenant through the perfect revelation of Christ”. These revelations are needed after Adam and Eve’s disobedience. God had revealed to Adam and Eve all that was needed to maintain their covenant relationship, trust and obey. Their failure to keep God’s covenant required God to reveal His redemptive and restoration plan for man. God’s restoration plan is the everlasting covenant that God had prepared before the world was created which is based upon Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. As 1 Cor 2:7-8 states this final revelation of “Christ’s blood” had to be concealed to allow the “freedom” of the leaders of Christ’s day to crucify Him.

In Genesis chapter three we see that Adam and Eve doubted God and His Word, that they disobeyed, and that God was faithful to His covenant curse of death coming for disobedience.

Doubt is the opposite of Faith

Satan is a crafty creature and caused Eve to doubt both the Word of God and God’s Character. Satan first questioned God’s Word by asking “did God really say” that you can not eat from any tree in the garden? After Stan questioned God’s Word, he then questions God’s character by implying that God did not want the best for Eve by telling her that she would not die but be like God herself. This deception led Eve to doubt God, this doubt lead to disobedience, and disobedience to death. She ate and then gave so to Adam who was with her and he did also.

Disobedience is the opposite of Obedience

This act of disobedience to God’s covenant is known as the original sin or “the Fall” into sin and out of fellowship with God.  Original, because it was the first sin of man and the fall because Adam and Eve fell from a close fellowship with God. Part of the curse that man received was broken fellowship (separation) from God, leading to death.

Death is the opposite of Life

God is always faithful to His Word. He had told Adam and Eve if they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would die. As part of God’s punishment for their disobedience God tells them it would take work to produce food and that their bodies would die and return to dust, just as God had made them from dust.

Jesus tells us that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but that He (Jesus) comes so we might have life and have it more abundant. This has both a physical and spiritual truth. In a physical sense, we can have a more abundant life today, on earth, leading to eternal life in Christ.

As we look at what happened to Adam and Eve after their sinful act of disobedience we will see ways that Satan kills, steals, and destroys our joy and relationships. Immediately after Adam and Eve’s sin, they separated from each other by putting on fig leaves to cover up. They hid from God. They were guilty and afraid. They blamed the sin on each other. All of these responses are things that were caused by man’s disobedience in giving in to Satan’s deception.

The Bible is full of paradoxes and one of them is that we see is life comes from death. Because of their disobedience, God’s warning of “eat and die” to Adam and Eve brought death. But this death leads to the offer of life, the bible states the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The promise of this gift becomes visible when God told Satan that a seed of Eve will crush his head.

From before creation, The all-knowing Triune God knew that Adam and Eve, as well as all mankind, were going to sin. Therefore, before He created man, God had a plan. He provided a solution through the promised SEED, which provides forgiveness and restoration in Christ Jesus. The book of Revelation states that Jesus’ crucifixion was planned by God before the foundation of the world.

Once Adam and Eve broke God’s commandment, God showed us a glimpse of this plan (His mystery). He provided Adam and Eve with a coat of skins, which required the shedding of blood to cover their sin. Hebrews tell us that there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood. God is faithful to His Word. Sin requires death.

However, immediately after their disobedience, God reminded them of His love by promising the Messiah, the Seed of Eve that would crush the head of Satan. This is our first glimpse of the fulfillment of the eternal covenant and also the foundation of the Theological Covenant of Grace.

God has an ultimate goal for His covenant relationship, which can be defined by the statement that “He would be our God, that we would be His people and that He would dwell with us”. This has become known as the tri-part formula. This covenant relationship will not be completely fulfilled until the New Heaven and New Earth that is described in the book of Revelation.

At the end of the book of Revelation, we find all things are complete in Christ Jesus. Not only the consummation of God’s tri-part formula of Him being our God, us being His people, and Him dwelling with us for eternity. But also all the Biblical prophecies such as everyone being a member of a kingdom of priests.

God’s Eternal Covenant is revealed progressively, with a culmination of a perfect revelation (fulfilled) in Christ when He returns. This will be the completion of God’s Everlasting Covenant.

What we believe affects our behavior. Proverbs say as a man thinks so he behaves. For this reason, we must understand and do what God expects of us.

Covenant Revelation Through Adam

In the beginning, God demonstrated His awesome power when He spoke everything into existence. Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden and they were naked before God and each other and they were not ashamed. This verse reveals that one aspect of being created in the image of God is our relational nature. As both emotional and relational beings, Adam and Eve felt comfortable with each other (no fear or shame) and with God. They were transparent with nothing to fear or hide.

When God created Adam, He told him that he should not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This implies that Adam could think (be rational) and have the ability to choose (be volitional). It also implies that God had given Adam the freedom to exercise these traits.

Before Adam and Eve’s disobedience, they have no fear, guilt, or shame. This covenant between God and mankind was the start of God showing us our responsibility to Him. Satan comes into the garden and encourages Eve to doubt God and God’s desire for her best interests. Satan tells Eve that if she will eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil she will not die but be a god herself.

We get a glimpse of both faith (trust) and lack of faith (doubt) in Adam and Eve’s behavior. As long as they trusted God they obeyed Him, but as soon as they doubted (lack of faith) they disobeyed (sinned). Eve doubted God and believed Satan. She took of the tree and did eat. Then she gave it to Adam and he ate also.

This voluntary sin on the part of Adam and Eve led to the emotions of shame, fear, and guilt. These emotions caused Adam and Eve to put on fig leaves to cover themselves, to hide from each other. Immediately after they broke God’s covenant, they put up barriers between each other and hid from God. The Bible says when they heard Him coming they hid. God called asking Adam where are you? In response to God’s question of why was he hiding, Adam said I heard you and was afraid.

In chapter three of Genesis, we get the first glimpse of doctrines of faith, sin, and the results of sin which are fear and guilt that leads to separation (broken relationships) and cover-up between “man and man” and “God and man”. We must recognize Satan’s pattern of creating doubt about God’s Word and encouraging disobedience to God’s Word. Once we disobey, separation comes. We start to hide from God and others.

After Adam and Eve broke God’s covenant relationship (commandment), God reveals additional information about Himself and His requirements, His everlasting covenant for man. God was provoked by their sin. A holy, righteous, and just God must punish sin. Therefore, death did come because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. God tells Adam that from dust he was made and unto dust he will return at death.

Because of Adam’s sin, death came to man. All mankind is under the penalty of the law (death). Adam and Eve’s sin was that sin was imputed to all men. As is stated in Romans all mankind has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This is the total depravity of man, all have sinned.

God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, and unchanging. In His sovereignty, He allows man freedom. God’s covenant relationship defines the extent of man’s freedom. Just as God allowed Adam and Eve to choose. Every human since Adam has been faced with a choice of believing either God or Satan. All suffer the consequences of their disobedience. God has allowed each person since Adam to worship Him voluntarily by making the appropriate offering of trust and obedience or to refuse to give Him thanks and to reject Him.

In Adam, all die, but in Christ, all are made alive. Like Adam, we have broken God’s covenant, the Theological Covenant of Works. We have been offered the Theological Covenant of Grace through Christ. Each person is either under the curse of the covenant of works or the blessing of the covenant of grace. Both are part of God’s Eternal Covenant relationship. These are the only two positions of all mankind specified by God’s Everlasting Covenant Relationship which is the basis of the Theological Covenant of Redemption.

Each person must realize where he is. That is the reason God asked Adam, where are you? God knew. But, He wanted Adam and Eve to realize that they had disobeyed God and that their relationship was broken.

In Genesis chapter three we not only see “the Fall”, but we also get a glimpse of the redemptive and restoration process. This process includes God’s call. Man must confess his disobedience and come to God in faith which includes repentance. God then covers our sins with His forgiveness by the shed blood of Christ (coat of skin).

God has revealed His requirements to us through His everlasting covenant. We are held accountable. The terms of this first covenant revelation through Adam are still in effect. Sin still leads to death. Also, all the things that God tells Adam, Eve, and Satan after their sin, which is the subject of the next chapter are still in effect.

The whole earth suffers the consequence of Adam’s sin. This curse will only be erased at the complete fulfillment of the everlasting Covenant where God says there will be no more curses.

The surprise of God’s next covenant revelation to Adam, Eve, and Satan after “the Fall” is the first step in revealing God’s mystery of the cross. God showed a shadow of the cross by allowing a substitute in the payment of their sin debt, a coat of skins. An animal paid the debt of disobedience brings death or as Hebrews states, there is no forgiveness without shedding of blood. This is a demonstration of both God’s love and faithfulness to His Word. The coat of skin is only a shadow of the crucifixion of  SEED (Christ) that will crush Satan’s head.

Where are we this day? Are we hiding because we have disobeyed God or have we responded to His call by confessing our disobedience and by receiving His “coat of righteousness? from the Lamb that was slain”

As we study God’s covenant revelation we will see Christ is both the promised SEED and the total of the sacrificial system starting with the coat of skins and ending with the “Lamb” that takes away the sin of the world.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!

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