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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Was Adam saved? And what it means for you... (Spurgeon on Genesis 3:20-21)

It never ceases to amaze me how I can still see brand new things in Scripture, even after studying it so extensively for so many years! My nine-year-old daughter Katelyn asked me a few weeks ago after the Bible class I have with her and her sister Jaclyn, "Dad, were Adam and Eve saved?"

I answered her the same way I have for many years when I've been asked that question: "We don't really know...the Bible doesn't say one way or the other. But God did make clothes for them after they sinned, so it seems like he loved and cared for them. So maybe. But we don't know."

The other day, however, in my personal time with the Lord I was reading from a collection of Charles Spurgeon sermons about Jesus called Christ's Glorious Achievements. The great preacher waxed eloquent on the "Proto-Evangelium" (first gospel proclamation) of Genesis 3:15, in which God says to Satan, "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." Then Spurgeon went beyond that passage and commented on verse 20, where Adam's response to the curse is recorded...

I do not think we have attached enough importance to the conduct of Adam after the Lord had spoken to him. Notice the simple but conclusive proof which he gave of his faith. Sometimes an action may be very small and unimportant, and yet, as a straw shows which way the wind blows, it may display at once, if it be thought over, the whole state of the man’s mind. Adam acted in faith upon what God had said, for we read, “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve (or Life); because she was the mother of all living” (verse 20). She was not a mother at all, but as the life was to come through her by virtue of the promised seed, Adam marks his full conviction of the truth of the promise though at the time the woman had borne no children. There stood Adam, fresh from the awful presence of God, what more could he say? He might have said with the Prophet, “My flesh trembleth from the fear of thee,” but even then he turns round to his fellow-culprit as she stands there trembling too, and he calls her Eve, mother of the life that is yet to be. It was grandly spoken by Father Adam: it makes him rise in our esteem. Had he been left to himself he would have murmured or at least despaired, but no, his faith in the new promise gave him hope. He uttered no word of repining against the condemnation to till with toil the unthankful ground, nor on Eve’s part was there a word of repining over the appointed sorrows of motherhood; they each accept the well-deserved sentence with the silence which denotes the perfection of their resignation; their only word is full of simple faith. There was no child on whom to set their hopes, nor would the true seed be born for an age, still Eve is to be the mother of all the living, and he calls her so. 

Spurgeon makes a really good case that both Adam and Eve had truly repented from their sins, as evidenced by their willingness to take the consequences (2 Cor. 7:11), and that they had true faith, as evidenced by a confidence in God's promises (Heb. 11). Then he encourages us to emulate the latter:

Exercise like faith, my brother, on the far wider revelation which God has given to you, and always extract the utmost comfort from it. Make a point, whenever you receive a promise from God, to get all you can out of it if you carry out that rule, it is wonderful what comfort you will gain. Some go on the principle of getting as little as possible out of God’s word. I believe that such a plan is the proper way with a man’s word; always understand it at the minimum, because that is what he means; but God’s word is to be understood at the maximum, for he will do exceeding abundantly above what you ask or even think.

To give us more encouragement to believe the promises of God, Spurgeon then comments on verse 21, which is the part of the text I mentioned before: "And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them."

God heard what Adam said to his wife, and saw that he was a believer, and so he comes and gives him the type of the perfect righteousness, which is the believer’s portion—he covered him with lasting raiment. No more fig leaves, which were a mere mockery, but a close fitting garment which had been procured through the death of a victim; the Lord brings that and puts it on him, and Adam could no more say, “I am naked.” How could he, for God had clothed him.

Justification by faith alone! Total perfect righteousness given as a free gift to those who have committed ruinous sin, but have come to the end of ourselves and know that we can only rely on God's grace for forgiveness and assurance of his love...

Christ has delivered us from the power of the serpent who opened our eyes and told us we were naked, by covering us from head to foot with a righteousness which adorns and protects us, so that we are comfortable in heart, and beautiful in the sight of God, and are no more ashamed.

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