The Great Promise
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His son to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him – John 3:16
Martin Luther called John 3:16, the miniature gospel. All of the Bible; God’s plan for our salvation summarized into that one sentence, it is the sum and substance of the gospel. The way that God took to recover us from our lapsed state. But where does it all begin? When did God make this promise, and how did He go about fulfilling it? The answer is in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, we see the journey to the salvation of man.
In fact, the Hebrew term for Heaven or paradise is Gan Eden meaning literally, the garden of Eden. In the beginning, after creating man, God placed Him in the garden of Eden. When the word Eden is broken down and translated, we find it has to do with pleasure or delight. Looking at Genesis 2:8, we see that God placed man in the garden of delight. So, from the start of time, we see that God’s desire was for man to be in delight (Psalms 36:8). Still, man fell after disobeying God and eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which eventually led to banishment from the garden. They were barred entry into delight. This was both a physical and spiritual barring. They were physically barred from the garden and the tree of life, but they were also barred from the presence of God, who is the source of all delight. It may sound like a hopeless situation, but it is not. Still, at the end of the day, God loved them even though they had disobeyed Him and so He made them a promise that salvation would indeed come. He gave them a lifeline in the form of 5 simple but powerful words said to the serpent, ‘He will crush your head’(Genesis 3:15). Here at the very beginning of sin, our merciful, kind, loving, gracious and the almighty God made the promise of redemption. The seed of the woman (virgin birth), would give a fatal blow to the devil and only His heel will be bruised, “That bruised heel is painful enough. Behold our Lord in his human nature sore bruised: he was betrayed, bound, accused, buffeted, scourged, spit upon. He was nailed to the cross; he hung there in thirst and fever, and darkness and desertion” (Spurgeon) All praise to Jesus Christ, our wounded Saviour (Isaiah 53:10-11).
This (Genesis 3:15) is known as the protoevangelium the first gospel. “This is the first gospel sermon that was ever delivered upon the surface of this earth. It was a memorable discourse indeed, with Jehovah himself for the preacher, and the whole human race and the prince of darkness for the audience.” (Spurgeon) and this is true when everything seemed lost and the whole of humanity in dire straits, the Lord gave hope (Romans 5:8). Our Lord showed us that not all was lost, He always had an eternal plan for us, a plan for our own good, for He is our reward (Genesis 15:1) and will bring us back to Him. The Lord saw Satan’s downfall at his first taste of victory (Luke 10:18) because He knew this was coming all along; it was not a surprise. Still, He gave Adam and Eve the free will to choose. There is beauty found in innocence, but the glowing brilliance of a redeemed heart (one who sees and understands the awe-inspiring might of God’s grace and love), is breathtaking.
In this series, we will walk through the Bible and see how we got from point A (Genesis 3) to point Z(Revelation 7)
“You have made us for Yourself O Lord, and our hearts find no rest till they find it in You” – Agustine of Hippo
“This people I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.” Isaiah 43:21