Man was promised something in the beginning of creation.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 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 2:15-16 (ESV)
He was promised abundance and prosperity as long as he obeyed one rule; do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The consequence was clearly spelled out. Death would be the result of disobeying and eating from that tree. When man was tested he failed to resist the test. Sin entered the world and man faced death. This death was not immediately physical but it was immediately spiritual. Webster defines death as:
1a : a permanent cessation of all vital functions : the end of life
1b : an instance of dying
2a : the cause or occasion of loss of life
2b : a cause of ruin
Man was spiritually dead - ruined, deceased - the moment he took of the fruit and ate it.
6 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. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
23 . . .the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword. . .
~Genesis 3:6-7, 23-24 (ESV)
Now, man had to be cast out of the garden and there was a physical change in the relationship he had formerly had with God. Something many people have asked over the years has been, "Why did God not just kill them right then and there, physically?". I believe that answer is more complicated than I have previously understood, however, in my current study I am uncovering an overarching theme that is bringing this into a whole new light. I cannot remember exactly when I first made note of this powerful take away in my study of the Old Testament, but I remember being overwhelmed by it.
MAN IS REDEEMABLE!
God did not physically destroy Adam and Eve on that day, because He knew something they did not understand and that was the redeemable nature of man. This powerful statement has become more and more apparent to me as I have ventured further and deeper through the OT. Man is treacherously sinful! God is gracious. These truths are not surprising or new but they do make the redemption conception more powerful. Man is not redeemable because of what he has done, is like, could do, or will do. NO! Man is redeemable because God is gracious and as the Redeemer, He allows man to be redeemed. That alone is why he is redeemable.
Reflecting on that as I continue reading through the prophets, I am constantly in awe of how God sees man. Yes, he is sinful and God must punish him for his evil ways, but God also promises hope and restoration because He yearns to be in fellowship with man. He wants to redeem man! This has challenged me because redemption is not necessary without sin. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, God would not have had to redeem man because there would be no problem in our fellowship. However, sin demands a payment and God provided that through Jesus. Making that more personal, I realize I am sinful: I think impure thoughts, I speak unkind words, I participate in sinful actions. But Jesus paid the price for my redemption! As a Christian, I am redeemed! That means I ought to be living as one who is redeemed, otherwise, I am simply abusing the grace shown to me through my redemption.
With redemption comes responsibility because salvation produces opportunities for sanctification. Thus, if man is redeemable and I am redeemed, I ought to be living as person who was not in need of redemption in the first place. In other words, my thoughts should be pure, my speech should be uplifting, and my actions should be glorifying, just as if I were living in Eden prior to the Fall. Therefore, I am resolving to live as someone who is not just redeemable but redeemed. I am resolving to live a redeemed lifestyle by putting off the sinful ways of the old nature and putting on the Christlike ways of the new nature.
These resolutions are not just being spurred on because it is trendy. I have never made "New Year's resolutions" and I do not intend to start now. However, resolutions are necessary. Change is necessary, especially when I have experienced a change such as redemption. That is why I am resolving, today to change how I act, speak, and think toward others, toward God, and toward myself. And when this year is over, I do not want to regret failing to follow through with these resolutions. Neither do I want the resolutions to end with this year. Rather, these are resolutions I want to be committed to uphold the rest of my days. Even though I likely will fail from time to time, I want to keep pressing on. This little girl sums up my thoughts pretty well so I will let her close this out as we reflect on our responsibility to change because of our redemption.