Have you ever been in love? You know; that head over heels type where the two of you just can’t get close enough. You’re always together, or least, thinking about each other. If were possible you’d be closer, but the simple physics of it all won’t allow it; you’re each limited to your own body and that’s as close as you’ll ever get. Maybe you’ve never experienced this closeness but you’re searching for it, or perhaps you’re wondering if such a love even exists.
Consider Adam. He was the first of our kind. He had all there was to have, and yet he found himself lonely, and in need of companionship. God put him to sleep, took one of his ribs, and from it He fashioned a woman. Adam was excited and said, “She is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh . . . “, then the Bible adds, “because of this shall a man . . . cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh”. (Gen 2:23-24) They were about as close as any two people could get.
A remarkable union is available between a man and a woman because of what God did in the Garden. He arranged a closeness that satisfied a particular loneliness in man. He satisfied another need in man too, for they had daily communion with God, and access to the Tree of Life. This was a vital part of man’s make up – a necessary ingredient that God designed into man for his completeness. I imagine life in the Garden was fulfilling. They had all the freedom they could ask for, with only one rule to obey – “you shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:17 MKJV)
I don’t know exactly what happened that fateful day, but the Bible says that, after her conversation with Satan, “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Gen 3:6 MKJV)
I’ve often wondered why he ate the fruit too – the rules were crystal clear – “don’t eat that fruit . . . day that you do . . . die.” Didn’t he know it was the fruit from THAT tree? Did he get it confused with the other fruit lying around? Or did it look the same as all the other fruit? Maybe he was swayed by Eve’s crafty words. Maybe she put up a good argument, and convinced him to try it too; regurgitating to him all the lines the serpent used on her.
Perhaps the answer lies on a more obvious note. Maybe he knew exactly what she had done; she had eaten the fruit from the forbidden tree and now she was going to die – but yet, he loved her so much that he wanted to go through this death thing was with her. I also wonder . . . if it could have reconciled Eve to God, would he have died for her. Would Adam have taken her place if his death would have saved her life?
I don’t know the real answers to those questions. I don’t know anyone who does. Whatever the case, Eve had been deceived by the serpent and had eaten the fruit. She chose the council of Satan over the council of God. They put their trust in Satan, the father of lies, and trusted his words over the Word of God. They bought into the satanic idea that they could eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and they would be just like God. They chose to give up a life of security and fellowship with God, all for the brief taste of a fruit that looked pleasant to their eyes, and the hope of making them wise. Thus, acting on what they thought would bring them an even better life, they disobeyed the command of God, thus cutting themselves off from the source of life; for the punishment of this disobedience was death.
Eve was Adam’s life; his all in all. They had done everything together; “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”; and now, because of what she had done, they were going to be separated from each other in death. When she ate of the fruit, he knew he couldn’t save her, but the love theory says that he loved her so much, that he was willing to bear the punishment with her.
And so, they both died. Their spiritual death was swift. Driven out of the Garden they lost access to the Tree of Life. Their sin had separated them from God, and physical death would soon separate them from each other. Their attachment to each other was strong; their love impenetrable; yet their time together was soon to be brief. What a sad ending to a story that started out so good.
If you’ve ever lost someone close to you; someone that you’ve loved, either by separation, divorce, death, or the like, then you can relate to the terrible grieving that takes place after such a loss. Why, I’ve had attachments towards pets that gripped at my heart more than I ever thought possible. The heartache is immense. And you know what? We aren’t the only ones capable of such emotions. Our creator made us in His own image and our fall grieved Him terribly.
Man had a certain oneness with God; a special communion, which because of the fall, was no longer available. It was replaced with a void that left man unable to find his way. He became separated from the source of life and bent in rebellion; a rebellion towards God that is at the root of sin. Don’t be fooled, we aren’t sinners because we sin – we sin because we are sinners. It is in our nature and it wars against the nature of God. This fall, this corruption, this rebellion toward God grieved Him at His heart and He set in motion a plan to reconcile us back to Himself. He devised a plan to remove that condition of our nature that renders us guilty; a plan to correct the againstness that we have toward Him and end the separation.
I like the “Love” theory, because it foreshadows the saving power of God. For you see, we are in the same condition as Eve; deceived by sin, spiritually dead, and separated from the source of life. The path that we naturally gravitate to is not the path toward God, but a path toward ourselves; and yielding to the voice of Satan. To make matters worse, we are convinced our way is right and that we’re making a better life for ourselves; we have the knowledge of good and evil and believe we don’t need God anymore. In fact, we are so sure of ourselves that many of us don’t believe God exits at all. Others have rationalized Him to be so much like ourselves, that we can’t understand why He’s so hung up on sin in the first place.
The Bible says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death.” (Pro 14:12 MKJV) Describing the depraved state of the Godless man it goes on to say: “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way . . . there is none that does good, no, not one . . . destruction and misery are in their way, and the way of peace they did not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom 3:10-18 MKJV)
Yet, with us in this rebellious state, God still loves us, for the Bible says that: “God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8 MKJV) Because of the enormous love that God has for us, knowing that we were lost in sin and by nature against Him, He still sent his Son, the second Adam, to do that which the first Adam could not do. He came to die FOR us – not WITH us. He came to die for YOU – in your place.
Imagine loving someone so much that you would die for that person – the ultimate sacrifice; not out of duty, nor because that person was noble, or honorable, or worthy, but purely out of love. Yet the irony of it all is that by giving your life, the relationship you have with that person will cease to exist. After your death there is total separation. Imagine a love so intense that you can’t stand to be apart, and yet a love that is so giving, that it is willing to sacrifice its life that the other might live. That too is a sad end to such a strong love isn’t it? And that’s exactly what Jesus did, but praise God, that’s not how His story ends.
God came to us in the form of sinful man, but without sin, to take our place and pay the penalty that sinful man deserved. He came to die my death that I might gain His life. He came to take my place as the object of His own wrath, to bear the punishment by His own hand, and satisfy the sentence that His Holy righteousness demands. Yet, His death, rather than severing the relationship, has recreated it. And unlike the first Adam, whose death could not redeem me, the death of the second Adam, Jesus, God’s own Son, has the power to reconcile me back to God. He bore the punishment for me. He took my sin upon Himself and in return gave me His sinless life. His death was the only currency worth enough to pay for all of sin – past, present, and future.
The Bible adds that when He died, I died with Him, and when He rose from the grave, I rose with Him. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20 KJV)
According to God, my life is hid with Christ and I have already passed from death unto life, never to die again (spiritually speaking). I am in Him and He is in me – I can’t get any closer than that until I am fully in his presence over there. His death, rather than causing a separation in our relationship, has created an eternal connection that can never be separated again. God has done the impossible. He has broadened the bounds of love past any human comprehension. Human relationships cannot love this way, but the love of God is not bound by the physical limitations of human closeness. He breaks that physical barrier, and through His Spirit, actually takes up residence in me.
Before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed to His Father and said, “Glorify Your Son so that Your Son also may glorify You, . . . You have given Him authority over all flesh so that He should give eternal life to all You have given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. . . that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, . . . And I have given them the glory which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one, I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one . . . Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me . . . may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me . . . Father, indeed the world has not known You; but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent me. And I made known to them Your name, and will make it known, so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:1-3, 20-26 MKJV)
This is the Gospel in a nutshell. Those who believe in Jesus; who by faith, place their lives in His hands, have the promise that He takes up residence in them; He deposits His life; the eternal life of His Spirit into the heart of the believer. The believers life is sustained by Him – this is life at its highest. I died when Christ died, because He died for me, and I live because He arose, and His Spirit lives in me, and the life that I now live is a new life, a reborn life, with God forever more – that is eternal life.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this”, that he should die for you. He knew that His death was our only hope for life. Whereas Adam died with Eve unto death, Jesus died for me unto life. He did that which Adam could not do. The relationship that was lost in the Garden is now restored through the resurrection of Jesus. I asked earlier if anyone has ever been in love, or maybe searching for that kind of love. The truth is, God is that in love with you. And if you allow Him, His plan is for you to know Him in a way that you have never known anyone before. This is what you were created for and this is what will make you whole. For the believer, eternity can start today, and you have from now through all eternity to experience the love of God; a love that transcends the physics of time and space; the one true love that all others are modeled after.
But as is with any relationship, the choice is one of mutuality. The good news is you don’t have to question His choice. God’s invitation is extended to you through His Son – there is no other way. God’s love for you is not based on your good deeds, your looks, your attitude, your image, or anything else that is within your means to give. Neither is it fickle, and subject to the ups and downs that many human relationships experience. Rather, it is based on the unconditional, committed love of God. It is a relationship initiated by Him and made available only through the substitutionary death of Jesus for you.
This is the only way that man can be reconciled to God: for in this substitution, my life is exchanged for His and the Spirit of His Son is imparted and enjoined to me, and the two become one. Only through this relationship can I become part of God’s family – a child of God. One day all of this will be done away with. He will purge all that is against Him, and life will exist only through Jesus in God. At that time God will become all in all and eternal life will be separated from eternal death. I urge you today dear readers to consider the fact that God through Jesus has made His choice, and now the choice is up to you – choose life.
John Currie, “The Power of God’s Transcending Love”, Upstream Blog