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The Epitaph of Sin

by Kristen C. Strocchia

“After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.” Genesis 9:28-29

Image result for armThe sinful saga continues. Noah’s epitaph mirrors Adam’s final verse so closely [Genesis 5:5]. It’s clear that God wants the reader to be aware that His plan of redemption did not come through the flood in the day of Noah. Yes, the majority of sin was purged from the earth with its inhabitants, but Noah still sinned, and then he died–old and full of years, but he died nonetheless. And sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death [James 1:15].

Jesus conquered death, hell and the grave to fulfill the Genesis 3:15 prophesy, but it won’t be fully realized in us until we have eternal life. Until Christ comes again and we believers meet up with him in the sky [1 Corinthians 15:52-53], we are still confined to sinful human bodies which, themselves, are subject to death.

But what we do with our lives while we are clothed in mortal array matters immensely. Do you live in such a way that you would find favor with God in your generation? Do you live by faith? Are you governed by righteousness? Have you accepted the atoning sacrifice of Jesus’ blood for your sins? And when you sin, do you repent, asking the Lord for forgiveness?

Humbled

by Kristen C. Strocchia

“So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds–everything that moves on land–came out of the ark, one kind after another. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.” Genesis 8:18-20

Image result for bonfire barbecueThe ark was emptied in order to replenish the earth. What a sight to see all of the animals of the world–literally–parading out in two by two formation.

And Noah’s first response is to honor God.

The burnt offering of Leviticus 1–first seen here in Genesis 8–is an atonement sacrifice. Now Abel also offered an atonement sacrifice when he offered the fat portions of the firstborn of his flocks [4:4], but Noah’s sacrifice here is the first time that we learn of a burnt offering. And he did so using clean animals.

In human logic, this makes perfect sense. Remember that of clean animals there were seven pairs–fourteen total of each kind! Naturally, you wouldn’t sacrifice any of the animals that only had one pair, that would bring the extinction of their whole kind after God just went to all this length to preserve them. Still, Noah could have done it. He could have said to himself, “But tigers and peacocks look so much cooler and more powerful than goats and bulls. If I were God, wouldn’t I want that as a sacrifice instead?”

Because often, that’s our human logic in dealing with God. “If I were God”–*cough…Satan’s lie…cough*–then I would think… or I would want… So I don’t get why God thinks the way He does or wants what He does, because, you know, I certainly wouldn’t.”

Time out.

Do you see where this line of thought comes from and leads to? Comes from Satan. Leads to death and destruction. Because any line of reasoning that substitutes self as God is the line of reasoning that felled a third of the angels of heaven and barred Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, cursing the earth with the nature of sin.

But to this point in scripture, just as with Abel, there is no mention of God instituting or requesting a sacrifice of any kind. Abel knew God though–in an intimate, experiential way–as did Noah, and both men acted on this faith, this absolute certainty of what they hoped for but could not see.

Noah knew God. He knew that God hated sin, and that there was sin even in him. He didn’t become conceited by the fact that God noticed his righteousness and saved him out of the whole world. On the contrary, he humbled himself before the Almighty Creator, the Holy of Holies, and he offered a right sacrifice to atone–make amends/repairs/peace with–God for that sin.

Has God ever chosen to use you in a situation? Do you let this make you proud or does it humble you? Do you know God by the same kind of faith that Abel and Noah did? Have you asked God to atone for your sins through the shed blood of Jesus Christ?

From Figs to Britches

by Kristen C. Strocchia

“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21

Image result for Types of Native American clothingFrom the first sin on the planet to the last, only bloodshed can atone–that is make amends, make reparation, make restitution, or set to right. Adam and Eve’s very first sin allowed evil into the world, exposed their shame and guilt, riddled their relationship with God in fear, and required that an animal be sacrificed to cover their nakedness.

And here we see that God is the one who lets fall the axe. He kills one of His own creatures to cover the sin of the man created in His own image and the woman who was taken from his side. But why did God need to make them clothes form animal hide when Adam and Eve had already covered themselves in fig leaf clothing [Genesis 3:7]?

Clearly, God’s message to them is that the fig leaves were inadequate. Perhaps Adam and Eve didn’t cover enough of themselves. Perhaps the fig leaf garments would have worn out too quickly so that they would regularly find themselves remaking their clothes. Perhaps the evil that they’d allowed into the world would too easily tear through fig leaves, hurting Adam and Eve. Whatever the exact reason, we can be sure of one thing, their chosen sin-cover was insufficient physically as well as spiritually.

The same is true of our lives today. All we like sheep have gone astray [Isaiah 53:6]. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God [Romans3:23]. There is no one righteous, not even one [Romans 3:10]. Unlike Adam and Eve, we were born into sinful human bodies and a sin-bound world. But just like them, God has offered a sacrifice to make amends for the sin we’re in. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life,” [John 3:16].

When we try to say, “I’m a good person,” or, “I’ve never hurt anyone, at least not on purpose,” we’re trying to cover ourselves with fig leaves just like Adam and Eve did about 6,000 years ago. If we try to extract from the Bible a checklist of works that will get us into heaven, we’re denying the truth that blood must be shed to atone for our sins. Scripture is clear, that the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23], but it is also clear that our own sinful deaths will never gain us access to eternity with our holy Creator in heaven. Only Jesus–the Son of God–and him crucified in our place can secure our eternity.

When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we–like Adam and Eve before us–put on the fur garments that God has specially made to cover our sins. For all of us who are baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ [Galatians 3:27]. And it is His righteousness alone that can enter heaven’s gates one day.

Have you accepted Christ’s sacrifice for your sin? Or are you trying to cover yourself with good works in hopes you can do enough to gain eternity?