Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Futility of Man's Labor

I was recently speaking on the curse on creation as a result of the fall of Adam and how in the work of the second Adam who bore the curse for us we are delivered from the curse of sin and death.  Certainly as Christ stood wearing a crown of thorns it is hard to miss the point that he was becoming a curse for us.  I also think that his sweating in the garden has some significance.  When we think of sweat and a garden our minds go all the way back to Eden and that fateful day when mankind became cursed because of the “work” of Adam while in the garden.  In a garden life was lost and in the Garden of Gethsemane Christ began his work to bring life back to mankind.
But the thought hit me that much of the curse placed on Adam that day was not God placing it on him but Adam doing it to himself.  Let me try and explain.  When we think of thorns and thistles and weeds and sickness and that from then on everything began to run down and die we understand that God changed his creation in some way from perfect to a universe fitting for sinful man to live in.  But when he speaks of Adam having to work hard all his days just to survive and then die and return to the dust, it seems that God didn’t have to do anything, this was just the natural result of Adam’s sin.
In other words, the result of sin is that man can work all his life and must work all his life but in the end will have nothing to show for it.  The very nature of sin means we cannot do anything to please God in ourselves.  So in Genesis 3:19 when God told Adam that he would have to work hard all his life just to die; God didn’t do anything.  It seems he was merely relating to Adam what he had done to himself by rejecting the Lord. 
Paul seems to address this in Romans 3 when he says that no man does any good thing neither do any seek after God.  The result of sin is that man is unable to do any good work and thus all religions except Christianity are immediately revealed as useless for they without exception give some work to man for him to fulfill in order to have eternal life and reward.  This is why the work of Christ is central to our faith.  If the God-Man had not come to earth and do his work, we would have no hope.  Our works are futile; only Christ accomplished something that pleased a holy God.  No wonder Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  These words weren’t uttered to just be a pithy saying; they reveal him as the only savior. 
Act 4:12  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."  “No other name given under Heaven”, in a man we lost life and in a “Man” we gain it.  He had to come down and live as a man and perfectly keep the law to become a suitable sacrifice for sin.

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