You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your fore–fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 1 Peter 1:18-20.
The Lord God’s foreknowledge made Him well aware of Adam’s future act of treason in Eden. Being expelled from the garden would seem, on the surface, a mild rebuke rather than a judicial decree. The declaration about death also doesn’t appear to be very frightening. Only as the record unfolds do we gain an appreciation of the horror and dread sin unleashed. A question remained. How could the holy God still communicate with the expelled couple, and later, their offspring?
Strange though it may be the answer is given in the closing book of the Bible. Revelation 13:8b tells us that the Lamb (a title for Jesus) was slain from the creation of the world. God could only bear with Adam and his offspring because in God’s mind the Cross had already taken place. God was able to deal with humanity because He looked at them through the Cross. This is still the only way He can deal with the world. One day, in His time, the Lord will say, ‘It’s judgment time!’ On that day He won’t be looking at people through the cross. He will be assessing them from his throne!
In the book of Job, one of the friends makes a very pertinent quote, ‘How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of a woman be pure? If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, how much less man…’ (Job 25:4-6a). In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve tried to make themselves respectable to God by covering themselves with fig leaves. It was an attempt to camouflage their true condition. There was no repentance and there was no indication of sin’s action being atoned.
In Genesis 3:21 is the act of real atonement. The word atonement refers to a covering. ‘The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.’ This was provided so as not to be offensive to God and thereby be destroyed. The initiative was God’s. It cost the life of a substitute animal. Here is a shadow of God’s answer to the quote from Job: the only way to be righteous before God is for someone to pay the price for our covering.
When Revelation 13:8b speaks of ‘a Lamb slain’ the word for slain refers to an act of slaying for the purpose of sacrifice. Within the sacrificial system of ancient
animals were slain as a substitute for the individual or nation. The shadow
cast by the sacrificial system of Israel is fulfilled in the
crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Before time had begun the Godhead knew the
consequences of creation mixed with freewill. God was willing to pay the price!
The Lord was without sin. He
fulfilled the requirements of the Mosaic Law. Therefore He was able to offer
Himself as our atonement. Israel
We are not automatically covered, and thereby protected, from God the Father’s justice. Faith must compel us to cry out to the Lord to forgive and to cover us. Only then are we fit to stand before Him. How beautiful is Galatians 3:26-27. ‘You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.’