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God’s Promise to Eve

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2021 12:01 am

God’s Promise to Eve

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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December 20, 2021 12:01 am

The first announcement of Christmas took place not in Bethlehem but in the garden of Eden. Today, R.C. Sproul considers God's promise to Adam and Eve of the One who would come to crush Satan's head.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind... Now when we wonder whether He will keep His Word, that's when we should look closely at Christmas, because whatever else Christmas is, it is God's proof in space and time that shows that He is a God of His Word and that He keeps His promises. And as we prepare for Christmas, that is biblical truth that's both encouraging and faith-building, isn't it?

This week on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. R.C. Sproul shows us that there is only one true promise keeper. God throughout history has fulfilled His promised plan of redemption in and through His people.

As we approach now the celebration of the Advent season with the climax being Christmas, it is a time for us to celebrate not only the incarnation of Christ, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, but also it is a time of celebrating the fulfillment of a divine promise. I think most people who are listening to me today are aware of a recent phenomenon that has arisen in the last couple of years in American Christianity. It is a group of men who meet together in huge crowds, large conferences called promise keepers. And it's interesting to me that one of the main purposes of such an event, a kind of Christian Woodstock, is to get men gathered together to make a commitment to become men who keep their promises. That's an extraordinary thing that people need to have a rally to encourage each other to keep their promises. And I think that what this tells us is that as a people we have a problem keeping our promises. In fact, the Scriptures say that one of the chief characteristics of fallen human beings is that all of us are covenant breakers. That is, if God would have a conference and summon all of the covenant breakers together, He would summon the whole world into one place, and we'd call that gathering the promise breakers.

And we would break the record of the promise keepers for the most people ever assembled for a meeting. Think back in your life of the pain that you've experienced over broken promises. Nothing is more gripping to us as parents when our children look at us with tears in their eyes and say, but Daddy, you promised. I've had that happen to me in my life where I let my children down, where I told them I was going to do something for them or with them.

Something else came up, and I broke my promise to them. We live on the basis of trust, of agreements, of covenants, and of promises. But that becomes super important when we look at our relationship with God, because one of the chief differences between the Creator and the creature is that the Creator is a promise keeper, that God has never, ever, ever, ever broken a promise. And the basic structure that we find in the Bible that defines our relationship to God, the relationship of the church to Christ, the relationship of Israel to Yahweh in the Old Testament, is the relationship that is based upon a divine promise. That structure we call the structure of covenant.

We divide the Bible in two, between the Old Testament and the New Testament, or sometimes we speak of what? The Old Covenant and the New Covenant, and the very heart of any covenant rests upon promises that are made among the parties that are involved in the covenant. Now, the Scriptures tell us that God's promises are without repentance. That means He doesn't change them. He doesn't break them.

He always and ever keeps them. But one of the problems we have with God is trusting His promises. And the reason for that is history attests that the Lord God omnipotent, who never lies and who never breaks a promise, has a track record of taking a long, long time to bring them to pass. And one of the hardest tests of faith is to wait for the promise of God to be fulfilled. As God Himself said to Habakkuk the prophet in the Old Testament, that though His Word tarries, we should wait for it. But we're not very patient with the promises of God. We want God to keep His promises to us right now. Now when we struggle with waiting for God's promises, when we wonder whether He will keep His Word, that's when we should look closely at Christmas, because whatever else Christmas is, whatever else the Advent season involves, it is God's proof in space and time, His work in history that shows that He is a God of His Word and that He keeps His promises.

In fact, one of the ways in which scholars approach the Scriptures in looking for a structure in which to interpret the Bible is by examining the Scriptures in light of two categories, and those categories are promise and fulfillment. Sometimes my students in the seminary will ask me, how were the people in the Old Testament redeemed? How were they saved? Did Abraham go to heaven? Was Abraham a believer? Was he redeemed?

And I say, yes, of course he was. The New Testament labors at that point. They say, well, how could the people in the Old Testament be redeemed when Christ hadn't come yet? There was no cross. There was no atonement.

How could they possibly be redeemed? The Bible tells us that the blood of bulls and goats, all of the trappings of the Old Testament sacrificial system could not in and of themselves save. So how were they saved if they were saved? Well, Paul in his epistle to the Romans again uses Abraham as an example of people in the Old Testament who were saved not by obeying the works of the law, not through the rites and the rituals of the sacrifices of the liturgy of Israel, but Abraham was justified by faith.

And my students look at me and they say, how could he be justified by faith when he hadn't even heard about Jesus? What was the basis of Abraham's salvation? Well, the basis of Abraham's salvation was the work of Jesus Christ.

Abraham was saved exactly the same way you were saved with one significant difference. Abraham's faith was in a promise that was not yet fulfilled. Our faith is in the promise that has been fulfilled. Abraham and the Old Testament saints looked ahead into the future for their awaited Messiah, their awaited Redeemer.

We look backwards to the past to the one who has come. Remember the word Advent means coming to. It refers to the coming of the Messiah to redeem His people. Those who lived before He came and who trusted the promise that He would come were redeemed through faith in the promise. Those of us who live this side of the Advent are redeemed by trusting in the fulfillment of the promise. So that motif, that theme is one that we have to keep in front of us as we read the Scriptures, the relationship between promise and fulfillment. Now as we prepare for Advent this year, what I want to do is look at a few, just a handful of the crucial promises that God made to His people in the Old Testament about the redemption that He would bring to pass. I'm only going to mention five of these when indeed there are over five hundred, more like five thousand aspects of these promises in the Old Testament. And so we can't possibly do justice to the whole scope of the divine promise that unfolds. In fact, we could say that the Old Testament is one big promise.

But we're going to just look at a couple of these to get a taste of this relationship of promise and fulfillment. In another context, we've already looked earlier in Genesis chapter 3, verse 15, where we find what is called in theology the proto-Evangel. Now that may sound like a fifty-dollar word there as kind of a technical term that biblical scholars used, the word proto, you know what a prototype is, it's the first model that you use, and the word evangel is the word from which we get evangelism. Evangel is the word that we use to refer to the gospel. Evangelism is the proclaiming of the evangel or of the gospel. So when we talk about the proto-Evangel, we are talking about obviously the first gospel.

So that if somebody would say to you, where is the first place in the Bible that we find the proclamation of the gospel? We would look to Genesis chapter 3, verse 15. Remember that the main content of the third chapter of Genesis describes the fall of mankind into sin. It gives us the narrative of the temptation and the sin of Adam and Eve.

We read of the ruination of our human creation. You might expect that the Old Testament history of God's relationship to mankind would start with Genesis 1-1, in the beginning God created the heaven and earth, and that the Bible would end in Genesis 3, 14, and we would expect it to say, and God destroyed the heaven and the earth and everything in it once human beings rebelled against His divine authority. That would have been perfectly just for God to do. He had warned His creatures that if they sinned, they would surely die.

He could have eradicated human life from this planet and from this universe immediately after the cosmic rebellion that was issued by Adam and Eve. But instead, He makes a promise. He makes a promise to spare, to rescue, to redeem, and to save His fallen creatures. Let's look at that promise now in Genesis chapter 3. One of the ironies of this first promise is that it is a promise of blessing that comes to us right smack in the middle of a divine curse. But while God is expressing condemnation, He gives a hint, a clue, a shadow of hope in the midst of judgment.

Let's look at it in chapter 3 of Genesis, and we'll begin in verse 14. This is the record of God's cursing of the serpent who seduced Adam and Eve. And so the Lord God said to the serpent, because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. Now here comes the promise, and I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed.

He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. This is a prophecy. It is a future prediction. God is not saying here that Eve is going to crush the serpent's head.

He's talking about something in the future. We don't know yet how far off in the future it is, but He speaks of the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. He describes a future conflict, a future contest between a descendant of Eve and the descendants of the serpent. It is the ultimate conflict between good and evil that is forecast here in these words.

I'm going to put enmity, that's hatred, alienation, estrangement between your seed, Eve, and the seed of the serpent. And God speaks here of an individual, a unique descendant of the woman who at some point in the future will come and step on the snake, step on its head, grind it into the dust, and bullshit to death, giving it a mortal and fatal wound. But in the process of destroying the evil one, the seed of the woman will Himself be wounded as He uses His foot to crush the head of the serpent.

His own heel will be bruised. Again, the Old Testament could stop right there, and the next chapter of the Bible could begin with words like this, and in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled with the introduction of the birth of this one who was the seed of the woman, who was the seed of Eve, who when he was a baby the prophecy was made to his own mother that her child would bring redemption. But in this process, a sword would pierce her own soul that looked forward to the cross where Mary stood at the foot of the cross and watched her son be bruised. In her vision, in her eyes, she saw the torture, the torment, the humiliation of her son. What she couldn't see was the cosmic dimension of what was taking place. She couldn't see Satan. She didn't know as she watched this drama unfold before her that while Christ Himself was pouring out His blood on the cross, He was crushing the head of the serpent. The gospel was preached in Eden, the first gospel, the first promise of the coming Redeemer. That's incredible, isn't it?

The first announcement of Christmas happened not in Bethlehem but in the Garden of Eden. We're glad you've joined us today for Renewing Your Mind. We are listening to portions of Dr. R.C. Sproul's series, Promises, this week.

It's a wonderful way to prepare for Christmas. We learned about the promises made and fulfilled to Abraham, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and other Old Testament figures. We ask you to consider contacting us today with a donation of any amount so that we can send you this series. You'll be able to stream all five messages right away. Additionally, we'll send you the DVDs of Dr. Sproul's series, The Promised Keeper, God of the Covenants.

That series has 14 messages that walk you through the covenants of the Old and New Testaments. We'll provide both of those resources to you when you give a donation of any amount to Ligonier Ministries. Our number is 800-435-4343.

You can also reach out to us online at And here at the end of the year, we do appreciate your generosity. We are looking at 2022 as an unprecedented opportunity to share the truth about our covenant-keeping God around the world.

You can go to slash donate to give your special year-end donation. In our Coram Deo thought for today, I'd like to ask you to think during this Advent season about the promises of God. Do you ever find it difficult to wait for God, to live your life on the basis of trusting His promises? This may sound trite to you, but it is all the difference in the world between believing in God and believing God.

True faith, the Christian faith, is not about believing that God exists, but it has to do with believing God, living your life on the basis of trusting in the promises that He has made. Because where the crunch comes in our life is where we seek our own happiness and our own satisfaction right here, right now, in ways that deny our trust in God's way. Rather than wait for the promise of felicity and joy that He gives to those who trust in Him and who obey Him, we say, I can't see Him. Where is my God? I will seek my own way for happiness and fulfillment. I want it now.

I want it here. I just can't wait for it. But the Word of God says, though it tarries, wait for it. That's what men and women of faith do. Tomorrow we'll learn about God's promise to Abraham, and despite Abraham's doubt, how God kept that promise. I hope you'll join us Wednesday for Renewing Your Mind. I'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-07 14:03:45 / 2023-07-07 14:10:44 / 7

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