Grace in the Garden

From an act of grace the drama of redemption began.

He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. Titus 3:5 NLT

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Grace in the Garden.”

God made the world and He pronounced it good. Refer to Genesis 1:26-2:24 NKJV. The problem is that the world did not long remain good. Adam and Eve were put in a perfect environment, abounding provision for any and all of their needs. Yet, they could not resist doing the single thing that God instructed them not to do. The Tempter played them for fools. And sin was welcomed into Creation. And their world, and every generation’s world since, was changed forever. Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12 NIV.

Ultimately, Adam and Eve were evicted from Eden, God even barring the possibility of their re-entering, positioning angels, “with flaming sword to guard the way to the Tree of Life.” Was God angry? Punitive? Or was God grieved at their privilege squandered? Would Father God’s response have been more akin to the broken heart of His Son, Jesus, weeping over Jerusalem many generations later? “O Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Luke 13:34 NIV.

Until today, I have always assumed their eviction from Paradise was a well-deserved penalty for their disregard of God’s clear instruction. Upon careful reading of the event, my assumption seems inaccurate. Instead, I offer consideration of a grace-filled distinction. To me, it appears to be protection of them, not punishment. With love, mercy, and grace a righteous and loving Creator safely escorted them from Eden. Why? God best explained Himself, “. . lest [Adam] eat of the tree of eternal life, therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden.” Read Genesis 3:22-24 NAS. The guardian angels could be God’s protection from the possibility of their making their failure final.

The extent of God’s grace is beyond our comprehension. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Read Romans 4:25-5:2 NIV. Tears fill my eyes with joy and gratitude as I write these words today. In love and grace, God prevented Adam and Eve’s access to the Tree of Life, preventing Adam’s failure and consequence from becoming their eternal fate.

Paul’s understanding of grace was very personal, “God, Who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:9-10 NIV.

From an act of grace the drama of redemption began. “He Who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32 NIV. “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient . .  Our lives were full of evil and envy . . But then God our Savior showed us His kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy . . now we know that we will have eternal life.” Read Titus 3:3-7 NLT. God deals with yours and my sins with love not anger, with grace not blame, with mercy not judgement. Do you feel the need for grace today? His grace is available, abundant, and always sufficient.

“And now I entrust you to God and the word of His grace – His message that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those He has set apart for Himself.” Acts 20:31-32 NLT.

Christian Communications 2017