Our Second Bible Study Revisited: Part II

The very first book of the Bible opens in such a way as to present a God much different from the gods of the Ancient Near East. Moses and his people would be living among pagans and needed to know the true God. Yahweh is a sovereign King unlike the pagan gods. He made out of nothing the “Heavens and the earth.” He is the almighty powerful God, who rules over all by his might and providence (1:11). He made everything and it was good (v. 31). Yahweh was a working King, and so for six days he labored, without sweat mind you, and entered into royal rest on the seventh day (2:2–3).
Now everything made was good, yet not everything was as special as his greatest creation, mankind. We were not made after “kinds” but after “his own likeness” (v. 26). We are image bearers of the almighty God. Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:10 highlight how God made Adam in true righteousness and holiness. Adam had the moral holy capabilities to do good. Adam was not to just “be” like the rest of creation but to “do.” Like God, he was to work. He was to exercise dominion over creation (1:26). Adam was commissioned to rule seen in his naming the animals (2:19). In addition, he was given Eve as a helpmate, who would create image bearers much like God.
In this story, Adam the image bearer rules the earth like God, however something is missing from this story. Like God, Adam was to work, finish, and rest. This is the mandate given to Adam (he was not working on his own Rom 5:12–19). How would we know when he finished his work? The broad commands shed light on the answer (1:26–28). Adam was to exercise dominion as a lesser king to the true King. With this broad rule came a specific rule in a particular local where his priestly duties are highlighted. The Garden of Eden was the temple of the Lord. In Eden, as a priest Adam was to “work and keep” it. He was to protect the purity of the temple-garden and promised life if he did so or death if he failed his commission. The Reformed scholastics and confessions call this the Covenant of Works.
Now the first Adam failed and so “At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him” (Heb 2:8). The world is now a place of suffering. The usurper king intruded and where Adam in righteous wrath should have whopped off his head, yet he listened to the usurper. Adam followed his own path that led to the common curse we now see in the world. Now the things of dominion, work and procreation, are done in pain. No longer can our good works please God. The mandate has failed and its demand remains.
No sooner as the story gets dark, Genesis 3:15 offers a light of hope. Genesis 3:15 presents another Adam to come so that “as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1Cor 15:22). Christ did what Adam should have done (Rom 5:12–19) and received the reward of resurrection (1Cor 15). In Adam alone, we by nature cannot receive any gift of salvation, however, in Christ we inherit the resurrected life of Christ (v. 50).
Jesus now crowned with glory and honor has passed through the heavens (Heb 4:14). He entered the Sabbath rest and holds it out to us from afar (4:9). Waiting to enter rest, Jesus now ministers to us as a “merciful and faithful priest” (2:17-18). In Christ, we have confidence to draw near in full assurance to the throne of God (10:19–22). We do so in prayer as Christians in church, with our families, or in this world (4:16). Chiefly, however, we enter God’s throne room in worship as the body of Christ every Lord’s Day (10:24–25). Our worship does not concern things that can be touched (12:18), because we come to “Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Heb 12:22–24). So, let us be “grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,” and let us turn and “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Heb 12:28).
Does your church offer true worship? One way to know is to ask yourself, “Do I hear the clear preaching of the gospel every week?” 0r do you hear good advice, how do to be a good leader, husband, or neighbor? As a Christian, you live on the brink of eternity. As we wait for the Lord to come, he sustains us by gifts through the Holy Spirit. Those gifts come as of old by means by the hand of ministers. Jesus ascended, left behind officers for his church. Minister are gifted, educated, called, and sent by the visible church. You need a true good visible church. If you do not have one or you are not sure, come bring your family to this study and tell your friends.

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