Salt and Light: Fall
By Brent Davis, Campus Ministry Coordinator
It’s fall. That means a new term of school, cooler weather (except when the Santa Anas blow), and pumpkin spice. The word fall also means things like Humpty Dumpty having a great one, and, for Jews and Christians, the loss of Paradise. While Humpty Dumpty’s fall was fictional, unfortunately Adam and Eve’s fall was not. The effects of the Fall are death, pain in labor (both work and childbirth), and frustration in social roles:
16 Then he said to the woman,
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you.[c]”
17 And to the man he said,
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
though you will eat of its grains.
19 By the sweat of your brow
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3: 16-19, NLT)
Have you ever experienced any of these? I am sure you have. Thankfully, this is not the end of the story.
3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.[a] 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21: 3, 4)
What changes between Genesis 3 and Revelation 21? I’m sure you know the answer: Jesus!
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Adam and Christ Contrasted
12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 13 Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. 14 Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. 15 But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5: 6-17)
One thing about a gift is—you have to receive it. Otherwise, it doesn’t do you any good. If you want triumph over the Fall, you need righteousness—God’s righteousness—not yours.
How do you receive God’s gift? Just, TAKE it!
Tell God you want His gift of righteousness:
10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”[e] 12 Jew and Gentile[f] are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10: 9-13)
Admit that you could not pay for your sins, but that Jesus did so by dying on the cross:
(Romans 5: 6-10) see above.
Kill your evil desires and follow God’s Spirit:
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. (Galatians 5: 24-25)
This point needs a little clarification. This is not a way to earn the gift because then it wouldn’t be a gift, would it? This is a recognition that you are ready and willing to follow the leading of God’s Spirit which includes finding your passions and desires in God’s provision and not in sinful actions. This last point was really important for me in successfully killing evil desires. It’s hard to kill something you ‘need.’ Once you understand your needs are met in Jesus, you can readily (although it still takes commitment and reminders) kill those bad desires. The key word here is repentance—committing to change.
Enter into God’s presence and do good:
22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10: 22-25)
If you took that step to take God’s gift, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will rejoice with you and pray for your next triumphant steps! Have a blessed fall term.