Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Broken Brotherhood & The Roots of Our Righteousness

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”  At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord. - Gen. 4:25,26

My relationship with my brother, Wes, was tenuous at times.  Dad would tell us to "take it to the backyard" when things got too heated.  But for all our disagreements, bruises and busted lips we always loved each other and continue to to this day.  This was not the way things went down with the first brothers.

Cain and Abel - Eric de Saussure
As one of Adam and Eve's first two children, Abel sure gets a bit part in The Bible! All we know of Abel is that he brought what God deemed a proper offering to the Lord while his brother, Cain, brought an insufficient offering.  Abel is rewarded with the favor of God but when a jealous Cain kills him we see the disastrous consequences of The Fall of Man in full effect.

Soon Seth is born to Adam and Eve,  a pure descendant of Jesus.  According to The Bible this is when men began to call on the name of the Lord.

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more - Rom 5:20

Here, the seed of a family tree is planted by God from which the Son of Man would come.  An imperfect, highly-flawed family tree to be sure but then again.....

God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong - 1st Cor. 1:27

Thus God began to reveal His plan for healing the broken family and, ultimately,  the salvation of man in the forth chapter of Genesis! Where Abel was replaced with Seth, with whom calling on the name of the Lord began, we have been replaced with the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Lyle Lovett is a genius songwriter and in penning "I Married Her Just Because She Looked Like You", he's at his best.  Whether or not it was Lyle's intention (can anyone say Common Grace?) the profound theological depth of this song struck me yesterday while listening to Direct TV's Honky Tonk Tavern.

This is the very essence of the gospel. Not only was Jesus punished for our sins, but his righteousness is the meritorious basis for our justification. We are justified by an alien righteousness, a righteousness that is not our own.  - R.C. Sproul

God is so holy that He couldn't have anything to do with our wicked flesh.  Yet because of Jesus Christ, who is our propitiation, we could be reconciled to God (read: married eternally).   Now when God looks upon followers of His only begotten Son He sees only the perfect life, love and sacrifice of Jesus. 

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. - 2nd Cor. 5:21
Blind Faith
We are justified by the blood of Jesus and have the benefit of history to shed light on God's faithfulness in Chirst to those who seek His grace and mercy.  Yet those who first began calling on the name of the Lord did so out of a desire to be distinguished from a pagan people (descendants of Cain) - those who refused to call on the name of the Lord.  Seth's descendants exhibited faith in recognizing who they were in relation to God.  In reckoning themselves creatures (sinners) of the created (sinless) they availed themselves to the purposes of God.

...work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose - Phil 2:12-13

I wouldn't have lasted one lazy afternoon with The Patriarchs of our faith.  I'm too conditioned to comfort, ease, peace and prosperity.   Thank God then that it's Jesus' work within us vis-à-vis The Holy Spirit that day by day brings His likeness more clearly into view.   He does so that we might bear witness to His covenant love and that His name might be glorified in the world.

Abel, a mortal man, was killed for his partial righteousness.  But God in His infinite wisdom provided another who, though He was to be killed for His total righteousness, would be resurrected conquering death once and for all.  The Good News of Jesus Christ began unfolding with the first family and thus, was there from the beginning.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1

This is reason enough for our eternal Thanksgiving!!

Christ's Blessings,

PS - The Pilgrims must have been men of great faith...

This Week:
Wednesday: Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am - True Spirituality, Chap. 12
                        2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)
Thursday: Thanksgiving!

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