Given for the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO on 10/13/02
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7, KJV).
According to Strong's Concordance, the name "Adam," means "ruddy i.e. a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.)," and is the same word translated "man" in the verse quoted above. Formed from the dust of the earth, Adam was God's crowning masterpiece. The exeGesis bible translates the verse like this: "And from the soil Yah Veh Elohim forms Adam of the dust of the soil and puffs into his nostrils the breath of life; and Adam becomes a living soul." Only into man, does Yah Vey Elohim puff the breath of His life, which makes Adam the most unique of all God's creation! Each of us knows full well the effect that Adam's sin had upon all the rest of us, for in Adam, "all died" (I Cor. 15:22). At funerals, sometimes we hear the preacher repeat the mournful lament, "All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again" (Eccl. 3:20, KJV). Solomon further reveals that "and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it" (Eccl. 12:7, RSV). These verses and others lead some to believe that the body is nothing but a container for the spirit and soul of a man, which rattle around inside like a peanut in a shell. Worse, some have concluded from Paul's statement that no good thing dwells in flesh (Rom. 7:18), that the body is absolutely no good. Flesh is evil, they say and only spirit is good. The first Century Gnostics were so convinced of this that they said Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh, but was only Spirit. The Apostle John called this heresy the spirit of Antichrist (I John 4:2-3). One reason he condemned it so forcefully, is that it denies the Fatherhood of God, who out of Himself, created man and everything else, that was created. Spirit came first, in eternity, but God manifested Himself in flesh on the earth, and He called it "Very Good!" (Gen. 1:31).
Surrounded, as we are, by well meaning Christians who identify themselves only with their sinful flesh, we take every opportunity God gives us, to explain what it means to be a son of God, holy, blameless and unreprovable in Him (Col. 1:22), seated in heavenly places with Christ (Eph. 2:6). I think the reason it is so difficult to embrace this truth is because emotionally and spiritually, it is a long way from the dust of the earth to the throne of God, and no one can make the trip with his natural mind. The Apostle Paul's statement about the flesh, leads some to pitch a tent in Romans, Chapter seven, and just stay there, wallowing in guilt and shame, unable to lead a victorious life. The cry of our hearts is to see people move on from there, into Romans 8:1: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1, RSV). Paul said of this, "To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6, RSV).
While groveling in the dust from which we were formed, it is impossible to get to the glory, to the throne where we ARE seated with Christ. It is a psychological truth that people hang on to destructive thought patterns, such as "I'm a miserable sinner," because it is buying them something. Paul gives us a hint of what that might be: "It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that would compel you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who receive circumcision do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh" (Gal. 6:12,13, RSV). In the first century, the infant church was plagued by Judaizers, who wanted to merely add Christ to the law, rather than seeing the law swallowed up by grace. Paul says here that their motivation was to make a good showing in the flesh. In other words, they wanted to take some credit for righteousness by their own works. We do not have people telling us we must be circumcised today, but we do have preachers and church leaders telling us that we must ADD our own works to what Christ has done. Why would anyone buy into this? Paul says it is so "they may glory in your flesh." If church leaders can whip you into line, get you doing good works, and bringing more folks to church, they get glory, and the church coffers get filled as well. In fact, they are operating by the same tired lie that seduced Eve. They are partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which the crafty old serpent told her would make her wise like God. Perhaps she desired to get out from under His thumb, or perhaps she thought if she could be as wise and all knowing as God, He wouldn't have to spend so much time watching over her and could get on with other things.
What I have learned by the things that I have suffered is that God does NOT have any other task on His calendar more important than transforming all His sons into the image and likeness of His only Begotten Son! This is why He made us, after all. "Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the Sons of God!" (I John 3:1). There is nothing more pressing on His "to do list" than this. Many sincere, God fearing Christians fret and stew, worry and obsess about their inability to improve themselves. A dear friend of ours just recently told us that we just didn't know how sinful his flesh was. I said, "That old man was crucified with Christ." He knows this is true, but God has not yet shined the light in his spirit to see that "For he who has died is freed from sin" (Rom. 6:7, RSV). That is one of the most important scriptures I know, which when opened up to us by the Holy Spirit, sets us free from sin consciousness. Christ, who is the first-born of the dead, the first to escape the dust realm, "has freed us from our sins by his blood" (Rev. 1:5, RSV).
Did you ever think what a huge step it must have been for the first Century Christians to believe that Christ was the Son of God? It took the resurrection from the dead and the Faith of God implanted in them by the Holy Spirit, for them to see it. In Romans 5:7-8, Paul drives home this truth: "Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man, though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Sometimes, I think it must hurt Christ to hear Christians trash talking themselves as though He had not shed His blood for them. Occasionally, you hear about someone going to rescue another person, and losing his life in the process. That is rare indeed on Planet Earth, and I asked you last week if I were to shed my blood for you, if I were crucified for you, would it set you free from sin? Hardly. Since we all came from Adam's seed, and in his trespass we all died, it would be an exercise in futility for any one of us to die for the whole human race. It would only produce one more dead body to bury, one that would not rise again.
In his gospel, Luke said that "Adam was the son of God" (Luke 3:38). I will leave it to the Spirit to explain the richness of that statement to you, but here's a few points to consider. To say that Adam was a "throw away" man because of his sin, is to call God a careless and ineffective parent. My Grandma said of her baby sister who never had children, "It's just as well she never had a baby. She might lay it down some place and then forget where she put it." God did NOT forget where He put Adam, or get upset because Eve tempted him to eat the apple. Our Father knew all along that this son of His would mess up, miss the mark, and plunge the rest of mankind into the soup of sin and shame, guilt and death. The cross was always in the heart of God (Rev. 13:8). He knew that He would send the last Adam to fix what the first Adam messed up. "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit" (I Cor. 15:45, KJV). Christ's incarnation was the antidote to the venom of sin, which was inflicted upon us by Adam and Eve's transgression.
Did you know that "Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor" (I Tim. 2:14, RSV). If Adam was not deceived, then why did he partake in her disobedience to God's command? We aren't told the answer, but perhaps he loved his wife and wanted to protect her in some way by participating with her, or perhaps he was a gambler who thought, "Why not? Let's see what happens." Whatever the reason, he did participate in the sin. The scripture says "As in Adam all die." It does not say, "As in Eve all die." But I was thinking today that perhaps her sin is the basis of the rage that Fundamentalist men, patriarchal types have for women.
I grew up in a church where women had no voice and no status, and I can remember preachers raging about sins of the flesh and laying the blame primarily at women's feet. One preacher said it was Bathsheba's fault that David sinned because she exposed her body to him. I get the picture of the King of Israel with his little telescope, like some peeping Tom, lusting after her while she bathed, but yet this preacher said it was all her fault. We saw a news clip tonight about how things are not really that much better for Afghani women now that the Taliban are gone, because the "moral police" are still enforcing Muslim dress codes and public behavior for women. While grinding my teeth over such stupidity, I wondered, "How did human beings get to this place? Why? If Eve was deceived and Adam was not, then whose fault is it anyway?" But I digress. All human degradation is the result of eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Trying to fix the foibles of flesh by applying fleshly rules, always fails: "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence" (Col. 2:20-23, NIV).
Because Adam clearly came from dust, and this "mud creature" brought about the fall of the human race, it becomes easy to identify with him, and easier still to miss it that we have been transported beyond the earthy realm, into the heavenly places. "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven" (I Cor. 5:47-49, RSV). God gives us this promise through the Apostle of Grace. We know all too well that we bear the image of the man of dust, but Paul is telling us not to despair because "we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven." God "sold us down the river" into slavery to sin, but He never ever intended for us to remain there. Before the foundation of the world, He knew that when his first son sinned, He would send His only begotten Son to make it right: "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (I Cor. 15:21,22, ASV). Hallelujah!
It is indeed a very long trip from the dust of the earth to the throne of God, along a path I have been calling The Glory Road, since 1987. No matter what hurdles we must cross, how many mountains high or valleys deep, He stands beside us, in us and works through us. He has invested Himself from the beginning in human beings, flesh and all. Adam was a son, made in the image and likeness of God. He was a chip off the old block, so to speak. "But how could a son of God sin?" You ask. "He had a little help from his Father," is the short answer (Rom. 11:32). According to the Plan, Adam brought death to the creation, but Christ's life gloriously swallowed up death for all, forever. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, but in the twinkling of an eye, we shall all be changed. However it happens, "What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (I Cor. 15:42-45).
It is time for God's sons to stop identifying with the perishable, weak flesh. As long as we see ourselves as mud creatures, we can never see ourselves seated in heavenly places with Christ. When we look at our sins, our shortcomings, instead of the free gift of God's grace, we have made a mockery of the death of Christ. We are in effect saying, "My sins and bad habits are too tough for the blood of Christ to cleanse. I'm hopeless." It boils down to this. Do I believe the scriptures and the Holy Spirit bearing witness in my heart, or do I believe the accusations of the world, the flesh, and the devil and sometimes church members? The one who created the universe out of Himself, and who infused us with His very DNA, is the only One able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. He dwells in US, His temple, His children, His inheritance, His portion. Can a holy and pure God live and fellowship in filth? Can the Holy Spirit dwell in sin? I leave the answer up to you.
Since we are justified freely by His grace, let us rise up out of whatever physical or psychological pigpen we find ourselves in and go home to the Father who is waiting at the gate to receive us with open arms. He has a robe, a ring and a crown for us, and a feast to welcome us back from wherever we were. God's redemption, justification, and sanctification have nothing to do with our efforts. Notice Jesus' words: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:1-3, NIV). The last Adam has power over all flesh which the first Adam corrupted, to give us eternal life. Eternal life is not a place or a time; it is a person! Christ IS the resurrection and the life. We do not have to wait until we die to receive this fabulous gift. It is available in Him right now, today! Father, open our eyes to see who we are in You, and Your investment of Yourself in us, your sons. Amen. Jan Antonsson
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
"The Ring, The Robe, and The Crown"
"Anointing the dust, from dust to glory, II"
The Glory Road
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This page was uploaded to the web on 10/4/02
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister,
and last edited on 10/29/08.