The last Adam’s blood

As the first Adam’s sweat embraces my face may the last Adam’s blood race through me with grace.

These are song lyrics that I heard on Air 1, Christian radio.

I am amazed by the brevity of this statement. It encompasses so much of the story of redemption. It expresses the arch of God’s story. Because of Adam’s sin in the garden, sin entered the world. I recently re-read the first chapters of Genesis and realized that God’s response to Adam and Eve’s sin was not one of anger and vengeance. When God spoke to them about the consequences of their sin, he was not threatening or pronouncing judgment upon them. He was lamenting the fact that their actions had changed the very nature of the world. They had introduced corruption. And God lamented. They had brought pain into existence. And God lamented. They had ushered in death. And God lamented.

Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. – Genesis 3:22-24

God had given man free will and as a result, he knew they possessed the power to take from the tree of life and live forever. This would have violated the nature of the universe. For if they had done this, they would have been like God, yet harboring darkness and corruption within them. Sadly, God could not allow this to happen. He was forced to banish them, thereby removing their opportunity to live forever. Had they not eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve would have lived forever. The fruit of the tree of life had not been banned from them. Only the fruit of the other tree. But darkness cannot abide with light. Therefore, they could no longer be allowed to eat the good fruit. This was their separation from God – their separation from the life of God.

Being a father, I know that God regretted having to banish them. But there was no other choice in order to maintain their free will. The amazing thing was that God foreknew that all of this would happen. It purposefully arranged events and the created environment so that it would happen. It was the only way. So what must it have been like for God before their sin, to anticipate it all the while being in happy fellowship with his innocent children? Even though God is not a temporal being, it his joy still must have been bittersweet. Yet, also through his ability to be outside of time, God also must have been experiencing the lasting joy of his permanently redeemed children through Christ.

I pity God in this moment and I praise him for his plan of reconciliation. For he knew that even in the moment when sin began it corruptive work on Adam, tainting him throughout his being, he had already begun the cleansing process. It’s almost as if God had left a remnant of himself inside Adam – untouchable by sin. This being a dormant property of life-giving power that would only be activated when Jesus uttered his last words, “It is finished.” And this is, in fact what he did. God left the back door open a crack. Open just enough to whisper through, to communicate his love and thus allow all men everywhere a chance to hear his voice and see glimpses of his divinity.

To me, this remnant seems like dormant cells in our bodies. No, more like DNA at the atomic level. Every fiber of our being possesses these remnant atoms. They wait within us. They course through our blood. They do no harm to the surrounding tissue. But at the new birth, they come alive. In fact they are much like Chi – undetectable energy. When they are quickened, they cleanse us and give us balance. This life-giving Chi re-connects us with God and it races through us with grace.

You are not your own

1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “You are not your own, you have been bought with a price.”

Lord God,

I read this sentence today and, being honest, I must say that I do not like it. Right now, the thought of surrendering myself to you means that I will be losing my identity – who I am. It doesn’t seem like I will be gaining enough or more to replace “me” if I give myself over. Who am I left with if I give myself up? What happens to “Andy”? Am I just like everyone else? I want to be unique.

Knowing all this, still, where is the profit in keeping my identity if I don’t have you? But the promise of having you seems like it won’t fill up the void of losing myself. If I have myself on the last day and the end of the earth is before me, where will I be if you are not looking upon me? But I don’t want to be just another one of your children. I want more. I want something special and unique. I want there to be an extra twinkle in your eye when I see your face the first time. If I don’t get this, then I’m not sure it’s worth it.

But that’s the point isn’t it? It’s not about me and it’s all about you. I admit that I still don’t like it because it makes me feel equal, less important, average. So how do I become humble enough to allow you to take over? I think I have struggled with this root issue my entire life though I’ve rarely realized it. Perhaps the next phase in my growth is the realization that not only are you responsible for my salvation; not only is it solely through your power that faith itself lives in me; but perhaps, you are also the source of my humility. Maybe even humility is a grace. Maybe I can’t even do this on my own. This must be, else I could claim it for myself.

So at the end of this prayer, I ask you O Lord to impress upon that I am not my own even though I’ll struggle against it. Create in me humility since I cannot create it myself. Use your sovereign power to rule over me and transform that which I have not the power to transform. Be thou still my strength and shield because I have no other and cannot do this myself.

Amen

Angering the God of grace?

For so long, I have not been concerned with the concept of angering God (though it once very much concerned me). My lack of concern has stemmed from my emergent knowledge over the years that God is full of grace and patience. He is not easily angered.

On a seemingly unrelated note, quiting my tobacco use has so far been successful. I give credit to God for this. I have been attempting to explore the concept of a more holistic life of overall health. Michael Roach told me a few weeks ago that the Holy Spirit told him that God has big plans for me. This made me think a great deal. I could have discount Michael as a quack or I could choose to believe based on my intuitive impression as to the “rightness” or truth of what he said – the ring of truth. I chose to believe. 

Around this time, I was preparing to teach another lesson for the Quail Springs Wednesday night class on the Expressions of the Christian Faith. That week’s topic was the Evangelical tradition. I read about Aurelius Augustine’s struggle with lust and sexual indulgence. While imbibing on these thing Aurelius also sought the higher good and right and moral things. He realized his contradiction and also his inability to conquer his vices on his own. Soon after he was introduced to the Gospel and realized that it offered his a power that he had never been offered before. In Christ, Aurelius saw a power that could rid him of his vices – which he could not beat through his own power. Therefore, through the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, Aurelius was transformed into the image of Christ.

This transforming power is the manifestation of God’s grace through the Spirit. It is the Spirit within the believer who uses his divine power to rid us of uncleanness. Perhaps a better way to say that is that the Spirit heals us, injects us with the essence of life, and transforms us in spirit, soul, and body ever closer into the image of Christ – to be more like God. This is the plan of God that he begin implementing the first moment after Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden.

Back to the original thought… it is because of concepts like this that I have not been concerned with God’s anger – primarily because I think that God is so patient that forbearing that he is rarely if ever actually angry. And this brings me to my vice – food.

Food. You must have it to live. After years of developing and enabling myself through bad eating habits, I am struck down by my inability to control my eating. This is truly a situation where the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Interestingly, while I report success over many things through the power of God, I am having a much more difficult time dealing with my eating addiction.  On the days that I fast (cold turkey) I can stay pretty focused on keeping my will in control, but on regular days, this is much more difficult.

Why can I not allow myself to rely on God’s power to heal me if this affliction as well? Why am I not “waiting on God” to give me balance in spirit, soul and body? Am I angering God by being out of balance? I ask that as an honest question – not out of fear that I am angering him. I’m going to pray more and take it one day at a time. Praise God for his greatness and mercy. I love God and thank him for his revelations to me.