Sunday Service: The Cherubim and the Flaming Sword Guard the Way to the Tree of Life

14 July, 2019 – Berlin Immanuel Church continued with the study on Genesis 3 this Sunday with Genesis 3:20-24. Adam and Eve were banished from Eden, the place where life was picking the fruit, life of fulness of joy and peace that came from the communion they had with God. But after they sinned they find themselves outside of the garden, facing toil, hardship, insecurity and death. They are in the wilderness of life and the access to the tree of life is blocked. It’s important that we don’t misunderstand God and know why we are in this position. We are not meant to be on the outside, and yet here we are, banished by God. Adam believed, just as all mankind after him, that he didn’t need God, that he had a glory of his own. But God reminds him in verse 23 that he came from the ground he now has to work and he will return to it. He thought the knowledge of good and evil would make him like god, but this knowledge he obtained was different from God’s. God who is holy and in whom there is no evil looks at it from the outside, objectively, he remains unchanged, holy and righteous. But man was changed once for all by this knowledge, that became subjective, the evil became part of him (Rom 7:14-23.) And it’s the hardest thing for people to admit, that the sin is not only in their actions, but that in our core, we are sinners, we are ungodly and unworthy. We love the idea that somehow we are good and right and all that needs to be fixed is on the outside, then we will be perfectly happy.

In verse 22, Adam’s hand reaches out to the tree of life, and he would still avoid the consequences of his sin if he could, he would have both the fruit of the tree of life and the knowledge, having all the blessings and joy, but never really having to submit to God. But Bible makes it clear that the idea is foolish, there is no true happiness and fulness of life apart from our union with God. No sinner can enter the holy place, the presence of God, without being destroyed, no sinner can avoid the righteous judgement of God and His wrath against sin (Rom 2:5-8). But God doesn’t abandon us, he doesn’t leave us out there. Through a sacrifice of blood he clothes Adam in skin to provide protection in the wilderness (Gen 3:21.) His banishment is unto toil not torture and destruction. God allows Adam to face the consequences of his sin and to see himself for who he really is as he works the ground from which he was taken.
Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1 that God gave us over to our sinful desires and depraved minds to take their course in us (Rom 1:28), but not as to give up on us, but so that we may repent and seek His mercy. And before the covenant of grace, he establishes first the covenant of works, the law, to show us the seriousness of the sin (Rom 3:19-20), to show us that it is impossible for us to be truly righteous apart from God, and that we completely depend on his grace (Romans 5:20-21.) And so what was impossible for us, God has made possible through Christ. It is God only who justifies a sinner, he is our holiness and righteousness (Rom 3:21-26.) It is only through Jesus Christ that we have access to the tree of life by grace, through faith only and not by works. So there is nothing in ourselves we can boast about, but we do boast in the Son of God who gave his life for us, and approach the holy throne of God with confidence as we stand in his grace and glory (Rom 5:1-2.)