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“An Image Better Than Adam’s!” Isaiah 59:1-8 Key verse(s): 1-2:“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear.”
Oh if we could but live one day as Adam and Eve. Have you ever wished this? If you could but experience for even the briefest moment the joy and complete satisfaction that must have been manifest in the lives of our first parents before they fell into sin. They walked innocent, naked and in complete communion with God their Father. Disharmony, sorrow, fretfulness, and anger were unknown to them. Doubtless they cried; but their tears could only have been as those which flow from a feeling of complete contentment and happiness. Their state was one of total cooperation, unswerving commitment and consuming love both for each other and for God. Created in holiness, they dwelled within its tent, secured and warmed by its amazing completeness and immeasurable capacity to grant happiness and promise. Adam and Eve were the lucky ones. They were created in pure holiness, a state which we have never experienced. We can only speculate what it must have been like. Can you imagine a day in your life when, in the presence of a person, even someone that you love with all your heart and soul, you do not harbor a single wrong thought or secure even the faintest glimmer of jealousy or resentment? Those little irritating thoughts that cross our minds constantly, the ones that are there for but an instant and then gone, would never happen. In a sinless world people would never know bitterness or envy. They would dwell apart from comparisons and they would have no need for justice. All these things would be made meaningless in the absence of sin.
Truly Adam and Eve were more fortunate than we. Unfallen man had in his possession the power of sinlessness, the ability to live in complete harmony with others and with God. Oh to be like them if but for an instant! We could throw off this coil of sorrow and woe. Our worst enemies would be our best friends. Our worst obsessions would be trivialized in the presence of such perfect promise and hope. Our worst fears would become nothing more than idle thought. To walk hand in hand with the Almighty God, Creator of the universe, if but for a moment, would be a thrill beyond expression. To step back into the world of Adam and Eve prior to Satan’s appearance would just have to be the one experience that nothing in this life could top. Or, would it be? Is there yet a state that could compare or, better yet, surpass this? How could there be anything surpassing to the joy and completeness our first parents must have experience before Eve took the apple and Adam placed his lips upon it? To be in a state of created holiness, holding the very hand of the One who made you and kept you each day; how could there be anything better than that?
When God created man the Bible tells us that He made man a little lower than the angels but in a state of complete holiness. God created man in His image to dwell in holiness and rule over the entirety of His creation. He did not, however, create man in equity to Himself. It was in His image He made us, not in His essence. Man was holy indeed. But, their was One to whom all things were subjugated and under whose domain the entire universe bowed down. That was and is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. There was no equity between Adam and Christ beyond the knowledge of sin. Although Adam lived in sinlessness at first, he had the capacity to sin later. Christ, the sinless Son of God, possessed power over sin. Not only did he live without sin, He dwelt in complete dominion over it. In that respect, Adam and Eve, bereft of the ability to defeat sin, could never know the power, the perfected love, that dwelt within the essence of Jesus Christ. Only Christ has power and authority over sin. Would it not make sense, therefore, to aspire to this greater power, one superior to the holiness of our first parents? To claim the authority over sin would be a greater power than the ignorance of it. C. S. Lewis writes, “Whatever may have been the powers of unfallen man, it appears that hose of redeemed Man will be almost unlimited. Christ, re-ascending from his great dive, is brining up Human Nature with Him. Where He goes, it goes too. It will be made “like Him.” (Miracles, chap. 15, para. 5, p. 135)
You and I in this sense are far better off than Adam and Eve. Even though we know sin, we aspire to a holiness even greater than theirs; the holiness of Christ Himself. Through the Holy Spirit we grow in this grace daily. When Christ descended into Hell to claim victory over the sin that Adam brought into the world, he arose with such a force and shout that we too are taken up with Him and made holy in that ascension to the throne of God. There can be no greater aspiration than this. To be like Christ would be far better than to be like Adam.
James Duncan, preaching with great unction and power, was asked what was the secret of such powerful preaching. "The secret," he said, was "thirteen hours of consecutive prayer." When asked the secret of his spiritual power, Charles Spurgeon said: "Knee work! Knee work!" Livingston of Shotts, on two different occasions, preached with such power that in each service 500 were converted. Both sermons were preceded by a night of prayer. Charles Finney, after spending a day in the woods in prayer and fasting, preached that night in a phenomenally irreligious congregation. The sermon was accompanied by such divine power that...