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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of June 12, 2017

Because of Christ's death, you can be adopted by the Father you rejected, forgiven by the Husband you cheated on, and embraced by the Friend you betrayed.

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the authors of Scripture use the images of a father and his child, a husband and his wife, and a friend and his companion to describe the relationship between God and his people.

According to Genesis 1 and 2, when God created the first human being, Adam, God breathed into him the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). In a very profound sense, Adam was a son of God (see Luke 3:38). In Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, the son takes his inheritance and runs away from his father because he is seeking joy and pleasure in a very different lifestyle. Similarly, Adam inherited a beautiful paradise, but by trying to become like God (Genesis 3:5), Adam rejected the Father who breathed life into him.

In addition to using father and son language to describe God and his people, Scripture uses the language of marriage: Just as a marriage is commenced in vows so also the relationship between God and his people is sanctified in covenantal vows. God made a covenant with the nation of Israel: "I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people" (Leviticus 26:12). God remained faithful, but his people cheated on him; they slept with the gods of other nations such that the Lord sent prophets to call back his adulterous people: "'Return, faithless people,' declares the Lord, 'for I am your husband'" (Jeremiah 3:14). (See also Isaiah 54:5-6; Jeremiah 3:20; 31:32; Ezekiel 16:32.)

By rejecting our Father and cheating on our Husband, we became "an enemy of God" (James 4:4), helpless in the face of his wrath (Romans 1:18, 2:5).

But God, in his great love and unswerving commitment to his covenant, did not give up on the child who rejected him, the wife who cheated on him, and the friend who betrayed him. God could not overlook our sins, but instead sent his son, Jesus, to absorb God's wrath against all those who had rejected and betrayed him. While we were still sinners and enemies, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Through Christ's death, you, by faith, can be adopted as a child of God (Romans 8:14-17, James 4:4-5). Because of Christ's work on the Cross, the Father can celebrate "for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15:24).

As God's adopted children from every race, ethnicity, society, and people-group, we are his people. Just as a husband and wife are united and become one flesh, so also, we, God's people, will be united with Christ in a new marriage covenant when he returns (Ephesians 5:31-32, Revelation 19:6-9).

Finally, because Christ, through his obedient life and sacrificial death, absorbed the wrath of God, you, if you have placed your faith in Christ, are no longer an enemy of God. You have an entirely new identity. Now, instead of being an enemy, you are, like Abraham, a friend of God (James 2:23).

What good news! The wonderful grace that defines Christianity is all about being pursued and adopted by the Father we rejected, being forgiven by the husband we cheated on, and being embraced by the Friend we betrayed. And when we think about this amazing grace, there is no room for anything but completely unavoidable rejoicing.

The first Adam was a man who tried to play God; the second Adam was God who became man.

Genesis 3 records the story of Adam, the first human being created by God, who tried to "be like God" (verse 5). By attempting to become God, Adam sinned, and as a result every single one of us became condemned by God as a sinner: "one trespass [the sin committed by Adam] resulted in condemnation for all people" (Romans 5:18).

In essence, Adam was our representative before God. He sinned, and his sin was imputed (i.e., attributed, given) to us. Adam's sin was counted against us such that we became an enemy of God.

Fortunately for us, God did not leave us hopelessly in our sin condemned justly by his wrath; instead, he demonstrated his unfailing love for us by sending his son, the second person of the Trinity, to die for our sins offering a way for us to escape his wrath (Romans 5:8).

God, himself, became man (Philippians 2:6-8), and bore all our sins. Paul puts it like this: "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Just as through Adam's disobedience his sin is imputed to us, so also through Christ's obedience his righteousness is imputed to us. The first Adam tried to become like God, and, in so doing, every human being became an enemy of God. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, is God who became man, and, in so doing, he opened the door for every other human being to be reborn as a friend of God.

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