In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Previously we’ve been looking at God’s providence, particularly to humans in the beginning. Thus we saw that God initially provided humans with paradise, dominion over creation, marriage, God himself and rest. Today I want to look at how God also provided humans with a covenant of life.
After God made the first human Adam, he made a promise to him that he would live forever if he kept the condition of being personally perfect in obedience forever. God placed two trees in the garden as a pledge of this promise: ‘And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground–trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (Genesis 2:9). God then gave instructions to Adam on how he was to be obedient, including a particular command that he was not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil: ‘And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die”‘ (Genesis 2:16-17).
Sadly Adam did not keep God’s contract stipulations nor has any human since Adam. As a result, no one lives forever in this world. We all die, for as Paul says: ‘For the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23).
But what I have just said is not quite true. There has been one who has kept God’s law perfectly, Jesus Christ. Speaking of Jesus, the author of Hebrews says ‘But we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin’ (Hebrews 4:15). Now that’s all very nice for Jesus, but the wonderful thing is that through Christ’s obedience we too can be made righteous and live eternally. Paul says: ‘through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous’ (Romans 5:19). Thus if we trust in Jesus for our righteousness then we can have eternal life through him – God counts us as righteous, not unrighteous. John says ‘God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son’ (1 John 5:11).
So do you recognise that you have personally failed to keep the contract God made with humans? Do you trust in Jesus’ perfect obedience to the contract so that you can have eternal life in him?