The First Gospel

Transcript Search
Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:17:43
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

Genesis 3:14-15

Dec 17, 1927 8 year old S class submarine conducting tests off coast of MA.
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 2273 Any Hope of Rescue?

2273 Any Hope Of Rescue?

Someone has said that if you could convince a man there was no hope, he would curse the day he was born. Hope is an indispensable quality of life.

Years ago the S-4 submarine was rammed by another ship and quickly sank. The entire crew was trapped in its prison house of death. Ships rushed to the scene of disaster off the coast of Massachusetts. We don’t know what took place down in the sunken submarine, but we can be sure that the men clung bravely to life as the oxygen slowly gave out.

A diver placed his helmeted ear to the side of the vessel and listened. He heard a tapping noise. Someone, he learned, was tapping out a question in the dots and dashes of the Morse Code. The question came slowly: “Is … there … any … hope?”

This seems to be the cry of humanity: “Is there any hope?” Hope, indeed, is the basis of all human existence in Christ!

The world is desperately seeking something to put hope in—its been that way for 1000s of years. It tries governments and politicians, economies, religion, even putting hope in self—but it always fails. There is a hopelessness that categorizes the unbelieving world. Even believers (who have hope) lose sight of their hope at times. So we gravitate back to the ways of the world forgetting that our hope is sure.
Biblical hope is the anticipation of the fulfillment of something promised. It is unlike the world’s definition which is a desire for something to happen. The believer’s hope rests in the trustworthiness of God to keep His promises. And what has He promised?
Romans 8:28–31 NASB95
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
This is the hope of the gospel—those whom God has called He justifies, sanctifies, glorifies (Paul uses all past tense to show the certainty of its outcome). But for the final outcome of God’s promises we wait, and in doing so join the long list of saints who persevere under difficult circumstances.
Genesis 49:18 (NASB95) Jacob to his sons...
18 “For Your salvation I wait, O Lord.
Psalm 37:7–9 NASB95
7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. 8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. 9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
Isaiah 25:8–9 NASB95
8 He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. 9 And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
Lamentations 3:25–26 NASB95
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. 26 It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the Lord.
Romans 8:25 NASB95
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Galatians 5:5 NASB95
5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
Hebrews 6:11–15 NASB95
11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” 15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.
James 5:7–11 NASB95
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
In the midst of the hopelessness our world encounters—and though we will (as Xns) all face times of difficulty (since we live in a broken world) we have the promise of God and the constant reminder of His trustworthiness and eagerly wait for the fulfillment of those promises—that is the essence of the Xn gospel.
Now, in Genesis 3, as we’ve been studying the impact of the fall on Adam & Eve (and even ourselves), we noticed last time how God gently draws Adam out of hiding to take responsibility for HIs defiance of God’s commandment. While Adam admits he did indeed ate of the tree he passed the buck of responsibility on his wife and ultimately back to God. God asked Eve what she had done and she followed the example of her husband and place responsibility for her actions on the serpent.
God now proceeds to pass sentence on the guilty parties beginning with the serpent.
“cursed...” There are only 2 places in Scripture where God Himself verbalizes a curse (cursed are you…Gen 4:11) most times the cursing is done by another human in God’s name. In the Bible to curse someone is to invoke God’s judgment on someone for a particular offense. The one cursed might expect all kinds of misfortune to befall them and it was generally held that curses were automatically effective (Num 22:6). As anything with the sovereignty of God in view a curse was dependent upon God’s will so when He does curse someone it is guaranteed. A curse in the Bible is serious and when issued by Yahweh—it teaches us the severity of this event in the garden.
Here, Moses is pointing out 2 characteristics of God’s response to the serpent. And though God is speaking and cursing the serpent there is another aspect in which God is punishing Satan for his role in deceiving the woman.

I. The Features of the Curse

“to the serpent...” As God begins to address the serpent he does not ask a question as He did with the man and woman. There is only a curse and there are 2 objects of this curse: 1st the serpent, then Satan—the supernatural evil behind the actions of the serpent (remember back to the beginning of ch 3 serpent is either possessed by Satan or Satan takes the form of serpent).
The earliest Jewish interpretation was given in the LXX (3rd C BC) which takes the serpent to be Satan. The NT agrees:
Romans 16:20 NASB95
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
Revelation 12:9 NASB95
9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
2 Cor 11 Paul expresses his concern that some believers would be led astray from the simplicity of devotion to Christ just as Eve was deceived by the serpent. In a passage warning against false apostles Paul ultimately portrays Satan as the energizing evil behind them as one who disguises himself as an angel of light (context Gen 3 serpent=Satan).
2 objects to the curse: the serpent and Satan. The first feature:

A. Humiliation

Animals that caused injury to humans or which abused or perverted the created order were to be judged strictly and put to death.
Exodus 21:28 NASB95
28 “If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished.
Sometimes animals were used for such vile immorality that the only remedy was death.
Leviticus 20:15–16 NASB95
15 ‘If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal. 16 ‘If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.
God’s curse upon the the serpent is similar b/c of the injury it brought upon humanity. While it did not result in death the punishment was great.
vs 14: There are a couple of interpretations of this passage that I’ll mention. The first is that the result of this curse was that the serpent was condemned to crawl on its belly in the dust. It is believed by many that the serpent was initially created with legs like other reptiles but were consigned to slither on the ground.
Others suggest this is merely symbolic language and not suggesting an original upright posture of the serpent but a new significance of the snake crawling on it belly. Whichever you prefer (only speculation) the eating of dust all the days of its life signifies utter humiliation.
Psalm 72:9 NASB95
9 Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust.
Isaiah 29:4 (NASB95) Jerusalem would be humbled to the dust
4 Then you will be brought low; From the earth you will speak, And from the dust where you are prostrate Your words will come. Your voice will also be like that of a spirit from the ground, And your speech will whisper from the dust.
In the day of salvation for Israel—the enemies of God:
Micah 7:16–17 NASB95
16 Nations will see and be ashamed Of all their might. They will put their hand on their mouth, Their ears will be deaf. 17 They will lick the dust like a serpent, Like reptiles of the earth. They will come trembling out of their fortresses; To the Lord our God they will come in dread And they will be afraid before You.
This is humiliation and it is a feature of God’s curse upon the serpent. Further humiliation is evidenced in the fact that the serpent was cursed “more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field.”
These animals were also subjected to the curse—as is all creation b/c of Adam’s sin.
Romans 8:20 NASB95
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
And as such it is enslaved to corruption (Rom 8:21). As we’ll note next time weeds and thorns will result in making life extremely difficult for mankind. On the surface it appears that all creation begins to overstep its original design and the result is extreme difficulty for all of us. From things that are imperceptible to our eyes (germs, viruses) to major disasters—hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc…creation itself has become destructive—making our lives dangerous.
Romans 8:22 NASB95
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
The serpent bares the brunt of the curse of the whole creation…being cursed “more than.”

B. Exile

The 2nd feature is the direct result of the curse being banishment from the place of blessing—the Garden. And what we see in vs 15 is a perpetual hostility between the serpent and the human race (enmity—to be an enemy or treat as one). Both parties would see the other as the enemy and they would both be fighting against each other. Moses’ language of “bruising” indicates that there would be repeated attacks by both sides to bring injury to the other. Indeed there has been a deep-seated mutual hostility between mankind and the serpent race.
The image of a snake repulses most of you. Calvin writes in his commentary “It is regarded, as among prodigies, that some take pleasure in them; and as often as the sight of a serpent inspires us with horror, the memory of our fall is renewed.” That’s what we ought to remember when we see a serpent. We ought to remember the fall, the corruption of mankind. But it should serve as another reminder that was part of this curse as well: “all the days of your life.” Nothing would change for the serpent. But as I mentioned earlier, the serpent is Satan. While the physical serpent was brought low in the curse, Satan’s ultimate fate is prophesied here b/c for him there can be no deliverance.
There is here, in God’s curse what has been termed by the early church the “Protoevangelium” (The First Gospel). The first preachers and teachers after the apostles (like Justin Martyr and Irenaeus) preached that the woman’s seed—referring to Christ would crush the head of the Satan. This is how the church has interpreted Gen 3. There is much more to the account Moses writes than just the perpetual conflict b/t humanity and snakes and where humanity would emerge as the victors. There is the ultimate triumph—the promise of defeat of Satan (remember Satan’s “I wills”?) God says “you will eat dust all the days of your life…bruise head”.

II. The Fulfillment of the Promise

I want you to note 4 observations about God’s promise of Satan’s crushing defeat.

Seed of the Woman

Why did the early church interpret Gen 3 this way and see in it the First Gospel of the Bible? It actually was interpreted this way before the birth of Christ. In the LXX the Jewish scholars who translated the Hebrew into Greek interpreted the word “seed” as a single person not to the woman’s general offspring. “He will bruise...” Moses is writing about a specific individual who would deal a deathblow to the serpent’s head. Since we have the fulness of God’s progressive revelation we understand this must be a reference to LJC—the incarnate Son of God. He was the promised seed of the woman.
Now this is interesting language since normally the offspring are spoken of as the seed of the fathers. But here could be a subtle reference to Christ’s virgin birth since His only Father was God.
Galatians 3:16 NASB95
16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.

Enmity Between Satan and Christ

vs 15 indicates the on-going, continuous conflict b/t Satan and LJC. The Bible details this hostility from Gen 3-Rev 20. Satan sets his anger against Christ and opposes God’s plan to redeemed fallen humanity every step of the way. He tried before the flood, and again tried to unite humanity against God at Babel. He was there to disrupt the promises to Abraham and the rest of nation—eve tried to exterminate the Jewish race during Esther—not his only time). When Christ was born he attempted to murder the baby—thru Herod. Then as Jesus began His public ministry the battle was intensified and Satan began to influence others to take the life of Jesus prematurely. At one point Satan tried to stop the progression to the cross (thru Peter—Mt 16:23). Then when that failed he worked tirelessly to bring about the murder of God’s Son.

Christ Would Suffer

It is important to note that the word “bruise” (strike/crush) is the same Heb word used for both Satan’s actions and Christ’s. The victory is determined by the site of the bruising. Satan would indeed bruise the heel of Christ (picturing the many attempts to thwart the redemptive purpose of God thruout human history—including Calvary).
Isaiah 53:5 NASB95
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Christ’s suffering and death are only momentary and yet not as severe as the bruising Satan will encounter from the seed of the woman (bruise head).

Christ Will Prevail

In fact, in every way the victory has already been achieved b/c of the perfect obedience of the Son to the will of the Father. The victory was secured at the cross and by means of His resurrection Christ
Ephesians 4:8 (NASB95) Ps 68:18
8 Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.”
Christ conquered Satan and death and in His triumph march He brought to God those who were once sinners and prisoners of Satan.
While this victory is achieved and secured—we are waiting its final consummation spoken of in Rev 20.
You can see why this is “The First Gospel.”
The consequences of Adam’s sin (in view of Satan’s participation) will be reversed by the seed of the woman—Christ. It would be necessary to redeem Adam’s race from this fallen condition and reconcile them back to the Creator. So it was, LJC took their guilt and sin upon Himself and was punished for them.
1 Peter 2:24 NASB95
24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
Isaiah 53:4–5 NASB95
4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Hebrews 9:28 NASB95
28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB95
21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Romans 16:20 NASB95
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
This is the gospel—the GOOD NEWS! Even while God was pronouncing the curse on account of sin, He was offering hope.
Hope—the anticipation of the fulfillment something that has been promised—and it is grounded in the trustworthiness of God to keep His promises. Has He been faithful?
Then you who are looking for hope—put your trust in Christ today for even the most degraded and miserable sinner who trusts in Jesus will be saved.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more