The Gospel in Genesis (Part 1)

Genesis 3:15

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Luther’s Commentary
“It is on Satan that this sentence is pronounced, as his final judgment. It is Satan that is here placed before God’s tribunal. For God here speaks to the serpent in far different language from that which he used toward Adam and Eve, when he called them back in love from their sin. His language then was, ‘Where art thou?’ ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked?’ All these particulars indicate the love of God towards the whole human race; showing forth that God will seek after man and will call him back after he has sinned, that he may reason with him and hear what he has to say…in these same words of his judgment, there is set before the godly their strong consolation…for out of these very words of God to Satan, there begin to shine forth grace and mercy; yea, out of the very midst of that anger, which sin and disobedience had so righteously kindled. It is here in the very midst of the heaviest threatenings, that the mind of the Father discloses itself; of a Father, not so angry as to cast away his Son, but holding out salvation, yea, promising victory over that enemy, who had thus deceived and conquered human nature.” 
“For though both had sinned in the fall, Satan especially, and man through Satan, yet the judgments now pronounced upon Satan and upon man are widely different. God does not join them together in one and the same punishment, as he might righteously have done. He makes the widest distinction between them. For although he is angry with man also, who obeyed the enemy of God, disregarding God himself, yet the divine indignation against Satan is by far the greater. Satan, God plainly convicts and condemns in the sight of Adam and Eve, so that Adam and Eve, from this very condemnation of their enemy, might have a little time to recover their breath; and might feel how much more blessed their condition was than that of Satan. The first part of the great consolation here graciously given lies in this: that the serpent was accused and cursed and together with the serpent Satan also, for Adam and Eve’s sake. Not so much for Satan’s judgment and condemnation, as for Adam and Eve’s comfort and salvation.” 
“Wherefore, by this judgment of Satan that sun of consolation, which had been just before hidden as it wore behind the darkness of certain heavy clouds, now rises above those clouds and shines with its most heavenly light on the affrighted hearts of Adam and Eve. For they not only do not hear themselves cursed, as the serpent was, but they hear God declare, that he has put them into the ranks of a constituted army against their condemned foe; and that too with the hope of an almighty help, which the Son of God the Seed of the woman should bring unto them. By this therefore the remission of their sins and their full reception into grace were plainly revealed to Adam and Eve; who were thus perfectly freed from their sin and guilt, redeemed from death, and delivered from **** and from all those terrors under which they were utterly sinking in the sight of God.” 
“This first great consolation therefore our first parents and their posterity searched into and learned with all diligence, as being the original fountain and the fountain head as it were of all the promises. It was in this manner therefore that Adam and Eve understood this text and comforted themselves against sin and despair by the revealed hope of this future crushing of the serpent’s head, by Christ, the Seed of the woman. And through this, their hope in the promise thus given unto them, they shall also rise again at the last day unto life eternal.”
Martin Luther. Luther on the Creation: A Critical and Devotional Commentary on Genesis [1-3] (Kindle Locations 5346-5484).

Christus Victor

The gospel is like the sun with its brilliance, glory, and diverse rays of light. Every beam of light from the gospel sun is a different facet of gospel glory. There is the beam of redemption, reconciliation, justification and propitiation. Each beam of gospel light tells us something unique about God, ourselves, sin, and salvation. Christus Victor is another ray of gospel light. It focuses on Christ, our Warrior who comes to wage war on all that threatens our eternal well being. Here are are a few texts that focus on this angle.

  1. Hebrews 2:14-16- “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.”
  2. Colossians 2:13-15- “Having forgiven us all our trespasses,  by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
  3. 1 John 3:8- “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
My heart has been overwhelmed with gratitude for the gospel as I have given attention to this theme. God is a Warrior. When Jesus comes in the flesh he is showing us the glory of God’s warrior-like strength and zeal. I love this.

God’s Military Campaign Against Death

Death is one of the greatest enemies of mankind. Throughout Scripture it is personified as an unstoppable power and force before which all mankind must eventually bow. I was struck this morning by this text in 1 Timothy that puts a fresh spin on why the gospel is good news. According to Paul, the appearing of our Savior “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim 1:10). The gospel is the message about how God the Warrior campaigns against death our great enemy. It is through the gospel—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the God-man—that death is put to death. Death is abolished, rendered powerless, and brought to nothing through the work of Jesus. How was such a great conqueror brought to his knees by the Nazarene? Jesus took death head on and was swallowed whole by it in order to destroy it from the inside out. Death thought it could hold Jesus and therefore swallowed him greedily like any other man. But death could not hold this man. Death imploded when the God-man sat up in the tomb. Death was rendered powerless and conquered when Jesus unwrapped his burial garments and stood victorious over the empty tomb. Like the whale that swallowed Jonah could not keep him in his belly so the grave forced by the omnipotent hand of God had to spew forth the Son of God. The consequence of the death and resurrection of Christ was the gift of life and immortality. Not only was death destroyed but the gift of immunity from death was granted. Immortality is something that belongs to God alone. The gospel brings with it the gift of an indestructible, incorruptible, and enduring life. The quality of the Triune life marked by freedom from death is graciously extended to mortal human beings through the gospel. The good news here is that God has waged war on death and he has defeated it in order to give us a life free from its dominion.