Posted in , , ,

Potent Prooftext: Certainly to Us

17 May 2011 by David

Q. 21. Did man continue in that estate wherein God at first created him?
A. Our first parents being left to the freedom of their own will, through the temptation of Satan, transgressed the commandment of God in eating the forbidden fruit; and thereby fell from the estate of innocency wherein they were created.

Q. 22. Did all mankind fall in that first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam as a public person, not for himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in that first transgression.

Q. 23. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.

For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. —2 Corinthians 11:2–3

The catechism question has a simple answer: No, they sinned. The end. Write it down in history, for the record, Genesis 3. Next question.

But we need to pause here to consider the implications for us. Does this have relevance for the New Testament Christian, or are we, in Christ, safe from the wiles of the serpent? Paul answers in the negative. Not only are we now sinners in the line of Adam, but potential dupes in the line of Eve. And by “we,” I am talking to us, all of us, including Christians, to whom Paul addresses his concern. Paul is worried that, like Eve, we — you and I — might be taken in by sophisticated rhetoric and deceived. Our trust in the pure gospel of Jesus Christ might be compromised.

This text brings a warning to our fallen minds: You are not immune to deceit; you can be fooled. If it could happen to Adam and Eve, who were created without sin and walked with God in the cool of the day, it can happen to us. If it could happen to the Galatians, “before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified,” it can certainly happen to us.

The text also displays the gracious disciplining hand of God. While we are susceptible to the seductive lies of the enemy, God is faithful to protect us from ourselves — in this case, through the loving words of the Apostle. Or we might require the harsher, after-the-fact rebuke: “You foolish Galatians!” One thing is certain: whether by warning, rebuke, or chastisement (Hebrews 12:6), God will save his saints. Otherwise, we would surely fall.

Understanding this will cause us to fall to our knees, bereft of all pride and self-sufficiency, before the Lord who is righteously jealous for our love and devotion, in daily repentance and faith, with the simple and pure devotion that Christ so zealously demands.