Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From a conversation with Brother Paul C.
God loved Adam. He created him, and then spent many days walking with him “in the cool of the evening”, teaching him, showing him His creation, and just being his friend. He freely gave Adam dominion over the whole earth that He had created, keeping only one small thing on earth from the first man: the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When Adam followed his wife’s suggestion and ate of the forbidden fruit, he did more than disobey God. He betrayed his best friend, the One who had freely given him all things and trusted him with the care of the earth.
Until my conversation with Brother Paul, I had always read the story of God casting Adam out of the garden of Eden from Adam’s point of view. But Paul brought to my attention how God must have felt when He cast Adam out of the garden. God cast him out, and then God set cherubs at the gate, and a flaming sword that turned in every direction to keep Adam away from his former home, forever. It must have broken God’s heart to watch Adam and Eve sorrowfully walking away. God loved Adam.
When, after gaining the knowledge of good and evil, Adam realized that he was naked and hid from God, God’s love for Adam remained constant. He grieved over Adam’s sin; nevertheless, He made clothes for Adam to wear so that he would not feel ashamed. And when He cast him out of the garden, He said something that is often overlooked when the story is read. He said that He was casting Adam and Eve out of the garden because doing so was what was best for them (Gen. 3:22-23).
Once Adam was defiled with forbidden knowledge, God wanted to protect Adam from the tree of life, “lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” Had Adam eaten of the tree of life after he ate the forbidden fruit, he might have remained forever in the fallen state he was in. God sent Adam away from the tree of life because he loved Adam, to prevent Adam from becoming irreversibly stained. God sent Adam away from the tree of life so that He could save him.
That The Spirit Might Be Saved
Shepherds of the “flock of God” on earth bear a degree of responsibility such as God bore concerning Adam. It isn’t safe for disobedient members of the body of Christ to be allowed at the fountain from which the body drinks when they gather. In extreme cases, it is best for disobedient believers to be put out of the Assembly, to be prevented — protected, really — from drinking of the water of life while condemnation is in their hearts. The law of Moses showed that drinking holy water from God’s temple could kill if there was condemnation in the heart of the person who drank (Num. 5:11-31). When Paul heard that an immoral young man was being allowed to continue to worship with the saints in Corinth, Paul wrote the Assembly and demanded that they repent and cast out the transgressor, and that he be handed over to Satan “that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1Cor. 5:5). Paul knew that it was extremely dangerous for that sinner to eat the manna of heaven and drink the waters of life with the saints, and that he would have a better chance of pleasing God if he were removed from the presence of God’s people. Did Paul hate the young man? Of course not. He was giving him his best chance to meet God in peace.
There was no government in Corinth, and so, there was no standard of holiness enforced. Consequently, there were many guilty spirits in the congregation who drank regularly of the water of life. The results were just as anyone would have predicted who knew the law of God. “Because of this,” Paul wrote, “many are feeble and sick among you, and quite a few have fallen asleep.” And he added this admonition: “Let a man examine himself; only then is he to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks condemnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
God loves us, even when He has to be severe in His dealings with us. He will go with us until the end, doing whatever gives us our best hope of eternal life. The ungodly cannot see the burning love that was there when Adam was cast out of the garden, and they may not see the love that will cast them out, either, when there is God’s brand of government among His people.
“I Still Love You the Same”
— April 19, 2007 —
Years unremembered before I knew you —
Oh! The times we shared,
As if all I did was create you anew.
But here we are; did you ever care?
Since you left Me, time has rolled by. . .
Or, my friend, has it at all?
Come to me, lest you die.
Will you hear My gentle call?
I still love you the same,
As the day we first met.
I never did anything to turn you away,
But forgave you of your debt.
And then you owed Me your life, your feelings,
Yet I’m still calling your name.
To tell you from the depths of My heart,
That I still love you the same.
You thought you had moved on, to bigger, better things.
You thought you had played the highest card —
You thought My pain couldn’t change.
But the moment I knew what you had done,
The moment you laughed at me,
I saw the end of your sin, your shame,
A light recreating my victory,
Because I still loved you.
So this light is burning in My soul
It protects Me from the hatred you chose,
That sin and the cold.
The holiness — the fire — it burns;
Into the sky it reaches. It keeps My feelings warm,
So that when you come back to me,
Like wax I’ll cover, reshape you;
I’ll command you — breathe!