Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Eve

Satan’s Tactics for Bringing Us Down

Satan doesn’t have new tactics. He doesn’t need them. The process of temptation and fall into sin and its consequences looks the same so much of the time.

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Some Practical Tips for Fighting Temptation

 Learning from Those Who’ve Failed

The first few chapters of the Bible give us good insight into the ways that sin & temptation work. Adam and Eve fail. Their children and their grandchildren after them fail. How was it that sin worked to bring them down and what can we learn?

Here are just a couple practical suggestions for fighting temptation as gleaned from Genesis 3-4.

1. Get Outside Perspective

The power of temptation is bound up in the moment. In the rush of debate, Eve didn’t pause to consider the ramifications of questioning God’s words. She didn’t ask Adam, ‘Hey what did God actually say anyway?’ Still less did she think to herself, ‘Maybe we should ask God for some clarity on why we can’t have the fruit from this tree.’ But part of the lure of the temptation to sin is the seductive voice that says, ‘You determine right & wrong for yourself. You make your own laws.’

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Don’t Pastor Like Adam

This should go without saying, but we must not pastor like Adam. It should go without saying, but because we live in a fallen world, and our hearts are prone to forgetting what we know, I need to remind myself not to pastor like Adam.

Adam Had a Charge

In Genesis 2, when Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden he was given a specific command by God. As the ‘priest and protector’ of the  Garden (the dwelling place of God with man), and the one who had received the commission directly, Adam was to ensure that as he ‘filled the earth and subdued it’, those who filled the earth knew of this command.
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The Interplay of Science and Biblical Interpretation

Studying and preaching the opening chapters of Genesis over the past little while has forced me to think about the relationship of science and biblical interpretation all over again. It was with great interest that I read Richard Belcher’s review of C. John Collins’ new book, Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? (HT: Challies)

I have not read Collins’ book, so I’m in no position to comment on it (spoiler alert: Collins affirms the historical existence of Adam & Eve). But something Belcher said stuck out to me.
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On the Creation of Women

In the beginning God created all things, but according to Genesis 1, the climax of God’s creation was humanity. God literally ‘saved the best for last.’ He made them alike, male and female, in his image, after his likeness. He created them with distinct beauty and inherent value and dignity. They were (and are) equal, but different.

Does the Bible Attribute Less Value to Women?

Sometimes skeptics try to make the case that the Bible runs women down of makes little of women. In my study last week, however, I was reminded of just the opposite. Here, in point form, are some of the evidences from the creation account of how highly Scripture views women.
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Humility

I have written often on this site on the topic of humility (all posts on humility) and that’s for good reason. It’s not because I’m an expert on it, or because I am humble, but because I know it’s what I need to become.

There is no virtue I need to grow in more than humility. There is nothing God hates more than pride. There is nothing that welcomes his favour more than humility. And yet, even after all these years as a Christian and a pastor, there is no sin more pervasive or more powerful in my life than pride.

The more I’ve thought about humility and seen God’s affections for pride and humility throughout Scripture, the more I’ve realized that this is a big deal. In fact, one could very well say the whole story-line of the Bible hangs on the battle of pride vs humility.

In the Beginning, Adam…

The temptation of Adam and Eve is the starting place for this battle. They were put in the Garden happy, naked, successful, knowing and being known. But along comes the crafty old serpent who tempts Eve (in Adam’s presence).

The temptation is multi-pronged, but at least on one level Satan appeals to pride:

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3.4-5)

Satan essentially tells Adam and Eve that equality with God is something to be grasped at and achieved. God is trying to keep them back from what they could be. If they listen to him, they will be like God.

Of course, they gave in to the temptation and all of humanity was cursed both with their guilt and with their nature. Ever since then, every human ever born has believed in their inherent goodness and their right to not be dominated by a ‘god’. Humans have, throughout history, contended with God for his supremacy. Just like Adam and Eve, we were and are proud.

And Being Found in Human Form…

The story of Christ is the story of God taking on human form, becoming a man. He was the only innocent man since Adam. He was the only man who ever lived who could legitimately claim equality with God. And yet, rather than contending for supremacy the way the first Adam did, he humbled himself:

… though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2.6-8)

Christ, who legitimately held glory, who alone has equality with God, didn’t cling to it. He didn’t fight to be equal with God. He humbled himself and obeyed.

The Divine Dare

The Divine Dare throughout Scripture is to take God at his word: to risk everything on him, believing that he will fulfill his promises. This is what we read again and again throughout the OT Scriptures, as God longs to show favour to his people:

… if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chron 7.14)

And Jesus himself knows the dare:

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt 23.12)

But Jesus alone is the only one to actually faithfully and completely trust God, willingly humbling himself to the point of losing everything: glory, honour, praise of people, riches, adoration, comfort, wealth, even life itself.

The Payoff

Of course God kept his word. His Son, who humbled himself, taking the divine dare, casting all his hope on God, was rewarded:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Phil 2.9-11)

The honour he was willing to sacrifice in not clinging to equality with God is returned to him. He is blessed with the highest honour of all honours: he is given the name of God, welcomed to the throne of God, and honoured as God.

The Call to Follow

The call to humility is the call to follow Jesus in going low. Peter puts it this way:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5.6-7)

As we go low, like Jesus went low, God will exalt us at the proper time, just as he has now exalted Jesus. The call to humility is the same dare now as ever: Do you believe that God will faithfully reward those who take him at his word? Will I ever learn to stop contending for supremacy and simply accept the role of a servant, believing that at the right time God will exalt me in his way at his time?

So far in this life I have not done well. I pray that with the years I have left, God will give me grace to faithfully follow the second Adam, not the first. I pray that he’ll make me a man who is willing to forsake the pursuit of honour in the sight of other humans for the pursuit of honour in the presence of God — as he sees fit.

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** This is written as part of the series 30 for 30: Reflections on Life at My 30th Birthday **

Subduing My Realm

** This is written as part of the series 30 for 30: Reflections on Life at My 30th Birthday **

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According to Chandler

A little while ago I wrote a post about some sermons on manhood from Matt Chandler. My reflections for today, on being a man, are largely taken from the content of the first sermon in that series: Defining Masculinity. If you are a man or know a man, I highly recommend you give it a listen.

Farmer & Field

Chandler helped me by setting our identity as men in the creation account of Genesis 1-2. As he describes the narrative unfolding, he details how God creates the whole wild world, with a beautifully ordered garden (Eden), then places man in the middle of the garden and says, ‘Now make the rest of the world like this.’

Obviously there’s more to the story than that, but the simplicity of that perspective was helpful for me. He laid out the inner competitiveness and creativeness and ambition in man (which drives the rat race the whole world ’round) within the framework of ‘subduing’ and ‘ordering’ and ‘ruling over’ the created world. That’s what we were created for, and that’s what drives us as men, whether we know it or not.

The trouble, of course, is that in Genesis 3 man didn’t keep his world in order, but allowed chaos and disorder to rule (beginning with his own relationship with his wife when he abdicated his authority position when she was being tempted). The result of Adam’s disobedience is that now the whole world falls into complete disorder (including his own heart). All is subject to futility.

His work will be hard, and filled with failure. But he is still called to it nonetheless. And, as Chandler draws out, even the futility becomes evidence of God’s grace to us as the futility of our work is what drives us to call out to God for his mercy in the gospel.

A Guiding Framework

What has been so helpful to me is the guiding framework that this gives to my life as a man. As a man, I am charged with bringing order to my world. I must subdue my realm. So when I don’t know what to do, what decisions to make, what direction to take for my family, or my church, I fall back on this thought: I cam called to set all things in order. All things that are under my charge should be under my control.

And when I lack motivation to mow the lawn, discipline my kids, make things right with my wife, or make peace between relationships in the church, I remember that it is the calling of a man to subdue his realm, to put all things in order. Yes, there are challenges, frustrations, and failures, but having this simple, unifying direction for my life has been helpful.

The Big Biblical Picture

Of course this is all very simple. And yet, somehow, I spent the first 30 years of my life not really having the penny drop.

God created the world and ‘ordered’ it. He commanded man, his ‘son’, made in his image, to bring all things under submission to him. But after the first Adam and every man after him failed, a second Adam, the True Image of God had to come, to inherit all authority (Matt 28.19-20), and by his death and resurrection to have all things subjected to him. The end of this creation will come …

when [Jesus] delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Cor 15.24-28)

So the beginning is Adam called to subdue his realm, but failing. The end of the story is the second Adam reigning over all things, subduing even death — the greatest enemy. And we men are called now to live in the in between, still living with the futility of the curse all around us, but called by God to bring peace and order as we reign with Christ and bring his rule to pass, even now.

From cover to cover the Bible calls me to subdue my realm. That sounds like a manly challenge. May God give grace to make me faithful and diligent.

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