The first thing God said after Adam and Eve took some of the forbidden fruit: “Where are you?”
He went looking for them. They were hiding. Everything had been cool between them and God for who knows how long. Could have been years, or millions of years. But they did the one thing. They weren’t totally satisfied with the garden and each other and a great, Almighty type of friend. They were tempted and they ate the fruit because it looked good and might make them smarter.
God could have killed them and started over. But he went looking for them. “Where are you?”
In confirmation class a couple of weeks ago, we covered this part of the Bible. Morgan pointed out how kind and loving it was for God not to destroy them, but to simply banish them from the garden and give them some weeds and pain to deal with that would make life a little harder.
Yes, they still had to work the earth for food, but there would be thorns. And now childbirth would be painful. And the snake would have to eat dust. But God would still work with them.
Morgan took us to John’s gospel and Romans. John 3 and Romans 3 and Romans 5 and Romans 8. Here’s what she showed us.
John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
God sent Jesus to earth, not to destroy it, or condemn it, but to save it. And this was a big deal, since Jesus had it pretty good up in heaven. It was kind of like the Garden of Eden, only better. So to come down to save us, that was just another extension of God wanted to find us, like when he called out to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?”
Romans 3:23-24 “… since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…”
And everyone is in the same boat. But with Jesus, we get grace as a free gift.
Romans 5: 6-8 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Morgan explained how in the Old Testament, the laws were given that a perfect animal had to be killed on the altar to atone for sins. But then Jesus died on the cross, and he was more perfect than any animal.
Romans 8: 1-9 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin,he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
1 Peter 2: 24 says: “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.””
Then Morgan used a really big word: meta-narrative. I don’t think many middle schoolers have ever heard that word. But she told us how it is a term for the “over-arching story” which is bigger than all the little twists and turns of the narrative. The Bible has a big over-arching story of God seeking out humans for close relationship. It runs all the way through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
You might call it Grace.
I can’t stop thinking about God, who knows everything, calling out: “Where are you?” after Adam and Eve had sinned. Just like every parent of a small child (or even an adult child) wants first to know, “Where are you?” not, “What have you done?” The relationship is worth more than anything.
Sin injures the relationship. But God always wants to heal it. He always goes hunting for us.
Recently the world has been searching for a missing airplane. After 24 days, nothing has been found. But we keep looking. We want to find it. Think how much more God wants to find us.
He calls, “Where are you?”