God’s first promise and you

As soon as our first parents, Adam and Eve, rebelled against their Creator, God in His grace, even as He pronounced judgement, spoke also of grace and deliverance. To the Tempter, God said: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

What is the relevance of this promise for the Christian life today?

1. The divine initiative. It is God who puts enmity between the two seeds.

God, who exercises absolute sovereignty over all his creation, and works all things after the counsel of his will, knew of Adam's fall beforehand, having decreed it to happen. In his unsearchable wisdom God allowed this apparent defeat so that He will turn it to his own greater glory. Though the fall He will bring many sons to glory, not through Adam, but through His Son.

And this controversy that arose out of the fall, and which is still being fought out (the darkness not overcoming the light), God directs and moves to his own wise ends. From the beginning, then, the godly seed and the children of Satan are set against each other. Though this started in primeval history, its continuing relevance for us today is undoubted. As children of light, being called out of darkness, we are meant to maintain this antithesis. We are to hate the works of darkness, and reprove them by coming continually to the light. "Come out from among them and be ye separate."

2. The essence of man's deliverance consists of a reversal of his attitude, from hostility towards God to friendship.

At its core, the Fall consisted of rebellion and insubordination to the claims and rights of the Creator over the creature. The creature was alienated from its Maker and opted for an independent and irreligious existence from God.

Man made himself an enemy of God; in man becoming sinful, God's wrath and sore displeasure was immediately manifested.

Again, at its core, the Calvary Redemption consisted of a thoroughly obedient Man, as Mediator, offering himself and making amends for the failure of the creature. He became responsible for their misdeeds, and not only so, but in applying his redemption to his elect by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, he makes them willing to obey God's commandments and thus make manifest their reconciled status as God's adopted children. "I have called your friends....You are my friends if you do what I command you..." Christ declared his manifesto at his coming when he read from Isaiah: "To proclaim liberty to the captives" (in bondage to their own lusts and to the will of Satan), "To set at liberty those who are oppressed" (by sin and an evil conscience). As the Go-between, Christ makes us friends again with the Father (Colossians 1:21-23).

Zecharias' prophecy contains in gist the same concept: "To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life" (Luke 1:74,75).

3. The continuity of the Redeemer's work. It extends to the "seed" of Eve and Satan. All nations and generations are involved.

The Holy Scripture is Heilsgechichte, it is the story of emancipation from sin to the pure and grateful worship of God. As such, the Redeemer, even in his pre-incarnate state, prophesied by His Spirit through God-chosen vessels, men who spoke for Him and on His behalf. They witnessed about his sufferings and his subsequent glory.

And now that He has appeared at the end of the ages, He continues his ministry through the promised Advocate, the Holy Spirit who applies his redemption, teaches the truth to his own, and sanctifies his people.

Veritably, Christ's work extends throughout all human history, though he tabernacled among us for a short period of time, being clothed in human flesh. Since all authority and power is granted unto him (Matthew 28), He is the one who gives eternal life to those who are given unto him (John 17:2). "The Son gives life to whom he will." But this does not imply that those who do not belong to him by grace have no relationship whatsoever to him. Still, the reprobate, Satan's seed, are to bow the knee to Him and confess him as Lord (Philippians 2). He is their Judge, and even now rules over them with an iron sceptre, and at the Eschaton will shatter them to pieces.

Christ's relationship to both the elect and the reprobate is expressed fluently in Psalm 2: those who kiss the Son are blessed; those who refuse him allegiance will be the objects of his wrath.

4. The outcome is not in doubt. Victory lies with the Seed of the woman, who is pre-eminently Christ. See Galatians 3:16.

Humanity is divided into two communities: the redeemed, who love God, and the reprobate, who love self (John 8:33,34; 1 John 3:8). The division finds immediate expression in the hostility of Cain against Abel (Chapter 4 of Genesis).

The prophecy of victory ("He shall crush his head") finds ultimate fulfilment in the triumph of the Second Adam, and the community united with Him, over the forces of evil, death, and the devil (Daniel 7:13,14; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Hebrews 2:14,15). The promise of victory is reiterated again in thrilling terms in Romans 16:20: "And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly." Christ's decisive victory over Satan by his death on Calvary is historic and irreversible: "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:15).

The issue of human history is the unfolding of the scroll held in Christ's hands by right of conquest.