How could we ever undo the choice in the Garden of Eden and escape the reality of spiritual death?
There was only one answer and there was only One who could provide it.
“Instead of believers simply having a ‘close relationship’ with Jesus or ‘appearing’ to be one with him, the Incarnation proves that humanity is capable of being united (made one) with divinity—and that divinity is capable of being (and willing to be) united to humanity.” (Dave Hickman in Closer Than Close)
In Union with Christ: In Scripture, History, and Theology, Robert Letham states it this way:
“The Trinity created us with a capacity to live in him (Christ), as creatures in and with our Creator. The incarnation proves it. If it were not so and could not be so, then Jesus Christ—God and man—could not be one person, for the difference between Creator and creature would be so great that the incarnation would not be possible.”
Satan knows that this reality, this mystery, will ultimately destroy his kingdom and the unholy alliance will be broken. He does what he does well and has practiced for thousands of years. He whispers in our ear endless lies trying to convince us not to make the choice to choose Jesus. But he doesn’t stop!
He continues to whisper when we are busy, tired, or preoccupied and tries to convince us we must do something to persuade the Lord to come closer to us. His spin comes in many forms, but its theme never changes. He wants to convince us that our unholy alliance with him is unbreakable. He wants us to focus on striving and efforts to gain what is already ours if we have chosen Him who is One.
Having achieved the only status he could accomplish—god of this world—he wants us to believe God does not care all that much about our lives or this earth that was marred by his devices.
To that, Dutch theologian, Abraham Kuyper, says, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’”
And so it happens. God sends Himself, Jesus, into this domain that is His! He chooses a woman to carry “the fruit” of His life and love for mankind. He demonstrates in 3-D that He is sovereign over the universe and humanity and the “god of this world”.
For a time, Satan must have believed Jesus was not much of a threat. He was a boy growing up in Nazareth working with his father in a carpenter shop. Sure, there had been that business in the temple when He was younger, but nothing really seemed to come from that. Even so, he would be keeping an eye on things.
Does he miss the significance of “the voice crying in the wilderness” when John, the Baptist, begins his ministry? Did he miss when John had leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary (with Jesus in her womb) showed up on her doorstep? Scripture doesn’t say, but digging into the considerations reminds me that I need to be sure I recognize not only who Satan is but also who he is not!
Surely Satan must see the risks to his kingdom when Jesus abruptly shows up at the Jordan River where John is baptizing people and steps into the water to be baptized as well. There was the dove and the voice of God. Satan knew that voice and had enjoyed it once, but his rebellion meant he would know no reunion with the One whom it came from.
Things start happening quickly. Satan sees an opportunity when Jesus goes into the wilderness. He considers the humanity of Jesus and plans his temptations carefully, hoping his devices will succeed. Never does he comprehend that Jesus is fully man and fully God! How can that be?
Never does he understand that God’s love and pursuit of man, His commitment to the covenant with Him, has been relentlessly pursuing His love, His bride, ever since that death in the Garden despite the effects of the Fall.
Miracles start happening and of all things, Jesus has not set up His kingdom in the temple in Jerusalem. He spends His time among the ordinary people of that day (actually some of the worst of the lot). How puzzling this must have been to Satan!
For Satan, it was always about power and the show of power. He wanted to flaunt it, highlight himself. Jesus exhibited a sharp contrast. He had power, but used it for the good of others and always to highlight His Father, not Himself. Many times He even admonished those who were healed to tell no one.
Thousands were flocking to see Jesus. Some wanted Him to set up His kingdom on earth right then, but He knew the big picture and the bigger plan. He would lay it all down and choose to die, a perfect sacrifice to atone for the spiritual death of man in the Garden.
And Satan would believe he had won! He would believe there was a reunion of sorts, but no true re-union, no return to oneness.
***This is the third of a six part series.