by Travis Bryan III
There are two lines running down thru the Bible from beginning to end. We will here examine a few.
Here are examples of the two lines:
The Tree of Life vs the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Gen 2-4. The first tree represents the Life of Christ, a tree which God returns us to and gives us access to again thru the cross, our death with Christ. Rom 6:3-5; Gal 2:20; Col 3:4. The other Tree is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which teaches us that law is the way to God and a way to know the difference between good and evil so we can try hard to do good and avoid evil, thereby gaining God’s acceptance. It is the TREE OF LAW which leads to sin and finally death. 1 Cor 15:56; 2 Cor 3:6-end of chapter 3; Rom 7:5, 10.
Next we have the FIRST ADAM who ate from the tree of law and fell into sin and death, which sin we inherit from Adam as it is passed down to us through the DNA of our earthly father. But the first Adam is then contrasted with a second line who is the SECOND ADAM, Jesus Christ, who died for us and provided the way back into the garden of the life of God. Eternal life is not a period of time as much as it is a Person, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:14-21.
Then we have Abel vs Cain. Abel represents the correct line or way to approach God which is to access God thru the cross by faith. Cain represents the false way to approach God, by human effort to perform works of law, or by our performance rather than by Christ’s performance at Calvary. Abel approached God in the only acceptable way, thru death as represented by the sacrificial death of his livestock. Gen 4:4. Killed animals are a foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrificial death for us. This way of death, our death with Christ, is the only prescribed way to approach God, only thru the death of His Son and our being “crucified with Christ.” Gal 2:19-21. Cain’s presentation to God represented the Tree of Law, his toil in the earth to produce fruit, a false way of SELF-effort to gain God’s acceptance by our own good works and not by faith in the work of Christ at Calvary. God did not accept Cain’s offering and this made Cain very angry at Abel kind of like the elder son got angry at his father and brother in Luke 15 when his father did not honor elder son’s good works but rather showed grace to the prodigal son. The elder son is the Cain of the prodigal story. The fatted slaughtered calf symbolizes the crucified Christ. The failed younger son was glad to get to eat at the table of the Father. The elder son was so angry he would not come to the feast. Luke 15.
Cain’s anger is also demonstrated by these same two lines during the days of Jesus. The legalistic Pharisees and High Priests (in line of Cain) hated Jesus. Jesus lived the lifestyle of the cross then died on the cross. The legalists wanted to kill him because He continued to violate their law: including the law of the Sabbath, He would not agree to stone the woman caught by them in adultery, He healed the lepers by direct touch, He spoke parable after parable which made the legalists the butt of most of His stories and the grace person the hero. These legalists were the Cains of Jesus’ day. Jesus represented the Tree of the Life of God. Col 3:4. The legalistic Pharisees were in the line of the Tree of Law and Cain. Jesus was in the line of Abel.
Saul, later Paul, was at first one of the legalists in line of Cain. He was a Pharisee who, under the law was considered blameless. Phili 3. He accused, condemned, bound, carried off to incarcerate and killed Christians. See Acts 7,8 and 9. But on Damascus road he changed lines after being blinded and knocked off his high horse. He thereafter became a gospel teacher of the cross, crucifixion with Christ, agape love and the great Apostle of grace, no longer law. Acts 7,8 and 9; Rom 6:14. The two contrasting lines are then seen in Paul vs the legalistic Judaizers who followed Paul around everywhere and tried to pervert or reverse his gospel and his grace converts back to the law. Gal 1:4-10. To go back to Law will sever one from Christ and cause him to fall from grace. This is a fearful thing that could happen to a grace convert who turns back to living under law. Gal 5:4.
In summary, most preachers today are in the line of Cain preaching pure law or at least mixing law with grace. Only a very few preach the pure grace, life, unconditional love, mercy, forgiveness, and goodness of God. The grace preachers are in the line of Abel and teach the only acceptable approach to God which is to “present your body as a living sacrifice,” the only true form of “worship.” Rom 12:1. Mixing law with grace is like putting a little arsenic in someone’s sweet tea. It will kill them just as Cain killed Abel, the Pharisees killed Jesus, and the Judaizers called for Paul to be executed which he was.
Which line are you in, the angry line of legalism, human self-effort and the performance-based works of the law (Deut 28) to gain acceptance from God OR the line of Abel, Jesus, and Paul, grace, faith, love and willingness to die with Christ to gain access to God (Gal 2:16) and to go deeper and higher in Him?
There is a great abyss between these two lines. Jesus bridged the gap.
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