Around a hundred years ago, when I was a teenager, a country singer by the name of Barbara Mandrell, sang, “He grew the tree that He knew would be used to make the old rugged cross.” The song brought out, that even at creation Jesus was planning our redemption. This song could not be any truer.
In Genesis 2:17 God says, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” We all know Adam and Eve did not die the day they ate of the forbidden fruit. Man has been trying to make excuses for God ever since.
Some say, well they began to die. However that is not what God said. He did not say you will begin to die the day you eat of the fruit. He said you will die in the day you eat of the fruit. Others say, they died spiritually that day. I don’t even know what the means! Sounds profound enough, I guess, but what does it mean? Besides, God did not say you will die spiritually the day you eat of the fruit. He said you will die – drop dead the day you eat of it. So what kept Adam and Eve from dropping dead the day they ate of the fruit?
Instead of trying to make up weak excuses for God, let’s let God’s Word explain itself. He does not need any help from us to get out of this so-called jam. We find the answer at the other end of the Bible. Revelation 13:8 tells us Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. There is our answer! God did not need us bailing Him out by making up our own theories about beginning to die or dying spiritually that day. Revelation 13:8 lets us know that Jesus’ death on the cross had already taken effect. God calls things that are not yet, as though they already were. Just like I can cut and paste, as I am writing this post on Microsoft Word, God can cut and paste through time and eternity and put the cross at the foundation of the world.
Jesus is truly the Savior of the whole world, as His sacrifice sustains not only the believer but the unbeliever as well. Adam and Eve were not believers; they were running from God. But they still had their breath that day because of the cross of Christ and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. God told Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “and in thee [Abraham’s Seed which was Christ] shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Notice God said all families will be “blessed,” or benefit from the cross. That includes Christians, Jews, Muslims, and atheists. They all benefit the same way Adam and Eve did.
The reason Adam and Eve did not drop dead the same day they ate the fruit was because Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and His death had already taken effect. The reason we do not drop dead the same day we sin, is because of the cross of Christ as well. Believer and unbeliever benefit from the cross. This is what John was talking about in 1 John 2:2. He writes, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” John was writing to believers when he said not only for ours, the believers, but the whole world! An inspired writer, 1,800 years after John, echoes the same sentiments. “To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf.” – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, page 660.
Every breath we breathe is brought to us courtesy of the cross. People curse God with the very breath that He died to give them!
This idea of Jesus beginning our redemption even at creation runs all through the Bible. In the following references italics are supplied.
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:34
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” Ephesians 1:4
“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” Titus 1:2
Yes! Jesus created the tree He knew would be used to make the old rugged cross. Even at creation He was beginning our redemption. He died to give us probationary time. Not a probationary time to see if God will accept us – He already has accepted us from the foundation of the world – but time to see if we will accept Jesus and His life-changing love.
If we choose to accept His love, Jesus tells us in John 11:26, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Sure, we may fall asleep like Lazarus did, but God will not abandon us in the grave. We will not experience the death and God abandonment that Jesus experienced for us on the cross when He cried out, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!”
The cross echoes throughout time and space from every corner of eternity, telling us God is love! The Gospel begins at creation.