God made an Unconditional Promise to Abraham and fifty years later spoke as if the Promise was conditioned upon Abraham’s Faith, which means that God lied, OR God knew that he would create Faith with his Promise, which was itself “the substance of things hoped for,” like a seed. A seed is a promise in flesh.
Romans 4:20, “Abraham was empowered in the faith as he gave glory to God .”
By the time he was about 130 years old, his faith was like a super-power.
“Because you have done this…” said God in Genesis 22, “all the peoples of the earth will be blessed.”
Romans 5:2-5, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us.” That’s Faith.
Faith looks like Paul in the book of Acts, Abraham on Mount Moriah, and Jesus hanging on a tree in a garden on that very same mountain. He is “the Superman,” “The Eschatos Man.”
“God has fixed a day on which he will judge the world with a man.” Jesus is that man: the judgment of God. Do you rejoice in suffering? Do you “bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. Do you never fail?” How do you measure up to him?
And now . . . where’s your heart? Is it hiding in the trees and covered in fig leaves?
God forbid, but just by asking the question as I did, I may have tempted you to judge yourself with the judgment of God. I doubt that you really believe the judgment of God but you judge yourself and others with the judgment of God . . . and everything dies.
When you take knowledge from the tree in the garden to justify yourself, the Promise turns into a threat (not “You will love,” but “You should love”); the Blessing feels like a curse (not “You will inherit,” but “You will pay”); the Good in flesh turns into knowledge of evil… and the Life dies. We just crucified him.
That’s what happens when we judge the Judgment and judge others with the Judgment before we let the Judgment judge us.
That’s what happened when Pilate and “the Jews” judged the Judgment on the tree in the garden on Mt. Calvary.
That’s what happened when Eve and that first Adam ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil on that same mountain.
Most Christians seem to have a rudimentary understanding of that, so we get the first half of Paul’s summary statement in Romans 4:25 “Jesus… was delivered up through our trespasses.” That’s why folks sing sad songs at the communion table.
But if we really got the second part of Paul’s summary statement in Romans 4:25—“and [he] was raised through our justification”—I suspect we’d leave the communion table in an entirely different sort of way. We’d leave like two five-year-old’s playing Superman in the back yard. (I hope you watch the video!)
I strongly suspect that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil is also The Tree of Life.
And, just as God says in Genesis 1, there’s seed in the fruit of the trees.
And, just as Jesus points out in John 12, seed dies but does not stay dead.
We’ve all sinned; we’ve all taken the fruit. And the fruit is working, for somewhere on our journey, we began to comprehend that God is the Good and we have done great evil. And so, we’re dead and dying.
The Life is the Good in flesh, who is the Promise and the Blessing and the Seed of Abraham.
We ate the seed. But the seed sprouts in broken dirty soil. We come back to the tree and discover that what we have taken has always been given—forgiven from the foundation of the world.
So, you actually do get the second part of Paul’s statement in Romans 4:25, it’s just that the “you” that gets it, is about the size of a seed, a mustard seed, an imperishable seed, the Promised Seed. You do rejoice in suffering, endure, have character and irrepressible hope. You just don’t have much of it.
“God SHOWED his love for us in that while we were still sinners (Superman) died for us. (Romans 5:8)” That’s the show.
Why does a five-year-old boy dress in leotards and a cape and run around the yard?
Not because someone said, “you should,” but because he saw “the show.”
And that boy doesn’t only see the show in a movie theater, he sees it reflected in the eyes of someone who loves him, who speaks a word that he hears as a promise and not a threat: “Hey buddy, I think you’re super. And nothing will change that fact. That’s my judgment.”
To run around the yard in a red cape, having fun, is that boy’s birthright.
Love is the promise: “You will love the Lord your God… and your neighbor as yourself.”
That’s a Promise, but when we seize control, it feels like a curse.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.”
Love is God and Faith in Love makes the Superman Super.
Love is the Promise, the Blessing, the Birthright, and Faithful Love in flesh is the Seed.
On the tree, when you least deserve it, he gives his birthright to you.
There is a part of you that doesn’t believe that; it feels responsible for you, as if you must create yourself, save yourself and justify yourself. Renounce that self. You don’t have to fight it; just see it for what it is: the product of a lie.
And there’s a part of you that trusts a little, hopes a bit, and feels some love. Find that part of you, even if it’s only the size of a seed and from that part of you, listen to these words, “You are my beloved, in whom I am well pleased. I think you’re super. That’s my judgment and it’s not going to change. If you’d like, put on a cape and run around the yard. That’s your birthright.”
You will be “empowered in the faith” as you give glory to God.
“We have been justified by his blood,” writes Paul. “The Life is in the blood,” says God.
“The Life” is rising in your veins as you cry “Abba Father.” That’s your birthright. That’s Faith.
Everyone tries to steel the birthright but on the tree in the garden Superman gives it to you.