The book of Genesis shows us far more than how God created the world. It shows us that God has always been operating as a gracious giver. From the creation of the world and Adam and Eve, to the calling of Noah and Abraham, to the steadfast love shown to all of Abraham’s descendants, God has always been revealing His love for us by pouring out His grace! The people we see in Genesis are not superheroes we are to imitate, nor are the stories moral-hammers pounding us into the people we should be. Rather the book of Genesis reveals our need for Jesus. Jesus is the true and better Adam, Able, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Jesus is the true Descendant of Abraham who will bless the world by becoming the true and better Ark bringing God’s people safely through the waters of judgement and giving them new life.
God created the world for His glory, His joy, and our good. His blessings, gifts, and immediate presence are given freely to those who have done nothing to deserve it. From the beginning God has been pouring out His grace and what’s true in creation is also true in salvation. Because we fell into sin and forfeited our original rights, Jesus came to take away our sin, make us righteous, and bring us to saving faith in Him. God made creation and Jesus makes us new creations.
God created Adam and Eve in His image and likeness, blessed them, gave them dominion over the whole creation, gave them one another, and gave them Himself. Adam and Eve responded by disbelieving God’s Word, doubting His goodness, seeking ultimate satisfaction outside of Him, and hiding from Him. How did God respond to their sin? He responded with grace. After Adam and Eve fell into sin, God sought them, promised a Savior, and covered their shame through a sacrifice. The glorious truth of the gospel is that God responds to us and our sin the same way He did to Adam and Eve’s. He sent Jesus to save us by taking away our shame through a sacrifice.
In Genesis 4 we see the depth and weight of Cain’s sin, and the liberating grace of God. Cain offered a sacrifice so that God would be pleased with him, whereas Abel offered a sacrifice because he trusted that God was going to be pleased with him through the promised Savior. Cain became furious when his self-salvation project failed, and his fury lead him to kill his brother. He then realizes the judgement and death he deserves, but God responds with grace. Though Cain deserves death, he got life. The truth is that we are a worse Cain and Jesus is a better Abel. Abel’s blood cried out for Cain’s condemnation—it cried out for judgement. But the blood of Jesus cries out for our salvation—it cries out for our forgiveness. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sin.
By Genesis 6 all of mankind was incredibly wicked, and that didn’t just anger God, it grieved him. God cares about his creation so much that he does something about man’s wickedness—he brings down his righteous judgement in the form a flood. But God also cares about his creation so much that he is not willing to destroy everyone, so he gives grace to Noah and saves him from the flood through the ark. God doesn’t just pardon Noah, he transforms him into a new man. This is how salvation works. 100% grace. The truth is, Jesus is the greater Ark. On the cross, Jesus was drowned in the waters of God’s judgement so that we could swim in the ocean of God’s love. Jesus bore all the judgement and wrath we deserve so that we could get all the righteousness and love he deserves. But Jesus doesn’t just pardon us. He transforms us into new people, with new desires, new power, and promises that one day he will come and perfect his people along with the whole creation.
Genesis 11:1-9 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
In Genesis 12, we see God coming to Abraham calling him out of darkness into light. What we see with God calling Abraham is also true for us today. The call of God is necessary, costly, rewarding, and missional. It’s necessary because without God’s call, we will remain in darkness. It’s costly because God calls us to forget everything we wanted and come to him for everything we truly need. It’s rewarding because God replaces our idols with himself and gives us a new identity. It’s missional because God doesn’t call you out of darkness to bless you without sending you out to be a blessing. Have you answered the call of God—to come to Jesus trusting him and walking out of darkness into the light?
In Genesis 22, God demands that Abraham offer up his only son as a sacrifice for his family’s sin. Abraham heard the Word of God and obeyed because God’s Word proved trustworthy. While this story may seem extreme to those of us in the West, this is actually a story of the wages of sin—the wages of sin is death. It’s also a story of radical grace as God provides a ram to be offered as a substitute sacrifice in Isaac’s place. How can we know we’re hearing from God? His trustworthy Word. How can we know that God is good? He is just—he won’t just look at sin and sweep it under the rug. How can we know that God loves us? He is so just and holy that he will not overlook sin but at the same time so loving and gracious that he won’t abandon us to the death we deserve, so he provides a sacrifice for our sin so that we may be forgiven. This story is all about Jesus, the greater Isaac. Isaac was an only son who was saved by a substitute sacrifice for hissin, whereas Jesus was the only Son who saved by becoming a substitute for our sin.
Jacob worked his whole life for blessings that had their foundations on sinking sand. What Jacob really needed was a blessing that had its foundation on something solid. He needed forgiveness and a new identity and that’s exactly what the God-Man gave him by grace. We, like Jacob, try and accrue blessings in this life but their foundations are on sinking sand. They could be taken from us at any moment. We need a blessing that has a solid foundation, and that blessing is found in Jesus. Jesus forgives us of our sin by his cross and then gives us a new identity as a saint, beloved one of God. Are you seeking blessings that have their foundations on sinking sand or have you received (by grace through faith) the solid blessing of forgiveness and a new identity in Jesus?
In Genesis 37, we see the subtleness of sin, the secrecy of sovereignty, and the sweetness of salvation. Jacob, Joseph, and the brothers were all struggling with sin. Jacob’s sin was preference, Joseph’s was pride, and the brothers’ was jealousy. The things they didn’t think were that big of a deal ended up destroying their family. They were in need of far more grace than they realized. Joseph’s brothers ended up stripping him of his robe, throwing him in a pit, then selling him into slavery. Though Joseph was sinned against and didn’t realize why these terrible things were happening to him, God was sovereignly using it all for his glory and Joseph’s good. Through the terrible darkness, Joseph ended up getting out of the pit and seeing light. He became the prime minister of Egypt, and he used his authority to save his people from death, giving them a future. Ultimately this story points to Jesus. Jesus was stripped of his robe. On the cross, Jesus didn’t just lose the symbol of his father’s love, he lost his father’s love all together by becoming our sin and paying our debt to God. Jesus was betrayed by his brothers. The people of Israel didn’t receive him and ended up conspiring against him to bring him to death. Jesus was thrown into a pit, but he got out and saw light. He saved his people from death, hell, and the wrath of God, giving them a future. If you are in Christ, your future is with Jesus. He is coming back for all those who trust him. He will wipe every tear from our eyes and make everything sad come untrue.
In Genesis 45, we see a vivid picture of grace when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers who had betrayed him. Grace is not simply forgiveness, though forgiveness is involved. Grace is forgiveness plus favor; forgiveness plus provision; forgiveness plus blessing and status. Grace is gentle—It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Grace is a refuge—Jesus doesn’t say do more, try harder; Jesus says it is finished, come and rest. Grace is power—grace does what the Law can’t; grace changes our hearts and makes us desire to obey. Grace is always costly to the giver. On the cross, Jesus paid the ultimate price to give us grace. Grace is always free to the receiver. To receive the grace of Jesus, all we need is need—all we need is nothing. It is free for us because it was infinitely costly for him. Have you experienced the grace of Jesus? Is your trust in Jesus? Have you celebrated grace by being baptized since trusting in Jesus? Is Jesus’ grace making you celebrate by following him and giving grace to others?