I’m finding myself in the midst of what seems like a personal renewal of worship. I don’t know that I’ve had an experience such as this before. As I consider what the Holy Spirit is doing in my heart, I’m also mindful of the current environment of my thinking.
Perhaps this renewal is related to a settling down of the soul that has me more in a mode of simply trusting Jesus instead of struggling to please Him; it has me in a posture of simple surrender. In part, I’m understanding in a greater way the value and meaning of an “incarnational” Savior. The incarnation is key to understanding the Advent season—which we just experienced—and the fullness of Jesus’ ministry on Earth.
We also see the incarnation as a constant biblical theme, reaching all the way back to the Garden of Eden. And it is true that God came in a special way on that long-ago night. But it is also true that God has always shown up to save His people.
The Fall, which is related in Gen. 3, is the only reality any of us have ever known—perfect humanity, shattered into a million pieces. Adam and Eve made their first feeble coping attempt to cover themselves.
We still feel the long-reaching effects of that fall, each of us with our unique sharp edges of breakage and struggle. And, too often, we still reach for inadequate covering, even when religious constructs or glossy presentations of our lives suggest that all is OK, even good.
The Genesis scene didn’t keep God away. It was a devastating reality that left our fallen forebears trying to do the best they could with what they had left. It shouldn’t be lost on us that God walked into the devastation without hesitation, right into the middle of it, and immediately began implementing His plan of redemption before humankind even knew how to ask.
The hard-to-read content of verses 16-19 outlines conditions under which the rest of the story would play out. While stark and horrifying, they are boxed in and overshadowed by two world changing statements—incarnational promises of God—that would stand as commitments for eternity.
The first promise is for His presence. He was there; He was as real to Adam and Eve as He was before the Fall; and He wasn’t going away. To this day, He still walks among us. He did at the Advent, during His days on Earth, and He does so right now. He’s not alarmed by our condition. In fact, God is committed to restoring lost humanity through His redeeming grace.
The second promise is for His covering. God made an unbelievable statement of provision when He took the best that man could craft on his own and replaced it with one of His own design. It was a statement for eternity that runs through the Scripture like a torrent: “I will provide the covering.”
With these things settled, the performance barriers so common to us sort of collapse in on themselves, and I’m left with the presence of the incarnational Savior who really seems to want to stay. As such, there’s not much left to do but worship Him with a heart that is filled with sincere gratefulness.
By: Mike Mercer, an ordained Foursquare minister and missionary with Beaverton Foursquare Church in Beaverton, Ore. He also serves as President of Compassion First, a nonprofit organization that provides hope-filled solutions to sex-trafficking survivors.