Evangelistic Apologetics – The Church Under Attack (Part 27)
It’s sometimes helpful to remember why we start things. We get so deep into a project that we can forget why we’re doing what we’re doing.
As I began to write this post I thought about why I started this series a year ago. Here’s how I explained it then:
“Some pastors I’ve talked with through the years about emphasizing apologetics in their church (especially with children, teens and young adults) either chuckle, roll their eyes or get upset with me at some point in our discussion. They tell me that apologetics should not take the place of evangelism. It’s unfortunate they see apologetics that way because biblical apologetics is evangelistic – thus the name of this series of studies.”
After writing this series for a year, let me strengthen that statement a bit by saying that the discipline of apologetics MUST have evangelism, the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of eternal souls, at the center of its purpose. Anything less than that misses the primary message of the Bible – Redemption.
We are currently answering seven questions about the spiritual battle Christians find themselves fighting every day and have answered questions 1 and 2:
We’ll now look at question 3 – Are you really involved in fighting this spiritual battle?
It might be helpful if we break open this question in multiple parts. Let’s begin with the Battle.
We’ve addressed this before. The Battle began in the Garden of Eden. God showed Adam all of the great foods God had created for him in the garden, but said – “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” God then created woman for the man. In the next scene we are introduced to ‘the serpent’ who approached the woman and tempted her to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil knowing what would happen when she did. The woman ate the fruit, gave it to her husband and he ate it as well. Next scene we see God confronting the man, the woman and the serpent. God cursed the serpent and told him that the Battle was on – “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
God said ‘He’ would put a great hostility and hatred (‘enmity’, Hebrew ebah) between the serpent and the woman ‘And’ between the serpent’s seed and her Seed. Why would the woman be mentioned but not her husband? The serpent attacked the woman, but there’s more to it than that. The woman would become the ‘mother of all living.’ That’s why Adam named his wife Eve (Genesis 3:20).
Adam was the responsible party in the garden. God commanded Adam to ‘guard’ the garden and keep it safe (Genesis 2:15). He was “with” his wife when the serpent tempted her and did nothing to stop the temptation or the awful outcome (Genesis 3:6) Paul explained in 1 Timothy 3:13-14 that Adam was NOT deceived, but his wife was deceived. The implication here is that Adam, who had the responsibility of guarding his wife from the serpent, disobeyed God’s command and knowingly participated in the transgression. It is because of Adam’s responsibility that he could not be a party to winning the great Battle. As Paul explained in Romans 5, it was through Adam that sin entered the world and death through sin. Death spread to all men because all have sinned.
Here is the logic.
“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:17-19
That explains why God said that the hostility, the hatred, would be between the serpent (Satan) and the woman, and between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s Seed. Adam’s seed could not participate because of the reasons Paul explained in his wonderful letter to the Romans.
Another way of saying this is that because of Adam’s offense and the judgment that came to all men and the resulting condemnation from Adam, no human hero to save the world could arise from the first Adam. The Hero would come from the Seed of the woman and become the Second Adam, and His righteous act of grace to all men would result in justification of life.
Notice something important in these words – “He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” God took ownership of the Battle! God did not say that the woman or the man would bruise the seed of the serpent or be bruised by the seed of the serpent. God said that the Battle was between the seed of the serpent and the Seed of the woman. As we know from following the redemptive story of the Seed through the Bible, Jesus is the Seed of the woman and Satan is the serpent. God said two things would come from this great supernatural battle:
- Jesus would bruise Satan’s head
- Satan would bruise Jesus’ heel
The English word ‘bruise’ doesn’t sound much like a Battle. However, when we look at the Hebrew words used in Genesis 3:15, the Battle becomes clear. The Hebrew word for Jesus bruising Satan’s head means ‘to crush, break into small pieces.’ Satan bruising Jesus’ heel means ‘to strike, to cause great injury, to wound seriously.’ Now we have a Battle. Both fighters are going to give and receive great wounds in this Great Battle. However, one will be victorious though seriously wounded, while the other will be crushed into small pieces with no possibility of returning to the Battle. Whereas the Man stomps on the head of the serpent and breaks it into small pieces, the serpent uses its fangs to strike the Man from its slithering position where it could strike only His heel. Both can be fatal, but whereas there is an antidote for the serpent’s venom (resurrection from the dead) there is no hope for the powerful crushing of the Man’s foot breaking the serpent’s head into many small pieces.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome and told them, in the context of avoiding people in their church that caused divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine they had learned, that “the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Romans 16:20) The Greek word is suntribo and is similar to the Hebrew word used in Genesis 3:15 about what the Seed of the woman would do to the seed of the serpent. It means ‘to rub together so to shatter and break in pieces.’
Christians can fight the battle with Satan because Jesus fought it for us and won! Question is: are you in the fight? More on that next time.
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”