Christmas Day

Preached: December 25, 2014

The Curse Is Undone!
Genesis 3:17-20

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Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

“No more let sin and sorrows grow Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow Far as the curse is found” (“Joy to the World” /Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal/ 62:3). I must have song those words from “Joy to the World” for more than thirty years before it dawned on me. Those words take us back to Genesis 3.

God had created a perfect world. He created our first parents, Adam and Eve, in his own image. Their will wanted what God wanted. Their hearts and minds were lined up with him. They were in perfect harmony with God. He gave them the garden of Eden to work and take care of. He gave them the opportunity to show their love and thanks toward him by not eating from one tree in the whole garden, the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

You know the account of the fall into sin, the ruin of creation by mankind's rebellion against God. Rather than trusting the Lord's love and care, Adam and Eve believed the devil's lie. They were not satisfied with God's ways. Rather than relying on the Lord's bountiful kindness, they took things into their own hands. What a shock when their eyes were opened and they realized they had ruined their relationship with God. They had lost his image. That moment they died. They're life with God ended. They continued to live as far as physical life goes, but even so their bodies began to physically die as well. They're life with God had ended. They ran from him and hid. They now counted him as an enemy.

But what grace and mercy as the Lord's love called out to his lost creatures! He promised that the Offspring or Seed of the woman would come. Notice how well that fits in with the virgin birth of Jesus. God spoke of the woman's Offspring, not the man and woman's. He would break Satan's power, even as crushing a snake's head breaks it's power. He would restore humanity's destroyed relationship with God. Instead of enmity and hatred against God, those who believed in the woman's Offspring would have enmity toward Satan and his lies. They would once again have life, real life, life with God. They would want what God wanted as they walked with him in that right relationship of life.

Adam and Eve believed that this Life-restoring, Serpent-crusher, was coming. That's why Adam named his wife “Eve,” which means “Living.” She would not only be the mother of those who are physically alive. Through her would come the one who would be Life to restore life with God for us. Yet accomplishing this for us would come at a great cost to that Offspring of the woman. Yes, he would crush Satan's head, but Satan would strike his heal. He would suffer greatly to bring us life.

But sin still brought its horrid consequences. It took the good God had blessed them with and made it painful. God had blessed the woman with the privilege of sharing in his work of bringing a new life into this world. But now because of sin her pain in child bearing would be greatly increased. He had blessed the man with the privilege of sharing in his work of providing as he worked of the garden of Eden, but now the ground would no longer cooperate. Thorns and thistles would grow. By the sweat of his brow he would eat his food. And finally they would die, “for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19 NIV84). What a curse!

How much ruin sin brings into our lives! Don't blame Adam and Eve. You and I have piled up more than enough sins of our own: Not being satisfied with God's ways, trying to take control ourselves, putting our wants before his will. At the moment we began life, death reigned over us. We've seen sin and sorrow grow in our lives. The daily grind wears us down. Whatever we're doing can strike us as so pointless and meaningless. We keep laboring on but the thorns just keep growing, infesting the ground. And then death finally comes, for dust we are and to dust we shall return. What a curse!

But as far as the curse is found, in other words over this entire earth--as far as the curse is found, Christ Jesus has come to make his blessings flow. What blessing? Life. Life with God. Life through the forgiveness of sins! Sin separated us from God. Sin brought death. So the forgiveness of sins brings life. Because of his forgiveness you have reconciliation with God, adoption into his family, the inheritance of heaven. Because of his forgiveness, you have life, eternal life. Not even death can separate you from Jesus. He has conquered death for you. He has removed the curse. For on the cross he took the curse on himself as Satan struck his heal. But he crushed Satan's head, rising from the dead. What blessings flow from him, blessings for you and me and all who believe! In him you are blessed, dear Christian. What joy!

Rejoice that the curse is removed by the child who came and was laid in manger. Rejoice as you listen to these nine lessons and sing these nine carols.

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Pastor Gregg Bitter

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
859 5th Street
Hancock, MN 56244
(320) 392-5313