By Henry Law
"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
These are the first words of grace to a lost world. When were they spoken? By whom? To whom?
When were these words spoken? Just after sin had come in, and innocence was gone, and man had become a guilty creature before God. One command had been given, for the purpose of seeing whether he would love, and fear, and serve his Maker. That one command had just been trodden under foot. Pause here for one moment and think. Some people dream of earning eternal life by doing God's will. This way has been tried. It failed. The end of it was ruin. Our first parents were innocent, and had no inward tendency towards evil, but they rushed into it. But we are born with corrupt hearts, and fully bent on sin, and can we keep ourselves holy and spotless? It is a vain thought. Let us cast it away. We cannot continue blameless. Our wicked nature is always drawing us out of the straight path of godliness. We have not stood blameless during one hour of one day of our lives. The charge is true, and every honest conscience will confess it.
By whom were these words spoken? We read, "The Lord God said." What proof is here, that our God is merciful and gracious! Think how He had been offended! Think, with what base ingratitude--with what contempt He had been treated! Satan's lie had been trusted rather than His truth. His easy yoke had been broken, as if it had been some hard restraint. The language of the proud heart had been--We will not have God to reign over us!
God, even He, descends. No thunder-bolt is in His hands. No avenging angels follow to sweep the rebels into perdition. The voice which speaks is the voice of mercy. The tidings which are brought, are the tidings of deliverance. O my soul, can you consider the Speaker, and not exclaim--Truly, God is good--He wills not the death of a sinner! Reason as the wife of Manoah did, "If the Lord were pleased to kill us, He would not, as at this time, have told us such things as these."
To whom were these words spoken? Three only were present. First the guilty pair. Mark their state, and learn from it that the first step in the way of salvation is taken by God. We have sure evidence before us. He wills to save, when man wills to die. He moves to save, when man moves to perish. Our first parents are before Him, a picture of all fallen sinners who would be born of them. As they were, so are we by nature. They were sinners, blind and hardened. So are we. Blind, I say; for their eyes were not opened to the dreadful condition into which they had passed, or the dreadful misery, which was now their lot. Hardened, I say--for they did not confess their sin, or humble themselves, or weep tears of sorrow, or utter prayers for mercy. Just such is man's natural blindness and hardness from that day to this. And still to such God comes in love--to such God speaks of recovery to His favor and His kingdom.
Reader! calmly meditate on this. You will see, that when man is all careless, God is all care; when man can do nothing, God does all; when man deserves nothing, God gives all. Salvation is from first to last of grace! Man rushes to hell. Grace calls to heaven.
Next, another being was present. But there was no hope for him. He was only told that destruction was his doom. We have here a proof that God makes a difference between offenders. Let us not vainly ask, why mercy yearns over man, and turns from the angels which fell? There can be but one reply, "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight." And can we so reply, and not sing praise, that we, who have so sinned, should be so pitied, and have such rich provision of pardon? O my soul, think on these things.
But what is this rich provision? We read the answer in the word, "her seed." Here is a promise, that a deliverer would come into this world, who would be born of a woman. If the question be put, "Who is this seed of the woman?" We readily reply--The Lord Jesus Christ. The blessed Savior. The only Redeemer. The only begotten Son of God Most High. True, the voice of God here promises that Jesus, appointed to save--should be made man--should be one of our family by birth--should be bone of our bones, flesh of our flesh. The fact is easily stated. But, Reader! is it your habit to ponder over the great and precious truths belonging to it? Mark! The mighty God, without ceasing to be God, becomes man to redeem us! Wonder of wonders! The like to this never has been--never could be.
Let the greatest king become the lowest beggar--let the richest prince leave his palace for the vilest cell of a loathsome prison--it is as nothing compared to the act of Jesus, when He left heaven to put on the rags of our mortality! The Creator of all things appears a creature! The Almighty is a weak babe!--The Eternal is a child of time!--The Infinite is contracted into the limits of this poor flesh! Is not this the wonder of wonders? Is not this grace which has no bounds?
Reader! do you seriously believe that Jesus thus humbled Himself even for you? If you do, you cannot but feel that no debt can be like your debt; and that, as heaven is high above the earth, so great is what you owe, beyond what you can ever pay. In the poor matters of this earth, a prince's or a noble's birth awakens signs of far-extending joy. The banners wave. The steeples sound. The festive table is spread.
Shall we then call upon the realm of nature to celebrate with worthy praise this praise-surpassing fact? What if the sun could hang forth millions of lamps, each brighter in brilliance than itself; what if each drop of ocean's water could raise a chorus of ecstatic hallelujahs; what if each leaf of every forest could cast back the pealing shout; it would be shame to offer a tribute so unfit! But there is a testimony of delight which Jesus seeks. He is repaid, when grateful hearts throw wide their portals to receive Him, and when welcoming praise extols His saving name. O my soul, will you not then bid all that is within you, to clasp the hands of loving worship around the manger at Bethlehem?
When Abraham saw the day of Christ afar off, he rejoiced and was glad. The unborn Baptist could not restrain emotion, when the unborn Jesus was brought near. The beacon-star filled the journeying sages with exceeding great joy. The multitude of the heavenly host, who shared not in redemption's mercies, made heaven's vault to echo with their praises. O my soul, can you be silent? Hear you not the angel's cry? "I bring you good tidings of great joy." Will you not with great joy drink in these tidings? "Unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." Will you not, in aged Simeon's spirit, clasp Him to the heart of faith, and lift up the hymn of praise?
Next, have you, too, seriously pondered, for what exact purpose did Jesus become the Woman's Seed?--Our peace and happiness depend on the right knowledge of this. It was just for this purpose, that He might be qualified to stand in the poor sinner's stead; and might be in a condition to represent him. You know that the Word of God has spoken, and cannot be called back, "The soul that sins, it shall die." You know, too, that to die, in this sentence, means to suffer forever the torments of the lost. Under this condemnation you and I are brought by sin. You and I, then, must thus endure, unless God be pleased to take the death of a sinless one in the place of our death. Jesus is willing to bear all for us; how could He do so, without being man? He could not. Therefore, He is made man. So when God's Truth and Justice say--I must have that man's life; Jesus is ready to reply--I am of his nature, here is my life for his. Mark, then, He is the Woman's Seed, that He may have a life to lay down, and have blood to shed, for the ransom of such as we are. See clearly, that Jesus takes man's flesh, that He may redeem from death all of man's family who trust in Him.
Thus, also, in man's nature, He obeys all the commandments of God. But the righteousness thus worked out is not for Himself. It is wrought, that He may impute it to all who come to Him. This He never fails to do. So when the poorest believer presents himself for admission into heaven, he can show, for his passport, a perfect righteousness placed over him by Jesus. It is so all-sufficient, that, when weighed in the balances of God, it lacks nothing. I repeat these truths, because they are the groundwork of true faith. Jesus was the Woman's Seed, that, being exactly as we are, yet without sin, His death might be a substitute for our death--His righteousness might be a substitute for our righteousness.
Reader! are you a poor sinner, feeling your misery and dreading eternal wrath? Flee to the Woman's Seed! There is pardon in Him to wash away all iniquities. The faithful of the old world knew Him by no other name, but they believed God, that, in due time, He would come, and thus satisfy God's justice for them. They looked to Him who would be born. They looked, and none can look in vain. Do you seek after a righteousness to make you fit to appear in heaven? It is all ready in the Woman's Seed. Stretch out the hand of faith, take it, and it is yours forever. Whatever you need dwells richly in Jesus, the Woman's Seed. Cast on Him your vileness, and take His purity; cast on Him your poverty, and take His riches; cast on Him your nothingness, and take His fullness; cast on Him your curse, and receive His blessing.
Do you hesitate--do you stagger--fearful to approach one so excellent in holiness? Well might you tremble, if bade to draw near to God in His glory. But He who calls you, is your Kinsman--the Woman's Seed. You may fly up to Him on the wings of faith, and embrace Him with the arms of faith, and cling to Him with the hands of faith, and lay your weary head upon His breast, and tell Him all your sorrows; and you will find that His heart is a brother's heart, as tender to sympathize, as His power is all-sufficient to save.
Do you still stand doubting? What, when Jesus has come so far for you, will you not stir one step towards Him? When He has stooped so low, will you not ascend to Him? When He brings Himself, in man's form, to your very door, will you not open and welcome Him? Surely there is enough in the Woman's Seed to slay all unbelief; enough to win and conquer every heart.
Here we see heaven coming down to earth, that earth may be raised to heaven. Here we see the Son of God becoming man, that men may become the children of God. Will not this satisfy--persuade--allure? Surely God could do no more! Man, then, can say no more.
I close with this earnest entreaty; read these few words again and again, until you find the flame of faith and love kindling in your soul; and then, on the bended knees of gratitude, exclaim--I bless You, Heavenly Father, for the promise in Eden of the Woman's Seed. I bless You, for sending, in the fullness of time, the Woman's Seed. I bless You, O Lord Jesus Christ, for coming to save me, as the Woman's Seed. I bless You, Holy Spirit, for revealing to my soul the Woman's Seed.