This week it was pointed out to me by a close friend that I had made a serious theological error in one of my books. It was a bit embarrassing because my passion for preaching and writing is to understand, to help others understand!
If we learn any theology in Genesis, it is that imperfection and failure run in the family. Even “perfect” specimens, who never seem to blow up, may be filled with anger, pride or judgmental pettiness. The fact is that we all fail and, if we don’t give ourselves and others room to fail, we can breed dishonesty. People fearful of disapproval can’t admit their mistakes and choose to live in denial. Brothers or sisters may be struggling with an issue which could be common to all people, but are afraid to ask for help. They could sink into a sea of despair believing that weakness is unforgivable. It’s great to have a triumphalist theology where every believer lives in glory and power without error or mistake, but that doesn’t help people in their genuine times of struggle and need.
When Adam and Eve failed in the garden, it was no surprise to God, and He covered their failure with skins by the shedding of blood. God obviously allowed them to sin for a reason. After they sinned, He could do the thing he wanted most: to reveal Himself more fully to them, not just as Creator but as Savior, as Redeemer and Deliverer. Up until his failure, Adam had no idea of the depth and the beauty of God’s love for him. He felt perfect without need of forgiveness. He also felt no gratitude nor understood God’s mercy. In short, he had no sense of God’s love.
Friend, the next time you feel you have failed, admit your humanity and embrace the mercy of your un-condemning Father, who you can now love with even greater gratitude!