A Garden Story

by Pastor Doug Engel

When I was a youngster my brother and I were given the job of planting potatoes in our garden. My dad had worked it up nice in preparation for seeding and my mother had precut the potatoes. Being the oldest, the “responsible” one, it was my job to make sure everything was done according to their instructions. I didn’t listen very well. A few weeks later there was lots of evidence to show that I didn’t!

As the garden began to grow there were potato plants springing up all over the place ... not in nice rows like they were supposed to be! You can guess what happened. My brother and I started using potatoes as projectiles. It was the best potato war ever ... until we got found out.

Adam and Eve were also given some work to do in a garden. God gave Adam (and by extension, Eve) the job of tending and keeping the garden of Eden. God also gave them complete freedom with only one “thou shalt not!” They were allowed to eat any of the fruit in the garden except the fruit from the tree in the centre. This was the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil”. But, like me, they didn’t listen very well!

As a result of their disobedience, sin entered the world. Suddenly they realized that they were naked, or exposed. They tried to “cover up” their nakedness by sowing fig leaves together. I can’t see that working very well! The fact is, God had something better for them to help cover up their shame. God clothed them with animal skins.

Let’s think about that. Where did the animal skins come from? The answer is obvious. When sin entered the world death entered with it. An innocent animal had to die, giving up his coat, so that Adam and Eve’s nakedness could be covered up. The innocent dying for the guilty! And from that moment, blood was required as a “cover” for sin. To be clear, it did not (nor could it) take away their guilt or sin. It wasn’t a cure but it did point to The Cure.

The writer to the Hebrews tells us that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). A few verses later we’re told that “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). Why the blood sacrifices then? One word ... JESUS! They all pointed to Jesus’ sacrifice. The innocent dying for the guilty.

In Romans 8:23 the Apostle Paul states that the “wages of sin is death”. I’m so glad there’s more to the story. It goes on to read; “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus offered himself, the innocent dying for the guilty.

Because of Jesus’ willing sacrifice we are no longer required to offer blood to “cover up” our sin. It’s all been accomplished. Our responsibility is simply to receive it by faith. Have you?