Some think of God as being gracious after Adam and Eve fell into sin, especially in light of the promise of the Savior. But we should never forget that God was not only gracious after the fall, He was gracious before the fall.
The Bible says, “In the beginning, God created”—not because He needed something external to Himself to find fulfillment. He was completely fulfilled within the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—self-sufficient, self-contained, in need of nothing. Creation was rooted solely and wholly in God’s grace. He was gracious to create a world of beauty and wonder that is a source of unimaginable wonder and joy.
The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. (Genesis 2:9)
We have a tendency to see only one tree in the Garden as pleasing to the eye and good for food: the one that tempted Adam and Eve. But Scripture makes it clear that God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground that would be a source of pleasure and profit for His people. And if that isn’t enough to convince us of God’s gracious nature, consider that He gave Adam a helper.
It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for Him. (Genesis 2:18)
No need would be left unmet. God gave Adam a world of beauty and provision and a helper suitable to share it with. He met Adam in his every place of need—not because Adam earned it, but simply because God is gracious! And God’s grace did not end there. After Adam and Eve turned their backs on God, God refused to turn His back on them. Instead, God came to the two cosmic traitors and graciously provided for their every need once again, this time with the promise of sending a Savior. Let’s camp out here for a moment.
God had already been gracious to His people, giving them everything they could want or need—not because of any merit on their part but simply because of His gracious mercy. Now, with every reason to withdraw His grace from the ones who willfully rebelled against Him, God still responded graciously. First there is the promise of the redemption that would come through the seed of the woman. In assuring Satan that his vicious dream of eternally destroying those who were made in the image of God would never be realized, the Sovereign Lord made this promise:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
You would think that God might have stopped with that word of incredible hope. But no, once again He looked to Adam and Eve’s physical needs, as well.
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)
Here we find the Judge of all the earth assuming the role of a tailor and meeting Adam and Eve in their deepest place of need. As they stood before Him, naked and shivering with fear, God clothed them, figuratively covering their terrible sin.
Perhaps we can understand God’s grace prior to the fall, but how are we to comprehend it after the fall? The answer, of course, is that we are to understand it the very same way. God’s gracious response to us is never dependent upon our response to Him. Our merits never earn God’s grace, and our demerits never remove God’s grace. By His eternal nature God is gracious, and it is His nature to respond graciously to those who don’t deserve it and have in no way earned it.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Regardless of where this finds you, God is gracious to you from beginning to end. God is gracious to you at the very beginning of your walk with Him, and His steadfast love remains with you in your triumphs and trials . . . in your witness and your wandering. God was gracious to Adam and Eve before they sinned and after they sinned, and that should make it clear that His grace is never earned. It is freely given by the One who is gracious from beginning to end.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!