The protoevangelium

This is the sermon preached by Rev. Benyamin Intan, Ph.D. in the opening ceremony of National Reformed Evangelical Convention (NREC) 2005. My disclaimer follows Adi’s in the previous post.

Genesis 3:1-13, 15

Christianity originated from God. In the beginning the relationship between God and man was harmonious. But Sin conquered man. Afterwards, did God run away from man, or was it the other way around? Sin caused man to avoid God and man cannot seek God. Nevertheless the Creator is willing to seek the created ones. This is the basis of Christian ministry. Christian ministry is not a market-oriented ministry, because those who are served do not realize what actually is their desperate need.

Towards Adam, God asked, “Where are you?” Didn’t God already know where Adam hid? In that occasion God was not asking where Adam was, but was asking about Adam’s existence. This was an existential question (personal and experiential).

The centre of discourse is in the 15th verse, where God stated the first prophecy about the Gospel (protoevangelium). This verse contains three things:

  1. Prediction of Enmity
    The serpent’s seed is associated with 1 John 3, i.e. between the children of the devil and the children of light there will always be an enmity. This enmity is between two groups of men. Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” This implies that we, as Christians, definitely have enemies. But our enemies are people who dislike us, not the ones whom we hate. When we talk about enmity, we have to talk about love. The serpent’s seed wants to kill man but the woman’s seed loves by bringing man to know the Gospel.
  2. Prediction of Victory
    The primary goal of Christ’s coming into the world is not to teach or to do miracles, but to destroy the devil’s head in His death and resurrection. Apostle Paul explains sin using two formats: the Sin as a captivating power (in singular form), and sins as wrong deeds (in plural form). Jesus Christ sets us free from Sin, although we may still sins. This is why our salvation cannot be lost (otherwise Christ had not won). In Him, we are new creatures (note the parallel between creation in Genesis and John).
  3. Prediction of Agony
    Christ’s saving the world needs a sacrifice:
    – To be what He wasn’t supposed to be. (God became man, limited in flesh and blood)
    – To do what He wasn’t supposed to do. (God died–giving up His life himself–on the cross)
    – To endure what He wasn’t supposed to endure. (God was crucified)
    “…he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (v.15) Notice that the verb that is used is the same. This implies we should not underestimate Christ’s agony and overestimate Christ’s victory. There is no crown without cross.

The metaphor ‘Christ as the Light of the world’ also incorporates these three predictions:
– Enmity: Light and darkness are enemies.
– Victory: Darkness cannot overcome Light.
– Agony: The Shining Light consumes Himself (candle illustration).

Have we, as Christians, these three things in our life and ministry?


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