DUST!

dust man“For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen 3:19).

After the first couple, Adam and Eve sinned verbal chaos seemed to ensue like a football team fighting over a fumble. There was fighting and blame-shifting.  You can see guilt and shame at work bringing confusion and conflict.

Adam blames, “the woman you gave me.” OK I admit that blaming your wife is a bad habit, even dangerous, but I do not know about you, it does not seem like a good idea to imply the Creator as the reason you blew it.

Then Eve blames the serpent. We still love to blame the devil-hey why not? No one likes him. But Satan did not make her or her husband do anything. It was all their decision.

Finally, God steps in and basically says, “Enough.” He pronounces his sentence of judgment on all of them. The snake will crawl, the woman will have pain and Adam gets told he is dust.

That phrase, “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” carries with it a certain finality.  In our world all you can see is dust-everywhere. On the shelves, the tables, the mirror, the ceiling fan, the desk and the computer-everywhere. This world is dusty.  Ever wonder why?

After Adam sinned he is told, “you were made of dust and now you will turn into dust.”  This is a common theme in the Bible. Abraham saw himself as dust and ashes (Gen. 18:27).   Dust refers to death and the grave (Psalm 22: 15; Eccl 3:20; 12:7). It is the final fade to black moment-the end.

But dust is like a sense of personal sinfulness guilt as well. Job is an expert on dust. He talks about it a lot and it is a reference to hopelessness and despair (Job 17:11-16). I mean we all sin, everyday and we are very good at it- thank you very much.  But there are some sins that really bother our conscience-those sins you combat more than others. Those sins that have got you in more trouble than others.  When my conscience bothers me. that is not all bad. This sort of  “dust” clouds everything and yet gives a dark clarity to who I am in and of myself-it gives the sense of my own mortality and depravity.  After I sin, if I do something especially stupid, I sense my own personal dustiness.  I feel like Job who said, “When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day. My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.” (Job 7:4-5). Yeah that says it. In those moments, I am not feeling much like the “righteousness of God in Christ.” I must deal with my sin by simple confession and see how Christ has dealt with my sin on the cross as a cure.

But guilt must not go unchecked  or it chokes my joy and it weighs me down with Adam dust.  Living in guilt, remorse and regret does not glorify God, nor satisfy God. It makes faith turn into ashes.  That is why we look to Christ as the one who removes the dust of our souls by the rushing mighty wind of his presence.

Sin happened in dusty Adam, but perfection happened in the Lord Jesus Christ. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” (1 Cor 15:45).

We are no longer just earthly dust but we are heavenly and spiritual because of Christ. He has made us alive forever by his saving power. Adam was just a man, Jesus was the Lord God from heaven. Yes, we have had an earthly image, but now because of Christ we have a heavenly dust free image.

We must look to Christ who takes away our sins and guilt by his precious blood. This is why God’s forgiveness and grace cleanses away sin and remove the dust of guilt. This continual uninterrupted grace and cleansing is offered to us through the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7-9). If we come clean with God this is just evidence that he is cleansing us continually from all the dust of this world.

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