The Sacrifice for Adam's Sin

Gen 3:17-21

17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return." 20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. NKJV

In his book Written in Blood, Robert Coleman tells the story of a little boy whose sister needed a blood transfusion. The doctor had explained that she had the same disease the boy had recovered from two years earlier. Her only chance for recovery was a transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the disease. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the boy was the ideal donor.

"Would you give your blood to Mary?" the doctor asked.

Johnny hesitated. His lower lip started to tremble. Then he smiled and said, "Sure, for my sister."

Soon the two children were wheeled into the hospital room--Mary, pale and thin; Johnny, robust and healthy. Neither spoke, but when their met, Johnny grinned. As the nurse inserted the needle into his arm, Johnny's smile faded. He watched the blood flow through the tube.

With the ordeal almost over, his voice slightly shaky, broke the silence. "Doctor, when do I die?" Only then did the doctor realize why Johnny had hesitated, why his lip had trembled when he'd agreed to donate his blood. He'd thought giving his blood to his sister meant giving up his life. In that brief moment, he'd made his great decision.

Johnny, fortunately, didn't have to die to save his sister. Each of us however, has a condition more serious than Mary's, and it required Jesus to give not just his blood, but his life.

-- Thomas Lindberg, Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 1.

  1. The principle
    1. Is laid out for us in Heb. 9:22 without shedding of blood there is no remission. NKJV
      1. Death was the penalty for man's sin.
      2. But instead of man an innocent animal would die.
      3. Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.' NKJV
      4. Lev 6:6 And he shall bring his trespass offering to the LORD, a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering, to the priest. 7 So the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he shall be forgiven for any one of these things that he may have done in which he trespasses." NKJV
      5. It appears that this knowledge
    2. It is according to grace.
      1. Grace gives us what we do not deserve, but still the penalty must be paid.
      2. Before they are driven out, and shut out from all return back to the tree of life according to nature, God clothes them with a garment which covers their nakedness, a garment which had its origin in death (the death of another), which had come in, but which hid the effects of the sin that had introduced it. Man was no longer naked. Darby
      3. They had made them coverings of fig leaves, but they were not sufficient. "Such are all the rags of our own righteousness. But God made them coats of skins; large, and strong, and durable, and fit for them; such is the righteousness of Christ. Therefore put on the Lord Jesus Christ." Matthew Henry
      4. Jesus Christ having offered himself to God a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour, we are to clothe ourselves with his righteousness as with a garment, that the shame of our nakedness may not appear. Matthew Henry
    3. It shows us the need for a substitute.
      1. Lev 1: 4 Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. NKJV
  2. The pattern
    1. Adam heard God promise that the seed (descendant) of the woman would triumph over the serpent (bruise him on the head). He also heard that the seed of the woman would himself be bruised on the heel (wounded) in the process (Gen. 3:15). In this way the first promise was directly related to a coming Savior who would suffer, and yet triumph over Satan. Immediately following this God made garments of skin, which required blood sacrifice, for Adam and his wife (Gen. 3:21). The great elements of the evangel were already in place; a coming, suffering, Savior who would triumph over Satan and the effects of sin.(1)
    2. This was well understood by Adam and his children
      1. Abel's offering (Gen 4) shows that he must have understood how sinners could only approach God through a blood sacrifice, which fact was made known to Adam when God clothed him with the coat of skins (Gen 3:21). This knowledge of sacrifice continued through the generations leading to Noah and Abraham.(2)
  3. The fulfillment
    1. Few types are as complete as this. God undertakes for man; The imputation of sin to a substitute is implied; and the covering of the sinner is revealed.(3)
    2. "This verse gives us a typical picture of a sinner's salvation. "It was the first Gospel sermon, preached by God Himself, not in words but in symbol and action. "It was a setting forth of the way by which a sinful creature could return unto and approach his holy Creator. "It was the initial declaration of the fundamental fact that "without shedding of blood is no remission." "It was a blessed illustration of substitution -- the innocent dying in the stead of the guilty. Pink
    3. Joshua 2:18 Many writers have said that throughout Scripture this concept of the "scarlet thread" can be found: the line of blood atonement began in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:21), was exemplified in the Passover (Ex. 12:1-28), and was finally fulfilled in Christ's sacrifice on the cross (Heb. 9:22; 1 Pet. 1:19, 20). Here the thread was the means of deliverance for Rahab and her family. All who were to be delivered had to trust Rahab and stay in her house. Wiersbe
    4. Garments in the Bible are often a picture of salvation. See Isa. 61:10 and Zech. 3. The prodigal son was clothed afresh when he came home (Luke 15:22). The garments of self-righteousness and good works are but filthy rags in God's sight (Isa. 64:6). Note that God wanted Adam and Eve to be covered; He approved their sense of shame. It is always a sign of degeneration when a people reverse this and go back to nakedness. "Modest apparel" is always God's standard (1 Tim. 2:9). Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament
      1. "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness" Isaiah 61:10.
    5. Notice the things that God did not do for Adam
      1. He did not provide medicine to cure the diseases that would come.
      2. He did not give him implements to better farm the land
      3. He did not give him a place to live.
      4. He didn't do many of the thing that we would do for people today.
        1. It is not that those things are not important.
        2. But it was that God did for them the most important.
        3. Through this sacrifice for sin, their relationship was renewed.
        4. We see this in what Adam said concerning Eve.
        5. Even though death was now the end they could look forward to, Eve was the mother of all living, not the dead.
      5. He gave them skins to cover their shame, their nakedness.
      6. He gave them skins to cover their sin and shame.

A friend visited an elderly woman badly crippled by arthritis. When asked, "Do you suffer much?" she responded, "Yes, but there is no nail here," and she pointed to her hand. "He had the nails, I have the peace." She pointed to her head. "There are no thorns here. He had the thorns, I have the peace." She touched her side. "There is no spear here. He had the spear, I have the peace." That is what the atonement of Jesus Christ means for us--He gave of himself so that we might have the peace. Ralph Turnbull, If I Only Had One Sermon to Preach --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 35.

Does it strike you that of all the things that God could do for man that the one that affected man's relationship with God is the only one God addressed. It is not that all these other things are not important. Rather it is that our relationship with God is the most important. Is it the most important aspect of your life.

The story of Christ's coverage for sins has been told so often to some of us that the message just doesn't seem to get through. We are jaded. Somehow we need to find ways to get the message through in vital and fresh and arresting ways.

There is a wonderful story about a young family moving into a new house. The move had been scheduled weeks in advance, but when the day approached the husband announced that an important meeting had been called at the office, and he would be unable to help. Consequently, the wife had to handle the move by herself. After the moving van had pulled away, the wife found herself standing in the living room of the new house surrounded by boxes to be unpacked, appliances to be hooked up, a screaming baby, and a five-year-old who decided to throw one of his metal toys through the picture window. Fortunately, the child wasn't hurt, but the jagged glass was scattered everywhere and a brisk wind was blowing through the opening. The wife was now so upset that she simply had to tell her husband what was happening. When she called him on the telephone, a secretary informed her that he was tied up in the meeting and could not be disturbed. The secretary asked, "Would you like to leave a message?" This didn't help her at all because from past experience the wife knew that he could be extremely lax about returning telephone calls home. So she figured out a way to get to him. She replied, "Just tell him the insurance will cover it. Call home for details."

The moment he got the message, he called home.

Maybe we need to learn from this some ways to arrest people with the message of God's coverage for sin. Maybe we need to rephrase the headlines of our faith for each generation in ways that will seize their minds and demand their attention!

--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 35-36.

1. Emmaus Bible College, The Emmaus Journal, (Garland, Texas: Electronic edition by Galaxie Software) 1999.

2. Multiple, Bibliotheca Sacra, (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Theological Seminary (Electronic edition by Galaxie Software)) 1999.

3. Multiple, Bibliotheca Sacra, (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Theological Seminary (Electronic edition by Galaxie Software)) 1999.


This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at