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Echoes From the Campfire

     "The first article of the creed of the frontier is to be game. Good or bad, the last test of a man is the way he takes his medicine."
              --William MacLeod Raine (Crooked Trails and Straight)

     "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."
               --Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)
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     Stop! Right now, first thought--what comes to your mind when you think of the Garden of Eden? Now that may depend on where you live and what you see around you. Or maybe it is the picture that we have of lush garden. What comes to my mind was orchards of various fruits and through them ran several brooks and between the orchards were meadows of soft, velvety grass, the kind you could lie down in to gaze upward.
     Hmmm, now that's a thought right there. Were there clouds? Why would Adam gaze upward? He didn't have to look into heaven for God, Himself, would come down and walk with Adam and talk with him. Did he have dreams?
     A couple of Sundays ago, my pastor mentioned something about Adam that I had really never thought of before. Adam knew God in a way that we will not know Him until we get to heaven. I don't care how many sermons and seminars are given about the concept of a relationship, it will not be completely fulfilled until we walk with Him in that heavenly city. Had heard His footsteps, he recognized them. He heard God's voice (ever wonder what it really sounds like?). He has a unique and special relationship that was broken because of sin. After Adam was cast out that relationship was broken. Never again did he heard God's footsteps coming to meet him; there is no record of God speaking to Adam again. How those last words must have haunted him, "For you are dust, And to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19, NASB)
     We think of the "Fall" as something negative, and for sure it brought a curse upon man, upon the animals, and upon the earth. Could man have remained pure--possibly, but we have to remember God's greater plan. Because of his sin, Adam now saw a characteristic of God he did not know existed. He could no longer look upon God, but God provided something else that in the future all of mankind could look upon Him. GRACE! Without the fall, there could be no bestowment of grace and mercy. Right at the beginning we see that grace requires blood. Adam and Eve tried in their vain human way to atone by making sewing fig leaves together to cover them. God knows what is needed and "The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them." (Genesis 3:21, NASB)
     One more little thing to ponder. This grace and mercy was something that heaven had never seen. I think Satan was appalled when he saw that side of God; it is something that he could never do--offer grace. Here is something given to man that was not offered to the fallen angels. For Adam, even in the wondrous beauty of Eden, had not lived where the glory of God was spread forth in all of its magnificence. Satan and the angels saw God's glory, therefore, no grace was offered them. Man is the only recipient of grace. The words of Julia Johnston's great hymn should always be on our lips. "Grace, grace, God's grace; grace that is greater than all my sin."

D.C. Adkisson

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