“Don’t pull on that loose thread” is one of those mama said pieces of wisdom. If you pull a loose thread on a piece of clothing, you might unravel a large piece of it and end up ruining the garment. If you pull on a metaphorical thread, you could end up doing damage to something other than your sweater, but it will still fill you with the same kind of regret. However, there is a scarlet thread running through the Bible that is meant to be pulled on, his name is Jesus Christ, he is the red thread of redemption from Genesis to Revelation. Pulling on this red thread is essential for the edification of the Christian and is encouraged:
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
A few months ago at a community Bible study, we read about the Wedding at Cana in John’s gospel. When I got home I read it again and my mind fixed on the word “Woman” in John 2:3, the name Jesus called his mother, which led to thoughts about the name “Woman” in Genesis 2:24 which led right to thoughts about the cursed serpent (Genesis 3:14) and the cursed ground (Genesis 3:17) and then I thought about the first Gospel promise, a shadowy revealing of Jesus Christ, “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). I thought about Adam’s response of faith in God’s Word and about the covenant of grace, the redemption of the elect by the Mediator Jesus Christ, as he changed his wife’s name from “Woman” to “Eve because she was the mother of all the living.” (Genesis 3:20). It's amazing, The Word of God is simply AMAZING!
A few days ago I saw the drawing* I’ve attached to this post. What a beautiful visible/tangible reminder that points to God's promises, to Christ and the gospel of grace! Look at the gospel crushing the head of the serpent, it makes me think of Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:15, and Ephesians 6:14-16 :
"7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
"15.....As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
"14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth fastened around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."
Before I knew what had happened, I had taken another trip through the Bible, a trip that took me back to the name “Woman” and I pulled on that red thread. I was reminded of how God slowly revealed Jesus Christ to His people in the Old Covenant over time until Christ was fully revealed to us in the New Covenant. I smiled as I thought about the first woman being taken out of a man (Genesis 2:22) and the second Adam, Christ, being born of a woman (Galatians 4:4) which led to thoughts about Mary’s faith in God’s Word, "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true." (Luke 1:38). I thought about Elizabeth’s faith in God’s word: “……Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!" (Luke 1:42) and “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45). I thought about Mary’s response of praise (Luke 1:46-55) and the words of the woman in the crowd: “……Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” (Luke 11:27) and Christ’s response “…Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28). I thought about Simeon’s faith in God's Word and his words to Mary, “…This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel…. and a sword will pierce your soul as well.” (Luke 2:34-35). And then I thought about Christ’s words to his mother from the cross “…Woman, here is your son," (John 19:25) which brought my thoughts back to this, “….in pain you will bring forth children.” (Genesis 3:16). Christmas is really all about tragedy that began with “….hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1) turned into triumph “…….No longer will there be any curse…….. “ (Revelation 22). What an amazing story that reveals Jesus Christ to us and reminds us of how our Lord uses His people throughout history in His big plan of redemption.
You might have thought that Christmas is about Hallmark Christmas movies or amazing sale prices and the beautiful celebration of Christ’s incarnation, and it is, but let's put a Reformation twist on those earthly things and remember that:
Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone.
Christmas is about God becoming flesh and dwelling with us for eternity.
Christmas is about humility and the recognition of our need for God.
Christmas is about the gift of Jesus Christ and the blessing of salvation, the manger points to the cross.
Christmas is about bleeding scripture because our souls are full of the Word of God (think John Bunyan).
Christmas is about believing what God has said in his Word, the Holy Bible. Fill yourself with God's Word. Look up the scripture verses referenced in this post and hear God speak. Christmas is for men and for women:
The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. -Westminster Confession of Faith
Unfortunately, many of us today struggle finding time to read our Bibles let alone rest. But because we are joined to Christ in faith, we are promised that we will enter God’s unending rest.
“This means that the story of our lives doesn’t have to be one breathless week after another always trying to keep ahead of demands. The world, our families, our lives are not going to fall apart if we take time to rest in and focus on the work Christ has accomplished, and what is yet to come.”
~ Nancy Guthrie, “Even Better Than Eden” (page 160).
May you be filled with thoughts of Christ this Christmastime and always and may it inspire adoration.
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Romans 16:20 (Berean Study Bible)
Resources and Additional Info-
Even Better Than Eden: Nine Ways The Bible's Story Changes Everything About Your Story
by Nancie Guthrie
"If I were to tell you my story, I'd probably tell you about where my life began.....about significant events in my life......where I live....what I do there day to day....There's another story, a story that is found in the pages of the Bible.......that shapes and defines where I came from, why I am the way I am.....This story that has the power to change everything about our stories." ~Quotable quote from the intro p.11-12
The Seed of The Woman by R. Andrew Compton
"The curse on the serpent in Genesis 3:14–15 sets the stage for the subsequent course of redemptive history. Obvious New Testament allusions to this passage occur in places such as Luke 10:19; Romans 16:20; and Revelation 12:17. Yet from this point in the book of Genesis, the theme of “enmity between offspring/seed” characterizes the biblical narrative. This passage is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the consummate “seed of the woman” who crushes the head of the serpent. In the three curse-speeches given in Genesis 3:14–19, the plotline of history is sketched out."
The Gospel According to Mary by Michael Horton
"The glad tidings of Genesis 3:15—namely, that God will give Eve an offspring who will crush the serpent's head—creates faith. Yet it also initiates a war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent that will become the story behind all of the stories in the Bible."
For more info on John Bunyan and the Pilgrim's progress check out this series from Reformed Forum:
Episode 1 John Bunyan https://reformedforum.org/tsp136/
We meet every Wednesday evening at 7pm and every Sunday evening at 5pm for Bible study.
Pastor Mark holds informal worship services on the last Sunday of every month at 5pm.
We meet at 1st Presbyterian church in Adamsville, TN 328 Old Stage Rd.
* Mary and Eve Drawing by Sr Grace Remington, OCSO Used with permission from the artist. Mary and Eve Christmas cards may be purchased here: Monastery Candy