Dr Kevin Blackwell

Information on Church Health, Disciple Making, Ministry Leadership, theology and Spiritual Growth

Eden to Calvary: The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

It truly is a remarkable statement, “And they (Adam & Eve) were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25.  Instead of focusing on the lack of clothing we are called to focus on the final four words of that verse, “…and were not ashamed.”  That is the last time that statement could ever be made of human beings.  They had nothing to be ashamed of, they were living in complete purity in a daily relationship with the Living God.  Their tongues knew no lie, their minds knew no impure thought, their hands had not touched an unclean thing and their feet had not trod the ways of disobedience.  While our sinful minds tend to focus on the nakedness of Adam and Eve, the meaning of this verse is very powerfully indicated in the lack of shame they felt. Imagine living in such a state that you have nothing of which to feel ashamed.  They were sinless, pure, holy, created for a face to face relationship with their creator in which all of their needs and desires were wholly met through His Holy sufficiency.

Unfortunately, the failure of Genesis 3 changed everything.  While God had created man and woman as perfect he did not create them without choice of morality. They were not created as robots with no choice as to how they would live in relationship to God.  The “choice” came to them in the form of the serpent.  The words of God were twisted and distorted by the deceiver of man and the most catastrophic choice in history was made. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that is was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” Genesis 3:6. In an instant purity was erased, innocence was gone and the tentacles of shame took hold of the hearts of those made in His image.  The imago dei of creation, though still in the DNA, became corrupted.  It is hard to imagine that mankind could have had any need to satisfy their soul other than the presence of God.  Yet, that which was created for the Father’s presence was now playing the first game of hide and go seek.  It is indeed a horrifying statement found in Genesis 3:8, “…they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God.”  As a result of that action, God posed his first question to his creation, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9.  While at first glance this question seems simple, it was extremely loaded meant to bring deep introspection.  God didn’t ask the question for his own benefit, after all, He is God and knows the spiritual and physical location of all creation.  The question was for Adam and Eve’s benefit.  Another way of posing the question would have been, “look at what you have become.”  There they hid from the Father, recognizing their nakedness and feeling an unusual and alien emotion, shame.

What followed after this event can be explained by two words, violence and blood.

Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made clothing of animal skin, and clothed them.Genesis 3:21. Don’t miss that, animal skin. Something had to die in order to cover the shame.  Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin.” Hebrews 9:22. Tragically the chapter ends with a terrifying statement, “He drove out the man, and at the east of the Garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24.

In the narrative of the first chapters of Genesis the focus is on creation and desecration, yet we can easily miss the potent prophecy that God brings immediately after the fall. “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15. The “He” is Jesus Christ and the prophecy points to a future event in which the serpent would deliver one final “bite”, just before his head is crushed for all eternity.  And thus, the scarlet thread of redemption makes its first appearance.  W.A. Criswell was the first to refer to the scarlet thread of redemption. We see it throughout the Old Testament, from the skins of animals that covered Adam and his wife (Genesis 3), to the ram in the thicket (Genesis 22), the rope hanging out of Rahab’s window (Joshua 2), and the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12). God had a plan to redeem his creation and it becomes evident throughout the Scripture.  As a matter of fact God had a plan BEFORE the fall of man occurred, “God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.” 1 Peter 1:20.  The scarlet thread runs seamlessly and purposefully all the way to a place called Calvary.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities and the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5.

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18

In Genesis, God created us as HIS and to ensure that we would always be HIS, he had a plan to redeem us. Even while His creation was taking the bite of the fruit, His hand was in full grip of the scarlet chord. Because He is holy and just, his wrath must bring punishment to sin.  Yet on the grandest stage in human history the final thread of the chord was still in the Hand of the Father. Through all of the failures and catastrophic decisions of man, His hand never loosed its grip on the scarlet thread of redemption. On Calvary, the Father handed the thread of redemption to His Son to hold for just long enough to bring us back into a right relationship with Him.  Notice again Peter’s words, “…that he might bring us to God.”  Paul emphasizes this point in Ephesians 2:13, “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

In June of 1984 I grabbed hold of that scarlet thread as I trusted in the sacrifice of Christ. When I took hold of the redemption provided by Christ, with that same scarlet thread Jesus pulled my soul to Him and brought me near.  What He did for me, He can do for you. 

In Genesis 3 God kicks creation out of his presence, yet through the redemption provided at Calvary the Bible ends with a compelling invitation, “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. Revelation 22:17. The Bible begins with an expulsion from His presence and ends with an invitation to enter His presence. The Bible begins with a warning not to partake of the Tree of Life and ends with an invitation to partake of the Tree of Life (Revelation 22:14).  If you will come to the Cross of Calvary, you will find the same scarlet thread of redemption, the blood of Christ, tied to its redeeming power.  Let me encourage you, take hold of that thread, it will lead you directly to the one who created you.  And when you do take hold you too will be able to enjoy an eternity without shame.


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About Me

I have been in ministry for 29 years serving in various capacities including senior pastor, youth pastor, education and associate pastor. I serve at Samford University as Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the Ministry Training Institute. I am co-author of the book, Cultivate Disciple Making. I received his Bachelors Degree from Samford, a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Master of Theology from the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His doctoral work was in the area of church health and revitalization.  I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation thesis is An Analysis and Critique of Disciple Making Within Ecclesial Movements in the United States, 1970-2020, With a View Toward Implementing a Faithful New Testament Missio Ecclesia


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