Psalm 72 declares that God alone does wondrous things. How easily this truth is discarded! Since the Fall, the only hope of mankind has been the gospel and the gospel alone. Ultimately, the reason that you have electric light instead of candlelight is the gospel. The reason someone lets you into the next traffic lane instead of running you off the road is the gospel. The reason you can buy food instead of having to kill others for it is the gospel. Sound strange or naïve? Take a moment to consider the plight of all humans immediately after the Fall.
When Adam and Eve believed Satan’s lie, not only did spiritual death occur, but at that moment hope ceased to exist. We can’t begin to imagine life without hope. Yet until God proclaimed to Satan, in front of Eve, that one of her offspring would crush the head of the serpent, hope had vanished for all of humanity. We don’t know how long it was between the time that the fruit was eaten and God’s pronouncement to Satan. It could have been a few minutes or a few hours. What we do know is that that time was filled with shame and fear. We do know that Adam and Eve, now lost and pathetic, hid themselves from all that was good. They had no reason for joy or hope. All that was left was terror and dread. Without the promise of the gospel, our existence would have been one of agony and terror. Goodness is not natural. There would have been no goodness apart from God’s electing love. But, God acted graciously and quickly. Our first parents had to endure only a brief period of hopelessness.
The psalmist is right. Good things come only from God. Even those who do not know God know about hope because God’s people have modeled it for them throughout human history. That first promise of the gospel of grace and redemption is the only reason we have not exterminated one another as a race. Man would have no notion of doing anything for any reason other than to gratify his immediate fleshly cravings. Capable of great things, man’s greatness would have been squandered in self-service. No efforts would have ever been made for the common good—because the common good of all would have been alien to those enslaved to fear and self-preservation. With no coaching, Adam and Eve immediately blamed others for their sin of unbelief. Our parents’ first response was to blame someone, anyone but themselves, for the Fall. Without the hope of redemption at this early moment of human history, we would have devolved into a backbiting, backstabbing lot, afraid of our own shadows. Doing something that would benefit another would have been unthinkable. Without this promise of the gospel (in seed form) the history of mankind would most likely have been short-lived, recorded in fearful, bloody tales.
So, let me ask again, “How thankful are you for the gospel?”