The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:14-19
These sobering words following the disobedience of the first man and woman to God’s law and their obvious rebellion toward His rightful rule over their lives reminds us that the result of rejecting God leads to curse and ultimately death. This makes sense, since removing ourselves from a relationship with the One who is blessing and life itself can result in nothing less. Adam, who was created from “dust” will not live forever in a physical state of rebellion but will one day breath his last and have his body return to dust. The same is true of every one of his descendants who have made the same choice to rebel against the One who is blessing and life.
How often we overlook our sin by reminding ourselves “we are only human.” Yet, our sin is not a trivial thing that God ignores. His holiness does not allow for that. His perfect righteousness deals with our unrighteousness. He justly deals with all rebellion against His righteousness. What does that mean for rebellious sinners such as us? Do we have any hope? Are we doomed to experience only the result of our sin – separation from the One who is life and blessing? On this day when many will go to church and have an ash cross applied to their forehead, let us remember that we are but dust. But let’s also remember this: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:13-14).