WHAT TAKES US AWAY FROM GOD

January 02, 2018

The most tragic chapters of our lives are filled with the stories of anything and everything that removes us from God. The simple word for this tragedy is “sin.” But there is a word that precedes that sin: “temptation.” If we are return to intimacy with God and the invaluable joy of His presence, we must understand how this occurs.

The origin of sin in the history of creation is fascinating and incredibly revealing in one of the first chapters of human history. Genesis, Chapter 3 is one of the most instructive passages about humanity in the whole Bible for it describes for us the anatomy of Satan’s work and man’s failures. It describes US.

OUR FIRST TEMPTATION AND SIN

The players in the story are fourfold: God, Adam, Eve, and Satan himself. Satan comes, true to his nature, to deceive and destroy. Notice his plan.

Temptation begins with a suggestion

""Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"" (vs. 1). 

It wasn't a frontal attack, but a seemingly innocent suggestion. Listen to Satan's temptations to you and you will see that this is almost always the case. He whispers. And he does it incessantly. This is why it is so important to be quiet before God. Without God’s help, you cannot discern these whispers. They will seem like simple “thoughts” that you alone are having.

It proceeds with an exaggeration

""God has said, 'You shall not eat from it OR TOUCH IT, or you will die.'"" (vs. 3, emphasis mine). 

This is NOT what God said. He instructed them not to eat of it only. ""Or touch it"" was an addition by Eve, implying that God was stricter than He actually is. The idea is subtle. A nagging thought in Eve's mind that God’s way might be too strict, too rigid. That she might be more liberated if she left the confines of His will.

Derek Kidner said, “Eve is duly drawn, and by adding neither shall ye touch it she over-corrects the error, magnifying God’s strictness (she was to have many successors)”[1]

It matures with a full-blown lie

""The serpent said.... ""You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."" (vs. 4-5).

Satan now plays his full hand—what he was intending all along. He tempts Eve to doubt God’s Word, enticing her to fulfill a legitimate desire (to be like God) in an illegitimate way (by disobeying God's clear, simply command). Satan knew full well that this act of disobedience would make them UNLIKE God in purity, love, and holiness. That they would be like him (Satan) in deceit and disobedience.

Any attack on the legitimacy of God’s Word—anything that causes us to doubt what God has said—has a singular source. Be wary. If you take the bait you will be taken places you cannot afford to go.

It’s enhanced with the deceptive prospects of everything desirable, an appeal through the baser appetites of man.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise … (vs. 6)

Satan tempted them to believe that this would be very desirable. That it would give them everything that they needed and wanted and it would be enjoyable in the process. There was some truth here, as heresy always has. It would be momentarily enjoyable to their appetites. Stolen water is sweet.

The reality was that they were surrounded by every single good thing that God had provided that would satisfy their needs in an extraordinary way. But the forbidden fruit—falsely described by the tempter—seemed to be the most valuable and enticing to their senses.

It culminates by a choice

…  she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate (vs. 6)

Adam and Eve bear the ultimate responsibility for it was their choice. It always is.

THE TRAGIC RESULT

This single act of sin changed forever our orientation toward God. Something new and deadly had now entered the Garden of Eden … the place where the couple had, heretofore, walked with God in the cool of the day.

Sin brings shame

""They knew they were naked and sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings"" (vs. 7)

Sin causes us to hide from God's presence

""They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God ... (vs. 8).

Sin creates fear

""I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself."" (vs. 10)

Sin causes self-defense and blaming others

The man said, ""the woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."" ... and the woman said, ""The serpent deceived me, and I ate."" (vs. 12-13)

Notice that Adam blames both Eve AND God. No one left on the scene, Eve blames Satan. There is always a fruitless attempt to lay the responsibility for our choices at someone else's feet.

Sin separates us from all that is good from God (Eden itself)

""Cursed is the ground because of you, in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life... and the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken."" (vs. 17-21)

Sin demands the necessity of a Savior

(to the serpent) ""And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."" (vs. 15)

This is the first foreshadowing of the coming Christ, the Savior who would come to ""take away the sin of the world.""

OUR DESPERATE NEED

… is to return to God. To find Eden again. God has graciously provided a way through the advent of a Savior! As we come in faith to Him, we gain entrance again. We can have “peace facing God” as Christ introduces us “by faith into this grace in which we now stand”  (Romans 5:1-2).

But, until we are fully home, we are dogged by Satan’s suggestions, our exaggerations, his full-blown lies and the pull of our appetites. We must understand this as fully as possible and fight this tooth and nail by all the weapons He gives us. We must realize that everything the Enemy suggests is a lie, everything God promises is glorious, satisfying truth. The more we win this battle, the more of Eden we experience.

And, we must pursue Him with all that is in us, until Eden is one day restored.

 

[1]  Kidner, D. (1967). Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 1, p. 72). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

 




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