Escaping Sin’s Trap

Genesis 3:4-6 “‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.”

It is ironic that the Father of lies is accusing God of being the liar. If you look closely, he chooses the same words God used and twists and perverts them for his purposes, almost word for word. “You will surely die,” God said. “You will not surely die,” Satan contradicts. “When you eat of it you will surely die,” God warned. “When you eat of it your eyes will be opened,” Satan concludes. “God has been lying to you. You need to stop listening to that guy.”

It’s more than a denial of sin’s negative consequences. He actually created a whole list of positive promises–exciting new advantages if they will only break God’s command and eat the fruit. “Your eyes won’t close in death. They will be opened to a new life, new possibilities. Just imagine the great new things you will see.” “You don’t have to go through life as God’s slaves. You can be like him, his equals, living life on your own terms. Realize your potential!” “Right now you live in ignorance. You may know some things, but God’s way means you know less. You can have more! You can know good and evil.” Unfortunately, Adam and Eve were about to learn a hard lesson in why new, and free, and more aren’t always better.

New experiences, personal freedom, more than you had before–those are still common themes of the temptation. None of us has managed to avoid taking the bait. Every one of us has been caught in the trap. It’s why we look for a Savior from sin.

Giving in to temptation ends in sad results. Before anything else, sin changed Adam and Eve’s hearts. Before this, they viewed the forbidden tree through the lens of God’s word. Now Eve looks at the tree independent of God’s word. “This fruit looks like all the rest. It’s not poisonous or spoiled or too bitter or sour.” Trusting her own eyes, her own experience, her own research, her own investigation more than God’s word turned out to be a disastrous mistake. Faith in self is misplaced.

There are some who object today, “It doesn’t really matter what you believe. The important thing is how you live, what you do.” That is backwards! What we do is based on what we believe! Believe wrong and act wrong. Satan got it. God understands it. Adam and Eve found out too late:

That change of heart led to a change of behavior: Maybe this looks like a mild crime compared to the great atrocities committed throughout history. But don’t forget that Adam and Eve became the murderers of the whole human race and source of every misery.

Certainly their own circumstances were different now. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Now that their eyes were opened, what did they see? They saw their shame. They saw their guilt. Something in them had died–a good conscience, pure hearts and minds, their ability to look at each other and see only the beauty and goodness God had created. That had been replaced by selfishness and perversion. They were desperate to cover themselves up, not parade and display the god-like qualities Satan promised.

You and I are not strangers to their shame. We desire to hide ourselves and what we have done. But something is different. We are not dressed in a fig leaf and running scared in some primeval garden. Why? We have been clothed in the sinlessness of Christ. He has dressed us in the love and perfection of his own sinless life. We have been cleansed by his blood and washed of our sins. We live a new life of faith, in full possession of eternal life to come. Jesus came to open sin’s trap and set us free. Jesus reversed this story and restored us to God’s paradise, when he, not the serpent, not Satan, was hung on a tree.

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