Adam & Eve – Genesis 3

All Mankind – 1 John 2:16

Jesus – Matthew 4:1-11

Appeal to physical appetites

the tree was good for food (3:6)

a craving for physical pleasure

He was hungry. The tempter said, tell these stones to become bread.

Appeal to personal gain/coveting

pleasing to the eye (3:6)

a craving for everything we see

Popularity-jump down you will not strike your foot against a stone

Appeal to power/glory

for gaining wisdom – be like God (3:5/6)

pride in achievements/possessions

I will give you all the kingdoms of the world.

Note how Jesus defeated Satan. "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.  'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"  Note how we can defeat Satan: "Submit yourselves to God (know and obey His Word). Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

Dear Friends,            

     Without Genesis 3 the Bible and life itself makes no sense. As the truck driver says to the gang leader in the film Grand Canyon: "Man, the world ain't supposed to work like this." (John Walton NIV Application Commentary) "The Fall and curse disrupts God's blessings and our relationship with Him, and the inclination of our hearts, apart from Christ, is only evil." (Walton) Depravity doesn't mean we only do evil but that we fall far short of the good God created us to be and do. Adam and Eve's innocence had to be tested in order to be transformed into righteousness and holy character even as Jesus, though perfect, suffered when He was tested and tempted (Heb. 2:18; 4:14-16; 5:7-9). God tests us for our growth and good; Satan tempts us to evil and our destruction. (James 1:12-15; John 10:10) We can see here the perfect case study for temptation, for sin cannot be blamed on environment (paradise) or heredity; i.e., we are not "depraved because we were deprived" (per the movie West Side Story) but because we want autonomy (self-government) more than God's rule over our lives.

     Knowing and obeying God's Word is how God "provides a way out in every temptation." (1 Cor. 10:13; Matt. 4:1-11) In Genesis 1 God spoke a creative Word; in Genesis 2 He spoke a commanding Word (v. 17) and here Satan questions, distorts and refutes God's Word and Eve "disparaged the privileges (2:16), added to the prohibition (3:3) and weakened the penalty" (see 3:3 vs. 2:17 – Walvord & Zuck Bible Knowledge Commentary). Satan tries to convince us that God withholds from us and does not have our best interest at heart. "We must have a robust trust in God's good intentions for us that comes from knowing and obeying God's Word  or we will take matters in to our own hands." (Ken Boa) "So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32 Amp.)  So we take matters into our own hands to our own destruction.

             "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." (Gen. 3:7) Evil is not possessed (i.e., forbidden fruit, the drug of choice, etc.) but possessing! "Eyes were opened" – Some commentators say that this is when Adam and Eve and mankind developed a conscience: "They (all mankind) demonstrate that God's law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right." (Rom. 2:15 NLT) "So they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves." "Cover" vs. confess  – God called them to confess their sin and disobedience but instead they tried to cover their sins and tried to hide from Him. This is the invention of religion – man trying to make himself right with God by doing good works to try to cover up his sin.

    Here we see attributes of God that had not been revealed until the Fall: justice, mercy and grace.

First of all God's justice: The Fall brought about four levels of alienation: 1) from God – "they hid from the LORD God." 2) from self – "I was afraid because I was naked"; from innocence to shame and guilt; from integrity to dis-integrity – "Woe is me, for I am undone!" (Isa. 6: See Rom.2:15); 3) from others – "The woman you put here with me." "The serpent deceived me." The blame game began; "To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing (the Hebrew word here is "conception") with pain you will give birth to children." This means more than physical pain but includes the anguish and concern for the health of the baby through the entire birth process. "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." The Battle of the Sexes began and can only be resolved as man and woman submit to Christ. (Eph. 5:21-33); 4) from nature – "Cursed is the ground because of you; It will produce thorns and thistles for you." The blessing of work now has its difficulties as do many other blessings of life in a fallen world. This represents retaliatory justice. They sinned by eating and now would suffer in order to eat. Eve manipulated Adam and would be wrongly dominated by Adam; the serpent destroyed the human race and he was judged and will be destroyed. "We are not at peace with one another because we are not at peace with ourselves. We are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God." (Thomas Merton) 

            But we also see God's mercy and grace. (Mercy is not getting what we deserve and grace is getting more than we deserve.) "But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." "The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." The first blood sacrifice (God killed an animal) points to the animal sacrifices for Israel until Christ came and shed His blood "once for all." (1 Peter 3:18) "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Heb. 9:22)  Although they died spiritually at that point they did not die physically and lived to have children through whom Jesus Christ would come forth as our Savior from sin. God says to Satan, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he (Jesus) will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." We deserve death and eternal separation from God but we receive forgiveness through God's costly sacrifice of His Son is SoHis for our sin. We also see how Christ became the curse for us: He sweat drops of blood; wore the crown of thorns; hung on a tree and was placed in the dust of death. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." (Gal. 3:13) And we see even more of God's grace:  "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."  Praise God we don't have to live in this fallen world in our fallen state forever. This fallen world is not our home. The aging process in itself is a grace as we may have time to make midcourse adjustments or last minute confessions. Paul groaned for heaven yet was willing to remain to minister to others and Scripture calls us to have the same perspective. "And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.  We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don't need to hope for it.  But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)"(Rom. 8:23-25 NLT; also see Phil. 1:21-26)

Questions for reflection/application.   

God tests us for our growth and good; Satan tempts us to evil and our destruction. (James 1:2-4, 12-15; John 10:10) We see in Hebrews 12:5-11 and John 15:2 that God 1) disciplines us ("child training") and 2) prunes us for spiritual growth. How can you know the difference and does it matter?

"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made." "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (Gen. 3:1; 2 Cor. 11:14); … "but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:14-15)  We see here the cycle of sin: (illegitimate) desire; deception (enticed/tempted); disobedience (sin); and death (broken fellowship with God). When tempted, what is God's promise in 1 Cor. 10:13 and how can we find "the way out"?

Cover vs. confess – What is God's promise to us when we confess our sins?  Why do you think people try to hide their sins from God versus confess them? Ponder the blessing of confession in 1 John 1:5-9.

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child." (Luke 2:16-17)                                                  

Go tell it on the mountains that Jesus Christ is born.

Merry Christmas, Len and Kristen                                

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