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A Desire to Be Wise: Genesis 3:1–13

Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 6:00
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A Desire to Be Wise

September 15, 2013

Lesson: Genesis 3:1–13

Key Verses: Genesis 3:6

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Introduction

Whosoever commits sin transgresses law; for sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Scripture teaches us that “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). In the first case, sin is related to the moral Law of God. The latter reveals the character of sin. To be of the devil means that we have that same kind of nature: one of a “diabolos,” a slanderer, a liar, as he revealed himself in Eden.

There are those who would redefine sin (they falsely do so, thereby slandering the Word of God): defining sin as a mistake or as something that has marred mankind (as a blemish is formed on the skin). They do this by changing laws or adopting new ones. As if society makes the rules by which to live. The Ten Commandments are just a result of some religious people, not a direct revelation of righteousness according to the Almighty Creator.

However, “sin has blotted God’s image, and stained the orient brightness of the soul. It makes God loathe a sinner, Zech xi 8; and when a sinner sees his sin, he loathes himself. Ezek xx 43. Sin drops poison on our holy things, it infects our prayers. …Sin stamps the devil’s image on a man. Malice is the devil’s eye, hypocrisy his cloven foot” (Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity).

God takes sin seriously because it is a transgression of His Law, which then turns that which is beautiful into filthy rags (including our souls and our works). God’s creation should glorify Him as Creator and Lord. Darkness is the realm of the sinner. Sin makes man an enemy of God. The sinner claims this as his creed: “But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her” (Jeremiah 44:17).

Discussion: What is sin?

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The Crafty Devil—Genesis 3:1-5

Our Lord has revealed to Adam the beauty and wonder of His creating both male and female. Adam would cleave to his wife, and they would become one flesh: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:24–25). They were not ashamed or disappointed, nor did they act in any such manner toward each other. This is illustrated in the realm of redemption. It is recorded in Isaiah 29:22, after the Lord’s promise of sight to the blind, “Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.”

Adam had also received a commandment from his Creator and Lord: “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. …But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:9, 17). This, surely, was passed on to Eve through Adam in those days they had lived together. Man is to remain loyal to God, in obedience to his Creator, in the caring of His creation, and in their relationship with each other. Rather than be limited by his obedience to the law of God, it would free him in all relationships and service. Sin does the opposite. Disobedience brings death, separation from God.

Thus Satan entered on the scene in the Garden of Eden. Divine revelation reveals Satan (Rev. 12:9) as a crafty assassin, a “serpent more subtle (cunning) than any beast of the field. He revealed himself to Eve as light (2 Cor. 11:14). His cunning began by asking Eve a question: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Eve was tempted to question what God had said. She knew that God did not say that she could not eat of every tree. Eve said, adding, “neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” God did not say they could not touch it. God did say: “thou shalt surely die.” Doubt, having entered into her heart, Satan then twisted God’s word, saying, “Ye shall not surely die;” questioning God’s justice. He claimed a different purpose than God’s, saying that God knew that she would, by eating of the forbidden fruit, have her eyes opened, and she shall be “like God, knowing good and evil.” Eve was led to doubt, then disbelief, which in turn led her to disobey.

We need to learn to turn away from the temptation to sin. At its first word, we should repent. Then we need to carefully study and hide the Word of God in our hearts, that we may quote it correctly as we fight temptation and the sin of this world. Our loyalty and obedience is what makes us free in Christ, not as the world have us believe.

Discussion: How is the craftiness of Satan illustrated?

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Fallen Man—Genesis 3:6–8

Eve was directed by the subtleties of Satan to look at the tree in a different light. It would be seen, not as an act of obedience to her Creator, but as something to be desired above that which God could give. She saw “that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise.” Once the tree was pleasant because of its Creator, then it became an object of selfish desire, infecting soul and body. “She could previously behold the tree with such sincerity, that no desire to eat of it affected her mind; for the faith she had in the word of God was the best guardian of her heart, and of all her senses. But now, after the heart had declined from faith, and from obedience to the word, she corrupted both herself and her senses, and depravity was diffused through all parts of her soul as well as her body (John Calvin, Com.).

Eve then became the tempter. Once you give into the temptation of sin, your craving for others to join you becomes more acute. She gave the fruit to her husband, “and he did eat.” Did he not hear the arguments of Satan through her words? Adam also turned from God and sought wisdom for himself. To be like gods is at the core of every sin. It is Adam who bears the full responsibility for disobedience and disloyalty: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

It is written that both their eyes were opened. What does this mean? Is it their physical nakedness that brought them to sew fig leaves together to make aprons? Or had their own depravity or corruption made their nakedness be seen as something horribly cheap, when before it was wonderfully and beautifully made?

They found that they had to face their Creator. God made Himself known through His voice in the garden. Not only did they hide their bodies from themselves with fig leaves, they hid their bodies from “the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” The eyes of their conscience condemned them as transgressors of the word of God. They then had to confess their sin. We should pray that our eyes will continually be opened,”that, being confounded at our own disgrace, we may give to God the glory which is his due” (Calvin).

Discussion: In what ways should we deal with our sin?

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Naked Sinner—Genesis 3:9–13

God confronted Adam and Eve with their transgression. He called, saying, “Where art thou?” Did God not know where they were, hiding among the trees? Before we came to know Christ our Savior, did we not also hide? Do we still hide, even while we still sin, as if God would not see? We need the same call as did Adam and Eve. It is God who approaches sinners with His Righteous Word. It is by His Word that we are convicted of our transgressions, repenting of our disobedience and sin. Scripture teaches us: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Rom. 7:7). God reveals our sin that we might not be ignorant of the need of repentance and faith, of His glorious lovingkindness toward us.

Adam answered the Lord, saying, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” God then asked, “Who told thee that thou wast naked?” Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?” Then came the rationalization of the sinner, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Not only did Adam blame Eve, but God Himself for giving him such a woman. The Lord then spoke to the woman and she gave the same kind of answer: “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

For his part in the temptation, Satan was judged. However, repentance had to come to the heart of Adam and Eve to know God’s forgiveness. Their answers revealed the depth of their transgression. As Calvin observes, “We also, trained in the same school of original sin, are too ready to resort to subterfuges of the same kind; but of no purpose; for howsoever incitements and instigations from other quarters may impel us, yet the unbelief which seduces us from obedience to God is within us; the pride is within which brings forth contempt.”

Therefore, let us hear the Word of God, and the conviction of our sins. For God calls us, saying, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:19). Our Lord is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Discussion: Why does God search us out and reveal our sins?

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Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2013 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.

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