The Day Everything Went Wrong (Genesis 3)


The Day Everything Went Wrong

Genesis 3

Last weekend, I was told that the shower drain in my daughters’ bathroom was clogged. Being somewhat of a handyman, I decided to take this small project on by myself. Over the years, I have grown in my abilities to handle projects around the house. Sometimes they end well and sometimes they don’t.

I entered the bathroom to survey the situation, turned the shower on, and sure enough it clogged immediately. Figuring this would be a quick and easy project, I chose not to change into work clothes, but to attack this problem head on. I was armed with my trusty snake, which is a tightly coiled metal rope designed to advance down the drain and get to the clog. I immediately had success. This massive ball of wet, greasy, matted down hair quickly came up. I started the water again, only to find there was more to this clog than meets the eye.

Again I advanced my snake, this time farther into the drain. But when I went to pull it out, it was stuck. And so, I pulled harder and harder–and then it released. And before I could get out of the way, I was sprayed with a lovely collection of sludge . . . all over my shirt, my glasses, and my face. In that moment, I thought about the bumper sticker–maybe you have seen it. “No Bad Days.” Really–no bad days? Covered with filth from head to toe, I wondered about that bumper sticker. I just want to confess right now that I am tempted, the next time I see it, to run that person off the road and go, “How about now?”

We all have bad days. We have all experienced pain and hardship in our lives. Have you ever been dumped, laid off, or cut from the team? How about fever, body aches, lingering cough? We don’t have to go far to see that our world is full of tension, turmoil, and pain. It is evident in nature–a volcano erupting in Tonga, an earthquake in Haiti, a tsunami in Indonesia. We see it between nations–war in Afghanistan, the communist control of North Korea, genocide and ethnic cleaning in Africa. We see it in the oppression of the weak and the poor–abortion, poverty, child abuse, sex trafficking.

That is all out there–what about when we get a little closer to home? Persistent health issues, car accident, loss of a loved one, a scary diagnosis, marital conflict, wayward child. And isn’t it true that as you get older, your body starts to breakdown? When would you say that starts–maybe 40? I’m not really sure. Maybe we should ask Pat Levis . . . happy 40th, bro.

The trials and difficulties of life are nothing new. Job said in Job 5:7, “For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward.” And Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation,” (John 16:33). One man said, “Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face. Then the worms eat you. Be grateful it happens in that order.”

Have you ever stopped to ask, “Why? Why is our world so messed up? Where did all this evil come from?” H. G. Wells once said, “Faced with the world’s evil, we must conclude that a good God either has the power but does not care, or cares but does not have the power to stop it.” Or we could take the perspective of the comedian who went to Heaven and said, “You know what was funny about the holocaust?” And God said, “No.” And the comedian said, “You had to be there,” insinuating that God is absent in our world of suffering.

This morning, we are going to answer some very difficult questions. If there really is a God, then why is there so much suffering in the world? Why does He allow evil to exist? I want to take you to a passage of Scripture that deals with the origins of sin, evil, and suffering. Said a different way, we could say every ounce of pain, every degree of suffering, every trial and tribulation, all disease, sickness, and even death itself came from one specific event.

All evil and the subsequent suffering that comes as a result are the product of direct disobedience and rebellion to the sovereign God of the universe. The singular event I have been referring to is called the fall. And it is described in Genesis 3. It is the day everything went wrong. Open to Genesis 3 and let’s read it together.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden”?’ 2The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.”’ 4The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! 5For 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.’ 6When 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, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8They 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 among the trees of the garden. 9Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ 10He said, ‘I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.’ 11And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ 12The man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’ 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’ 14The Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life; 15and 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.” 16To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’ 17Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat from it”; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; 19by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’ 20Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. 21The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. 22Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’— 23therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”

In an effort to organize our thoughts and keep us moving through the text, I’d like to give you six words—deception, disobedience, curse, promise, faith, and mercy.

1.  Deception  3:1-5

Look back at verse 1. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” It doesn’t take too much digging to find out who the serpent is. He is clearly described in Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

This is the enemy of God who, having failed to take Heaven, is determined to establish his hold on Earth through its first inhabitants. And here he is, seeking to deceive and destroy. Do you see the word “crafty” in verse 1? It does not refer to someone who loves Pinterest or goes to Michael’s for decorative wall hats. It means shrewd or cunning. First Peter 5:8 says he “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

A couple of notes–Satan is not everywhere. He is not all-powerful. He is not all-knowing. He cannot read your thoughts. Like us, he is a created being, but he is smart, and he has been deceiving people since the beginning. Here he comes to Eve and asks her in verse 1, “Has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

Notice that Satan, in an effort to manipulate, has very subtly changed what God said–he added one word. Do you see it? It is the word “any”. God said in chapter 2 that they could eat freely of any tree in the garden, except one. Notice that the tempter begins with suggestion, rather than direct confrontation. It is not an outright contradiction, it is a question–the first question in the Bible, and it is a question of God.

Look at Eve’s response in verses 2 and 3, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.” Is that what God said? No. She too has added something to God’s original command–what did she add? “Or touch it”–God never said that. She too added to His word.

John Calvin said, “Because he now sees a breach open before him, Satan breaks through in a direct assault. He challenges her statement in verse 4 saying, “You surely will not die!” He started by questioning God, now he calls God a . . . ? Liar. He is setting his word against the word of God. And the first thing he denies is the doctrine of judgment. He is sewing the seed of distrust in the heart of Eve–trust your feelings, trust your emotions, trust your desires. But don’t trust God.

But God is not a liar, Satan is. Jesus said in John 8:44 that Satan “was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan expands in verse 5, “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.” You will be like God. In commenting on this, one author said, “I have no doubt that Satan promises them divinity.” (Calvin) Not much has changed. He still comes offering freedom and autonomy. He still peddles the lie that God is holding you back, that He isn’t giving you His best. He dangles the forbidden fruit, tempting and enticing and seeking to convince that God’s way is boring and restrictive.

And He knows what sin we struggle with. The Puritans call it the darling sin–we call it the besetting sin. We are each prone to sin in particular ways–pride, lust, anger, worry. And as an excellent student of the heart of man, Satan presses those temptations against us.

Look at verse 6, “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.” Look at the three phrases in that verse—”it was good for food, it was a delight to the eyes, and it was desirable to make one wise.” This is a good description of how temptation works–it appeals to the senses. It appeals to the intellect. It appeals to the desires. It promises to satisfy, showing only the good, while hiding the consequences. Like a moth led to the flame, she was enamored, infatuated, and possessed by its charm. This leads to our second word . . .

2.  Disobedience  3:6b-13

Verse 6, “She took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” This is it. This is the moment that sin entered and polluted the human race. The temptation may have come from the devil, but the devil cannot sin for you–the choice was theirs. The fall was a direct result of disobedience. Romans 5:15 calls this the transgression. Derek Kidner said, “So simple the act, so hard its undoing . . . There is no road back.”

Why did Eve disobey? First Timothy 2:14 says, “The woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” She legitimately believed that eating the fruit would bring a good result to her and her husband. Why did Adam sin–was he also deceived? No–he sinned with his eyes wide open. One writer said, “She yielded to the temptations of her senses and the deceits of Satan, he, to marital love.” It may have taken a profoundly powerful being to seduce Eve, but it took only a suggestion from his wife to bring Adam into rebellion against God.

By the way, what was Adam doing when Eve sinned? Was he off somewhere else? No, verse 6 says, he was “with her”. What was he doing when Satan came to tempt her? When he called God a liar? What was he doing when his wife was being deceived? In the closing verses of chapter 2, we see their wedding ceremony. If that ceremony was anything like ours today, he promised to lead, protect, and care for her. And yet there he stood saying nothing, doing nothing. He let her eat the fruit, and then he followed.

Verse 7, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” Innocence vanished–naivety was gone. The text says they knew. Here is the knowledge of good and evil. Their conscience had been activated, and for the first time that God-given alarm was sounding. In verse 7, “They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” They sought to fix the problem by their own efforts–to cover their sin. Is this not the same response of every sinner since that day?

Verse 8, “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 among the trees of the garden.” This could be translated at the time of the evening breeze, and we get the idea that God came regularly to talk with Adam and Eve.  But now, instead of greeting Him, they are hiding from Him.

We understand this, don’t we? Case in point–the last time someone asked you what sin you are struggling with, how easy was it to come right out and confess the depths of your sin? A common answer, “Last week was rough, but I am doing much better now.” We try to evade, because we don’t want to be exposed. Verse 9, “Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”

Years ago, I bought a house in Indiana as an investment. It was a single-family home that would very quickly create positive cash flow as a rental property. You didn’t know that I was a real estate mogul, did you? Truth be told, it was a terrible investment. I bought the house in an auction, sight unseen, for $11,000. It needed additional money for rehab, and when it was finally ready for tenants, I was completely out of money. Not long after, the property manager called to explain that the property was on a well and the pump had been struck by lightning and needed to be replaced—it would take an additional $5,000.

Then came his recommendation—“We are going to put it back the way we found it, wait for your homeowner’s insurance to kick in, and then we will file a claim and you won’t have to pay a dime. No big deal, we have done things like this before. No one will ever know.” I hung up the phone feeling pretty good. But then in the cool of the day, God came calling to me. “Shawn, where are you? It is a lie. It doesn’t matter if no one else knows, I know.” I was exposed–guilty. And I called back and said, “I can’t do that.”

Has God called to you? Alone in your bedroom at night . . . going somewhere you shouldn’t go . . . with someone you shouldn’t be with . . . doing something you shouldn’t be doing? God does not wait for the sinner to come to Him. He initiates. He is the seeker. In Luke 19:10 it says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” And so here is God–merciful and gracious, He makes His approach.

Adam responds in verses 10 and 11, “’I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.’ 11And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’” Why does God ask questions? Is it to gain information? Rather, He is attempting to bring Adam and Eve to the point of personal confession. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”

But instead, Adam deflects. Verse 12, “The man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’” He shifts the blame, accusing the only other person present–his wife. You think that may have created conflict? But if you look closer, who is he actually blaming? God. Wow. He does not defer, he does not repent, he does not back down. Instead, he digs his heels in and contends with God. Believing himself to be on equal footing, he goes toe to toe with the Almighty and levels the accusation against God Himself. But James 1:14 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.”

God turns next to the woman in verse 13, “’What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” Eve too shifts the blame–the devil made me do it. Adam blamed God. Eve blamed the devil. Who do you blame–your spouse, your boss, your kids? James says, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust,” (James 1:15). Although it is unspoken, the verdict is clear–guilty. They have disobeyed God. This takes us to our third word . . .

3.  Judgment  3:14-19

In verse 14, God pronounces judgment. It is divided into four groups.

The Serpent

Look at 14, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life.” Did snakes have legs or wings? Maybe. Were they the most beautiful creature in God’s creation? Some commentators think so–we don’t know. And it doesn’t matter. What we do know is, that this is a curse unique to this animal. Judgment is coming to the real culprit in verse 15, but we will come back to that in a minute.

The Woman

Verse 16, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children.” I have heard that it is less painful to take a bullet than to give birth. God blessed them when he said, “Be fruitful and multiply,” but now blessing is minimized and pain is multiplied.

Verse 16 continues, “Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” The man abdicated his role, allowing her to come out from under his leadership, did not stop her when she ate the fruit, partook himself, and then blamed her for it. How would that go in your marriage? This is the origin of the battle of the sexes. One author said, “To love and cherish becomes, ‘To desire and dominate.’”

Her desire to take control is met with his imperfect effort to force submission. This struggle for mastery is the root of all marital conflict and is played out in every single marriage. In summarizing this verse, one commentator said, “In the moments of life’s greatest blessing—marriage and children—the woman would sense most clearly the painful consequences of her rebellion from God.”

The Earth

Verse 17, “Cursed is the ground because of you.” The entire physical universe was cursed at that moment–competition entered, resources were limited. This is the start of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis. Cancer, flu, rabies, polio, all are rooted here. “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Romans 8:22). In commenting on this verse, Martin Luther said, “The world is deteriorating from day to day.”

The Man

In verses 17 to 19, after pronouncing judgment on the woman, God turns to the man, judging him last because he had sinned last. “In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; 19by the sweat of your face you will eat bread.” Stop right there–is work a curse? Answer that question in your mind.

If you answered yes, consider that work was given to man in Genesis 2, before the fall. It was there in the perfection of Eden and it will be there in Heaven. Work is not a curse. The curse is that the earth you are trying to subdue pushes back. There are no free lunches. And get rich quick schemes don’t work. And that amazing opportunity that seems too good to be true–most likely it is. Life is not easy, work is not easy–instead, man toils and labors and sweats day after day after day.

But that’s not the end. Look at verse 19, “by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Man is now mortal–there is an expiration date stamped on every man.

Let me dial this in a little. Your whole life you work–you work long, you work hard. You love your wife, you love your kids. You save for retirement. You spoil your grandkids. But one day you will die–and the moral of the story is that all your efforts, all your work, all your good deeds cannot save you. You cannot get to Heaven through your work. The sum total of your life is not enough to make you right with God–it is only enough to send you back to the dirt from which you came.

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 5:16, “This also is a grievous evil—exactly as a man is born, thus will he die.” The apostle Paul, in Romans 5:12 said, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” You and I and every son and daughter of Adam are under this same judgment. This sin nature has been passed down to us. We too have disobeyed and rebelled against a holy God. Our sin has alienated us from Him and we stand condemned to judgment just like they did.

We aren’t evolving–we aren’t getting better. We are living on a cursed earth, and our sin is driving us farther and farther away from God. We try to hide from Him like our first parents did, but to no avail. We are heading toward physical death and ultimately toward the judgment of God. Augustine said, “If it be asked what death God threatened man with, whether physical or spiritual or that second death, we answer: It was all.”

The words of Hebrew 10:31 ring clear, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Adam and Eve and every other sinner find themselves in serious trouble. And we pause to ask, “Why doesn’t He just stomp the devil and get sin out immediately? At this point, all of humanity is destined for eternal Hell–why would a loving God allow this to happen?” With that question, we move to our fourth word . . .

4.  The promise  3:15

Tucked into verse 15 is a promise that is unbelievable–look there. “And I will put enmity between you [speaking to the devil] 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” (Genesis 3:15). This is the promise that a descendant of Eve would destroy the serpent. But who is this seed?

Foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament, there were shadows and whispers of this second Adam. Galatians 4:4 says, “When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son.” Born in Bethlehem, He walked the dusty roads of Palestine offering sight to the blind and freedom to the captives. He banished disease, raised the dead, and exercised authority over the created order. His name is Jesus Christ and throughout His life, Satan threw everything he had at Him.

Working every conceivable angle, he finally got his big break when he convinced one of Jesus’ closest friends to betray Him. Sold for 30 pieces of silver and a Judas kiss, Christ was put on trial. The rest of His men fled, fearful for their own lives, and He was left alone. They tortured Him, spit on Him, plucked out His beard and beat a crown of thorns into His head. Then they took Him to the outskirts of town and laid Him on a cross.

Can you imagine the demons looking on with devilish delight as they pounded the nails into His hands and feet? And in that moment, the prime objective for which Satan had worked throughout the ages had been achieved. He had killed the Son of God. He won. He must have reveled in that moment, soaking in every aspect of his victory. But after all of that, Genesis 3:15 tells us Satan had only bruised His heel.

Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead as the victor and took His seat, the very seat that Satan so desperately desired, at the right hand of the Father. And looking down from His throne, it’s almost as if He said to the devil, “Is that all you got?” (brushing a crumb off His shoulder). Only then did the full weight of what happened on the cross come down on him. Satan realized that after all this time, and all his hate-filled efforts, he had only succeeded in carrying out the purposes of an all-wise God.

There is another promise in Genesis 3:15–look back at your Bibles. And He shall bruise you on the head. Translation: Jesus will crush the devil’s head. About ten years ago, I was out front mowing my lawn and had my garage door open, and when I walked into the garage, I was met by a snake. As I approached it, it went deeper into my garage and before I could get to it, it disappeared up into the drywall. My first thought, “If Tracy finds out, we are going to have to move.” So I took a caulking gun and emptied an entire tube into that corner of my garage, trying to trap it in there.

The next weekend, I came into my garage and it was coiled right in the middle of the garage. I grabbed a shovel, turned it on its side, and swung with all my might down upon this snake, severing its head from its body in one clean stroke. Separated from its body, the head continued to writhe on the garage floor until I put the shovel down on top of it. Then standing on the shovel, I crushed its head.

This is the picture of Christ’s victory over Satan. Romans 16:20 says, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Revelation 20 describes his final end. “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone . . . and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Genesis 3:15 is called the protoevangelium–the first Gospel. It is the first mention of Christ, and it comes on page 3 of your Bible.

First Corinthians 15:21 to 22, “For since by a man [Adam] came death, by a man [Jesus] also came the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” No sooner had Adam and Eve fallen than God promises He would send a Redeemer. The hymnwriter said, “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt! Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured—There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.” What a God. But the story isn’t done yet. Let’s look at our fifth word . . .

5.  Faith  3:20-21

Look at verse 20. “Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.” Seems kind of out of place, doesn’t it? Although I have been referring to her as Eve, up til now she does not have a name. In 1:27, she is called female. In 2:18, a suitable helper for Adam. In 3:8, a wife. But we do not find the name Eve until right here.

He names her Eve, which means life or life giver. And her title is the mother of all the living–but she isn’t a mother, not yet. Having heard the promise of a coming Redeemer, Adam chose to believe the word of God. Earlier he had doubted and rejected in unbelief. Now in faith, he names his wife the mother of all the living, trusting that her seed would indeed lead to their salvation.

Look at verse 21. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Where did these garments of skin come from? God sacrificed an innocent animal and then took its skin and covered them. This is a clear illustration of the consequences of sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” This animal’s death, like every other animal that was sacrificed in the Old Testament, was a picture of atonement, of payment for sin–a life for a life.

But Hebrews 10 tells us that the blood of an animal can never take away sin. This is foreshadowing. It is a picture of a lamb, the perfect Lamb, the perfect man that would die on behalf of His people, paying the penalty of their sin. Speaking of Jesus, John 1:29 says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” And all who come to Him in faith, trusting in His finished work on the cross, will find salvation. We have seen deception, disobedience, judgment, promise, faith–and now let’s look at our final word . . .

6.  Mercy  3:22-24

Verses 22 to 24, “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’—  23therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”

To guard the way to the tree of life.” Now if you are Adam, having just witnessed death for the first time, and knowing that you too will die, what is your next move? I would head straight for the . . . tree of life. He knew exactly where it was. If only he could get there and eat its fruit, he would live forever. If Adam again gained immortality, he would live forever in an unredeemed state.

Unable to die, means he is unable to be saved. Who does that remind you of? Satan and his minions. Their fate is sealed, their judgment is sure. They can never be redeemed. They are eternally locked in their sin. Note that when God sent a redeemer, He sent a man–why? To stand in the place of men, to die in the place of men, to atone for the sins of men, not of demons–they are damned. And so, they hate God and they work to undermine His plan and to take as many with them to Hell as they can.

But not so for you–God sent a Savior for mankind. God sent His Son for you. He offers hope to you. He does not leave us in our sin, but gives us an opportunity through Christ to be redeemed, to be forgiven. And so in verse 24, God drove them out of the garden. Commissioning his angels and arming them with a flaming sword, man would never again enter Eden. No matter how much they wanted to, or how hard they tried, they could not get back. Paradise was lost.

It was a physical reminder of the distance between a sinful man and a holy God. Man would never again enter into the presence of God. That is, until Christ came and tore the veil in two and man is able to enter back into His presence. What is the mercy? Mercy is that God prevented man from eating the fruit, thus sealing his fate in death. And in this way, death is a mercy. For having died, we can be resurrected into newness of life through the work of Jesus Christ. What a story—deception, disobedience, curse, promise, faith and mercy.

Let me finish where we began. I asked earlier, if there really is a God, then why is there so much suffering in the world? Why does He allow evil to exist? It is all to show off and to magnify His own glory. If you don’t believe that, then answer this question. Was the cross of Jesus Christ plan B? When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, was God walking through the garden going, ”Where are they? Adam, did you really . . . ? Oh no. What are we going to do?” And then He had to scramble to figure out a solution. Is that what happened? I don’t think so.

Listen to Acts 2:22 and 23–Peter preaching says, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—23this Man, [listen to this phrase] delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, [wow!] you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”

Then Peter testifies, “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Pet 1:18-20).

What’s the point? God allowed evil as sin. It is all part of His plan so He could show off His glory through the cross of Jesus Christ. There is no greater demonstration of the glory of God than at the cross. It is there we see His holiness, wrath, power, and justice poured out on His Son, a picture of the grandeur of God. At the same time, we see His love, mercy, forgiveness and grace. And we see that God takes sinners, and at great personal cost, redeems them–creating a people who for all eternity would worship and glorify Him. That’s the point. That’s the big story. And we are caught up right in the middle of it.

Let me close by reading Jude 24 and 25, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Let’s pray.

About Shawn Farrell

Shawn leads the college ministry and serves as an elder at Faith Bible Church

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