Food For Thought: Repentance

“1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

4“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when 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 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. 7Then 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.

8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11And he said, “Who told you that you were naked?” ~Genesis 3

God’s perfect creation now crumbles. I don’t know where the serpent came from or how it became wicked, that much God has not disclosed to us, but it was there to deceive mankind. It spoke with Eve, not Adam, although it was obvious that he was there. The serpent asks Eve if it was true that God had commanded they not eat from any tree in the garden. Eve quickly defends God, saying they could eat from any tree except for the tree in the middle. And she adds something that is not mentioned beforehand—they weren’t even allowed to touch it. I’ve heard some people say that Adam had to relate to her the commandment after she was created but he added that to make absolutely sure she wouldn’t go near it. This explanation has never made sense to me, because 1. In chapter one of Genesis, God gives the commission to be fruitful and to subdue the earth to both the man and woman and He also tells them that He’s given them all the plants for food. Granted, when it says that He forbids the eating of the tree of good and evil, it only mentions that Adam is there, but if He gives the commission to both of them then why wouldn’t He mention the tree being forbidden to both of them as well? But the real reason that I don’t agree with this explanation is 2. It is wrong to add to the words of God. In Deuteronomy 4:2 it says, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from I, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.”

Why Eve adds to it here I don’t claim to know, but I think perhaps it was because she was trying to defend God. She was trying to make it absolutely clear what He had said so much that she bent the truth a little. I know I’ve done that, felt like someone was attacking something someone said but they didn’t have all the information, and so I try to defend what was said as forcefully as I can, perhaps over exaggerating to do so. Or perhaps it was a sign of her already doubting because of the odd question put to her. In any case, the serpent is quick to reply with both blatant lies and half truths. The lies are, ‘you will not die,’ and ‘you will be like God.’ They certainly would die because God told them they would. And they were already ‘like God’—He’d created them in His image. The half truths are, ‘your eyes will be opened’, ‘knowing good and evil.’ This last one is a half truth because firstly, they already knew what was good and secondly, not only would they know evil but they would become a slave to it. It isn’t the recognizing evil that is sinful, but the committing of it. I think that if God had given them permission, they would not have become slaves to wickedness, but because they committed the sin they did. They had a choice of two masters, obedience or sinfulness, and they chose a side. Both of them did.

When their eyes are opened the first thing they become aware of is their nakedness. At first glance, it might be interpreted that being naked is evil and that’s what their eyes were opened to for the first time. But, if being naked had been wicked then God would not have made them that way. Instead what they saw was their sin and how much it was exposed to both God and to one another. Their remedy is that they attempt to cover themselves. The intimacy they once shared with one another has been marred; they no longer trust one another like they used to. And the joy they once had at hearing God walking in the garden turns to fear and they hide from Him. As God speaks with them we get a sense of God’s gentleness and how He is giving them every opportunity to repent, but neither of them does. Instead they point the finger at one another, at the serpent, at even God, but never admitting their own wrong. And so God curses them and the earth. But even then His love shines through because He gives Eve the promise that one day one of her children will bring salvation to the world.

As we read the rest of the bible, we see that these themes keep reoccurring; command, doubt, sin, shame. But the people that repent and trust again in the Lord are His, like King David or Jonah. And then we learn in the New Testament of Jesus fulfilling that promise to Eve. He breaks the power of sin and death for all who repent and proclaim Jesus as Lord over their lives. How wonderful it is to know that we no longer have to be a slave to the wicked master, but can instead choose to obey God! And that ought to make us all the more long for the day of His return, when all things are made new and sin no longer is in the world.

So be encouraged. You don’t have to be a slave to sin, but even if we do sin we have Jesus interceding on our behalf in the throne room of grace.

Have a blessed week!

~

“5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” ~1 John 1 &2

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