Week of January 8

The Truth about Sin and the Cure for It

Read: Genesis 3-5; Luke 2
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” 
Genesis 3:15, ESV


“Nothing bad will happen to me” represents the great lie about rebelling against God’s creation design. To put it bluntly: sin kills (Genesis 2:17). I realize that many contemporary folks, some of whom claim to be Christians, believe that they are only accountable to themselves. And, to raise the topic of moral accountability to God leads them to erect a wall of rejection. They simply do not believe that sin will destroy their relationship with God and ultimately leads to death. We will examine the heart of the issue today, which is our hearts!

The Meaning of the Text

The wrong use of free will
The first couple boldly stepped into their sin, having chosen to reject God’s will. Our generation looks for legal loopholes and contractual escape clauses and “wiggle room.” We seek ways to wiggle out of our moral responsibility to God. Adam and Eve seek to hide in their shame; however, God enters the garden seeking those who were lost! The Lord calls out rhetorically, “Where are you?” (see 3:9-11).
Of course, God had made the garden and knew every square inch, so He prompts Adam to consider his wrongdoing (3:9). His question is the second of four critical life questions—Where am I?—that I often teach my students to ask when shaping their lives and choices. God was not looking for the physical location of the couple. He was questioning something deeper! There was a heart disconnect between the man and God. The Lord frames the source of the problem in the singular, “you.” God focuses on Adam’s individual accountability. Let’s just say that Adam feels a bit exposed by God’s query, and skirts the question (3:10, 12). Unlike Adam, we do well when we first accept our responsibility for our moral choices.
Paradise lost
The first couple had everything they could humanly want in their home: a pristine environment, purpose, and intimacy (review Genesis 2). Yet, they lacked the one thing that held it all together—mutual submission to the heavenly father (cf. Ephesians 5:21). The shame they felt, as demonstrated by the subsequent covering of their nakedness, had arisen from their defiance of God’s command. Blame follows, but notice that it does not come from God. Adam blames first the woman, then God, who gave her to him (3:12)! He literally uses the same word when he says that the woman God “gave” to him also “gave” him the fruit!
God’s love: the path to forgiveness
In other words, Adam said, “God, you ultimately are to blame for this mess” (cf. James 1:13). God’s response was indicated in His declaration that the woman and her adversary are predecessors of a “lifelong struggle” that will continue until a climactic future moment when the woman’s seed (individual descendant) will achieve the victory (3:15; cf. Luke 2:33). God offers hope through this woman’s offspring, and He provides this person to be the Savior of the world. God, from the beginning, has aimed to heal us of our deadly soul disease because He is love (John 3:16)!

The Message for Our Lives

If the reduction in the urgency to get a COVID-19 vaccine is any indication, many people are in “coronavirus warning overload.” They simply do not believe that the respiratory virus is something to worry about. What they do not know is that it also often severely affects the body’s organs. The global death rate from the virus illuminates its deadliness.
The irony about the most lethal of soul diseases, sin, is that people often do not avail themselves of the cure that God has provided (Luke 2:29-32, 38). They, instead, choose to blame Him for their circumstances. Our focal readings today bear out this truth about human moral failure and demonstrate the source of the cure for our sin. Let me illustrate this fact.
Facebook provides me with a ready supply of some funny things that children do. I also have watched more than a few times the video of a child who goes through all sorts of emotional outbursts and body contortions because she is trying to avoid a helpful injection! Believe me, I know the feeling. I, myself, was guilty as a child of rejecting, at times, the beneficent aid of doctors and dentists. My life was made much better and healthier once I began to trust my caregivers.
Look carefully at God’s actions in Genesis 3. He proves to be the one who seeks and questions us to deliver us and not to damn and destroy our lives (cf. John 3:17)! The root cause for much of our personal malaise is our own willful rebellion against God and His creation plan. Let’s begin the new year by yielding our will to the Heavenly Father. Answer Him when He calls to you because He is seeking to bring healing and hope into your life.

For Thought and Action

1. Write down the key areas in your life where you are hiding from God and His will for you. Enter God’s presence, rather than hide from Him, and open your life to His Word. 
2. Many times we frame the interaction with God in the harshest of terms. God’s brand, so to say, is not a lightning bolt; instead it is a cross. Bad theology and teaching have misled us. Notice that God seeks in order to save and secure our lives inside His will. Let’s stop blaming Him and start offering Him our blessings today.

3. For Families: Have your children ever stolen candy or cookies from the sweets jar and then stashed the wrappers somewhere behind a bed-frame or chair? I (Karen Bullock) have found small piles of wrappers, at times, up in the kids’ playroom! The pilferers think they are getting away with it, but inevitably, they are caught.

We parents do well when we train our youngest children to be honest and to take responsibility for their wrong actions, and seek forgiveness and restoration. Share how God views honest transparency vs. deception with your children this week. Encourage them to come and confess when they have broken rules, made wrong choices, or hurt another family member. When they do, you can help them to explore the motives behind their poor decisions, listen as they pray and ask forgiveness, and help them to make restitution as they grow in grace.

May your paths be straight,
Larry C. Ashlock