Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Bible Study Lesson on Original Sin

Original sin is the loss of original righteousness, just as blindness is the loss of sight. As a result of the fall, the intellect became darkened so that we no longer know God and His will, and no longer perceive the works of God...we neither trust God's mercy nor fear His righteousness, but without concern follow the flesh. We take on complicated defenses and remedies to keep our consciences quiet. In this life we cannot completely get rid of them.

Because Adam turned from God, we are born with no knowledge about what God is, what grace is, what righteousness is, and finally, what sin is.

Unless we correctly recognize how deadly the disease really is, we do not know or desire the cure for it.

As to why this took place. Certainly God knew even before He created Adam. There is no profit in speculating about it. The most we should say is that it pleased God that Adam should be tempted as a test of his abilities.

Even today, it pleases God that His Church, cleansed by the Word, is still tested by continual temptations and dangers.

The account in Chapter 3 of Genesis became crystal clear only when Christ and the Holy Spirit came and shed light upon all the mysteries of Scripture.

We see the cleverest of all creatures being used by Satan (we think of the fox today as a clever animal). The serpent at this moment was apparently upright and beautiful, and Eve seemed not at all taken aback by its talking to her. The serpent began by attacking God's Word and God's will. It tries to show that because they were told not to eat of that one tree, God's will toward them is not good. Eve is urged to think against the Word and good will of God.

In Adam's innocence, the only service he could offer God was obedience. Unbelief is the source of all sins, leading to all the others. After the Word and their trust in God is lost, man becomes proud of himself and scorns God.

Satan forever perverts and changes God's Word. In this way he also tempted Christ, who in contrast to Eve, kept God's Word unbroken.

All who give up the Word of God and worship their own thoughts are idolaters.
Satan asks, "Did God actually command you?" saying in effect, "how can God bear such ill will toward you as to deny you the ability to be wise."

In John 8:44, Christ identified the real enemy of God (and man) as the Adversary, a lying murderous spirit, who has no fear of distorting the command of God and to urge man to idolatry - which he knew would result in the destruction of the entire human race.
Especially in our day we have many who have a similar smugness, who gladly distort the Word of God and lead many astray.

Satan used this animal best suited to tempt Eve. It was later cursed, losing most of its cleverness; it was to be considered evil above other animals; it lost its uprightness, and was made to eat dust. Because of sin we lost our innocent nakedness, our upright will, our righteous intellect.

As satan begins his deception, he tries to sound completely reasonable. He uses the pretense of God's Name and Word - but in reality he is denying both. This is the beginning and main part of every temptation - when our reason tries to reach a decision about the Word and God's will separate from that Word.

The one command about that one tree gave man an opportunity to show that he was obeying - in effect it was an outward form of worship, done in faith for Adam didn't know what the fruit would do, nor did he know anything about death.

Eve's response begins well. She quotes God's command - but when quoting the punishment she backs off a little by saying not "you will surely die," but "lest perhaps we shall die." Her faith is wavering. The devil has persuaded her that God was not so cruel as to kill them for eating of that one fruit. Of her small distortion of God's Word, satan takes full advantage. (Verses 4,5.)

By first raising the question in verse 3, satan did not openly deny God's Word but sought to raise doubt. Once he achieves this, he now goes on boldly to directly deny the Word, and to charge God with lying and cruelty. He takes Eve's little word "perhaps" and makes it a full negative "you will not die". Eve's silence means agreement.

Before the desire to eat of the fruit could arise in Eve, she had to first lose faith in the Word which God had spoken to Adam.

Peter warns Christians in I Peter 5:9 that we must learn from this experience and stand firm in temptation, to resist the tempter while holding to the Word, closing our ears to what is foreign to the Word.

Satan goes on to say "God knows that your eyes will be opened." This suggests two meanings. First, satan attempts to stir up resentment against God, as if God has purposefully kept something good from Adam and Eve. Satan suggests that God could not really want them to live in darkness, without any knowledge of good and evil. He says, "God is good. Certainly he doesn't begrudge you anything useful or helpful. He won't be upset if you become like Him." With this, satan has manufactured a different Word and will of God, to give Eve's desire a push. Satan's poison is the addition, to her desire of wanting to have insight beyond what God has commanded. She even now turns this sin over in her mind, where before she would have run away at this suggestion.

The disease is begun, only death can follow. God is long-suffering, therefore not punishing sin immediately. We would learn better, but only too late if our punishment was direct. All would perish in their sins. Satan abuses God's mercy by keeping men from even being aware of their sin. Because the punishment is delayed, satan fills the heart with smugness, and man not only does not become aware that he has committed sin, but even enjoys and finds satisfaction in his sins.

The farther man goes away from God's Word, he thinks himself more educated and wiser. This satan helps man with, every step of the way. This must also reflect the devil's own mind and experience.
Once sin begins, it infects all the senses. Eve saw, thought, desired, and finally acted. She puts God aside and becomes satan's pupil.

Some look only at the final action of picking and eating the fruit, and not at the sin from which this action followed. They conclude that God is cruel, that because of such a small sin He has inflicted such a great punishment on the entire human race. Some of these hate God and despair - others call this a fairy tale.

Let us focus a moment on this most important point: satan did not first try to allure Eve by the loveliness of the fruit. He started by attacking man's greatest strength - faith in God's Word. The real source of sin is unbelief, just as the source of righteousness is faith. When satan had succeeded in getting Eve to disbelieve in the command God had given, it was easy to bring about the eating of the fruit.

Verse 6. Eve sins with her whole self, all her senses, and yet is not aware of her sin. She eats with pleasure and then urges her husband to do the same.

Verse 7. When the Law becomes alive again, sin also becomes alive at the some time, as Paul explains in Romans 3:20. When sin is active, awareness of it sleeps or lies as if dead; but when the Law comes, then the eyes are opened, and man becomes aware of what God has commanded and what punishment He has promised for the transgressors.

Satan allows their eyes to be opened, so that they see the awfulness of what they had done. Satan, of course, hopes that they might perish in despair.

As it is the nature for the eye to see, so in Adam it was the created nature of his reason and will to know God, to trust God, and to respect God.

Just as when the eye is damaged, sight is impaired; so when man fell from righteousness to sin, all his natural abilities are corrupted by sin.

Through sin, the most useful members of the human body have become the most shameful.
Only in the Bible do we have the origin of shame because of nakedness as a result of sin. Before sin it had been honorable.

From then till now - we still attempt to cover our sin and appear righteous.
Sin brings evil results - first shame, then covering themselves and here in verse 8 they try to hide from God.

At evening, when the heat of the day subsides, the breeze begins to blow. Adam and Eve were terrified by the rustling of the leaves, since they knew the wind preceded the appearance of the Lord.
This fear, in the light of day, shows how complete their fall from faith was. They feared that God was coming to demand punishment from them.
The extent of their fall is indicated by the fact that they shrink in terror more from God, than from the sight and presence of the devil. Man also lost his sound reason; he tries the impossible - to hide from God among the trees. The nature of sin is that the farther man withdraws from God, the farther he still wishes to go.

Verse 9. Adam is called to judgment.

Verse 10. Adam is so confused that he does not see that he has condemned himself by hiding; he then proceeds to condemn himself with his own mouth. He confesses fear of what he did not used to fear - the voice of God. Adam had changed. He now had fear; he was now ashamed because he was naked. And he was fleeing from God, which itself is a sin and a witness to previous sin.
It was as if Adam was saying (verse 10): "Thou, Lord, hast sinned, for I would have remained holy in Paradise after eating of the fruit if Thou had kept quiet." In other words He said "I wouldn't have run away if your voice had not frightened me."

We all prefer to accuse God rather than acknowledge our sin before Him. Adam seeks to blame God for his nakedness, as if God created something shameful.

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