Real life grows good fruit as we walk with Jesus by his Spirit, the sinful life grows bad fruit as we walk away from Jesus.
Now 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’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but 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.”
6 When 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. 7 Then 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.
When reading this passage, the first question that pops into my head is why did the Lord plant that tree in the middle of the garden? If Adam and Eve can’t even touch it, what is it even doing there?
The best answer I have heard to that question came from a visiting preacher from America and he said it was because God wanted to show Adam and Eve how wonderful it is to obey him. How if you obey God, you will be blessed. God’s way is perfect and pure and if you obey it, you will produce good fruit. And in the beginning, the world was perfect and pure because sin was yet to enter. God’s people were in God’s place under God’s rule.
However, Adam and Eve desired to be like God, instead of living under God’s rule. They turned away from God and towards following their own rules. When we turn away from God, we disobey him and this leads to sin. This was how sin first entered into the world and God rightfully banished Adam and Eve from the garden.
The story could very easily have ended there. Because we have inherited Adam and Eve’s sin and God hates sin. God is a holy, righteous, loving and just God and he wouldn’t have any of these qualities if he wasn’t angry at our sin. But while God is angry at our sin, he is also merciful and he loves us too much to not do something about our sin. So he sent his one and only Son to lead a perfect life on Earth, resisting temptation and sin. Then Jesus sacrificed his perfect, unblemished life on the cross, taking all of the sins of the world on himself. He took our punishment and our place on the cross. And he rose from the dead to be with God forever, defeating sin and death on the cross. The good fruit of Jesus reverses the effects of the bad fruit of Adam. And with sin defeated, all we have to do is put our faith, hope and trust in Jesus and we will be declared righteous before God. Our sins will be forgiven and we will spend eternity with him. The Bible is all about God’s gracious actions to reverse the effects of human sin and establish a new creation. Just like before the Fall, God’s people will be in God’s place under God’s rule.
Head: Why do you think God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the tree in the garden?
Heart: Have there ever been times when you have been tempted? How have you dealt with it? How do you think Adam and Eve dealt with being tempted?
Hands: What do you think you need to do to resist temptation? You may also need to pray to God for repentance.
Prayer: Father God, we are so sorry for the times when we want to follow our own rules instead of yours. We’re sorry for the times when we fall to temptation and turn away from you. Thank you for sending your Son to take our place on the cross. His perfect sacrifice gives us new life and the opportunity to be God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule. Amen
A song to listen to: Grace Awaiting Me