Introduction: Imagine a spouse who deliberately irritates you.
(Hopefully, this is hard to imagine!) Is an attitude like that one of
love? Does this teach us something about sin and God’s law? A
troubling number of Christians claim that they can do anything they
want and still be loving followers of Christ. They argue that the
law is no longer in effect, so there is no need to pay any attention
to God’s desires and directions. Is this true? Is it sensible? Why
does God give us directions? Let’s dive into our Bibles and find out
more about sin!
- Sin: The Beginning on Earth
- Read Genesis 2:16-17. Has God expressed His will to Adam?
- Why would God have such a rule? Why was there a need
for any rules at all in that perfect garden?
- Do you think God’s “law” made sense to Adam? (“Why is
God withholding something from humans,” Adam might
have asked. Adam might have thought: “‘Knowledge’ is
a good thing, not a bad thing!” “Why can’t I be
- Genesis 3:1. Why does Satan ask about eating from trees?
(Eve “missed the meeting” about eating from the trees.
Satan does not want a dispute about whether she
understands God’s law.)
- Read Genesis 3:2-3. Does Eve answer correctly? (She is
both wrong and ambiguous. If you review Genesis 2:16-17
you will see that God did not say anything about
“touching” the fruit. According to the Bible He merely
said “Don’t eat.” Plus, there were two trees in the middle
of the garden: the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and
the Tree of Life. ( Genesis 2:9))
- Was refraining from touching the fruit a good idea?
(If you are going to avoid eating it, it helps if you
avoid touching it.)
- Was Eve doing the right thing in saying that if she
touched the fruit she would die? (Read Deuteronomy
4:1-2. We are beginning to have our eyes opened about
sin. Eve is already in trouble. It is a serious
mistake to confuse what “God said” with a “good idea”
when it comes to sin. When you teach your children,
do not confuse in their minds what is actually sin
and what are good ideas to avoid sin.)
- Read Genesis 3:4-5. Analyze the nature of sin. How does
sin present itself to humans?(First, Satan flatly
contradicts God. Second, Satan suggests that God has lied
to Eve so that she will remain inferior. She can be like
- How would you characterize Satan’s temptation to Eve?
Is it appetite? Is it trust? Is it greed? Is it
vanity? Is it pride? (Certainly it is pride, vanity
and a lack of trust in God.)
- Compare Genesis 3:22 with Genesis 3:5. Was Satan
telling the truth? (In part.)
- Read Genesis 3:6. Why did Eve eat the fruit when she knew
what God said? (The text says that the fruit was desirable
to look at. It looked like good food. It would give her
- Why would the appearance of the fruit be a factor in
Eve’s decision? (What she saw contradicted what she
expected from a tree that God said would cause death.
Surely a “death tree” would have ugly, or at least
- Was that superficial thinking?
- Was Eve’s sin a gradual one? (Yes. It started when
Eve misstated the law of God ( Genesis 3:3). She
touched the fruit before she ate it. Because she did
not die when she touched the fruit, she was led to
believe that God was not trustworthy and she would
gain wisdom by eating it. Then she made a judgment
that the fruit must be okay because it looked good.)
- How many times have you thought that God was
untrustworthy when the real problem was your failure
to read and understand God’s word?
- Read 1 Timothy 2:14. Why did Adam enter into sin? (Paul
does not say, but it seems clear that Adam chose Eve over
God. He chose the creation over the Creator.)
- Paul seems to conclude that Adam is entitled to some
credit because he was not deceived and Eve was
deceived. How do you look at this? (All sin is sin,
but I look at deliberate disobedience in a far worse
light. Consider how you compare the two when your
children disobey you.)
- What lesson about sin do we learn from the failure of Adam
and Eve? (First, we must be on full alert when anyone
contradicts the Word of God. We have no hope of being
alert unless we are familiar with God’s word. Second, we
must trust God. Eve should have been satisfied with the
knowledge God had given her. It was vanity, greed and a
rejection of God’s authority that caused her to sin.
Third, we must not let anything in the creation acquire
more value to us than obedience to God. This is the root
of theft, adultery and covetousness.)
- Let’s go to the end of the Bible. Read Revelation 14:12.
What is God looking for in His people at the end of time?
(The same thing that He was looking for in the beginning –
trust and obedience.)
- Sin: Its Nature
- Let’s re-read Genesis 3:22. I thought God created humans
in His image ( Genesis 1:27). What is wrong with humans
knowing evil, in addition to knowing good, just like God?
- What is wrong with “knowing evil” and living forever?
God lives forever!
- What, exactly, did Adam and Eve gain in knowledge from
eating the fruit? Did the fruit contain a knowledge
potion? (The fruit gave them no new knowledge at all. It
was their actions in disobeying and distrusting God which
was “new knowledge.” That broke their relationship with
God and put in its place a relationship with Satan. All
sorts of terrible knowledge then followed.)
- What does this suggest about the nature of sin? (It
is distrust and disobedience because we think we know
more than God.)
- Read Romans 5:16-17. What was the result of Adam and Eve’s
sin? (It brought condemnation to us.)
- Why? (The human connection to a sinless God was
broken. We were sinners who had given our allegiance
- How is the gift of Jesus not like the gift of Adam
and Eve? (One sin fractured our relationship with God
and brought condemnation. But, Jesus’ life, death and
resurrection on our behalf covered all the sins that
have taken place since Eve.)
- Read Romans 6:11-13. How do we count ourselves “dead” to
sin? Is that like taking back the knowledge of evil?
(Adam and Eve, if they had obeyed, would have ultimately
understood about evil – but they would not have been a
part of it. We know about evil because of Adam and Eve
(and our own failings), but God asks us to live as if we
do not know evil. He asks us to be “dead” to that
- Sin: The Beginning in Us
- So, how do we live a life that is “dead” to sin?
- I gave Eve a hard time for saying “don’t touch” when she
was probably just trying to avoid sin. What do you think
would have been a better way to avoid the sin of eating
the forbidden fruit?
- Read Romans 8:5-8 and Matthew 5:27-28. Let’s look at this
second text for just a minute. Jesus seems to say there is
something wrong with “heart adultery?” Why is that? (You
are willing to commit adultery, all you lack is the
opportunity. If you had the opportunity, you would do it.)
- What does the Romans 8 text suggest about the
relationship between our minds and sin? (It suggests
that we take the mental step before we take the
physical step. What we do is ordained by what we
think. We either focus on what God wants or on our
own selfish desires.)
- How does this idea “fit” Eve’s situation? (She
decided to distrust God before she ate the
fruit. She was focused on her own selfish
desires. When Paul tells us to be “dead” to sin,
he is telling us not to let it live in our
minds. Not to focus on selfish desires.)
- Do you think about sins that you do not do?
- If so, is it just a matter of time before you do
- Friend, I believe that sin is foremost an attitude – an
attitude of selfishness. The “knowledge” of evil was first
the decision to distrust and disobey God. Jesus has
repaired the rupture made by Adam and Eve, but I believe
Paul and Eve teach us that trust and obedience is still
essential to our relationship with God. Will you repent
of your sins, and ask God to give you an attitude of trust
- Next week: Grace.