Most everyone is familiar with the account of Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. This is of course recorded in the third chapter of the book of Genesis. We wish to note six words, all beginning with the letter “s” that we can follow through that chapter ending with the word “salvation”.
Our first word is “Satan”. The serpent of the first five verses is the manifestation of Satan. He is immediately presented as one who would turn man from following God. Peter tells us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). When God asked him where he was coming from, he said, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7). It is noteworthy that Satan used some truth in luring Eve into disobeying God. The only real false statement made by Satan in their conversation was, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, Satan quoted scripture from God’s word in his attempt to lure Jesus into sin (Matt. 4:6). Satan is still the tempter, still desires to lead man astray and still uses subtlety in his efforts.
Our second word is “self”. When we read the sixth verse, it is evident that it was all about Eve. She considered the things concerning self. It looked good to her. It would be good for food for her to eat and it would make her wise. Eve let herself get in the way of obeying God. It was about what she wanted, not what God wanted. In order to obtain salvation one must crucify self. Paul wrote, Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:6). It is not until we come to realize that we are not our own that we can adequately stand firm when temptations pounce upon us. Paul told the Corinthians, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:19-20).
Third step is the word “sin”. Eve was tempted. Eve failed to step aside of self and serve God and disobeyed God by eating of the fruit that she had been commanded to not eat (Gen. 3:6). Sin had entered the world, for disobedience to God’s word is sin. John wrote, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). Now, “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). God told Adam before Eve was ever tempted, “…in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Paul said it this way, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
The fourth step taken in Genesis chapter three was “shame”. Adam and Eve feared to face God. Notice they were ashamed, not because they had disobeyed God, but that they were naked (Gen. 3:10). Many years later the prophet Jeremiah speaking of the sinful nation of Judah said, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abominations? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush…” (Jer. 6:15). Multitudes today are violating God’s word by the droves and yet they have no shame but rather openly reveal their sins and even flaunt them. Adam and Even had a right to be ashamed, but their shame was really for the wrong thing. The answer to such shame is not hiding, for one cannot hide from God (Heb. 4:13).
Our fifth word and step is “separation” Verses seventeen through twenty-four tell of Adam and Eve being cast out of the garden of Eden for the remainder of their earthly lives. They were separated from the relationship they had previously had with God. That is what sin will do to us. Isaiah told Israel, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). Peter wrote, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (I Pet. 3:12). Unless the one who is separated from God by sin is in some manner reconciled to God, that separation will eventually become an “eternal” separation. Paul said of such people, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:9).
Our final word is “salvation”. The fifteenth verse reveals just a glimpse of the salvation we can enjoy through Jesus Christ. The seed of woman would deliver a crushing blow to the head of Satan. Jesus did just that when he overcame the temptations of Satan, living sinless in this life and then dying for the sins of man. Satan still strives to turn us away from God. We still must set self aside and obey the commands of the Lord. Sin will still result in our being separated from God and we can still look to Jesus Christ for the reconciliation needed to have eternal salvation.
Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]