We all know that the Garden of Eden was paradise. No sin. No sadness. No error. Until, of course, that crafty serpent (Genesis 3.1" data-version="nasb95" data-purpose="bible-reference" target="_blank" style="text-decoration-line: none; color: rgb(70,149, 156); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">Genesis 3:1) came along. What was it that got us thrown under the bus?
It wasn't that the serpent was merely making suggestions. It wasn't that the serpent had some good ideas. It wasn't that God was a cosmic killjoy and the serpent was offering some new things. The problem started with "Did God actually say ...?" (Genesis 3:1). It was followed by an outright assault. "You will not surely die" (Genesis 3:4). "God's holding out on you." The argument and the offering seemed good to Eve and Adam in her wake, so here we are, under the curse.
Some people think that the serpent delivered on his promise. They got "the knowledge of good and evil" just like he said they would. They were "like God" in that sense. This is a mistaken notion. The truth is they did not lack the knowledge of good and evil. That's because "the knowledge of good" was whatever God said, and they had that. Conversely, "the knowledge of evil" was the opposite -- whatever God did not say, whatever God did not command, whatever God forbade. They knew, for instance, "evil" in the form of "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat" (Genesis 2:17). They knew that. They had that knowledge. Satan, as it turned out, lied.
This prototype of the serpent's temptation of Eve in the garden is the template for all temptation. We use the term loosely, of course. "I'm tempted to eat another piece of cake." That sort of thing. But in terms of sin, temptation is always the same. 1) It is an assault on God. 2) It is a lie. Always.
We get confused sometimes. "Sin," we think, is "doing bad things." Sin is not. It is our assault on God. It is our rebellion against God. It is our insult to His glory. Always. And we don't need a snake for ours. "Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire" (James 1:14). We do this all on our own. The remedy, of course, should now be much clearer. It isn't "work harder" or "try harder". The problem is a heart problem. That is why Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15).
We can employ tools -- accountability, "keep out zones," etc. -- but what we need is a greater love for the Master, the kind of love that couldn't endure committing treason against Him. We are encouraged to memorize God's Word to prevent sin (Psalm 119:11) because sin is always a lie, so God's Word gives us the truth. And we are indeed to flee sin (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:10-11) and resist Satan (James 4:7), but the direction we should go is toward Jesus rather than merely away from temptation. Always.
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