Choices, choices, choices… Some people are great at making choices. Others, though, are paralyzed by them, not wanting to make a wrong one, and would just rather be told what to do. From the very beginning, we have been given by God the ability to decide what we would do. And though I always remind myself that if it wasn’t them, it would have been me, Adam and Eve are remembered for making the biggest wrong choice in history, which Pastor Mike introduced us to on Sunday.
Why, with only two choices to pick from, did Adam and Eve not just keep eating from the Tree of Life and the other good trees in the garden? And why, instead, were they drawn to the one tree they were told not to eat?
It is quite the dichotomy considering they were given not one, but many trees described as being good for food in Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17 (ESV): “And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. … The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, BUT of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”
Despite such simple instructions, Adam and Eve chose wrongly, and we have dealt with the consequences ever since.
Amid all the wreckage left behind in the wake of this sin, the lies that started in the garden continue to plague us today. Truth is, it is far too easy to get sucked in or distracted by something that is off the mark. And as we walk through life, it is imperative we identify the lies being presented to us. For as history has continued, one of the most consequential of those lies has been the same words that have echoed in the back of our minds ever since Satan first laid out his malevolent challenge: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’ (Gen. 2:1, ESV)?” And after Eve responds, Satan doubles down on the lie by saying the exact opposite of what God had told her, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:4-5, ESV).”
The problem for all of us then? God did actually say death would be a result of disobedience, and because of this reality and our disobedience to His instructions, we now face certain death and a forever separation from Him as a result. But thanks be to God, we also now have the solution to that problem!
Consider the words of Paul in Romans 8:35-39 (ESV): “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus gave us all we need.
And regardless of our sin, we are saved by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead, if we simply believe in Him and invite His Spirit into our lives.
The victory has already been won!
There is no confessed sin that can blemish us or keep us from the fact that, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10, ESV).”
BUT … it is a choice, nonetheless, as it has been since the beginning of time itself.
Will you ultimately choose the Tree of Life? Or death?
There is no middle ground.
For as it says in Ephesians 5:6-10 (ESV), “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”
And be encouraged as to where Revelation 22:1-5 (ESV) tells us the journey is ultimately headed …
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF …
1. Where in your life have you seen these lies of Satan show up?
2. How have you responded to those lies?
3. What choices do you need to make? And will it end up in life or death?