Did God REALLY Say…?

Life today is quite different from life in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve would surely be shocked to see cars and planes, televisions and cell phones. They would probably be disgusted at what we eat and wear, but impressed with what we have built and invented. Despite all those differences, though, the first couple would likely recognize that, in our hearts, we are still just the same.

In Genesis chapter 3, we see that Satan’s tactic with Eve was to question God’s sovereignty. “Did God really say not to eat the fruit of the tree?” And, once he gets her questioning that, he assures her that God’s warnings (“You shall surely die”) are not true. God is, in fact, tricking Eve, Satan argues, because He doesn’t want her knowing as much as He does. Eve believes the lie and, within hours, realizes God is indeed sovereign, Satan is a liar, and her idyllic life is dead.

I’d like to believe I’m better than Eve. But I’m not. As usual, though, I see sin in the lives of others more easily than I see it in my own life. I see it when students cheat on a test or essay, or when they admit to having sex before marriage. I have seen sin destroy destroy friends’ marriages because of adultery or selfishness. I have seen sin wreck churches.

And in every case, the offender has an excuse, a reason why what he or she did really wasn’t wrong. It doesn’t matter that God says to obey authorities, students argue, that test was just too hard and my parents will kill me if I get a C, so I HAD to cheat. I know the Bible says don’t have premarital sex, but that’s impossible nowadays. The husband who left his wife? She wasn’t meeting his needs, so he “deserved” to go out and find someone who would. And on and on.

The bottom line is that we buy into the same lie Eve bought into. “Did God REALLY say…” that you need to obey authorities? save the gift of sex for marriage? remain faithful to your marriage vows? Or is God just old-fashioned? Unaware of the difficulties of 21st century life? His word is fine to slap on Instagram as a positive-thinking slogan, but when it comes to keeping us from doing what we really want to do…? No, thanks. 

But friends, whether we acknowledge it or not, God’s word IS true, God IS sovereign. He allows us to choose to disobey Him, to turn from Him, to do our own thing. But, eventually, just like Eve, we will face the consequences for those decisions. Not because God hates us or wants to keep us from enjoying life, but because He is holy. And because He knows far better than we ever will what is best for us and for those around us.

So don’t fall victim to the same lie that has ensnared people for millenia. Don’t make excuses. Don’t justify your sin. Deal with it, confess it. Or, better, avoid it. Run from it! Don’t presume upon the grace of God. Don’t miss out on God’s best by trying to create your own Eden. God is God. You are not. There is great freedom in living in that reality.

“…If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31b-32

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