This has been a trick of the Devil since the beginning of humanity is found in Genesis 3.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?” Gen 3:1 NIV
The first challenge was whether God really said it. The second was an outright challenge to God…
“‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman.” Gen 3:4 NIV
And then the twisting of the truth…
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Gen 3:5 NIV
This was technically true. When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, their eyes were opened. And with it came sin and shame.
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Gen 3:7 NIV
And when God went out to them, they hid from God. They realized their sin and hid from their Creator. Not only did sin and shame come in, but death entered the world. Sin and death have continued, and we are all guilty (Rom. 3:23).
One of the greatest challenges we face today!
I think this is one of the great challenges we face today. Our society wants to question whether God has really called sinful behavior sin, and then challenges what we believe and encourages us to actively disobey God. When we try to call that which is sin “not sin,” it leads us to a place of distancing ourselves from God. What a horrible place to be.
Fortunately, God stepped in. John 3:16 reminds us of just how great God’s love is for us. We just got through celebrating this during Advent and Christmas.
God offers to remove the shame of past sins, to cleanse us, and to make us whole. Although the penalty of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), if we confess our sins and believe in our hearts, Jesus removes the penalty of sin (Rom. 10:9-11) through the payment He made on the cross, and offers us new life (and eternal life) with Him!
What an amazing gift!
It is a gift worthy of our love. He loves us enough that He was willing to sacrifice everything for us. We who call on His name are truly blessed.
As we look to the new year, what sacrifices are we willing to make for Him? Are we going to seek Him in His Word, so that we will know what He calls sin, and then actively seek to avoid it as we seek to love Him with our obedience (John 14:23-24)?