Lesson 6

Sin

(Genesis 3, Romans 5, 6 & 8)
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Introduction: Imagine a spouse who deliberately irritates you. (Hopefully, this is hard to imagine!) Is an attitude like that one of love? Does this teach us something about sin and God's law? A troubling number of Christians claim that they can do anything they want and still be loving followers of Christ. They argue that the law is no longer in effect, so there is no need to pay any attention to God's desires and directions. Is this true? Is it sensible? Why does God give us directions? Let's dive into our Bibles and find out more about sin!

  1. Sin: The Beginning on Earth


    1. Read Genesis 2:16-17. Has God expressed His will to Adam?


      1. Why would God have such a rule? Why was there a need for any rules at all in that perfect garden?


      2. Do you think God's "law" made sense to Adam? ("Why is God withholding something from humans," Adam might have asked. Adam might have thought: "'Knowledge' is a good thing, not a bad thing!" "Why can't I be trusted?")


    2. Genesis 3:1. Why does Satan ask about eating from trees? (Eve "missed the meeting" about eating from the trees. Satan does not want a dispute about whether she understands God's law.)


    3. Read Genesis 3:2-3. Does Eve answer correctly? (She is both wrong and ambiguous. If you review Genesis 2:16-17 you will see that God did not say anything about "touching" the fruit. According to the Bible He merely said "Don't eat." Plus, there were two trees in the middle of the garden: the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. ( Genesis 2:9))


      1. Was refraining from touching the fruit a good idea? (If you are going to avoid eating it, it helps if you avoid touching it.)


      2. Was Eve doing the right thing in saying that if she touched the fruit she would die? (Read Deuteronomy 4:1-2. We are beginning to have our eyes opened about sin. Eve is already in trouble. It is a serious mistake to confuse what "God said" with a "good idea" when it comes to sin. When you teach your children, do not confuse in their minds what is actually sin and what are good ideas to avoid sin.)


    4. Read Genesis 3:4-5. Analyze the nature of sin. How does sin present itself to humans?(First, Satan flatly contradicts God. Second, Satan suggests that God has lied to Eve so that she will remain inferior. She can be like God.)


      1. How would you characterize Satan's temptation to Eve? Is it appetite? Is it trust? Is it greed? Is it vanity? Is it pride? (Certainly it is pride, vanity and a lack of trust in God.)


      2. Compare Genesis 3:22 with Genesis 3:5. Was Satan telling the truth? (In part.)


    1. Read Genesis 3:6. Why did Eve eat the fruit when she knew what God said? (The text says that the fruit was desirable to look at. It looked like good food. It would give her wisdom.)


      1. Why would the appearance of the fruit be a factor in Eve's decision? (What she saw contradicted what she expected from a tree that God said would cause death. Surely a "death tree" would have ugly, or at least suspicious-looking fruit.)


        1. Was that superficial thinking?


      2. Was Eve's sin a gradual one? (Yes. It started when Eve misstated the law of God ( Genesis 3:3). She touched the fruit before she ate it. Because she did not die when she touched the fruit, she was led to believe that God was not trustworthy and she would gain wisdom by eating it. Then she made a judgment that the fruit must be okay because it looked good.)


      3. How many times have you thought that God was untrustworthy when the real problem was your failure to read and understand God's word?


    2. Read 1 Timothy 2:14. Why did Adam enter into sin? (Paul does not say, but it seems clear that Adam chose Eve over God. He chose the creation over the Creator.)


      1. Paul seems to conclude that Adam is entitled to some credit because he was not deceived and Eve was deceived. How do you look at this? (All sin is sin, but I look at deliberate disobedience in a far worse light. Consider how you compare the two when your children disobey you.)


    3. What lesson about sin do we learn from the failure of Adam and Eve? (First, we must be on full alert when anyone contradicts the Word of God. We have no hope of being alert unless we are familiar with God's word. Second, we must trust God. Eve should have been satisfied with the knowledge God had given her. It was vanity, greed and a rejection of God's authority that caused her to sin. Third, we must not let anything in the creation acquire more value to us than obedience to God. This is the root of theft, adultery and covetousness.)


    4. Let's go to the end of the Bible. Read Revelation 14:12. What is God looking for in His people at the end of time? (The same thing that He was looking for in the beginning - trust and obedience.)


  1. Sin: Its Nature


    1. Let's re-read Genesis 3:22. I thought God created humans in His image ( Genesis 1:27). What is wrong with humans knowing evil, in addition to knowing good, just like God?


      1. What is wrong with "knowing evil" and living forever? God lives forever!


    2. What, exactly, did Adam and Eve gain in knowledge from eating the fruit? Did the fruit contain a knowledge potion? (The fruit gave them no new knowledge at all. It was their actions in disobeying and distrusting God which was "new knowledge." That broke their relationship with God and put in its place a relationship with Satan. All sorts of terrible knowledge then followed.)


      1. What does this suggest about the nature of sin? (It is distrust and disobedience because we think we know more than God.)


    3. Read Romans 5:16-17. What was the result of Adam and Eve's sin? (It brought condemnation to us.)


      1. Why? (The human connection to a sinless God was broken. We were sinners who had given our allegiance to Satan.)


      2. How is the gift of Jesus not like the gift of Adam and Eve? (One sin fractured our relationship with God and brought condemnation. But, Jesus' life, death and resurrection on our behalf covered all the sins that have taken place since Eve.)


    4. Read Romans 6:11-13. How do we count ourselves "dead" to sin? Is that like taking back the knowledge of evil? (Adam and Eve, if they had obeyed, would have ultimately understood about evil - but they would not have been a part of it. We know about evil because of Adam and Eve (and our own failings), but God asks us to live as if we do not know evil. He asks us to be "dead" to that knowledge.)


  2. Sin: The Beginning in Us


    1. So, how do we live a life that is "dead" to sin?


    2. I gave Eve a hard time for saying "don't touch" when she was probably just trying to avoid sin. What do you think would have been a better way to avoid the sin of eating the forbidden fruit?


    3. Read Romans 8:5-8 and Matthew 5:27-28. Let's look at this second text for just a minute. Jesus seems to say there is something wrong with "heart adultery?" Why is that? (You are willing to commit adultery, all you lack is the opportunity. If you had the opportunity, you would do it.)


      1. What does the Romans 8 text suggest about the relationship between our minds and sin? (It suggests that we take the mental step before we take the physical step. What we do is ordained by what we think. We either focus on what God wants or on our own selfish desires.)


        1. How does this idea "fit" Eve's situation? (She decided to distrust God before she ate the fruit. She was focused on her own selfish desires. When Paul tells us to be "dead" to sin, he is telling us not to let it live in our minds. Not to focus on selfish desires.)


      2. Do you think about sins that you do not do?


        1. If so, is it just a matter of time before you do it?


    4. Friend, I believe that sin is foremost an attitude - an attitude of selfishness. The "knowledge" of evil was first the decision to distrust and disobey God. Jesus has repaired the rupture made by Adam and Eve, but I believe Paul and Eve teach us that trust and obedience is still essential to our relationship with God. Will you repent of your sins, and ask God to give you an attitude of trust and obedience?


  3. Next week: Grace.

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