The Bible shares with us about a couple who made the worst decision ever made. Surrounded by a perfect environment, they chose a path that led to a complete change in their life and for the lives of every generation since. There has never been a decision that has affected all people for all time and will continue to affect us until the end of time. Their decision unleashed all kinds of evil: violence, hatred, war, natural disasters, and even death.
Adam and Eve lived in Paradise. They experienced a perfect life with no unfulfilled needs. They lived in a beautiful garden and all was provided for them. They never experienced hunger or thirst. They never experienced fear, pain, anger, etc. They had a perfect and personal relationship with God and they never experienced sin.
Just think ladies, Eve had the perfect husband. He was there to help in any way. I’m sure that he helped take the garbage out and even washed the dishes. She didn’t have to lay awake at night wondering if she had married the right man! Just think men, his wife never nagged, complained about his weight, and spent too much money on clothes or shoes. And he was married to the most beautiful woman in the world!
Why would this couple give up Paradise? Why would they choose to disobey God? Remember that God had said that nothing was off limits except one tree. They were not to eat from that one tree. What did they do? The one thing that they were instructed not to do. They chose poorly.
God’s command was clear: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17. They knew better but they chose to disobey God and the rest, as they say, is history. We look at that and wonder why, but we live in a world today where people make bad decisions all the time, despite their circumstances. Often we chose to do what we want and disregard the advice and warnings of others, including God and it always causes problems.
Satan approached Eve in the form of a serpent and tempted her as he often does today, on the one thing that God had placed off limits. He tricked Eve into thinking she could do better by disobeying God’s clear command. Adam follows along and you know the rest of the story.
Because of their actions, God permanently removed them from that perfect garden. Now, sin had entered the world and they were left to deal with all the pain and suffering that went with it. Adam and Eve were filled with regret and shame. No matter how sorry they were for the decision they made, there was no going back. Every morning they woke up outside of Eden, they remembered that life was not as it had once been. Their innocence could not be restored. There was no amount of tears that would grant them the privilege of spending so much as a night in the idyllic surroundings they had once enjoyed.
Maybe your story is like that. Perhaps you were brought up in a stable home, with loving parents, and wonderful opportunities. Yet the allure of doing your own thing distracted you from what you knew you should be doing.
Does this sound familiar? That young couple who succumbed to temptation and slept together can never have their virginity restored. The person who squanders their savings away on a get-rich scheme or gambling cannot recover what was lost. The person who married against their parent’s advice and now regrets living with an indifferent spouse can’t retrace their steps and back out of their vows.
Just like Adam and Eve we have been deceived by the attractiveness of sin. But, there is hope. There is no doubt that we are sinners by nature and by choice.
We all sin, but God, in His wisdom and love provided a way of forgiveness for us.
Most try to find forgiveness on their own. They confess their sins to one another which bring them temporary relief. Often they will resolve to do better. Even when they confess their sins to God there is no permanent relief.
The first thing we have to remember is that there is nothing that we can do on our own to receive God’s forgiveness.
Minimizing the actions of our sin does not make us acceptable before God, nor does exaggerating our sin lead us to think we are beyond forgiveness.
What I mean is this; you can’t ever earn forgiveness by being good, because no one is sinless. Nor can you be so bad that there is no forgiveness.
Forgiveness and reconciliation with God are given freely, apart from what we have done or who we are.
We are pardoned by the death of Jesus Christ. The saving work of Jesus Christ is the one and only basis for our forgiveness. While we are hopeless to earn forgiveness, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sins. There is hope for us because of what Jesus did for us. What wonderful news! What do you need to do to experience this forgiveness?
1. Accept the fact that you are incapable of living a life without sin.
2. Recognize that sin keeps you from a relationship with God and with others.
3. Give your life to the Lord. Make Him the master of your life.
What does that mean?
• Admit you are a sinner and need forgiveness and that you are hopeless to earn or do this on your own.
• Accept the fact that Jesus paid the price for your sins by dying for you on the cross and was resurrected and is now at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
• Ask Him to forgive you and take control of your life. Let Him in the “driver’s seat of your life.”
• Follow through with a public confession of what you have done. Tell others that you have given your life over to God.
• Follow through with believer’s baptism.
4. Live for Him daily.
What keeps you from giving your life to Jesus?
Dr. Dennis R. Culbreth is Senior Pastor of Jasper’s First Baptist Church www.jaspersfbc.org