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The Fall of Man and the Rise of Grace

posted Nov 30, 2014, 7:34 AM by Website Administrator   [ updated Nov 30, 2014, 7:34 AM ]
November 30, 2014   
Key Passage: Genesis 3:1-19

“The Fall of Man and the Rise of Grace”

…The Fall of Humanity.  Ever wonder why life can seem so brutal, so “unfair,” so alarmingly out of sync?  Look no further than Genesis 3, where sin and grace meet head on.  Here’s the reason drugs, alcohol, and a slew of other “12 Step” nominees imprison many of us; the reason we have a passion for power and the lure of wealth, material things, and a complete obsession with sex.  If you’re like me, not a day passes that you can’t fully relate to the shame, guilt, blame, and physical / mental woes that occupy the story of Adam’s (and man’s) fall from grace.  Someone once said, “Most people want to be delivered from temptation … but they’d like it to keep in touch.”  Thank God that for our sakes, when sin rears its ugly head, grace rises up to swallow it whole …

As we look at the origin of sin through temptation, keep in mind James 1:14-15, “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  

Notice the 3 steps listed above and how they relate perfectly to how Satan tempts Eve – and us:

1.  Satan impugns God’s character … By raising a question (“Did God REALLY say…”), Satan planted a seed of doubt in her heart, a distrust of God’s love.  She responded by “seeing that the fruit of the tree was good for food…”  We’re dragged away and enticed when we forget God’s love and provision.

2.   Satan challenges the authority of God’s Word …This is where desire is conceived.  Satan followed up the seed of mistrust by blatantly denying God’s Truth (“You will not surely die”).

3.  Satan contradicts God’s certain judgment … he promises pleasure but doesn’t mention the pain (“When you eat, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God”).  Technically, this was true – their eyes were opened and they did realize what God realizes – sin may taste good at first, but it ultimately leads to spiritual death …

Contrast the way God works and the way Satan works – 
* God demonstrates his love….Satan implants a distrust of God’s love for us (“Did he REALLY say…?)
* God declares a promise to us….Satan declares a countering lie (“Surely you will not die”)
* God strengthens his promise by offering the Truth itself to us…Satan distorts the truth and makes it look    like something else, makes it vague, hazy and undefined. (“He knows when you eat, you’ll be like him”)

The results of sin, and how Jesus provides grace:

1.  Self-Consciousness (“they knew they were naked”) – Isn’t this what we struggle with most…the reason we not only wear clothes to cover ourselves, but the reason we wear masks so others can’t see us the way we really are? Jesus counters by taking our eyes off ourselves and putting them on him (Gal. 2:20)

2.  Guilt (“I was afraid, and I hid myself”) – This is the heritage of The Fall, this dreaded sense of guilt…and hiding is an instinctive reaction to guilt.  It’s why we hide our sins, and why accountability is so vitally important.  Jesus counters our guilt by cleaning the slate and our conscience (Romans 8:1-2)

3.  Blame (“the woman gave it to me,” “the serpent deceived me”) – This is the first human attempt to deal with the problem of guilt, and it still rings true today; ultimately, what you say when you blame is “God, this is REALLY your fault!”  If couples would stop blaming each other and look at their own sin problems, 2/3 of the battle in saving marriages would be won!  Jesus’ answer? Matthew 7:5…

4.  Pain, Sorrow (“I will multiply your pain,” “cursed is the ground…through painful toil”) – that empty, hollow feeling, that sense of loss…just like Adam and Eve, we’ve learned the hard, cruel facts of life lived apart from dependence on God.  Praise God, Jesus counters by going with us and reminding us you can never experience the glory of the resurrection unless you’ve first experienced the death of the cross!