Last week we heard about God’s perfect Creation (Genesis 1) and about the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2). Dave decided to continue this walk through Genesis by preaching from Genesis 3:8-21 this morning.

Genesis 3 narrates the Fall of Man. Temptation comes in stages, as Ralph discussed last week:
1) the arousing of desire
2) the mind rationalises the desire to make it seem reasonable, proper and profitable
3) the will acts
4) following sin, confusion, guilty, blame and sense of limitation follow.

In this passage, however, we see how God’s grace deals with Adam and Eve. It’s not so much a case of punishment (though there are terrible consequences because of their sin) as how God deals with each situation that arises.

He begins His dealings with this situation with 3 questions:
1) “Where are you?” (vs 8-9)
Most religions start with the idea of man searching for God, but Christianity tells us that God looks for man. Finding out where we are is always the first step when we are lost, and for most of us, this involves coming to terms with the fact that we don’t know where we are; we only know that we are not where we ought to be. In the same way, that admission is what God requires from each one of us before He can act. It’s not that He doesn’t know where we are, but that He wants us to admit to ourselves that we are lost before we are ready to accept His help.

2) “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” (vs 10-11)
This is a question designed to make Adam think. No one told him he was naked; this realisation came upon him because of his sin; the innocence of Eden had been lost. Before he took of the fruit and ate, Adam had not known anything evil, but now the knowledge of evil has come and ultimately we all have to deal with the fact that evil is within us (see Matthrew 15:11, 19).

3)”Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you to eat? What is this you have done?” (vs 11, 13)

God asks both Adam and Eve what they have done. Each blames someone else, but ultimately each admits “and I ate.” This is where God wants to bring us, for this is the point at which we can repent. God has shown them they are not where they should be: they are lost. He has shown them the problem is within: they disobeyed, they sinned. Now He has led them gently and graciously to the place where each has admitted their sin.

That’s as far as man can go in correcting evil. But that immediately provides the ground for God to act. God asks no more questions. He provides garments of skin for Adam and Eve (vs 21). This is the beginning of animal sacrifices. This is the foreshadowing of that ultimate sacrifice, for it is God Himself who eternally bears the pain, the hurt and the agony of our sins.

When we have acknowledged our guilt and admitted that we have sinned, God provides the sacrifice, the clothing, for us to be ‘accepted in the Beloved’ (Eph 1:6, KJV). Just as a mother sheep will only accept another lamb if she recognises it as her own and the orphaned lamb must be covered in the skin of the lamb that has died in order to gain acceptance, so we too can be clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

Repentance is the start of the Christian life, to be sure, but it is also needed every day. We need to understand that without Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We need to see that we must cultivate utter dependence on God if we are to make progress in our spiritual walk. He is ours and all that He is belongs to us. This is Standard Operating Procedure, not just for emergencies!

God is for us, not against us (Rom 8:31). May we understand that we are accepted in the Beloved and live our lives from that position of acceptance.