Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Beyond the Walls is a weekly email to help Christ-followers move beyond the walls of their church buildings, homes, comfort zones, and culture to engage those we live among with the Gospel.
Of all the stories we will share as we engage others in faith conversations, the story that must be shared is God’s Story. The Gospel Story.
Today, we turn our attention to the second part of The Story – The Fall. In The Fall, we come to understand why the world in which we live is so messed up. We discover the answer to the question…”What went wrong?”
As we saw last week, life in the Garden was amazing! We are so surrounded by imperfection and the effects of sin, it’s hard for us to imagine a place of perfect harmony and peace and joy. A place where God and man walked together, spoke face to face, laughed together and thoroughly enjoyed each other.
Placed in the Garden to oversee all that God had created, man had everything he would ever want or need. And out of His deep love for them, He gave them clear instructions on maintaining harmony in the Garden. All they had to do was to obey this one command.
In Genesis 2:16-17, we read…”And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
One command….given out of love for their own good and protection. This was the command that would test their loyalty and their trust in God. It was far from restrictive for outside of that one tree, they could eat from any tree they so desired in the Garden. All they had to do was not eat from that tree.
This is where the story turns dark as Satan enters the picture - a fallen angel who despises God and will do anything he can to disrupt the harmony and the freedom that man enjoys in the Garden. Arriving on the scene as a serpent, this master of lies and deception engages Eve in conversation. Distorting the very word of God so as to create skepticism and doubt in her mind, he asks her in Genesis 3,
“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5
He convinces her that God is holding out on them. They will not die…they will become like God. There will be no consequences to their sin. Instead, there will be a great reward for their eyes will be opened to new revelations and insight. They will know good and evil. They will have greater knowledge.
Thus in Genesis 3:6 we read these words…
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
In that one act of eating from the one tree that God told them not to eat from, they rebelled against God. They chose Satan’s lie over God’s truth. They had everything they needed but they chose to take more. And in that moment, their eyes were opened just as Satan said they would be. However, it was not what they were expecting.
Overcome with shame, guilt and fear, they hid from the very God whose fellowship they once so enjoyed. Sin had now entered the picture. Their intimacy with God and each other was broken. The consequences were severe – spiritual and physical death, pain in childbearing for Eve, pain in physical labor for Adam, a desire to rule over and dominate each other, and being cast out of the garden.
But their sin didn’t affect them alone. It also impacted all of creation as it was subjected to brokenness, death, and decay as well.
And it set into motion the downward spiral of mankind for the sin that had so infected and corrupted Adam and Eve has now been passed down from generation to generation. As a result, every single human being is fallen at the core of their very being…born a sinner deserving eternal separation from God in hell.
Their one decision to rebel against God, choosing their way over His, has placed every one of us in a desperate state of need…spiritually, physically, emotionally, relationally, and morally.
And we have no way to help ourselves. Is there any way out? Is there any hope? Can anything be done?
The Good News is Yes! While God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden because of their sin, He did leave them with a promise of rescue and hope. It is that promise and the rescue that followed that we will examine next time as we continue our journey through the Gospel Story.
National Pioneer, The Rooftop US