It doesn’t take us much time to realize that there is something terribly wrong within our own souls and with the world. The best the world has to offer us is filled with challenges, sorrow and pain. It’s like a person who looks happy and healthy on the outside but every once in a while feels pain when he moves a certain way. Then he gets a checkup and finds he has stage four cancer throughout his body. Even before we were Christ-followers we knew something was wrong. Deep inside we know we are sinners, alienated from our Creator. Something has always been wrong even if we couldn’t tell exactly what it was.
(Read Genesis 2:15-17; Genesis 3:1-15; and Romans 5:12.)
There is a reason for pain, sorrow and evil: sin.
Satan tempted man in the garden of God by emphasizing what he could not have instead of the abundance that God already gave him. He was able to eat freely of the fruit of the trees in the garden to his heart’s content but was not able to eat from only one tree in the midst of the garden.
This temptation is based upon three things (Genesis 3:6; 1 John 2:15-16)
1. Good for food—The lust of the flesh or indulging in what one can have now.
2. Pleasant to the eyes—The lust of the eyes: desiring what one doesn’t have now.
3. Desire for wisdom—The pride of life: utilizing knowledge and power as our way of controlling the world for ourselves as a god outside of the One True God.
How we live this way all the time
1. When we live for food, or to gratify our physical desires instead of utilizing God’s earth to nourish and sustain our bodies; when we are self-focused on grabbing what we can, instead of considering the needs of those around us.
2. When we live in discontentment, never being grateful or thankful for what God has already given us. What you are thankful for the most is multiplied in your life; what you complain about you repel.
3. When we use people, money, power, influence, knowledge and wisdom to carve out a life for ourselves instead of losing our life and letting Christ live through us; when we use people as objects instead of loving them for who they are.
The Results of the Fall
A. They had knowledge of good and evil
Knowledge was based on experiencing evil, not just knowing about it. God was not trying to shield them from being exposed to or learning about evil because He told them to face evil and defeat it when He commanded them to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. These were warfare terms because Satan had already infiltrated the earth realm outside of the garden of God. Hence, God has called us to overcome evil, not be overcome by evil by swimming in it!
B. They became independent from God by disobeying Him
We tried to become the master and controller of our lives and destinies instead of giving praise and honor to our Creator by our obedience. Whenever we are anxious or fearful or depressed it is a sign that we are not having our way and we are not trusting in the Lord for our lives and futures. Humankind is at enmity against God in the flesh and in the mind.
2 Corinthians 11:3 says “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
Ephesians 4:17-19 says “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”
Colossians 3:2-8 says “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which are idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
C. They lost fellowship with God
They died spiritually, meaning they were separated from God’s presence and thrown out of the garden.
Ephesians 2:1-3 says “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Although we still have a conscience that keeps us in touch with our human spirit, our spirit is only partially aware of good and evil, having lost the image and personal knowledge of God imprinted upon it.
D. Their minds were dulled
Whenever we experience evil it soaks us into the kingdom of darkness and desensitizes us from the presence and life of God.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
1 Corinthians 2:14-16
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is he to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
When we are saved, our road to Christ-likeness begins with a process of renewing and restoring our thought lives.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not having the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
How we can regain the garden in our heart once again?
1. We needs to put on the new self
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
2. We need to live by the Spirit by practicing the spiritual disciplines.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if the Spirit leads you, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things would not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”
To subscribe for a weekly teaching click here.