The subtlety of sin - Hope 103.2

The subtlety of sin

By David ReayWednesday 31 May 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Genesis 3:1-6

1 The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”

2-3 The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”

4-5 The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”

6 When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate. (THE MESSAGE)

The evil one doesn’t usually attack us head on. He knows many of us will not succumb to crudity. So he might not whisper in our ear that we do something wicked. Rather he will seek to persuade us that what we have in mind is not really wicked at all. He will not tell us to hate God but rather plead to our sense of self-sufficiency that we can make our own decisions independently of God.

This is what happened in the Garden of Eden. Eating a bit of fruit is not in itself a sin. What made it a sin was that God said not to do it. He could just as easily have said to Adam, “Don’t cross that river” or “Don’t dig that hole”. It was God’s way of reminding them that he was God and had the right to set the rules under which his human creations would live.

Satan, on the other hand, urges Eve not to let God push her around and keep her in subservience. Don’t let God tell you what is good and what is evil. You choose. Which is a far more seductive proposition than urging her to get in touch with her wicked, darker self.

It is also a lie. Satan lies when he suggests life is better free of God’s oversight, when he suggests we can establish our own rules. A lie is still a lie even if it sounds good. And of course all temptation appears attractive, otherwise we would not be tempted. We resist temptation not by logical debate with the tempter, but by prayerful dependence on the one who has beaten him.

David Reay