The Gospel in Romans, part 12

Just by faith - peace - hope - joy. Sufferings - endurance - character - hope - never disappointed! We have finally begun reading Romans again, and we are now in chapter five, which I like to call the "grace chapter" of Romans. We had taken a break from Romans for some weeks, and looked at Genesis 1-3, especially so that as we read Romans chapter 5, we will see the connection between Jesus and Adam in Genesis 3 as they are discussed from verses 12-21 of this chapter. I did not teach this whole lesson last night, but I hope to continue it next week. There is so much joy and hope to be found in understanding this chapter, so go ahead and dig in...

Romans Chapter 5, part 1

Romans 5:1-6 (ESV):
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly.

Verse 1
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Remember what we must do whenever we start reading the Bible at a certain verse or passage and see a "therefore"? We are supposed to go back and find out what that "therefore" is there for. The last chapter ended by teaching us that the Scripture was not written for Abraham's sake alone that his faith was "counted to him as righteousness" (Romans 4:22; Genesis 15:6), but it was also written for us who will be "counted righteous" by faith, if we trust in God who delivered Jesus up to be crucified for our trespasses and raised for our justification (Romans 4:23-25).
Now we have come to chapter 5 verse 1; and what does it say we are therefore justified by? "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith..." So the word "therefore" is intended to show us that because, or since we are justified by faith, as it was stated back in 4:25, we now have these blessings that follow.

What is the first result of being justified by faith? "We have peace with God." And through whom does this peace come? "Through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Remember when we studied Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter three, and how Adam and Eve needed to be reconciled to God. They had been separated from God's presence by their sin and by God's judgment with the angel and the flaming sword keeping them out of Paradise. Their own efforts to cover their shame could not have restored them to peace with God. They needed God to make a provision, and He did that through the sacrifice of the "lamb" in order to clothe them, representing Christ's sacrifice of atonement. Thus God was showing Adam and Eve how He would make a way for them to be brought back to Himself and have peace with Him through Christ. Now Paul is declaring that we have that peace through Jesus Christ if we are justified by faith, just as Abraham and all the saints were justified!

Notice also the title Jesus Christ has - "our Lord Jesus Christ." Do you remember what the words, "Lord" and "Christ" mean? First, Jesus is our Lord, which means He rules; He is our Judge, our Master, our God and the one we bow to in humble submission and obedience. Whatever He says, that is what we must believe and do. Next, Jesus is the Christ, which means "Anointed." That means He is the the one God the Father has anointed with the Holy Spirit to be our Prophet (speaking the truth of God), our Priest (making the sacrifice for our sins and interceding before God on our behalf), and our King (providing a kingdom and a land of peace and safety by ruling and reigning supreme over all). This is who Jesus is to those of us who are justified by faith. He is our Lord, and the one by whom we now have peace with God, because of the sacrifice of Himself.

Verse 2
Through him we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

How do we get access into "this grace" mentioned here? Notice the words, "through him." It is only through Jesus Christ that there is salvation, and that is received by faith. Jesus is the source of God's grace. John chapter one says that Jesus is "full of grace and truth," and that "from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace," and that "the law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:14,16,17). So all God's grace is only given and accessed through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What is grace? Salvation is by grace, so do you know what the word "grace" means?
(I asked a young Hispanic man this, and since the Spanish word for grace is "gracia", he thought I was talking about giving thanks). I heard of one old black minister, who died not long ago (Elder D.J. Ward), who was quoted as saying, "I'm a grace case... I'm a grace case!" Grace is really profound and beautiful. I have a blog on the internet devoted to grace, called "All of Grace." A lot of ministries and churches like to attach the word "grace" to their names; "grace church," "Greater Grace World Outreach," etc. Countless books are written about grace all the time. In fact, this very chapter of Romans 5 is written to teach us about grace. So what is it? Well, grace in the Bible usually means Divine favor. It is God's favor and goodness toward those who deserve His judgment and wrath. It is revealed to us through Jesus Christ who took the judgment and wrath on behalf of those who are under God's divine favor. I like this definition: Grace is the free gift of undeserved favor toward hell-deserving sinners.

Grace is something we stand in. We have these blessings which result from being justified by trust (faith) in Jesus: 1) we are justified (counted righteous before God); 2) we have peace with God (we are His friends and no longer enemies); 3) we have access into this grace in which we stand (i.e. we stand in God's favor as His chosen and beloved); 3) this causes us to rejoice (lit. "to speak loud") in hope of the glory of God. All these spiritual blessings come to us only through Jesus Christ our Lord by faith.

Verses 3-4
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

Verse 3 begins with the words, "More than that." What do we do "more than that" if we are justified by faith? We rejoice in our sufferings. Sufferings are a part of the blessings that come with being justified by faith. Philippians 1:29 says, "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake." Just as faith is granted (given) to us in order to believe in Jesus for His sake, even so, suffering is given to us for His sake also. The Greek word used for "sufferings" means to be under pressure, afflictions, tribulations, persecution, anguish, burdened. Such are the things Christians rejoice (lit. "speak loud") in. The reason we rejoice in our sufferings if we are justified by faith is, because sufferings produce all kinds of valuable spiritual blessings in us.

Why do you think suffering would be the cause of great spiritual blessings to a Christian? We see from verse 3, that it produces endurance. What does it mean to endure? The Greek word used here for endurance means to patiently and cheerfully endure, to have power to remain, to endure with hopefulness. It gives the idea of patient continuance in the faith. To endure means to hold out against adversity, not to fold under pressure but to remain steadfast, continue in hopefulness. Jesus said, "By your endurance you will gain your lives." (Luke 21:19). Hebrews 10:36 says to suffering Christians, "For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised." Jesus said to the Church of Philadelphia in the book of Revelation, "Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown." [The crown was used as a symbol of victory after enduring the test of sufferings]. Revelation 14:12 calls Christians to endure after telling them about how those who follow the beast and receive the 666 mark will be tormented in fire forever without rest, it then says, "Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." And the following verse pronounces a blessing on all who die in the Lord from now on, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!" (See Revelation 14:9-13). Endurance is essential to being saved, and Paul says that we rejoice in our sufferings, since as justified believers, they are producing this blessing of endurance in our lives.

What is the second thing sufferings produce? Sufferings produce endurance, which in turn produces character. The Greek word translated "character" means "test," or "proof." It is a word people used when testing gold or money to see if it was genuine. Sufferings or difficulties produce endurance in the justified believer, and that hopeful endurance produces genuine tested character (proving our faithfulness to God). When you want to know somebody, you always want to test their character to see if it is real. That is exactly what difficulties and trials do for our faith - it is tested and proven to be the real thing.

What is the third thing sufferings produce? Or, what does tested character produce? Character produces hope. Hope is a really good thing. It means to be waiting with expectation. When I was studying this word in the Bible, I thought of this example for hope: The Bible's definition of hope is similar to the feeling you get when you know it is sure your team is going to win. You are watching a football game, or playing soccer or something else, and everything is intense. Then the time starts running out, and your team does something, like scores or whatever, and you realize it's all over. The game is over - your team is going to win and now it is just a matter of time until it ends. And you begin to rejoice, even jump for joy, because you know it's finished. You know what the outcome is going to be, and so you are filled with hopeful expectation. That is the idea we get here. Suffering produces endurance in the justified believer's life, which produces tested proven character, which produces joyful hope.

Verse 5
and hope does not put us to shame because the love of God has been
poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given
to us.

What does hope not do for us? Hope does not put us to shame. The NASB says, "and hope does not disappoint." Verse 5 is the climax of all the spiritual blessings listed here. Hope, which means "waiting in expectation" does not leave the justified ashamed or disappointed. Why not? How could someone have hope, and then end up disappointed or put to shame? Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."

I read an article about an African American man from a small town who was accused of several rapes and a murder back in the 1980's. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison. The man, who's name was Tim, always held that he did not commit the rapes and the murder. After he was in prison for a number of years, another man stepped forward and admitted he was the one who committed those crimes that Tim was in prison for. The judges would not listen to the man's confession and they would not reconsider that Tim was innocent. After more years passed, Tim died in prison of health complications. It was only after he died that the courts reconsidered his case, and found out he was innocent, while the other man was the one who had indeed committed those rapes. I watched a video where Tim's brothers and mother were crying and talking about their brother. One of the brother's held a little brown New Testament, and he read from it these words, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12). Tim's hope and his family's hope had been deferred. Tim died before justice could be dealt out rightly for him. However, someone in the article said that there is only one Judge and one system of justice that is perfect, and it isn't on this earth yet. Nevertheless, for Tim's family, their hope for his release was gone. Tim's hope was ended. However, knowing that he was innocent did fulfill their desire for their brother in some ways. That is what it means to have hope and not see it fulfilled. It is a sad story. But the story will not end there. Whether or not Tim was a believer, God will raise him from the dead and all this will be worked out on judgment day. God was Sovereign over Tim's situation, and we do not know what God's purposes were for him to be in such a situation. That is why we look forward to that day, because it is a day when God will judge the world in righteousness (Psalm 96:13).

Now, we are reading here that while Christians may suffer extremely in this life, and we are promised that it will be so, nevertheless, this hope will not be deferred, it will be fulfilled. Christians may die, yet Christ, who is our hope, will return and will raise the dead. And this is how we know our hope will be fulfilled, because it says, "the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." I have often thought, how could I ever doubt God's love? How can I doubt His love when He has given me everything? He gave His Son, as we will see in verse 6, and He gave me His Holy Spirit to be in me and with me. Through the Holy Spirit, God has poured out His love into the hearts of those of us who are justified. The Holy Spirit is given as a down payment, or as an engagement ring. He is the seal of God's promise that He will save those who are justified by faith. This love of God is poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. So if you have the Holy Spirit, then God's love has been poured into your hearts through Him and you have this hope that will never put you to shame, because it will be fulfilled!

Verse 6
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

This is where we see the love of God - that Christ would die at the right time for the ungodly. While we were still weak, helpless, ungodly, unable to do good, Christ died for us who are justified by faith in Him!

I will end with some soul-searching questions:
Are you justified by faith in Christ? Are you trusting Him alone as your hope and your righteousness? Are you enjoying peace and friendship with God through Him? Are you standing in His grace that comes only through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord? Are you suffering through difficulties as a result of your faith in Jesus? Are you enduring, proving your character and waiting in hope for Christ to return and for you to be delivered into Heaven? Have you experienced this overflowing love of God poured out into your hearts through the Holy Spirit? Has He changed your heart, and has He melted it with His love, so that you are looking to Christ for all grace? And last of all, do you view yourself as weak, and ungodly? Do you see that Jesus Christ died at the right time for the ungodly, and that includes you if you have trusted in Him?

Don't turn away from Him, but instead, trust Him who delivered Jesus up for our trangressions and was raised for our justification. Trust Him and Him alone.


Genesis Chapter 3: The Curse of Unbelief and the Promised Seed

The time I spent studying and learning and meditating on the words of Scripture in preparation for this study was an [I looked on a thesaurus site and could not find a word to express the delight I had in learning these lessons]. Genesis three contains the entire gospel in one chapter. I literally could go and sit down, look up verses all day that relate to this chapter, and end up writing a book about it. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to do that this weekend, so I included what I could. Just in case you don't see it in the study, you can search for clues to the gospel of God through Jesus Christ preached in this chapter. You will find everything from the knowledge of all temptation and evil in the serpent, all sinful desire in Eve, and behavior in the woman and the man, the secret of all false religion, the reason people generally view God so negatively, the righteous standard of God's law, the insufficiency and failure of all human efforts in covering guilt, God's glorious plan for reconciliation, the death and resurrection, as well as the second coming, final salvation and judgment of Jesus Christ, Satan's demise, the solution to man and woman's greatest problem, God's love, mercy and grace, Paradise lost and restored, God with man together again - to name a few! Enough said, now dig in:

Genesis Chapter 3: The Curse of Unbelief and the Promised Seed

Now, we remember that in chapter one, God had made the heavens and the earth and called them "very good." We learned that creation is about God, and it puts His glory on display. In chapter two, we took a closer look at God's wonderful design for man and woman, and the beautiful home they were given in the garden. We also briefly understood that God placed Adam in a position of authority over all the earth - over the plants for growing food, and over the animals as he imitated God by naming them. Man's authority over God's creation was a result of Adam and Eve bearing the image of God. They were given so much in the Paradise of God, and they had a wonderful union and relationship with each other in marriage. Do you remember what words chapter two ended with? "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." There was nothing for them to be ashamed of, since they were God's creatures, and everything God had created was very good.

In the next chapter, we are going to learn about how Adam and Eve sinned and fell in the garden. But this story is really not only about man's fall into sin and rebellion against God, it isn't even about Satan, as we will see, it is really about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This chapter of the Bible shows us the first time God promised redemption through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

Chapter 3:

Verse 1
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.

What was the serpent more than other beasts of the field? What does it mean to be crafty? Who made the serpent? God made the serpent, even giving him qualities that the other animals did not have. It tells us this "serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made." Crafty means to be skilled in a subtle way; prudent; slick, sly; able to craft schemes; wise in dealing with others. The short answer would be that this serpent was smart. He knew how to get what he was out to accomplish. We get an idea from this verse that this is no ordinary animal, but a creature of God who can rationally act to accomplish its task. Since we know from other parts of the Bible that this is Satan acting here ( Rom. 16:20; 2 Cor. 11:3), then we know that Satan had already fallen by way of sinning against God. We can see from these verses that Satan was using the serpent in order to deceive Adam and Eve, because somehow this serpent began to talk in verse 2!...

Verse 2
He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?

In what form did the serpent speak?
It was a question. Who was he questioning? The woman. What was the question about? He questioned the woman about what God 'actually' said concerning eating from the trees of the garden? Look how subtly the question was asked; was it an accurate question? No, what did God actually say? Back in Genesis 2:16-17 it says, "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." And what was the serpent's question again? The serpent said, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" What did the serpent change about what God said? This shows how crafty and deceitful the serpent is, he was subtly changing God's words so that Eve would question the truth about what God had really said. He was casting confusion in Eve's mind about God's Word, and tempting her to doubt God's Word.

Verse 3
And the woman said to the serpent, "we may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 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.'"

(Eve had already begun to step away from God when she said this). Doesn't it seem odd that Eve saw a serpent walk up to her and start talking? Now, it is even more odd that she didn't run to her husband and tell him that the serpent was speaking to her! Instead, what did she do? She started talking back to the serpent. She already began acting independently of her husband, whom God had wedded together as one flesh; they were no longer two, but one (Gen. 2:24). The serpent was getting in between the two of them and was beginning to separate them from one another on the most important matter, which is God's truth.

Who did God originally give the command to about the trees in the garden?
It was to Adam (Gen. 2:16-17), so he must have told his wife what God had told him. Since Satan was talking to her about God's Word, then it would have been the right thing for her to go to her husband and refer to him to check what God had said. But what did she say to the serpent? She corrected the serpent by saying, "we may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden..." But did she get it all correct? No. She began to listen to the serpent, and so she started doing what he was leading her to, which was to change what God had said. Did God say the tree in the midst of the garden was not to be touched? No. He simply commanded them not to eat from it. And notice also how Eve quoted it by saying, "lest you die." It's almost as if she was softening the command from "you shall surely die," to "lest you die."

What do you think God's original command was intended to do – to kill or to keep alive? If they kept God's command to not eat that fruit, they would not die. So we see it was intended to keep them living if they obeyed. But Satan wanted to take life away from Adam and Eve by twisting the Words of God, casting doubt in Eve's mind about God's goodness, and causing Eve herself to begin to distort the truth. It began by listening to the wrong person. Instead of listening to God's Word by listening to what Adam was really told, Eve fell right into Satan's trap by listening to a distortion of the truth right from the mouth of the devil, who was disguised as a serpent.

Verses 4-5
But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

How did Satan tempt Eve with these words? What words did he use to help Eve reject God's Word altogether?
First, he said, "You will not surely die." What had God said? God had said to Adam that if they ate of that tree, they would "surely die." Satan turns it around and flat out lied to Eve by saying the very opposite, "You will not surely die." Right here, Satan is calling God a liar. It was as if God did not tell them the whole truth, and that it would not go as God had said if they ate, so here is this serpent to tell them the real truth about what would “actually happen”.

The serpent told Eve that death was not the result of eating the forbidden fruit. He also tempted Eve by saying that they would be enlightened and would be like God if they ate it, knowing good and evil. He was telling Eve that God did not have her best interests in mind and that God was trying to hide something really good from her. That being made in the image and likeness of God was somehow not good enough, so she had to eat from this fruit to really become like God. This is idolatry in its worst form. Satan tempted Eve with the very same sin that made him fall. In Isaiah 14:12-15, God told Isaiah what they would say concerning the King of Babylon (who in this context seems to be referring also to Satan). He goes on to quote him as saying, "I will make myself like the Most High.'" (Isaiah 14:14). Here, the devil was tempting Eve by telling her she could make herself like the Most High, and in that way it is as if she could become a god.

Now Eve was faced with the choice of who to listen to and who to believe. Either believe God - whom she knew to be good, faithful and true, as her Creator and Provider - or she could believe a talking serpent who was twisting Scripture and telling her lies. Jesus spoke to the Jewish leaders about Satan in John 8:44, "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Verse 6
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.

What did Eve see about the tree? What was appealing about it to her? What did she do after she saw those things? Where was her husband when she gave some to him?
Eve saw three things that were appealing to her about the tree God commanded them not to eat from: 1) it was good for food, 2) it was beautiful and looked good to her eyes, 3) it was desired for gaining knowledge and wisdom. These three things are at the heart of all temptations to sin. 1 John 2:15-17 says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." All temptations is rooted in the desire to please the flesh, the desire for what looks good, and the desire to take pride in what one has in this life. That is what Eve was tempted with. She wanted to do what her body felt like doing, thinking it would taste or feel good. She wanted to have what looked so outwardly appealing to her eyes. She wanted what would make her wise so she could have put confidence in what she could know and have for herself. So these sins can be categorized as 1) sinful pleasures (not the good pleasures, but those that are forbidden), 2) lust after beauty, 3) pride in self.

After Eve was tempted, and her heart began to lust for what was forbidden, she took the fruit and ate it. James 1:1-16 says about this, "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived my beloved brothers." Her desire for what Satan tempted her with grew so strong that she had to have it. She grabbed for it, wanting to "get her own." She got it and devoured it, thinking it was going to be so satisfying, forgetting that in the end it leads to DEATH! Proverbs 16:25 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." That was the way Eve took.

It then says, "She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate." Adam was right there with her when all this was going on! He said nothing to protect her from the serpent's deception! He did not even try to stop her from eating what he knew God had forbidden. They had all kinds of beautiful, amazing, pleasing things in the garden to enjoy, but they went for the one thing they were not aloud to have. Adam, instead of being the head over his wife and leading her in the ways of God, he became the weak one and he followed his wife into sin. This act marked their utter rejection of God and their fall into irreversible guilt. It was Adam's sin to let Eve speak with a lying serpent and not even do anything to try to lead her in the truth. That is why (as we'll see in the following verses) God spoke first to Adam and held him accountable.

Verse 7
"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths."

What happened immediately after they ate from the tree God commanded them not to eat from?
The eyes of them both were opened. And what did that cause them to know? They knew they were naked. And what did they do to themselves after that? They made themselves loincloths out of fig leaves.

Here are the immediate results of their sin: 1) they did receive knowledge of good and evil, because their eyes were opened; 2) they knew something about themselves that they did not realize before - that they were naked - and this knowledge brought shame; 3) they tried to do something to cover up their nakedness and shame. Okay, now you know where everything from the fashion industry to every philosophy and religion originated. It all started with Adam and Eve trying to cover themselves in the garden. Remember how chapter 2 ended by saying, "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." In this scene, they were both naked and they WERE ashamed.

All false religion is an attempt to cover man's shameful nakedness. False religions and philosophies do not want to admit that people are as bad as we are. So they make up a way to cover our true condition by saying we are good, or that we do wrong things but are still able to make up for our faults by following certain rules or ceremonies or ordinances or philosophical ideas. Right here in the garden, false religion started with Adam and Eve, and it was a human works/efforts based religion. It was man-centered, trying to cover up their shame.

Proverbs 28:13 puts it in a clear light, "Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy." And 1 John 1:8-9 also says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Sin is a serious matter that we have to admit, because to hide it (as Adam and Eve attempted to do) is the same as saying we don't have it. But as we'll see, there is another way to get free from the guilt. The verses we just looked at both mentioned confession of sin as a very important part of being relieved from the guilt of it. However, confessing our sin to God is only one part of being forgiven, it does not earn us forgiveness. Going around admitting our guilt all the time will not help us find forgiveness, it only helps us realize we have a NEED to be forgiven. If Adam and Eve had not tried to cover their guilt and shame, but would have openly confessed their sin, they still would have died. God's law would continue to be just, holy and true. It said, "in the day you eat of it you will surely die." No confession could take away that penalty - neither could covering themselves with leaves. Nothing could hide it, yet nothing they did could bring them forgiveness either. So by realizing that, we are directed now to look to God for an answer.

Verses 8-11

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

God was walking in the garden – this would have been Jesus Christ appearing to them even before He was incarnated through the virgin Mary, because John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God.” So it must have been what we call a “pre-incarnate” appearance of God. This happens often throughout the book of Genesis, where God appears to people, but he looks like a man, and it is actually God the Son, Jesus appearing to them. This happened a number of times with Abraham.

What did Adam and Eve do when they heard God walking? They hid themselves. What did God say to Adam? “Where are you?” Did God not know where Adam was? Of course He knew, God knows everything, but perhaps He was helping Adam see something about himself. It's like when a little kid hides, and we say, “Where's little Jenny? I don't know where she went?” And then little Jenny pops out and says, “Here I am!” However, in this case, Adam was hiding because of real shame. So what caused Adam to be afraid? “I heard the sound of you...” he was afraid of God seeing him naked. God answered by saying, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

Verses 12-13

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

How did Adam answer God? He shifted the blame away from himself unto the woman whom God had put there with him. It's like he was saying, “Uh, this woman that you put here to be with me, she made me do it.”

When God asked the woman about it, how did she answer? She shifted the blame to the serpent. “It was the serpents fault for deceiving me.” This was the first instance of “the blame game.” Neither of them confessed themselves to be guilty, but instead kept hiding their shame by emphasizing the faults of others. We still do this today, we don't want to feel bad about ourselves so we blame the government, or the doctors or the teachers, or the parents, or our brother or sister. I am guilty of doing this... we all are.

Verses 14-15

The LORD God said to the serpent, “

Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.”

This is where we first see a ray of hope for Adam and Eve. God spoke to the serpent, and didn't even question him, but just declared, “Because you did this, cursed are you...” What was the curse about that God pronounced on the serpent? It was cursed above all livestock and beasts of the field; it was to crawl on its belly and eat dust. What else would happen? God said He would put enmity between the serpent and the woman, and between their offspring. What would the woman's offspring do to the serpent? He would bruise the serpent's head. And what would the serpent do to him? The serpent would bruise his heel.

This curse on the serpent contained the first promise of a redeemer who would come to destroy the devil. That redeemer is Jesus. The rest of the Old Testament is focused on showing us how that redeemer was going to come, and what ways He would come, and who He would be. The New Testament is then the declaration of good news, that this man (the promised “seed”) has come and has fulfilled all the prophecies of His coming, and His name is Jesus, and He came to save everyone who repents and believes in Him, and He will come again a second time to judge the world and to restore all things back to Paradise with God.

If this chapter of the Bible wasn't here, then we would not have a Bible at all, because this is the very foundation that all of the Bible is built on.

Verse 16

To the woman he said,

I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

What did God say to curse the woman? She was cursed in her relationships. She was cursed in relation to her children, because she would have pain in bringing them forth; and she was cursed in relation to her husband, because her desire would be for him [or against him], but he would rule over her (She would desire a loving husband, but he would rule over her, and she would also desire to be against her husband as the feminist movement so proudly endorses – she would desire to rule over him instead).

Verse 17-19

And to Adam he said,

Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you , 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken, for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

What did God say to curse Adam? Because he listened to Eve, his wife, and transgressed God's command by eating, God cursed his labor. The ground was cursed so that it would be painful to work to produce food; it would also have thorns and thistles to make it hard, so that by “the sweat of your face” man would eat bread until he died.

What a curse!... A serious consequence for not listening to God. And that is exactly what the serpent wanted to happen to Adam and Eve, which is why Jesus called him a “murderer” in John 8:44.

But it doesn't end there either...

Verses 20-21

The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

This story isn't ending, it is just beginning. What did Adam name his wife and why? Adam had faith, that is why he called his wife's name Eve, because she was to be the mother of all the living (I have been using her name Eve all along, but the Bible doesn't give her that name until now in verse 20). God just cursed man and woman and told them they would die, yet they must have believed they would have descendants who would be “living.” The only reason I can think of for this is that they must have believed the promise God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” They believed that promise, and that promise was about Jesus, so they believed in Jesus Christ as God's chosen Redeemer.

What else did God do for them in verse 21? He made clothing for them from animal skins. Many people, including myself, believe that God killed the first lamb and used its skin to make coverings for Adam and Eve. This was to symbolize that Jesus would be the “Lamb who was slain,” and the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Revelation 5:12; John 1:29).

Verses 22-24

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever--” therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

What did God do with the man in this passage? He sent him out of the garden, so that he wouldn't eat from the tree of life and live forever, and so that he would have to work in the ground from which he came. What was put in place to guard the garden of Eden? Cherubim and a flaming sword – cherubim are like the most amazing heavenly creatures the Bible speaks about, they are often seen standing around God's throne.

So we see that sin has banished man from the Paradise garden God had originally place him in. Mankind has no right anymore to eternal life, because God cursed him. Every single one of us is related to each other through these two people. We all come from Adam and Eve, who because they listened to the serpent and sinned, were cursed and banished from the presence of God. We are born into this curse, until God changes that. And that is what our study is meant to turn us to, the amazing good news of how God, in His great love, sent His own Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-17).

(Genesis is known for looking like all is going to end badly, but then God does something and turns it all around so that everything bad works out for good to fulfill God's ultimate purpose and plan).