The Sin Trifecta
Following on from my last post on The Essence of Sin, in which I mentioned that the teenagers I have the privilege to discuss with offer such amazing insights into life and challenge me to think and find the answers for their questions within The Bible; I have a new addition from our conversations this past Sunday.
I have to thank The Holy Spirit for this insight because it is only through Him that His Word can be revealed and the proverbial “dots” connected.
Of the many things with which we have become accustomed to in our group, is the examining of three scriptures in the Bible and seeing how they offer parallel interpretations and revelations. For the purposes of this examination, I will adopt the same model but from two different sessions and hope to demonstrate something we came across in our conversations.
In John’s first letter we discover the contents of the world post Adam, that is to say, what the world now has to offer us if we are disconnected from The Lord:
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1John 2:16)
This is something I may have discussed in times past so forgive me if I repeat myself somewhat. If you examine these three qualities, and I mean really examine them, you will notice that everything in life that can draw you away from God (that is to say – make you sin) falls in these three categories. Some useful examples include Moses, Esau and David to name a few, or even those that successfully identified the contents of the world and refused to be tempted by them – Daniel, Joseph and even Jesus (see Matthew 4:1-11). It’s worth noting that any temptation that you will face will be a play on a lusting after the flesh – that is to say your appetite (not just sexual), a lusting with your eyes – be careful what can cause you heart to be lead astray (see 1Sam 16:7) and the pride of life – simply put, do not get trapped in esteeming yourself too highly, especially in light of the grand view of things.
That is the first scripture and should hopefully act as a primer for where our discussions led us and where I will take you today. The second scripture can be found in The Book of Romans – Chapter 1, verse 25:
For they changed the truth of God into a lie, and they worshipped and served the created thing more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Rom 1:25)
There isn’t much to say about what this verse means as it is a standalone of sorts and I’d recommend reading the entire first chapter of Romans because, most importantly, it will provide context and also, it’s a rather interesting read.
If you are familiar with your Bible order, you should know that Paul’s letter to The Romans lies in the New Testament before the first Epistle of John (which is pretty much at the end). Why do I feel it necessary to point this out? Well, the final scripture we examined and felt established a connecting link to the aforementioned two, was the opening book of The Bible: Genesis. The particular scripture we looked at was that which detailed the fall of man, or more specifically, the details surrounding the fall of man – in particular, the actions of the woman, Eve.
3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Now, the most relevant verse is carefully highlighted for your attention (verse 6) but it is very important to know the context in which these chains of events took place. For those unfamiliar with the history of original sin, allow me to summarise:
God created Adam and gave him dominion over all creation (bearing in mind that all that was created was contained in the Garden of Eden, you need to think bigger than your back-garden, MUCH bigger). God gave Adam free roam/reign over all in the Garden with one instruction – to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the centre of the garden. When the woman (who would be later named Eve) was created, we will have to assume, at the very least, that Adam relayed those instructions on (The Bible does not say explicitly that God told her). This brings us to Chapter 3, when the serpent tempted the woman.
Why have I chosen to summarise? Well, it was important that you knew, or were refreshed on, the order in which things occurred so that when I explain the logical conclusions we arrived at while reading Genesis 3; you are not left filling in the gaps. In Chapter 3, verse 3, we begin with the woman (Eve) telling the serpent God’s instructions to her and Adam regarding the tree in the midst of the garden. The serpent makes its case and the pivotal moment arrives in verse 6 when we are informed that the woman determined that the tree was:
a) Good for food
b) Pleasant to the eyes
c) To be desired to make one wise
I hope you see where I am going with this. I started off telling you that this was a follow on from the Essence of Sin and then proceeded to explain to you the contents of sin (as found in 1John 2:16). Here now, we have the situation in which mankind was met with the origins of sin.
In this scenario between the woman (I keep referring to her as the woman because she is not yet named Eve and I’m just finicky like that – forgive me) and the serpent, the desire or sinful longing or lust was already there. The temptation or opportunity was merely provided by the serpent.
Part a) demonstrates the lust of the flesh – it was good for food (I don’t doubt for a second that it was) but she let her appetite control her; part b) tells us she deemed it pleasant to the eyes – the lust of the eyes – I guess that’s why so many depictions of this scene have glowing fruits and part c) to be desired to make one wise – the pride of life (remember the part about esteeming oneself – see verse 5 – she wanted to be like god). These were what the world (serpent) offered to her and this was what she chose to accept instead of the daily fellowship she had with The Father.
I think it is so important to note that all the things that the woman desired were not “bad” in their own right (food – good looking food that can make one wise is not a bad thing) but the truth that God had given her and her husband, they turned into a lie and in so doing, gave up their birthright to somebody else (sound familiar?).
1John 2:16 sums up so excellently all that we will ever encounter in life, that is, all the things that will tempt us to sin. Understanding that even in the very beginning, we fell for the same ploys as we fall for now should further reinforce to us that “there is nothing new under the sun”.
Take care to discern through The Spirit all that will cause you to sin for it will rarely be packaged and sold to you as an outright evil, it will more often than not look good, and by all logical and external perspectives, be good but you are ill-equipped to know the far reaching consequences. After all, the serpent said to the woman, “Ye shall not surely die” and surely as it had said, she ate and she still lived – well, at least in the immediate physical future anyway. The spiritual and the eventual physical death were still fulfilled and did become fully manifest – eventually.
In man’s limited knowledge, our ability to comprehend the full consequence of any sin we are tempted with is far beyond our capabilities and I guess it could be argued that the moment we think otherwise, we have already fallen into the trap described as the “pride of life”.
God bless you.