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The Purpose of God Concerning Sin

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Adam’s Sin and God

What may we now say was the effect of Adam partaking of the forbidden fruit and his relationship with God? We have already seen what was the result of his disobedience before the law, but what was the consequence of his action before God? In answering this, the first thing we must make clear is—that the law is not something that exists separately from the Godhead. The eternal law exists because God’s being mandates that it does. The law and its resulting judgments against transgressions are at the root of God’s holiness, righteousness, and justice. The law is not God, but God’s being and actions are the law; because whatsoever He does or does not do, define what is good or evil. Furthermore, the law does not exist apart from God, just as sin does not exist apart from the sinner. Adam’s revelation that came from eating of the forbidden tree was not of some codified list of do’s and don’ts, such as we find in the Mosaic Law, but a glimpse of the very core of God’s nature. Adam, by failing to obey the law, which he now was made aware of, did not just transgress the Law of God, he sinned against God. He did not just break some rules; he sinned against the nature, the being, and the holiness of God. Sin is not against some written or unwritten codex, it is against God Himself.

Psa 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

So then, what was God’s response to Adam disregarding His warning, placing himself under the demands of the law, being judged as a sinner, and then condemned to death? Adam and Eve had run and hid themselves amongst the other trees of the garden; they had lost their innocence; they had become conscious of their nakedness; and now they were afraid of God; but God came seeking them. Now the first thought we might have, with just a light reading of these verses, might be that God was unaware of where the hidden couple were—“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Secondly, we could also suppose that God was ignorant of what the couple had done—“Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” Of course, to believe that God did not know the whereabouts of Adam and Eve, or what they had done, would be to deny the omniscience of God. God has always known everything, about everything, from all eternity. He has never discovered, learned, or became aware of anything. As someone has said, “When God asks a question, it is not to gather information.” The questions were for Adam’s benefit, that he might begin to ponder what had he done; where had his disobedience lead him; and where was he going? We might even say that God was asking Adam the three great questions about life—“Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?”

Gen 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

Isa 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Understanding therefore, that God knew everything that had happened, why did He come seeking after the man? We might well suppose that God could have just as easily forsaken the fallen couple. After all, they had disregarded His warning, disbelieved His Word, and followed the devil in rebelling against God. Furthermore, as we have seen, they were breaking his Law, and were sinning against Him by everything they did. Why then, we may ask, did God not merely let the judgment of the law carry out its sentence of death? The answer lies with the other attributes of God, other than His holiness, righteousness, and justice. The God of Creation is also a loving and merciful God, who is full of compassion for His creatures. While God could not merely excuse or forgive Adam’s sin—because His Holiness and justice would not allow Him to do so; nevertheless, even before man was created, God had already devised a plan to redeem His fallen creatures.

Exo 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Psa 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Rev 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Because our first inclination, when confronted about our sin, is to deny what we have done, or to place the blame upon someone else, God must bring us to an open and honest confession. He must “sweep away the refuge of lies” we are hiding behind, cause us to face up to our actions, stop blaming others, and cause us to throw ourselves upon His mercy. We can never know God’s forgiveness and salvation if we do not acknowledge our sins and our guilt. God “desirest truth in the inward parts”—man’s fall was brought about by believing Satan’s lie, but man’s salvation requires honesty before God. Thus God began to probe Adam’s heart, to bring him to face what he had done.

Gen 3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Isa 28:17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

Psa 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Psa 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

After seeking the man, God now begins to deal with the problem of sin by proclaiming what is called the curse. Because God is holy, He cannot merely excuse, or overlook sin. His sense of justice demanded that the penalty for transgressing His Law be paid; but in His plan for redeeming fallen man, that payment would not made for four-thousand years—when Christ would be offered as man’s substitute upon the cross of Calvary. In the meantime however, God must deal with the effects of man’s sin, and how man is to be brought back to God. Man, if left to himself, would easily become another devil. There is no depth to how bad a person can be if God leaves that person to the natural downward spiral of sin. God’s remedy therefore, was to make life a struggle.[1] Whereas, in the Garden, Adam and Eve enjoyed carefree days with an abundance of God’s blessings, now they would be required to labor “in sorrow” and “in the sweat of thy face.” The ground, which in the beginning brought forth abundantly, was now cursed for man’s sake. Weeds, insects, diseases, draught, frosts, and a myriad of other natural forces, would now work against man; and cause him to spend his time laboring just to sustain his natural life. Because “idleness is the Devil’s workshop,” God has now intended for man to have little time on his hands for evil pursuits. Also, because life would now be full of labor, sorrow, struggle, and suffering, God would use the curse to draw mankind back to Himself. Pain and trouble have a way of turning man from his own ways, and causing him to seek after God. Fallen man would have been quite happy in his sin if God had left him to himself; but the wages of sin is not only physical death, but eternal damnation is its reward also; and God loves us to much to leave us to that fate.

Gen 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground;
for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Eze 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

Psa 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.
5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.
6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.
7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.
8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
10 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.
15 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Matt 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

After pronouncing the curse, God now reveals, symbolically, what His plan will be to redeem fallen man. The fig leaf covering that Adam and Eve had devised could not atone for their sin, nor cover their nakedness before God. No amount of self-effort or self-improvement could ever satisfy the demands of God’s Law—which now required absolute perfection from the enlightened couple. If man was ever going to be reunited to God, and stand in His presence once again, he would need a covering for his nakedness that would be much more enduring and presentable to God.

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.                                                                                   

In looking more deeply at Genesis 3:21, we see the following things concerning the redemption of man:

1. “Salvation is of the LORD.” Adam and Eve could not redeem themselves to God. If anyone was going to save the fallen pair, it would have to be God. Indeed, from all eternity, God had already seen man’s dilemma and planned for his salvation. Therefore, to initiate, or reveal to man what His plan would be—“did the LORD God make.” God did not instruct, or give an example of what man must do for himself; because the “unclean” man, who was now “dead in trespasses and sins,” could do nothing for himself. Indeed, anything that we may try to do, or have a part in doing, only pollutes the perfect redemption that God is working out for us. So it was God alone who would make the garments to cloth Adam and Eve.

Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Jon 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Exo 20:25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

Gen 22:7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

2. To make the garments that would be sufficient to cloth the guilty pair, it was necessary for God to kill, or shed the blood of an innocent animal, in order to obtain the “skins” from which He would make their covering. Here in the Garden, the first killing of any living thing, the first blood of any creature was spilt, and it was God who did it. This then sets forth the Biblical teaching that “without shedding of blood is no remission.” Because the judgment of the Law upon the guilty sinner is death, and there is no rescinding of that decree, to satisfy the demands of the Law, the life’s blood must be offered to prove that the penalty was paid. However, God in mercy, through the precept of substitution, has allowed for the blood of an innocent sacrifice to be accepted in the place of the guilty sinner’s blood. What God did in the Garden however, was only a picture, or type of the One True Sacrifice that Christ would one day give upon Calvary’s cross; because “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” The Law could never be satisfied by the offering of innocent animals that are incapable and have no conscience of doing either right or wrong. However, God would, through this symbolism, give man a hope in the coming Sacrifice; and give him a basis upon which to place his faith for salvation.

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

Heb 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

We see from the examples of Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the nation of Israel, the continuation of the practice of that sacrifice which God offered in the Garden. These Old Testament saints showed their faith, or dependence upon what God was going to do one day when He would provide the Perfect Sacrifice for their sins. Their sacrifices in no way presented to God a sufficient offering for their sins, but merely expressed a faith and hope that was sparked by that first sacrifice, and would be confirmed by the One to come.

Gen 4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Gen 6:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

Gen 15:9 And he (God) said unto him (Abraham), Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.

Exo 12:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

Two things become apparent when we take a closer examination of God’s sacrificial offering of this innocent animal. Although all Old Testament animal sacrifices were carried out as humanly as possibly, the necessity to spill, or drain the blood of the animal, was not without some physical and mental pain to the sacrifice. Even if it lasted only a few moments, it could only be viewed as horrifying to the hapless subject. This again pictured the physical and emotional suffering that the True Sacrifice would one day have to endure; and Christ’s suffering was not just for a few brief moments, but throughout His life, and especially on the day He offered his life as an atonement for sins.

Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

After killing the animal by the shedding of its blood, we might surmise, by other Old Testament sacrificial laws, that all the parts of the animal not used for the clothing were burned. What this pictures for us is the complete offering of the sacrifice until nothing remained. All the earthly reminders that this animal even existed were to be burned up, and the ashes returned to the dust. Even so, we also see the complete offering up of Christ, who gave up His earthly life to become our Sin Bearer—our Sacrificial Lamb.

Exo 12:10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.

Isa 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Matt 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

3. God now takes the hide of that innocent sacrifice and makes clothes for them. This act of covering their nakedness with the skin of an innocent animal again pictures the future “garments of salvation” that Christ would provide for His people—by giving to them His “robe of righteousness.” We see this symbolism portrayed in the crucifixion of Christ, where the innocent Lamb of God is stripped of His garments, and the soldiers, who are guilty and naked sinners before God, receive them.  

Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

John 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

4. Upon further dissection of this verse we find that God not only provided the sacrifice, provided the clothing, but He also “clothed them.” Now, we can understand that, in a physical sense, Adam and Eve could have put on these garments themselves; but again, we must see the spiritual picture of what this verse is painting. In the matter of salvation, God must do everything that is necessary to redeem man—provide an atonement for his sins, and make him a robe of righteousness; also, because of man’s spiritual deadness, God must bring the clothing to him, and put it on him without any of man’s own effort. This act of God’s sovereign grace toward the guilty pair shows to us how hopeless and helpless we are to do anything to save ourselves. We are totally at the mercy of God to bring to us His salvation. There is no ritual we can perform, and no prayer we can pray, that will enable us to put these garments of salvation upon ourselves.

Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Again, in reading between the lines of Scripture, we must acknowledge that Adam and Eve gave up their own fig leaf garments in exchange for what God now provided for them. This is what is presented elsewhere in the Bible as repentance—a coming to God in the complete nakedness of our being, acknowledging our sin, and casting away any of our own human efforts to cloth ourselves before God. However, as is also taught in God’s Word—only God can bring about true repentance in our lives, and bring us to the True Sacrifice He has provided.

Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

2 Tim 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

The last act of God toward Adam and Eve was to expel them from their Garden paradise. Though it might be viewed by some as a punishment for their disobedience, in reality, it can only be viewed as another act of God’s mercy toward His sinful creatures. We have already discussed the purpose of the curse in God’s plan to redeem man, but now He is denying man access to the Tree of Life. This tree, as is implied by its name and the implications of the Scripture, would have given to man the knowledge to extend his physical life indefinitely, even in his fallen state. One can only imagine the depths to which man’s wickedness would go if he had no fear of dying or of facing judgment before God. Life indeed would be a hell on earth, as the unbridled passions of men ran wild without the restraints of time or impending doom. This world would have truly been Satan’s eternal domain, and could have stretched into the reaches of the universe. God therefore, to restrain wickedness, not only drove out the man, but placed “Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” The purpose of these powerful angels would be to intercede in the affairs of earth, lest at anytime man would approach this forbidden knowledge. The flaming sword symbolizes the effects of war upon the progress of man. History has seen the rise and fall of many civilizations; and many of them have made great scientific strides in their advancement. However, war and destruction has laid them all to waste, and for the most part, caused mankind to return to the more basic pursuits of life. Much of the knowledge gained by other peoples, and their progress toward utopia, or endless life, lays buried in the ruble of their empires.

Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

 

[1] For more study on “the curse”, see The Garden and the Gospel, Understanding the Garden Account—The Curse, also available from this author or at "http://GodsPurposes.org".

 

 

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