The Price of Sin   

The Price of Sin

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

In the very next verse it says, "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Did you ever wonder what happened between those two verses? Have you ever given that the attention it deserves? If God created a beautiful and perfect world, as I believe He did, then how did it become formless, flooded, empty and dark? Many Bible scholars believe it is due to Satan's rebellion, and how God stepped in to stop it. I agree with that theory.

Before the so called "creation account" in the first book of the Bible the earth was inhabited by Lucifer and his fallen angels. Lucifer, of course, was the name of Satan before he was judged by God to be evil and corrupt. This once majestic creature who was the most beautiful and powerful angel got so filled with pride and ambition that he chose to attempt to take over God's throne. What happened as a result? God stepped in and filled the earth (Lucifer's kingdom) with darkness and water. In other words, God flooded the earth and made it pitch dark to stop Satan in his tracks. The beautiful earth became void and without form, and darkness covered the whole earth.

So you see, God had originally put Lucifer and his angelic kingdom in a earthly paradise just as he did with Adam and Eve, but due to sinful pride and arrogance He had to punish them, and then they had to experience the wrath of God. Many of the angels were immediately cast down and put into chains as a result, and are still chained today. God hates sin and disobedience, and will punish it in whatever way He deems necessary.

So in the first chapter of Genesis we see God reforming things that need to be put back in place. He wanted everything to be just right. He had a plan. On the first day He provided the light. The atmosphere was put back in place on the second day. On the third day He brought forth dry land and vegetation. The sun, moon and stars were lit back up on the fourth day. Then on the fifth day He created something brand new. This is where He created the birds of the air and the sea creatures, and then on day six the land animals and man were created. So you see, animals and mankind were the only things created for the first time here - the rest was a reforming. I encourage you to read closely in your Bible. You will see that the word "created" does not come into it until day five.

Yes, on the fifth day He created birds and sea creatures. The finale came on the sixth day when He created land animals - and then, His greatest creation of all, made in His own image - man.

God created male and female and put them in a garden in Eden. It was full of beautiful trees that provided food for them and all the animals. There was only one restriction put on the couple. They were not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God told them they would die if they ate of that tree. But they had no reason to eat of it so there should not have been a problem.

There would not have been any difficulty but for one creature. Of all the creatures God had made only one was sure to cause trouble. This, however, was no ordinary creature. This creature was an imposter. This one set out to deceive the woman. And deceive he did! In Genesis 3:1 we are told of a serpent. This serpent was none other than Satan himself. If anyone is prone to doubt that fact, may he refer to Rev. 12:9 or Rev. 20:2.

Satan, who was first called Lucifer, Day Star, and Son of Dawn, was created by God. He was the most beautiful angel of all. But he was not content with his position. He wanted to be God. So God cast him out of Heaven. He was put on earth along with the angels who followed him.

Later God put man on earth. Man was made in the image of God, so naturally Satan looked at it as an opportunity to get revenge on God. He wanted to make sure these humans did not live in peace.

So he decided to deceive them. He aimed his attack at the woman. He wanted her to sin against God and to cause the man to sin. Satan knew if he caused them to go against the will of God they would die.

Satan was very subtle and crafty. He used several tactics to get the woman to eat of the forbidden tree. He tempted her relentlessly. She was no match for him. Obviously she did not know with whom she was dealing. She only knew of this serpent who kept telling her that she could be wise if she ate of the tree.

The serpent lied and told the woman she would not die if she ate of the forbidden fruit. He deceived her, and convinced her that God had withheld something good from her. She became all wrapped up in her own thought processes. She probably weighed all the pros and cons before finally asking herself. ''Why not?'' The serpent had caused her to doubt God. She lost her faith in her creator and became discouraged. Then she ate of the tree, and gave some to her husband and he ate.

Now sin had entered into the world. The wonderful paradise God had created for them would never be the same. Where there once was perfect communion with God, there would now be guilt and shame. Satan must have been very pleased with himself.

But let us back up and take this matter slowly. Let us do a verse by verse account of this fall into sin so we don't miss any important details. We immediately learn several things about this serpent from Genesis 3:1. We learn that he is subtle, he can talk, he knows God, and he is misquoting God.

The woman corrects the serpent by saying, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'' (Genesis 3:2,3) Then the serpent comes right out with a bold lie. "You will not die.'' (verse 4) He put doubt in her mind. He wanted her to distrust God. He wanted her to believe his untruths. He wanted to lead her away from God Almighty so she would be enslaved to sin forever. Satan wanted her and the man to fall from God's grace. The serpent continued, "when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (verse5)

This must have sounded good to the woman. Perhaps she, like Lucifer of old, decided she wanted to be like God. Being in communion with him was no longer good enough. Her curiosity was aroused. She could not stand up to the temptation, so when she "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, and he ate.'' (verse 6)

This was the first time a human being had ever been tempted. The woman was the first person to weigh the pros and cons, and then decide her desires were more important than obedience to God.

She not only allowed Satan to rob her of her faith in God, but she also lost the perfect fellowship they must have had. After all, there was no one else but her and Adam. Before this there had been nothing to separate God and mankind. There was no sin until this incident when she ate of the tree. And as if it were not bad enough sinning against God she tempted her husband and he ate also.

Now, out of the two people on earth, both of them were disobedient to God. Both of them had sinned. Mankind would now have to suffer the consequences of their actions. Paradise was lost that day. Satan won a victory. He claimed his first human victims.

Now, that the man and woman had eaten from the tree, "they knew that they were naked.'' (verse 7) They were naked and ashamed, and they tried to cover themselves with fig leaves.

Never before had their nakedness been something to be ashamed of. After all, there was no one else to see - only the two of them, and God, were present. As for God, He made them, so there was no reason to hide anything from Him.

They felt guilty. This was a totally new feeling for them. It was so different from before when everything was perfect. They had never felt the need to cover themselves. But now it somehow seemed very important.

Everything is new now. The old ways of perfect peace and contentment would be no more. Now God would not only be the creator and provider, He must be judge and chastiser.

"They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden" (verse 8) and they hid from Him, among the trees. They started a pattern that mankind would never break - trying to hide from God. How preposterous! How utterly absurd to think that one can hide anything from the Lord God, who made all things, sees all things, and knows all things! But, they tried.

They were surely thinking of the warning that God had given them. He told them that if they ate of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" they would die. Now that they had done the deed they must face the consequences. But only when God forces them to do so. Now they hide among the trees like evil men and women have done ever since. Evil doers often seek out lowly and dark places so that they cannot be seen. Spiritual death is separation from God. How can one be more separated than when they are running and hiding from God? Is this not the perfect example of separation? The relationship with God had been broken (spiritual death), and physical death would surely come in due time. Now that sin was present, the end result, which is death, must be present also.

"But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?'' (verse 9) Did God not know where the man was hiding? Of course He did. It was a rhetorical question. God was merely acknowledging the fact that the man and woman were not in plain sight as they normally were. They probably ran out to meet Him in the past when they heard Him walking in the garden. They would have had every reason to meet Him eagerly. After all, He provided everything for them. They did not have to work for their food. They had it all. So it was definitely noticeable when they were not in the open where they could be seen.

His question reminded the man of the futility of hiding from God, no doubt, for he immediately answered, "I heard the sound of thee in the garden and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." (verse 10)

This may have been the first time the man had been afraid of anything. What did he have to fear? He lived in a perfect world. There was nothing to fear before now. But he remembered that the Lord had told him he would die if he ate of that tree in the middle of the garden. This must have been a big factor in his hiding from God.

Most likely Adam's mind was spinning with thoughts about how he was going to get out of this mess. He knew he had done wrong, and he had no real reason for eating the forbidden fruit. Often times when a person does wrong, and knows it, he will try to make excuses, and come up with the right words to make it all sound good (or at least not too awfully bad).

The Lord asked, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?'' (verse 11) Just as before when God asked Adam a question, He knew the answer. The very fact that He asked the question in that way alludes to that fact. He might as well have told Adam what he had done. What could Adam possibly say to the Lord? He needed to give him an answer. It required a good explanation. How could be possibly justify his eating of the forbidden fruit?

"The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." (verse 12) Well, there it is! Adam did the best he could. He tried to blame it on the Lord and the woman. The woman God had given him gave him the fruit. That was his defense. Rather lame, was it not?

God turned to the woman and asked, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I ate." (verse 13) The woman knew she had no real reason to give to the Lord, no more than Adam did. So she, like Adam, blamed it on someone else. She was making it sound as if it was all the serpent's fault.

Now Adam did not lie when he said that the woman had given him the fruit. Nor did the woman tell an untruth when she said that the serpent had beguiled her. But they did neglect to take any of the responsibility for their actions.

God put a curse on the serpent for beguiling the woman. "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.'' (verse 14) God continues the curse on the serpent by saying, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." (verse 15)

So the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent shall be enemies forever. Has it not been true? Do not most people abhor snakes? There are exceptions of course but, by and large, most people hate the creatures. Snakes bite humans, and humans kill snakes. We are enemies! God said it. It happened. It is just as true today as it was in Eden.

In verse 16 God pronounced a curse on the woman. She would have desire for her husband and that desire would eventually lead to childbirth which would be painful for her. And her husband would rule over her.

Has not this curse been holding true ever since God pronounced it? Childbirth is still a very painful experience for women. It will not end. God proclaimed it in the curse.

To man God gave another curse. He cursed the ground (verse 17) so that man would have to work diligently to get food from it. In verse 18 God tells Adam that there will be thorns and thistles coming from the ground.

God reminded Adam, in verse 19, that he came from dust, and to dust he would return. In other words, he must die now that he had sinned. In verse 20 we are told of Adam giving the woman a name; he called her "Eve," which means "mother of all living." "And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.'' (verse 21)

In verses 22 and 23 God recognized that man would be deciding for himself what was good and what was evil. And lest he eat from the tree of life, and live forever, he must now be driven out of the garden.

"He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.'' (verse 24)

Now the couple had been driven from paradise. Life, as they knew it, would never be the same. They now had to learn how to fend for themselves. Not that God had abandoned them, but they had to do their part. They now had to work for what they received.

They wanted to be like God. Now they would have the opportunity to prove just how creative they could be. They had no choice in the matter. They had to do something just to survive.

Satan, no doubt, felt like he had won a big victory on that day. Those humans God had made, and loved so much, were now being forced out of their paradise in total disgrace - cursed forever.

What does this story tell us? What can we learn from it? If we are smart we will conclude that it does not pay to live in sin. If we are careful to see how it destroys us we can make a smart choice and follow God. We have many temptations every day. Satan is constantly trying to lead us astray. He knows our weaknesses and how to deceive us. He will do anything it takes to cause us to doubt God.

There is a big price to pay for living a sinful life. Eventually sin leads to Hell unless repentance and salvation enter into the picture. The price of sin is too high. Salvation, on the other hand, is absolutely free. Jesus offers it to everyone free of charge.

How about you? Do you choose to pay the price of sin, or do you want the free gift of salvation?

The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) In other words we are all sinners that have failed to live up to God's standards. The Bible also tells us that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) Just as criminals get punished with a death sentence if their offence is serious enough, according to the Bible we all deserve death because of our sin. That is how serious sin is to God. Does that sound harsh? Perhaps you think you haven't done anything worthy of death? Whether you feel that way or not is irrelevant; the Bible says it is so. But the good news is that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23) And again in Romans 5:8 it says God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What does that mean? Well, it means that Christ took our place and died for us. That is what happened on Calvary - a hill of crucifixion. As a free gift to us Christ died for our sins. He took our place and suffered for us so we don't have to die in our sin and be lost for all eternity in Hell. This is how God demonstrated his love for us. Isn't that awesome?

In another part of the Bible it says that if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9,10)

So let's look at the above scripture for a moment. What exactly does it mean to confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord?" Well, first of all in order to honestly confess that Jesus is Lord you have to accept him as your Lord. The word "Lord" simply means "master". So to confess Him as Lord you will simply accept him as your Master and make a decision to live for Him. Now, to believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead is pretty self-explanatory. He died, was buried, and God raised him from the dead. You either believe it or you don't.

So you see, it's very simple actually. If you believe that Christ died for your sins, was buried, and then God raised Him from the dead, all you have to do is ask Him to be your Lord and He will "immediately" forgive you and save you.

So there you have it. That is all there is to salvation. It all comes down to a simple choice; do you want to go to Heaven or Hell? Heaven is a place of wonderful peace and happiness and Hell is a place of torture and misery without end. Sounds like a no-brainer doesn't it? But, many will harden their heart and end up in Hell for several reasons. Some will simply put off the decision until later, but never actually get around to it. Many will simply not believe the gospel truth, while others will be deceived into thinking there is another way to be saved. How about you? Will you believe the wonderful Gospel of Grace or will you harden your heart against God and continue to live in sin and end up in Hell for all eternity?

Steve Holder