Day 40: The Fall of Man
THE WORLD THAT NEVER WAS
In the book of Genesis we see the account of man at the beginning of time. We see the dawn of creation, all the glory of God on display and at the very fingertips of Adam and Eve. Just as the excitement builds and we wonder in awe at the possibilities of what could become of such a close relationship with the Creator, we see mankind fall into sin (see Genesis chapter 2-3).
Read the book of Genesis, chapters 1-3.
Imagine for a moment what the world would look like if that first sin had never been committed. Men and women were destined to live forever, basking in the presence of God, and ruling all the creatures of the earth. There was no heartache, no overwhelming presence of the enemy, no pain and (best of all), no sin. Before the fall of man there was utter paradise, and it was going to remain that way forever. This is the world that never was.
And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” -Genesis 3:22
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned-- -Romans 5:12
I asked you to dwell on what the world was meant to be because I want you to understand that you and I were intended by God to be more. His desire was never for you to struggle with sin and bear the burden of slavery to that sin. His desire for you was perfection and paradise. Every time that you are tempted to sin, know that it is not defining who you are. As Christians, we are defined by the grace offered through Christ, sin has no power over you or over me:
DEAD TO SIN, ALIVE IN CHRIST
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. -Romans 6:11
My struggle with sin was debilitating, sapping the life from any speck of ministry I tried to pursue. In other words, I wanted to be involved in spreading the gospel of Jesus, but often I felt completely ineffective due to my struggle with sin. I couldn't see myself ministering to people while having this secret life. I knew that service to God was futile while in this struggle. Sexual sin has a different effect on us compared to other sins. It opens something dark within us that we never knew existed. Perhaps that is why scripture says:
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. -1 Corinthians 6:18
Our bodies are a temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19), His dwelling place for those living for Jesus. By defiling your body, you are defiling God's home. The world that we lost through Adam cannot be taken back. It has forever been erased from the realm of possibility and we are now stuck in the reality that sin is crouching at our door, desiring to consume us.
There were days where I knew that sin was waiting for that right opportunity to take me down when I was weakest. For years I opened that door, only to be consumed by the very thing I came to predict. I think for a lot of people, they are filled with so much guilt that they don't feel worthy to serve God in ministry. For me, I always felt guilty doing things like Young Life, a high school outreach program, because as I'd talk to kids about Jesus and how he sets them free from their old self, I remembered that I had just a few hours prior given into self-gratification.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” -Revelation 3:20
THE NEW WORLD
Open the door to your heart and mind to let Christ in. Seek him above all things to the point where you are led every moment by the Holy Spirit. It takes time, patience, and practice to develop the habits of a godly lifestyle, but in doing so we destroy the allure that sin casts upon us. As the old hymn says:
We can’t get the old world back, but through Christ we can live redeemed in the new one.
PLAYING OUR PART IN THE NEW WORLD
What can we learn from the first people to walk the earth? Their struggle was not unlike ours. As they wrestled with temptation and ultimately gave in, they revealed some timeless truths about what it means to identify temptation:
- Temptation Promises a Lie
When tempted to sin against God, we're always shown something that claims to be better than what God offers. In the garden, the devil offered Adam and Eve the opportunity to be like God, knowing full well that it would actually lead to death. With sexual sin, we are promised satisfaction but in reality are left more empty than before. Only God's unique plan for sexuality will truly satisfy.
- Temptation Calls God a Liar
The other thing we see in the temptation presented to Adam and Eve is that Satan calls God a liar. "You will not certainly die," were the words of the devil. This is in direct contradiction to what God had just told Adam and Eve. In our struggle with sexual sin, we see the same scenario. Satan calls God a liar when he tells us that sex within the confines of God's plan will not be enough. How many times have we fallen for this only to find that it was pornography, masturbation, homosexuality, fornication, and sexual immorality that actually will not satisfy.
- God Allows Temptation
That may seem like a bold statement, but we're not saying that God Himself tempts people. Was God not aware that Satan was tempting Adam and Even in the garden? Of course not! He is omnipresent and could have revealed Himself at any moment. In the same way, God allows us to be tempted because He wants us to trust in Him alone.
Day 40 Application
Have you let sin define you in the past? How so?
Have you ever felt that sin was just waiting to ambush you? How does Revelation 3:20 contrast to the idea that sin is crouching at our door?
Is God able to be with us when we are sinning? What does Romans 8:31-39 have to say about that? Who is really the one turning away when we give in to sin? How does this influence your relationship with the Lord?
Have you been honest and vulnerable with your accountability partner? Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?