Pastor’s Discovery Class
The Process of Sin
One constant in our lives is the propensity we have to sin and make mistakes. It happens to all of us and none of us are immune to this event. It is a part of the depravity of mankind that propels him into sin if he does not guard himself. In fact, John states that it is a sin to think that we do not sin. He says “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
As I have studied the word of God there seems to be a defined pattern for sin that takes place over and over again. The purpose of this study is to look at this process and to establish ways to diminish the work of sin in our lives.
The pattern or process of sin is illustrated by Adam and Eve, Achan and David. Each of these very clearly followed this pattern. What is the pattern? It is:
- Each of them saw…..
- Each of them coveted…..
- Each of them took ……
- Each of them hid …..
- And, each of them was confronted…..
Let us look at the story of the fall of Adam and Eve and subsequently all of mankind:
Gen 3:1-13 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 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.'” 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.” 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. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 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 to 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?” 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.”
A couple of comments before we look at the process:
The temptation to doubt God and to doubt the truth of His word is very real and can lead us into sin. The serpent deceived Eve with doubt and the life long battle of being like God. Notice that the serpent said “did God really say.” This is the one tool that is the most effective in our lives. When thoughts of doubt come we begin to doubt the truth of God’s word and whether or not He is who He says He is and so on. If the enemy can get us to doubt he has us where he wants us.
Secondly, the temptation to be like God is also very real. The serpent convinced Eve that the reason that God did not want them to eat of the fruit of the tree is that in so doing they would become like gods and God did not want that. This has been the battle since that time; e.g. man trying to get to God in his own way or in trying to lower God to his standard. Either way we fail. Today, the big issue is to diminish God and bring Him to our level by saying that we are all gods.
1. Eve saw that the tree was good for food. It is important to note that no sin had been committed at this juncture. It is not a sin to be tempted. In fact, the Bible says that Jesus was tempted in all points as we were but without sin. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15). This is where we get in trouble because sometimes we are convinced that because we were tempted we might as well do the sin. That is wrong.
2. Eve coveted the fruit because she saw that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree would make one wise. Who would not want that but as we have experienced in our lives sin has consequences that must be paid. It is at this stage as we can begin to move into a state of sin when we begin to conspire to act out the sin. We say things like I would do this if no one would find out. James had this to say about being tempted. He stated “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.
3. She took of the fruit and ate it and she gave some to her husband. For those who think that Adam was somehow innocent, this passage reminds us that he was just as culpable. He stood by and let his wife fall into the trap of sin that would change the face of the earth and all of mankind forever. Sin has its consequences and their innocence was shattered forever. They now saw that they were naked and they were ashamed.
4. They hid themselves by sewing fig leaves to make loin cloths to hide their nakedness. What God created had now become a shame to them. Think with me about how much in our society is geared towards nudity and sexual immorality. Not only did they attempt to hide themselves by covering up their nudity, they also hid from God. “I heard the sound of you in the Garden and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.” In terms of our relationship with God our relationship with Him is always affected when we live in unconfessed sin. Man was cowering in fear and shame. He now had a diminished view of the capacity of God to love him regardless of what he had done.
5. They were confronted by God. Notice Adam’s response. That woman you gave me. You will know the depth of your sin by how you try to shift blame or divert attention away from the sin you have committed. How do you respond when you are confronted by your sin:
a. It was that wife or husband you gave me.
b. It was that friend.
c. It wasn’t me.
d. It was not my fault.
e. I didn’t know it was a sin.
For personal study review the story of Achan and David:
- The story of Achan – Joshua 7.
- The story of David – 2 Samuel 11 & 12.