The following are a series of shortcuts used in text messages. See how many you can identify: LOL, ROFL, IDK, TTYL, BBIAS, AFAIK, IMO, IDC, NOYB.
The answers are as follows: Laughing out loud, Rolling on the floor laughing, I don’t know, Talk to you later, Be back in a second, As far as I know, In my opinion, I don’t care, None of your business.
We live in a world of shorthand and shortcuts. We like the quickest route, the most immediate results, and the fastest turnaround time. Rarely do we take the time to observe something within its proper context; rarely do we view a situation as a whole, for we prefer the quickest and easiest option. But the birth of Jesus demands a holistic approach to His ministry and purpose. Before we can appreciate the birth of our Savior, we first need to understand our need for Him. We need to know the doctrine of inherited sin before we can know the doctrine of grace.
Genesis 3 provides us with a snapshot of the doctrine of inherited sin. You can’t understand the incarnation of Christ until you understand the situation of sin. Genesis 3 is the first passage that points to Bethlehem. Because of our sin, we desperately need a Savior.
1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 3 But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
—Genesis 3:1-7, CSB
The tree of life stood in the middle of the garden (see Gen. 2:8-9). God encouraged Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of life, because in eating it, they would live forever. God desired Adam and Eve to live forever in the state of perfection that He created. The Bible tells us that the tree of life is in heaven (see Rev. 22:2). His new creation will eat from it and enjoy life with Him for all eternity.
The second tree, the one from which God forbade Adam and Eve to eat, was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God forbade Adam and Eve to eat from this tree because if they ate from it, they would die (see Gen. 2:9,16-17).
Satan’s identity is on full display in Genesis 3:1: Satan is the accuser and distorter of God’s Word. Satan opened the door for Eve to sin by questioning God’s words—he got Eve to question what God really said (v. 1). Satan got Eve to focus on the one prohibition rather than on all the blessings God had given her. Sound familiar?
In verses 2-3, Eve added to God’s Word. Satan is not only the accuser, but he is also the confuser. Eve added to God’s word because she was confused. Satan wants to confuse you. Sometimes Christians add to God’s Word. But when you add, you are being as destructive with God’s Word as you are when taking it out. Eve bought into the lie that God was holding out on her: “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (vv. 5-6).
When Adam and Eve realized their nakedness—the exposure of their unholiness before a holy God—they hid and covered themselves with fig leaves. The fig leaves represent Adam and Eve’s attempt at making themselves right before God. The fig leaves were the beginning of religion, or man’s attempts at appeasing God through good works. Adam and Eve tried to make themselves clean by their own efforts. The fig leaves pointed to their need for someone to cover them.
Adam and Eve hid from God because they no longer understood the character of God. But God affirms His character to them in that, in Genesis 3:9,11, He pursued Adam and Eve. He cultivated a response of repentance from their hearts. He sought them out in their spiritual and physical nakedness, and as we see in Genesis 3:21, clothed them. We can praise God that Genesis 3 ends in hope.
This was an excerpt from Pat Hood’s small group study, Before Christmas Session 1. Series and study are available exclusively at smallgroup.com.