The Horror & Hope of Sin

Text: Genesis 3
Date: Sunday June 4, 2023


There is a wonderful story of a scholar from a past generation named GK Chesterton (who I highly suggest reading). In the early 1900’s a local newspaper asked the question, ‘What is the greatest problem in the world.’  And GK Chesterton wrote back these famous words. “Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerly Yours, GK Chesterton.

To watch the news cycle on any given day, is to be reminded that we live in a fallen world. our own city is known for its violence and corruption. When the rest of the world looks to solve these broken problems, they look to system and institutions either to blame or to become saviors themselves. But Christians know the true root problem is sin, rebellion to God in the heart of man. And therefore, any solution that fails to deal with the sinful condition of our heart is doomed to fail.

Today we begin a new sermon series for the summer where we will be examining stories from the Old Testament. These stories are our heritage. They shape our understanding of the world. Over the summer we will look great stories like Moses, Joseph, Ruth, Esther and many more. Today, we begin at the start of Genesis with Adam and Eve in the Garden. And today’s message is a study on sin. As we zoom into the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden, and the willful rebellion of Adam. This is the historical account of the fall, how the world became as broken as it has become, and what the hope in the midst of it is.

Time prohibits us from considering all the nuances of this passage. But today I want us to take a hard look at the nature of sin, and we will examine four pillars of sin.

Main Body


The first pillar from this passage is in regards to the Allure of Sin. This chapter begins with the introduction of the serpent. The serpent is somewhat of a mysterious figure in this text. We are not told at this point in the Bible who he is, or where he came from, or why he was permitted in the garden at all. We are simply told that the serpent was present. In later chapters of Scripture we will deduce some of the knowledge that we would wish to know about this creature, but other mysteries will remain. It seems from our passage that Satan himself took on the bodily form of this serpent in order to deceive God’s special creation. Elsewhere in Scripture, Satan is referred to as a serpent, and that is no doubt a reference to this moment. I want to explore the craftiness of the Serpent.

Genesis 3:1 “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’?”” 

The Serpent, that ancient Devil, began his beguiling through a simple question, “Did God actually say…?” Let us get into the mind of the Devil in this moment. He has entered to Paradise, a Paradise in which Adam and Eve are alive in the glory of God. Their marriage was beautiful and life giving. Their relationship with God was beautiful and life giving. Their relationship with all of God’s creation—where they had been entrusted as stewards and Lords over creation—was beautiful and life giving. Adam and Eve had no reason to doubt God goodness because all they had ever experienced was the wonderful life of living in God’s design. The Devil looked for a way to destroy that which was so good. And in order to do that he caused Eve to doubt the centerpiece that held the entire system in place, God’s Word. “Did God actually say?

Look at what Satan says next

Genesis 3:4-5 “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.”” 

Satan’s effort is to convince Eve that God has robbed her of the true life. She can be more than what she is. God has hidden the best from her. He is attempting to make sin alluring, desirable. Specifically he is making it seem as though God’s prohibitions are limitations. As if there was greater freedom, greater experience on the other side. She can be more than what God has stated. You can be like God.

The Devil works will often begin his attacks on our worship by posing the smallest of doubts in our heart, “Did God really say.” And what he’s offering is nothing less than a chance to see what life is really like if you free yourself from God’s good and righteous commands. 

• Did God really say that we are not to covet? That we are not to steal? That we are not commit adultery? That we are to keep a Sabbath once a week?

• Did God really say that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him. Did God really say that there is a hell where is wrath is poured out on sinners for all eternity as the just payment for sin.

• Did God really say that marriage is between one man and one woman for life? Did God really say that sex outside of marriage is forbidden and will sow seeds of destruction in our lives.

• Did God really say…?

Christ’s Temptation: We are living in a moment in which it has become in vogue to develop a lifestyle built around this very question, ‘Did God really say?’ In the heart of a person entertaining this question is revealed a posture of failing to simply trust God. Consider how Christ handled a similar situation. After his baptism, Christ was tempted the devil with wonders. Three times he was tempted, and three times Christ responded with, “It is written,” and then he quoted the Scriptures. All of us will be tempted by the allure of sin, the question is what will we do with it. Will we behave like Christ who joyfully submitted to the Father’s laws. Or will we behave like Eve who entertained the allure.

Practical: Each of us are tempted in our own unique ways with our own unique sins. We are allured by it just like Eve. For some this alluring happens in very overt ways. We think of something like a husband who is allured by a woman who is not his wife. Perhaps it begins as nothing more than a thought, but because he entertains the thought, the thought ripens into the small actions at first. Eventually he justifies his intentions. Sin is alluring, we must respond to all of it with, “It is written…” 

Other sins are much more subtle. Consider the sin of gossip for a moment. A dark and deadly sin indeed. What is gossip but the desire to play God over someone else. The gossip pretends to be in the position of God, to know all things, to see with clarity, to understand their motivations. Oh, and the destruction that is sowed. The gossip is allured to by opportunity to be the one who knows more. But the Christian must say, “It is written…” 

What sin are you prone to? Is it an unhappy spirit, a controlling spirit, an unforgiving spirit, perhaps it is anger. Is it a more practical vice like sexual sin, or substance abuse? There is an allure to these sins.  “It is written” must become our daily prayer to battle these deadly sins.


The second truth we will examine is in regards to the Deceitfulness of Sin. By this I mean to say that sin always promises that which it cannot provide.

Genesis 3:6-7 “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.” 

Both Adam and Eve’s sin began long before they ever ate of the fruit that was forbidden. The moment Adam began to seriously contemplate the words of the serpent he had already fallen into sin. For as soon as he began to contemplate whether God could really be trusted or not, Adam’s heart had already begun to slip down that slippery slope of despair. No longer was innocent obedience assumed. Everything had to be questioned. Why would God forbid something so beautiful? Consider three descriptions of the tree that were part of Adam and Eve’s sin.

1 The Tree Was For Good For Food (Temptation of Practicality): First, the tree was good for food. I call this the Temptation of Practicality. They had phsyical bodies that needed sustenance. This fruit was capable of providing that sustenance, so why withhold it? On practical terms alone, this law of God’s seems unwise at best. Remember, Adam and Eve had no lack of food. God had already provided everything they needed to live in abundance. Oh Church—how we allow practicality to rob us of the joy that comes from obedience. Young dating couples move in together to save money on rent, not realizing the weak foundation they are laying for their marriage. Two rents for a few months is far less expensive than a divorce later on. Further, while living together promises to deepen your relationship, in reality those who live together before marriage experience startlingly lower satisfaction marriage than those who refrain.

2 A Delight to the Eyes (Temptation of Sensuality): Second, the tree was a, “delight to the eyes.” The fruit itself was captivating. It was beautiful. This is the temptation of sensuality. And this is a root of how we all fall into sin. Temptation, especially of the sensual kind, has a power to override our will, which is why we must not entertain it. It is like the person who is dieting, who sees a slice of chocolate cake and he reaches for it says, “Oh I shouldn’t.” He knows what he ought to do, but the sensory temptation overrides the will. This fruit was a delight to the eyes, but in it was hidden the poision of death. In a culture that is saturated in sensory pleasures, we must train ourselves to see the poison being offered us. 

3 Desired to Make One Wise (Temptation to be God): Lastly, Eve was convinced of the Serpents deception, that the fruit would “make her wise.” The Bible says that, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Eve had all she ever needed, the innocence of Paradise. What Eve didn’t realize was that the wisdom being offered was detached from God and his word. It was a humanistic wisdom, a godless wisdom.

Proverbs 9:10 ESV The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

This new found wisdom that promised life, caused both Adam and Eve to cover themselves in shame at their nakedness. The innocence of Paradise as lost because a desire for humanistic wisdom.

While Eve was deceived, something entirely different happened with Adam. Adam’s was a willful and direct rebellion towards God. It was not just disobedience, it was a proper choice to obey the voice of the serpent over and above the voice of God.

Practical: Just like Eve, sin always promises what it cannot deliver. It deceives us. It promises life, but always brings death and pain and more misery. And just like Adam, most of our sin, even the small ones, are a direct and willful rebellion against God. No Christian is without sin in their life. When you place your faith in Jesus, there is a genuine repentance of sin that takes place, a casting out of former misplaced desires and practices, and an embracing of Christ. But even after that moment of belief, sin still lingers. We must never grow weary of discovering new depths of sin in our life. In fact we must learn to think of mining for sin in our heart as mining for treasure. Because when you find it, and grieve over it, it causes us to look to the Cross in deeper ways. Every bit of sin that we have been deceived by, becomes an opportunity to realize just how far Christ went to forgive you.


The third truth we will examine is in regards to God’s judgment towards sin. Central to the heart of God is true Biblical justice. God is just. Psalm 89 says,

Psalm 89:14 ESV Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

Because God is good and because God is just, every wrongdoing will ultimately face true justice. This is a glorious truth. If God were not just then there would be no true justice in this world. For very often it is the case that evildoers get away with their crimes in this world. Very often it is the case that you and I have been wronged and in this life there is no justice to be had. But because God is just, and because God ultimately doles out perfect justice, we have hope that all will be set right.

God’s law, is the plumbline of justice. If you want to know how to live a good life, a right life, a moral life, a life that gives life, then abide under God’s law.

Psalm 119:1-2 “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,” 

Likewise if you rebel and break God’s commands, if you attempt to create a life of choosing your own morality, a life of playing God, you will experience the perfect judgment of a just God, both in the consequences he doles out in this life, and in the justice he doles out in the next life as well. Adam and Eve learned this all too well as after they broke the law, they stood before God and received the just penalty for their sin.

Eve’s Punishment: To the woman we read,

Genesis 3:16 “To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”” 

The woman’s consequence comes in two forms. First is pain in childbearing. This may sound a strange consequence, yet childbearing is one of the central threads of woman’s design. And so this punishment is in a sense a punishment at her being. 

Secondly, her marriage will suffer. “her desire will be contrary to her husband.” The idea here is that for now on women will struggle with the natural relationship of God’s design for men to be the head of their house. There will be a power struggle in all sorts of ways in marriages. In other words, the beautiful dynamic of a loving marriage that God created, that was in Adam and Eve before the Fall, has been lost. Marriage was to be beautiful. Marriage was to be God-honoring. But now within marriages there is a battle for leadership, a deviation from God’s design. This is part of the curse on women, and women must be aware of this. God’s judgment towards Eve’s sin involved physical pain, and relational pain.

Adam’s Punishment: Adam’s judgment was to focus in on his labor, his work. Speaking of Adam’s agricultural work he was to do God says,

Genesis 3:18-19 “thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”” 

If ever you have felt like your labor, your work is difficult, is tiresome, realize that is a result of sin’s entrance into the world. That is judgment pronounced over humanity for our sin. The Earth now produces thorns and thistles that make it far more difficult to work the land. Thorns and Thistles pervade every aspect of labor in this life. We labor to build a healthy society and we discover thorns and thistles making it impossible. We labor to raise up godly children to know and love the lord, and we find thorns and thistles constantly working against us. We labor pursue godliness at a personal level, and we find thorns and thistles constantly pervading that work. This is justice for sin.

Expulsion: And of course, we must not forget that the true and deepest judgment for Adam’s sin was death. Death in two forms. First, Adam would now physically die, something that would not have happened had he chosen righteousness. Secondly, Adam experienced a spiritual death by losing the unity he had with God in the Garden. As a result of Adam’s willful rebellion against God, every human ever born from his descendants has been born into the condition of judgment. We are all born underneath the curse of the law, guilty, and living as those cut off from God. 

Many today want to take their chances. They hope that God will simply turn a blind eye to their willful rebellion. Many today go through life absotely deceived about their condition before a holy God. For not only have they inherited the corruption of Adam, but they too have fallen in line, and have chosen sin over righteousness. 

Romans 2:4 ESV Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

And they are shoring up for themselves the just judgment of God. Very often that judgment is handed in phsyical consequences, as Adam and Eve experienced. But many are blind to the deeper consequence of the Spiritual Death that they are living in. Sin cuts us from God. If we have sinned, which all have, then we can have no part in God. There is no intimacy to be had. He is not our Heavenly Father. He is the just judge who will have his day in court. But, there is hope.


I want to turn now to my fourth point, and that is God’s Mercy through Sin. As we have seen in this passage, Adam and Eve committed high treason against their God. He had only ever provided for them, but through rebellion they chose to honor the serpent, that great enemy of God. But hidden throughout this passage is the mercy of God, the love of God. Hidden in this passage are the keys to life, that though Adam and Eve were guilty before a Holy God, God would make a way for all to be restored.

God Speaks Kindly to Them: First, see how God speaks kindly to them on his entrance into the garden after they had sinned. Remember—He is God. He knows all. He knew the temptations in their hearts as they were willfully rebelling against him. But God does not come crashing down to destroy immediately. There is judgment, but it comes upon great gentleness. “Where are you?” Oh Church—know this. No matter how great your sin, God is prepared to be gentle with you. He knows the weakness of our frame. He knows the insecurities which we carry. He knows the pressures which cause us to doubt, and he knows the full impact of every sinful choice we’ve ever made on our own life and on the lives of others whom he has created. And yet, He is prepared to be genlte with you, to not treat you as you deserve.

Lest They Eat of the Tree: Secondly, consider how God’s judgment was also blanketed in hope. In verse 22 God says,

Genesis 3:22 “Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”” 

Imagine the state of Adam and Eve. Their innocence was lost, and with access to fruit that grew on the tree of life, they would live forever in that broken state. It would just go on and on with no means of restoring that which was lost. And so in an act of mercy, God expels them from the Garden. In an act of mercy he bans the entrance back into Eden so that they will not live forever in full separation from God. This expulsion is both judgment and an act of mercy.

Maybe you are in here today and you are living in the consequences of sin. You have violated God’s commands, and now your marriage is struggling, or your job is suffering, or your health is suffering. God’s judgments are just, but they can also lead us back to God, the one who can heal the real problem that caused all the sin in the first place, our soul’s condition of rebellion.

Protoevangelium: Eden Restored: Lastly, in verse 15 we have what many consider the very first verse in all of Scripture that points us to the hope of the Gospel

Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”” 

The curse upon the serpent includes the final destruction of the serpent by a descendant of the woman. This little verse is the hope of this entire passage. The sin was real. The judgment was real. But God would send a seed of woman. One day a child would be born who would crush the serpent’s head, despite being bruised by him in the process. On the cross Satan, that ancient serpent, did everything he could to destroy the seed of the woman. His fury was unleashed. He had won. He believed he had won. But Jesus was preparing to destroy the work of the devil once and for all by resurrecting from the dead, and defeating sin, Satan, and death forever.

Church—however high the sin you have collected, Christ’s death on the cross can remove it. You may have collected a debt to God that exceeds the highest mountains, yet on the cross Jesus has put flattened it. Today, you may be overwhelmed by the thought of your sin, the depravity of your heart and your mind, the reality of your wrong choices, the hardships of the consequences of God’s wrath that you face. But hear this, Christ has crushed the serpents head, all your debt as been put away. You have been redeemed in Christ.

“Here is a matter of exceedingly great encouragement for all sinful, miserable creatures in the world of mankind to come to Christ. For let them be as sinful as they will, and ever so miserable, Christ, in the work of redemption, is gloriously exalted above all their sin and misery.”

Jonathan Edwards

When you place your faith in Christ, God begins to restore in you what Adam and Eve lost in the Garden. Most importantly, that relationsip with God where you are fully known and fully loved. When you place your faith in Christ, Jesus crushes the Devils power to control, and he gives you a new heart that desires to live a righteous life of submission to God.


Today we have seen the Allure of Sin, the Deceit of Sin, God’s Judgment Towards Sin, and God’s Mercy Through Sin. May I exhort you all, never to take sin lightly. Sin left unchecked, will kill you. But sin, submitted to the saving grace of Jesus Christ will find total forgiveness, and life everlasting.


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