If only Eve hadn’t eaten that silly fruit . . .
I’ve read Genesis 3 many, many times. My focus always stayed on the negative parts of the story: the disobedience, the punishment, and the banishment. How much different the world would be had Eve just simply obeyed God!
Recently, God’s given me a new lens when reading this story. Instead of seeing the negative, I’ve seen the positive. I read this story and am overwhelmed by God’s unconditional love for Adam and Eve despite their blatant rebellion. Truth be told, I’m a lot like Eve. I’d guess you are, too. Eve wanted more. Eve was tempted and moved into sin (I mean, we’ve all been there!). When God revealed the grace in this story to me, I felt compelled to share it with you.
Grace in Punishment
Parenting is tough. One of the areas I personally struggle is with punishing my kids and following through! I usually give in way before I should, and therefore the same behavior continues to occur. Recently my two oldest kids received punishment for blatant disobedience. They both knew what they were doing was wrong, yet they couldn’t fight that temptation. I recognized the need to follow through on the punishment; if I gave in, they would make the same mistake again! Rules are in place for their benefit, they just don’t see it.
God has rules for us, too. They provide boundaries for us that, at times, seem unnecessary. Just as my kids should trust me, I need to trust God with those boundaries. He knows better than me! When Adam and Eve disobeyed, God lovingly disciplined them as any parent would do. They needed to understand the severity of their actions, and all humankind needed to know there are consequences for sin.
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.”
Proverbs 3:12, CSB
Grace in their Shame
A result of eating the forbidden fruit was the knowledge of their nakedness. They felt shame, a feeling we’ve all likely had. God didn’t chastise them or tell them they should’ve done better. He makes them clothes to cover their shame. He loves them through their feelings. What a beautiful picture of His grace! It’s also interesting to note that an animal died to make their coverings. With the Fall entered death, and we see the first sacrifice to cover our iniquity. Later on, God gave all kind of rules for animal sacrifices as atonement for sin. And ultimately Jesus Christ died on the Cross as the final atonement for our sin.
Sin has a consequence. Death.
But God, in His loving grace, had a redemption plan.
“In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:14, CSB
Grace in Banishment
This part of the story always confused me. God threw them out of Eden! It seems so harsh until we slow down and really let Genesis 3:22-24 sink in. God recognizes if Adam and Eve stay in Eden, there is the possibility they (or someone after them!) would eat from the tree of life. In the current state, Adam and Eve are separated from God and will remain so until Jesus comes to redeem their sins and the sins of all mankind. He bans them so they won’t remain separated from Him forever. What grace and mercy! He loves His people so much that He wants them to have the opportunity to experience reconciliation with Him through Jesus.
What seems harsh may be the best thing for us. It’s a hard pill to swallow but the next time life throws something unexpected and difficult your way*, consider the possibility that God just might be working something out for your good and the good of all His Kingdom.
God is so, so good.
*I don’t mean always. I will never understand this side of eternity why my beloved mother in law had to leave us so suddenly, and so soon. I will never understand why some kids get sick and others don’t. Not everything is meant to be understood this side of Heaven, but we need to trust God and His plan. Even when it’s hard.