There is one thing we all have in common: SIN. There is not a single human being on the face of this planet that does not struggle with sin. Even the strongest of Christians face inner battles with worldliness and temptation. We all have our own sinful habits and tendencies. We all have the ever- present sense of evil and the lure to do the forbidden. David said it rightly when he said, “My sin is always before me.” In other words, no matter where I am and no matter what I am doing, I am constantly aware of my sin nature. This is why even in the midst of doing something good, we find ourselves overwhelmed with the sheer presence of sin in our lives. This battle with sin is often depressing and can discourage the most prominent saints.
In order to come to grips with our depravity and engage in the battle to combat sin in our lives, we must go back to the beginning and consider how sin began in the first place. As we examine the history of sin, we may then develop an action plan to overcome sin. Our text is Genesis 3:1-7. Here we find three characters that changed the course of history. We may attribute the state of our world today to one day in human history when things when terribly wrong. In addition to the three characters involved, we also see the process of sin. As we consider the process of sin, we will also lay out a plan to break that process of sin.
The Serpent (v. 1). There is much speculation over who or what this creature called the serpent really was. Here is what we do know concerning the serpent in his uncursed state: the serpent was one of God’s magnificent creations, the serpent was very smart, and the serpent could talk. The serpent was no doubt a very beautiful animal. It was this animal that was used by Satan to tempt Eve. There is very little information given here as to at what point Satan was at in his downward spiral of rebellion. We know that Satan was an angelic being created by God to lead all the other angels in worship. He was a very high-ranking angel. He was also given a free will, the ability to choose for himself. At this point in history, Satan may have not yet come to the culmination of his fall. Perhaps, he was simply curious about the human that God created and he wanted to see what the human would choose when given the opportunity to rebel. Perhaps, this was the beginning of Satan’s rebellion. Or, perhaps, this event occurred after Satan’s full rebellion when he leads a revolt against God. Either way, we do know that Satan is not completely cast out of heaven even today, as he still stands before God as an accuser of the brethren. The point here is that the serpent is somehow influenced or controlled by Satan in his conversation with Eve. We know this because of the prophecy that is made concerning Satan and Jesus in Genesis 3:15.
The Woman (v. 2-5). The next character we see in this drama is the woman. There are two things we see about the woman. (1) Her trusting spirit. Eve did not even flinch when the serpent spoke to her. Perhaps, the animals before the fall were able to communicate with words. There is a very real possibility that the serpent had spoken to Eve before. She apparently had no reason to flee from the serpent. She trusted the serpent and could not fathom the possibility that the serpent would lead her to do something against God. (2) Her curiosity. Eve never once tried to end the conversation with the serpent. She was interested in what he had to say.
The Man (v. 6). It is important to note that Adam was with Eve during this whole dialogue with the serpent. He was there and was aware of what was going on and he did nothing to stop it. This leads us to discover two things about Adam that is also seen in the male sex today. (1) His weakness. The weakness of Adam is obvious. He was enamored with Eve. Ever since he first laid eyes on her, he could not take his eyes off. She was similar to himself, yet different, and much more beautiful than anything else God had created. He could not possibly resist her. (2) His failure. The failure of Adam is the same failure of men today, it was the failure to lead. Adam was so drawn in by his weakness that he failed to be the leader that God created him to be. This is the core of every problem we see in our society today, the failure or lack of male leadership.
The process of sin. Now that we have considered the characters involved in this historical event, we will now draw our attention to the process of sin. The process of sin is very clear in this passage. (1) The Question. The serpent asked Eve a question. This question seemed innocent enough and out of curiosity Eve responded to the question. The serpent in his subtle way, questioned whether or not God really meant what he said. This is where all sin begins. When we begin to question the truthfulness of God’s Word, we will find ourselves going down a downward spiral of compromise. Anytime you question and thus compromise on God’s Word, you will find yourself justifying sinful actions. Many people today will distort God’s Word in order to justify their own sinful actions.
(2) The Doubt. When you question God’s Word it will automatically lead you to doubt God’s Word. Eve began to doubt what God said. She reasoned in her heart and doubted the consequence of eating the forbidden fruit. She came to a point where she did not believe God’s Word. She looked at God’s Word with skepticism. Often times we will do this very thing today. We will approach God’s Word with a reserved skeptic eye. We set out to change God’s Word to fit with our lives rather than letting God’s Word change us.
(3) The Look. Once the questioning and doubting takes place, then comes the look. Before, Eve saw the forbidden fruit as dangerous, but now that she questions and doubts God’s Word, she sees the fruit as beautiful and tantalizing. When we justify sin by questioning and doubting, we will find ourselves staring right in the face of sin. We are drawn to look and examine and consider. This is what Eve did. She would never dream of even considering eating the forbidden fruit. However, now that doubt has set in, she cannot help but consider it.
(4) The Desire. Once you reach this final stage of the process of sin, there is no turning back. The look has now turned into desire and Eve cannot resist. She went from considering it to wanting it. Once you get to the point of want and desire there is very little chance that you will be able to resist. Adam was there the whole time watching Eve. I think that perhaps it was not the fruit that Adam desired, rather it was Eve that he desired. His love for Eve outgrew his love for God. Thus, he too partakes of the forbidden fruit.
How to break the process of sin. In any study on the subject of sin, we cannot leave ourselves hopeless. Just as there is a process of sin, there is also process to breaking the process of sin.
(1) Trust God’s Word. The first step in breaking the vicious cycle of sin is to trust God’s Word. You must rely on the fact that God’s Word is true. A regular study in apologetics would most certainly go a long way in solidifying the accuracy and dependability of God’s Word.
(2) Believe God’s Word. As you develop a trust for God’s Word, you must then believe God’s Word. You must remove all doubt and you must believe whole heartedly that God’s Word is true.
(3) Focus on God’s Word. Seasons in our lives where we find ourselves falling into sin usually comes from a loss of focus. When we get distracted by the world and we get our eyes off Jesus, then sin abounds. The key to combating sin in our lives is to focus on Jesus and to do that we must focus of God’s Word. This is why the Psalmist said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against God.”
(4) Starve fleshly desires and feed spiritual desires. It is true that the nature you feed is the nature that will succeed. If you are feeding your fleshly desires with all types of worldly ideas and entertainment you will experience a constant struggle. However, if you feed your spirit, you can overcome the flesh. Feeding the spirit comes by careful discipline and determination to spend time in God’s Word every day. The more you are in the Word, the more you are feeding the spirit, the less you will sin.
The battle with sin will continue to rage until Jesus calls us home. However, you must not give up. We must not allow sin to consume us. We can be victorious over sin by the power of Jesus Christ. Commit yourself to breaking the process of sin in your life and look to the One who can rescue you from sin.