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Posted: March 20, 2014 10:00 p.m.

See sin for what it is —

It’s damage and it’s defeat

Last week, we started looking at Genesis 3, that story of the first sin, to try to understand why we do some of the things we do. We compared it to the victims in a horror movie opening the door that we know so much danger is behind. Like helpless moviegoers, we watched Adam and Eve walk through that door. We saw how dangerous Satan’s lies are to lead us to sin.

But we were just getting going. If you look at what happens after they ate the fruit, even more clearly, we see sin for what it is — with all its damage. At the end of Genesis 2, God told us, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Now, as soon as they ate the forbidden fruit, as soon as they entered through that door, as soon as they let Satan’s lies skew their view, boom — the results, the damage. Like the horror villain’s knife works instantly – so it is here. It goes right from “they ate” to this — Verse 7, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked.” Then skim ahead, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God (their maker and protector, their all in all — they heard the sound of the LORD God…) as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, AND THEY HID.”

Do you see what has happened? Satan had told them to do it and then as soon as they did, he switched hats from tempter to accuser. “You can’t be in God’s presence.” Remember Satan’s lies, the promises of what sin will do for you? They all fail. The sex that you thought couldn’t hurt anyone hurt you, your future spouse, your view of marriage, your ability to train your kids to do the right thing, and on and on. The greed you thought was in your best interest separated you from people that could have been so much to you and separated you from any chance of enjoying the blessings you’ve been given. And the list goes on.

Just like going through that door is never a good idea in the horror movie, no matter how compelled we may be – Sin kills, and its damage is more gruesome than any Hollywood special effects. Adam and Eve had lost their peace with God. They had lost their ability to go to him with their needs — or at least felt like they had. They had lost that being “comfortable in their own skin” and replaced it with the fear, the uneasiness, the discomfort of a broken relationship. And sin does the same for us, to those relationships with other people, those we’ve sinned against, but even more — to our relationship with God.

And our efforts at fixing it don’t work. Adam tried to hide from God. And then he lied about that. He says he’s hiding because he was naked, even though that never bothered him before. Just like we make up our excuses — our sin is because someone else made us do it, because our boss is mean or our spouse doesn’t love us the way they should, you name it — when the reality is — we feel the way we do because our sin broke our relationship with God. No one else did that. I did. It wasn’t the fault of the “woman you gave me” or the serpent’s deception. You went through that door. And the consequences are real.

But so is God’s love. So he went and found Adam and Eve in that garden and he dealt with sin. He dealt with it by promising his Son. Look at verse 15 as he addresses Satan - “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers. He will crush your head.”

And he kept that promise. God sent his Son who had his own conversations with Satan. Remember when he was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4)? Jesus destroyed each of Satan’s temptations, trying to get him not to trust God and just look out for himself, trying to get him to get arrogant and presumptuous, even trying to get him to think that the Father was holding out on him. But Jesus perfectly fought back against the devil’s lies with the truth of Scripture. He resisted going through that door when we couldn’t resist.

And then, he died. God promised that Satan would crush Jesus’ heel, and he did, there was some serious suffering involved — but that death couldn’t hold Jesus. And that is what crushed not Satan’s heel, but his head. The devil with all his lies and empty promises, with all his doubt and uncertainty – the devil is defeated. Death is defeated. Sin is defeated.

So here at the foot of the cross see sin for what it is — defeated. During this season of Lent we’ll be spending time, especially in our Midweek services, to contemplate our sin and its solution. But as we start, let’s praise God for giving us the inside scoop on the horror movie of sin. We’ve seen the final scene where the villain is defeated. Let’s thank God for His Word that shows Sin for what it is, from its danger to its damage to its defeat.

Thank God for Jesus.
In Christ
Pastor Scharf

Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Worship every Sunday at 8 & 10:30 a.m. Full sermons and more information can be found at www.abidinggrace.com.

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