One of the most important lessons God has for us is found in the first book of the Bible. After the account of God’s creation in Genesis, we then get a description of the great deception that has affected every human being from that time forward. When Satan deceived Eve, and both she and Adam disobeyed God, sin entered the world, and we’ve been dealing with the consequences ever since.
To deceive means to lie, mislead, misinform, and lead astray. This is the method Satan used to drag the entire human race into sin, and he continues to use this tactic by convincing us of one basic idea.
The Great Deception: We can sin without consequences.
God had given Adam and Eve a clear command, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17). The account in Genesis 3:1-6 bears witness to the fact that no matter what anyone else says, no one can sin without suffering the consequences.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” (Gen. 3:1). This serpent was not like the snakes we know today because it probably stood erect and may even have been attractive since Eve was not repulsed when it started a conversation with her. Only after it was cursed by God for its part in the fall of mankind was it condemned to crawl on its belly in the dust.
This was a creature God allowed in the Garden to test Adam and Eve, and he’s still around today. His goal was to convince Eve that what God had said was incorrect. He’s identified in Revelation 12:9 as “the great dragon” and “the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.” Neither his goal nor his tactics have changed. He’s opposed to God and continually lies, trying to deceive mankind into believing that there are no consequences for sin.
God’s Word leads us into truth and warns us of the self-destructive and harmful nature of sin. The Lord’s commands are not harsh but loving. He knows we’re fighting a spiritual war against Satan, and He wants to protect us from the damage that disobedience and sin will wreak in our lives. Our obedience to God and His Word is our protection and a witness to those around us.
Any form of disobedience in our lives results in static in our souls, a feeling of distance that, if not corrected, leads to separation and spiritual decline until eventually our spirit becomes hardened to the things of God. At this point the Lord may use calamity to bring us back into fellowship with Him.
Has Satan tried to tempt you by shifting your focus to what you don’t have? Turn your eyes to God and let Him fight your battles for you. He can be trusted to defeat the Enemy’s attacks.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “The Great Deception” which airs this weekend on TV.