September 2, 2014

God’s remedy for deception

While hotly contended these days, God’s plan when He created the first couple included different responsibilities. The women was created as a helper (the same term that describes God helping us) and the man was told to stay away from the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Later, husbands are told to be responsible in Christ for the godliness of their wives, suggesting that Adam was to also protect Eve from disobeying God concerning that tree.

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’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 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.” (Genesis 3:1–5)

The New Testament says, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” (1 Timothy 2:14)

However, it also says, “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned . . .  death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam . . .  because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man . . .  by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners . . .  .” (Romans 5:12–19)

This tells me that Adam is held responsible for sin, not Eve. While she was deceived and started it, Adam knew what he was doing when he joined her in disobedience. Why is this important?

Adam was deliberate about it, not deceived, but he blamed when God and the woman for his sin saying, “This woman you gave me, she gave me the fruit.” (Genesis 3:12)
As a woman, I’ve noticed how often women are blamed by men for their sin and mistakes. Some say that women are supposedly more prone to it, or we are not as smart as men, or we are just more sinful, and so on. The blame-shifting continues, and this also is deception. The reality is obvious —both men and women are prone to being fooled.

Jesus knew it. He said, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” He goes on to talk about the time of the end and how a multitude of interpretations will come out of His words. This also shows that humans are still prone to deception. In this case, we focus on the signs of the end and even argue about them rather than pay attention to the manner in which we live. (Matthew 24:4–14)

Deception or deceived is mentioned dozens of times in Scripture, mostly in context of how we can be deceived by sin. For the first sin, Satan used a lie on Eve (‘God didn’t really say that . . .’ ) and he continues to lie about sin: ‘It really isn’t so bad’ or ‘Everyone does it.’

God counters those lies with, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” and the liar comes back with ‘everyone does it’ or ‘sin is an obsolete idea.’

If the deceiver cannot get people to continue in sin with those lines that sin does not matter, he will impress upon us the hopelessness of it. ‘You are so bad that you cannot be forgiven.’

Yet God also says there is hope. Right after the warning above, He adds, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11)

All of the problems, sorrows, evil actions, atrocities, and sinful behaviors in the world have a lie behind them. This is why God says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 and a host of other places, “Do not be deceived,” but He also says there is a remedy — it is found in the One who said, “I am the truth!”

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