Focal Passage: Genesis 3:1-6
Discernment or making sound judgments is a lost art. We have allowed a wrong interpretation of the phrase “Judge not, that you be not judged” from Matthew 7:1 to frighten us away from discerning between right and wrong, of making value judgments based on eternal truths. God repeatedly calls His people to make judgments. We are called to discern between one thing and another. In fact, discernment is listed as a spiritual gift (I Corinthians 12:10).
We can make appropriate judgments based on God’s Word. Genesis 3 is an illustration of this truth because it answers the questions, “Who gets to say so?” and “By what authority do we do or not do a thing?” God’s word alone is the basis of our discernments and judgments. As the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 notes, Scripture is “the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and religious opinions should be tried.”
Trust, don’t doubt God’s Word (Genesis 3:1). Genesis 3 reminds us to trust God’s Word. Adam and Eve were led astray because they doubted God’s Word.
The cunning work of Satan is seen in how he approached God’s newly made creatures. If God’s Word, and therefore God Himself, could be cast in a bad light, then Adam and Eve would wrongly discern what was the right thing to do. And it worked. They doubted and eventually fell into sin. When we doubt God’s Word we remove the source of truth needed to discern what is right and wrong.
Affirm, don’t alter God’s Word (Genesis 3:2-3). One of the basic rules of biblical interpretation is: don’t take a text out of its context. Yet, this is what Eve (and Satan) did. She added to and altered God’s Word by noting that God had commanded them to not eat or touch the forbidden fruit. Don’t eat and don’t touch. Right? But was this true? No!
It was touch but don’t eat. They could observe the deadly fruit, but not eat the deadly fruit. This may seem such a minor issue, but when it comes to God’s Word the alteration of even the slightest detail can blur our minds and hearts as we seek to make God-glorifying decisions.
Agree with, don’t contradict God’s Word (Genesis 3:4-6). Satan, the first liberal scholar of the ages, seized upon Eve’s alteration of God’s Word with a direct contradiction to God’s Word. Whereas God had said they would die if they ate the forbidden fruit, Satan asserted that they would not die (v. 4). Further, the Evil One argued that the reason God did not want them to eat was that He was a petty God who did not want them to become gods (v. 5). In other words, Satan argued that the purpose behind God’s prohibition and the penalty for violating this prohibition were both wrong.
The dye was cast. Eve ate. The “fruit of death” appeared to: (1) taste good, (2) look good and (3) offered the promise of wisdom, none of which were true. Contradicting God’s Word would lead to disastrous outcomes: death, shame, blame-shifting, and the attempt to cover up and hide their sin from God.
To reject God’s Word is to reject God Himself, a rejection that leads to sin, death, confusion and compromise. Accepting God’s Word enables is to make decisions that are right, true and God-glorifying. B&R