Law in the Garden

God is a grace God. He has always been a grace God. Jesus Christ is the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His Person and the perfect representation of Him. And He is full of grace. God’s heart is full of grace towards us. God has always wanted His dealings with man to take place on the basis of grace. That is the way it started. Grace was in the Garden of Eden. But unfortunately, it was closely followed by law…

In creation God worked on man’s behalf according to His grace. He set it all up and freely provided everything that man would need. He took full responsibility for the apex of His creation and the object of His affection. Then He issued His first command: Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But this command started with a display and statement of grace: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat…

Titus 2:11-12 NKJV
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.

Grace brings salvation. We are saved by grace through faith. And it is grace that teaches us to live right and do right. That is why God’s first commandment started with a statement of grace. God provided absolutely everything that Adam would need according to His grace. Adam did not earn, deserve or occasion it. God freely gave him all things and allowed him to gorge himself on as much fruit as he desired. Grace gave Adam space.

This grace taught Adam to be obedient. The end result of receiving grace is wilful obedience. Romans 6:14 says that sin shall not have dominion, power, and control over you because you are not under the law, but under grace. Being under grace frees us from the dominion, power, and control of sin. Grace breaks the power of sin. God knew this. And that is why He first extended grace by telling Adam that he could freely eat of any tree that he wanted to before informing him of the tree that he was not allowed to eat from.

The presence of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil meant that sin and disobedience were possible. Adam could have allowed sin to have dominion, power, and control over him if he chose. But as long as he was under grace, it did not happen. We are not told how long Adam was in the Garden before Eve was tempted by the serpent. It may have been a short time, but it may also have been years. We do know that Adam at least named all the animals in that time. That could not have been a quick job!

I dare to say that Adam was in the Garden of Eden for a long time before Eve was tempted. And during that whole time, he did not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil once. I imagine he didn’t even touch it. Perhaps he didn’t even notice it. Why? Because he could freely eat of all of the other trees. He was under grace. Grace taught him to live soberly, righteously, and godly. It taught him to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. It resulted in wilful obedience. And it ensured that sin did not have dominion, power, and control over him.

Genesis 3:1 NKJV
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

But then came the serpent. And he came with law… Look at the serpent’s emphasis: You shall not! He tried to twist God’s words from words of grace to words of law. What was the result? Adam and Eve ate. They sinned. They disobeyed. They were put under the law and suddenly sin had dominion, power and control over them.

The law strengthens sin. It actually is the strength of sin. It stirs up lust and ungodly passions and makes sin come alive. That is what happened here. While Adam was under grace, he was sinless – submissive and obedient. As soon as he was put under law, he became rebellious, un-submissive and disobedient. Amazing!

The devil’s mode of operation has not changed. He still uses law to bring people into bondage…

Have a great day!

Peter

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