Pastor's Article for the Park Rapids Enterprise, November 3, 2019
I have to tell you, we have a problem. It’s a problem we don’t like to talk about because our problem causes us not to talk about it. But it isn’t what you think. It’s an eye malady. An eye disease. Something that makes us think that things are fine, or they can be fine, or will be fine, when we can’t even see for ourselves without some help.
Genesis 3. Eve is in the Garden of Eden, at the beginning of Scriptural history, going about her business. The snake comes to her in his craftiness and says, “Did God really say you can’t eat of any of the trees in the Garden?”
Eve corrects him, “No. We can eat of any of the trees of the Garden except one. The one in the middle. That one we can’t even touch it or we will die.”
“You won’t die,” says the snake. “God knows that if you eat of the tree, your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.”
Eve believes the snake, eats of the fruit and gives some to Adam, who also eats. Their eyes are opened and they notice that they are naked and make loin clothes out of shrubbery to cover themselves.
Did you notice your malady? Did you notice what has come? For years we talk of the sin of Adam and Eve, the curse that has come down to us as “Original Sin” being their disobedience. They disobeyed God by eating of the tree. What follows then of the prescription we normally receive? Obedience. Obey God and things will be fine.
Sorry. Won’t happen. Can’t happen. We’re all screwed. This eye disease. The sin comes as a by-product of exactly what the tree gives - knowledge of good and evil. But not in a good way. In judgement. Deciding about others. Demeaning others. Thinking ourselves more holy in some way. Thinking we can be a god because we find the creatureliness of others as lower or less-than ourselves. Our eyes do this. Sin in us doing this. Looking around the world and thinking we know what is right and what is wrong. Thinking we are God, we decide what it is that we want to be evil or good. That is the curse of sin. The curse of that knowledge we got from the tree. The bondage of opened eyes to look at the world and condemn it.
There is a remedy though. A prescription that takes care of it all. “The one who knew no sin, was made sin for our sakes, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) That is the Gospel. The good news that in your disease, Christ has taken it from you. What this means for us is what we will have next week.