Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” ~ Genesis 3:13
In reading this passage during my morning time of Scripture, I immediately empathized with Eve. I recall several occasions on which, as a young boy, my parents caught me doing something wrong, and to avoid the consequences I knew I deserved, I tried to shift the blame from myself onto somebody else. Even in adulthood, with the light of the truth shining in my face, the easiest means of escape often seems to be a shift of blame or a change of subject. We all do it; we all seek to protect ourselves when confronted with the reality of our own sin.
Here is where it all started. The serpent deceived Eve and Eve, knowing it was wrong, ate of the forbidden fruit. Eve in turn offered it to Adam and Adam, also knowing it was wrong, ate the fruit. God confronted Adam with his sin and Adam blamed Eve, and when confronted by God, Eve blamed the serpent. Each of them sinned, and each tried to pass the buck when confronted with their wrongdoing. At least we’re consistent!
Although the serpent initiated the sin, God punished all three – Adam, Eve, and the serpent – and the punishments still apply to their descendants today. The first ever Blame Game failed to deliver the outcome Adam and Eve desired. God saw through the charade and issued a just and severe punishment.
These days, we often respond to sin with a wink and a nod. “Boys will be boys” after all. But sin, all sin, is a big deal in God’s eyes, and in His righteousness He demands accountability. Remember, we always have a choice when faced with temptation. And when we succumb to the siren song of the serpent and commit that sin we know we shouldn’t commit, there are consequences. Sure, we try to shift the blame, and our rationale may sometimes contain a grain of truth. But that does not excuse us from the sin we committed.
As I considered this passage I was struck by the hopelessness of sin. Have you ever caught yourself doing something you know is wrong and wondered, “how the heck did I get here?” I have. It’s frustrating. It’s disheartening. It’s disappointing. The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, even felt this way at times:
For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. ~ Romans 7:19-25
Where, then, is our hope? Our hope is in the One who gave His life as the complete and perfect punishment for all of our sins – past, present, and future. That Hope’s name is Jesus. Without Him, we are lost. With Him, we are forgiven and we look forward to eternal life in His holy presence! With that knowledge, we seek to live our lives in a manner pleasing to Him – not to save ourselves, for that is impossible – but as a loving response to the selfless action of a loving God.
Yes, we will stumble. We will succumb to the serpent’s siren song. We will sin. And when we do, God calls us to lay our sins at the foot of the cross, trusting in the everlasting mercy, love, and grace He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ, to all who believe. Through faith in Him and Him alone, we are justified and made righteous. Therein rests our hope.