In the beginning of time, as we know it, mankind was instructed not to eat the fruit of a certain tree in the Garden. This tree is frequently referred to as the ‘tree of good and evil’.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Genesis 3:1-7(NIV)
Today, people are still trying to be like God. They are still doing the things that God has instructed us not to do. In fact, this is one of the main beliefs of the “New Age Movement”. It is the belief that a person doesn’t need to submit to God but can get to heaven in his own strength, rather than accepting God’s free gift of salvation and the power that the Holy Spirit gives.
Jesus tells of a rich man that wanted to go to heaven. This man had kept the Jewish Law since he was a child. However, he was of the opinion that he had to earn his salvation by ‘doing’. He has been a very successful man and may have believed he could ‘buy’ his way into heaven. His identity was determined by his wealth and not his relationship with God.
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’]”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. John 3:17-22(NIV)
You see, this man was just like Eve. He wanted to do things his way and not God’s. In the end, he left Jesus as a very sad man trying to do things his own way and not God’s way.
There is also a belief that when God gives us a new heart, we can do anything our heart tells us to do. ( see 2 Corinthians 5:17(KJV)) However, Matthew 15:19(NIV) says: 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. God gives us a clean heart but we allow evil things to come back into our lives.
Suppose that someone gives you a new house. After you live in the house for a period of time, you say: “I sure miss my old recliner?” So you go find your dilapidated recliner and bring it into the new house. One by one, you bring the old furniture into the house and soon, the house no longer looks new. In fact, it looks much like the old house you were living in.
Our new heart is clean when God forgives us and takes our sin away. However, we begin to bring in the old nature (old furniture) and the next thing we know, we are talking about the desires of old nature, and not about the new heart. Unless we allow the Holy Spirit to keep our heart clean, what will come from the mouth will be the evil thoughts of our heart.
When Adam and Eve were placed in the garden, they had clean hearts. They fellowshipped with God on a regular basis and were perfectly content, until they allowed Satan to place an evil thought in their heart. Then they begin to think there were some things they could do without God.
God provided forgiveness for them, but he did not remove the consequences of what they had done. Today we still have to live with the consequences of what Adam and Eve did, but we do not have to do it by ourselves because God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us through life. The Holy Spirit is there to keep our hearts clean so that our lives will bear the fruit of the Spirit rather than the fruit of our evil thoughts.
Note: All scriptures used in this article have been downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/?version=NIV unless otherwise noted.