“But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

A cartoon character stands in front of a red button on the wall. A placard warns: “Do not push button.” The caption reads: “Temptation: Do you really want to spend the rest of your life wondering?”

Yielding to temptation, Adam and Eve fell from their state of innocence and marred the perfect harmony of God’s creation. In a real sense, you and I participated in this ruin. As Paul says, “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). This was the beginning of the end for them and for us.

The End of Innocence Began Here (Genesis 3:1-7)
They saw the fruit of the forbidden tree as (1) good for food, (2) pleasing to the eye, and (3) desirable for gaining wisdom (v. 6). The verse has an interesting parallel in the New Testament. “Do not love the world…for everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15-16). Because of that first sin, we all have inherited a tendency toward sin. We are born with a leaning or bias toward sin. Inevitably when we come to choose, we make the wrong choice. Paul said we share Adam’s loss. The result of one man’s trespass was condemnation for all of us (see Romans 5:17-18).

The End of Perfect Fellowship with God Began Here (Genesis 3:8-10)
Before the fall, Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden unafraid. Then when sin came into the world they tried to hide themselves from God. Adam said, “I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid” (Genesis 3:10). From that moment, all creation has been thrown out of harmony with our Maker. Isaiah tells us, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you” (Isaiah 59:2). The jury has pronounced the verdict: The Judge has passed the death sentence. In a true sense, Adam and Eve died spiritually the very moment they sinned.

The End of Paradise Began Here (Genesis 3:14-19)
From here on, the key word is cursed (Genesis 3:14-17). God expelled them from the Garden of Eden. The Hebrew word describing this expulsion is in the intensive (piel) tense.

Sin hurts others besides the sinner. I know a young man who committed a series of rapes. He is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison; but his innocent wife has suffered perhaps more than he has, and his godly parents are forever broken-hearted. Don’t forget his victims—they won’t forget! Sin ruins homes and families. Paradise is destroyed.

Interestingly enough, Christ faced the same three satanic appeals that snared Adam and Eve. When He was weakened physically after 40 days of fasting, Satan tempted Him to turn stones into bread. Hunger is a normal physical craving.

Also, Satan showed Christ all the kingdoms of the world and offered to give them to Him if He would bow and acknowledge Satan’s power to give them. Many temptations come through the eyes.

Finally, Satan took Him up to a high pinnacle above the temple courts and tempted Him to jump down and land safely. Popular expectation said Messiah would arrive in just such fashion. To each of these temptations, Christ answered with an appropriate verse from God’s Word.

Theologian Yandal Woodfin said every temptation brings three opportunities to sin: (1) We may yield to the temptation; (2) we may say, “I wish I could have”; or (3) we may say, “I’m proud I didn’t.” Where Adam and Eve failed, Jesus was Victor. In winning against the tempter, Jesus opened the way for us to win also (see Matthew 4:1-11). We quote Paul again on this theme: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. When you are tempted, He also will provide a way out so you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

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