Lent I – Midweek
“Sin Is No Accident”
Paul Norris, Vicar
9 March 2022
Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Sin is no accident. The first sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden was no mistake, it wasn’t just a whoopsie. It was lawlessness and outright disobedience of God’s command not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve knew exactly what they were doing, and they knew that they were the ones responsible for their sin.
When I was a child and got into trouble my sainted mother would ask me if there was anything else I needed to confess to her. She would recite a portion of a bible verse from the book of Numbers to me, “…be sure, your sin will find you out.” (Num 32:23) as she stared me down. As a child, this seemed like a threat, and it kind of was. She was reminding me that sin does not stay hidden from God.
Adam and Eve discovered the same thing. Once they sinned their eyes were opened and they realized that they were naked. Their original sin of eating the forbidden fruit led to more sin. They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, and when they hear God walking in the garden in the cool wind of the day, they tried to hide. Martin Luther wrote, “It is the nature of sin that it desires to remain hidden and not be brought into the light, just as Adam covered himself with a girdle and fled to the trees.” (LW 1:181) This is why most crime takes place at night in the dark. No one wants to be seen sinning, sinning is easier in secret. But is it possible to sin in private? God knows all and sees all that we do, even when we think we are doing it where no other man can see.
But God does not immediately kick Adam and Eve out of the garden. He seeks out Adam and asks him the question, “Where are you?” This does not mean that Adam and Eve were successfully hiding from God. God knew where they were there. Instead, God is allowing Adam an opportunity to confess and repent of his sin. But Adam squanders the opportunity for repentance and instead makes excuses about hiding and blames it on his nakedness. But no sin can remain hidden from God. When God directly confronts Adam about his sin of eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, Adam blames it on Eve and ultimately on God and says, “…The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree and I ate.” (Gen 3:13) And Eve does no better, she blames her sin on the serpent, and in a sense, also on God.
The human inclination to blame others for sin has not changed. Any parent can tell you that when their child is caught misbehaving or doing something wrong, usually the guilty child will blame another child or person for their sin. The blame game also has infected our society. Perhaps you remember the Texas teenager who struck and killed four pedestrians with his vehicle while he was intoxicated. In his defense, he blamed, “Affluenza”. He claimed he was unable to understand the consequences of his actions because of his economic privilege. Or in other words, money made me do it.
God deals out the punishment for our sin. All parties, including the serpent, now face the judgment and wrath of God. Adam and Eve brought misery and death to the entire human race with their sin. For women, bearing children in pain and enmity towards their husbands is the penalty. For Men, hard work, toil, and pain while providing sustenance for his family is the penalty. And, most devastating of all God imposes the death penalty on mankind for sin. “…for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3:19) For the serpent, he shall be reviled by all creatures and relegated to crawling in the dust on his belly.
But this is not the final answer from God and He will not allow the separation of man and God to remain. And though bearing children in pain is part of the divine penalty, it is also a blessing. For this is the only way the human race can survive outside the garden. Despite man’s sin and disobedience, God’s original command to be fruitful and multiply has not been withdrawn. Eve is the mother of all living. It is from the offspring or seed of Eve that God, amid the curses upon the serpent, makes a promise. God will send the Messiah from the woman’s seed to crush the ancient serpent’s head. God not only promises the messiah who will save mankind, but he also demonstrates that blood is necessary to cover sin when God provides animal skins to clothe Adam and Eve.
Just as the tree of the forbidden fruit was the origin of sin, from the cross, the tree of Jesus’ shame, comes the fruit of eternal life. Greek Orthodox art of the cross of Christ depicts the footrests as slanted. Christ’s cross is depicted over the grave of Adam while Our Savior’s blood runs down from the slanted footrests and onto the skull or grave of Adam. This symbolism portrays the fact that Jesus’ blood atoned for the sin of Adam and for the whole human race, and for you. Even the logo for the seminary of our synod, Concordia Theological Seminary, shows the cross of Christ firmly planted over the serpent.
The cross of Christ is a victorious ensign over a defeated foe. It is through the cross of Christ that God restores His perfect face to face relationship with mankind. For Within Christ’s cross of wood is the tree of life with every good.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.