Adam and Eve are not only the first Bible characters to interact with God,but they own a place in popular culture, as well. Regardless of religious background, most Westerners immediately associate the story with innocence, disobedience and loss. “Why such a big deal over a piece of fruit, anyway?” It wasn’t the fruit; it was the disobedience.  From that one disobedience comes sin, death, guilt and fear.

Today, we’ll narrow our look at the account of Adam and Eve to one pivotal moment. In Genesis 2, we find Adam and Eve living in a perfect place. They have a relationship with God; every imaginable want and need is met. They are even permitted to eat of the “Tree of Life.” God makes only one restriction.

“The Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.’ ” (Genesis 2:16-1 NASB).

God gives Adam and Eve only one rule. It isn’t as if they are presented with a complicated book of regulations; neither is the commandment a painful, arduous task. They are permitted to enjoy anything God has placed in the Garden, except for just one tree. As we all know, Adam and Eve disobey and reap spiritual death. Today’s question is, “How do they respond after they disobey?”

“They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8 NASB).

Adam and Eve have no prior experience with judgment. Nonetheless, even before God confronts them with their sin, they judge themselves and hide. Adam and Eve each display a conscience and in their hearts perceive sin and guilt. Such are the beginnings of a fearful relationship with God.


The “Flinch” Factor

Have you ever said something unnecessarily mean or judgmental about someone and looked up to see the person standing in the room? I certainly have. I am caught in my sin.  There is an anxious moment when I think, “Did he hear me?” I find it difficult to look the person in the eye until I humble myself and apologize. There is a feeling of guilt that rises up; in my conscience, I know I have transgressed. The relationship is disrupted until I obtain forgiveness.

Guilt and fear are fundamental problems for humans. My faults isolate me from others; my sin separates me from God. I may think of myself as a generally “good” person; yet when confronted with the pure righteousness of God, I have a “flinch” factor. I cannot draw close to God when my sin is in the way. I’m not alone in my predicament. Romans 3:23 says, “All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” How then, can any of us get closer to God when sin, guilt and fear stand in the way?


The Holy of Holies

Sin, guilt, and fear were no less a problem under Old Testament law. In the Temple, there was an inner sanctuary called the “Holy of Holies.” This place contained the Ark of the Covenant and was separated by a veil thought to be sixty feet tall and several inches thick. The Holy of Holies represented the place where the High Priest could meet with God. Once per year, this man made careful ceremonial washings to enter through the veil.  On Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, the priest entered the Holy of Holies to make sacrifices for the sins of the people. It was understood that he would die should he be deemed unworthy or unprepared before God. As you might expect, his entrance before God was made with reverence and awe.

Each year, the same Old Testament sacrifices were offered for the sins of the people. Yet, the people grew no closer to God. The annual offering by the High Priest was merely a painful reminder of a relationship with God that was separated by sin, burdened with guilt, and held hostage by fear.


God Hasn’t Changed but Our Path to Him Has

Though not even His own disciples understood it at the time, the Crucifixion of Jesus fulfilled the requirement of the High Priests’ yearly sacrifices once and for all. The Gospels record that when He gave up His Spirit on the Cross, the veil of the Holy of Holies was ripped sixty feet from top to bottom, (Mark 15:37-39). This dramatic opening of the Holiest Place announced that Jesus has forever destroyed the sin and guilt that separated us from God.

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:11-12 NASB).

There is no longer a need for yearly sin offerings in the Holy of Holies. Through faith in Christ’s sacrifice, we receive forgiveness and our consciences are cleansed. Without guilt, our fear of drawing closer to God is exchanged for a confidence to enter into fellowship with God by the blood of Jesus.

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,  by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,  and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. “ (Hebrews 10:19-25 NASB).


No Fear in Drawing Near

Jesus’ sacrifice places us in an entirely new position. We no longer play “catch-up,” making up for past mistakes. We are not desperately attempting to impress God with our sincerity. We are done with trying harder. We need not create elaborate sets of rules by which we can measure our own righteousness. No; we stand entirely on the merit that God has accepted Christ’s offering on our behalf. It’s not that God doesn’t require obedience; He does. Nevertheless, our obedience is no longer driven by fear. Our obedience comes out of our love and thankfulness toward God.

“We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (I John 4:16-18 NASB).

Isn’t this what the “Good News” is all about? Sin, guilt, and fear have been set aside forever. The love of God casts out fear, leaving absolutely nothing that can separate us from God.

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39 NASB).





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