THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE
Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
In the provision of God, the Lamb had already been predestinated and ready to be provided from before the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
All that is needed now are sinners for him to redeem by his blood. Enter the tree of good and evil! For there was yet no expressed evil for the original pair to know. Both themselves and the Serpent would confront evil in regard to this tree.
The first Adam was involved in the natural creation and procreation of human kind. It would require the last Adam (Jesus Christ) to elevate human kind into fellowship with God again. But he came into the world to save sinners, and before this there were none! For it was Adam’s disobedience regarding the tree of knowledge of good and evil which set forth mankind as sinners. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
There was the need of sin to increase and abound in order for grace to surpass it and superabound! There would have been no need for the spiritual tree of life (Christ), except there was Adam’s relationship to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For therein was man’s elevation from a childhood-like existence, with everything provided for him in the garden, to a manhood experience in earning his living with sweat among thorns! 1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Adam and Eve did not truly know what life with God was all about, pampered in the garden. Just as the child who is provided his food, clothing and shelter by his parents does not yet realize what his parent’s lives are all about in having to provide him all these things. But when he becomes a man, he will have to put away those childhood privileges and go out into the real world, confronting the briars and thorns himself to make his own living.
Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
God did not want to live eternally with a childlike humanity. He wanted them to be conformed to the very image of his Son; but only after his only begotten Son had himself suffered. For the place of coming together of God and man is the cross! Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
We are to know God in imputed righteousness, not in a pampered innocence. But this cannot be unless both ourselves and Christ come to experientially know good and evil! 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
It was the Shepherd who lost the sheep! But he did not lose the sheep in order for the sheep to remain lost! He only lost the sheep in order to find the sheep, so that it could never be lost again! Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? John 18:9 That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
And once found the lost sheep enjoys a more personal relationship with the shepherd, also causing him to rejoice with his friends. Luke 15:5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
In the garden the human pair had only one law to live by, but this proved to be their downfall. Afterward they had to be recovered by faith in the gospel which promised that the woman’s seed should crush the serpent’s seed’s head! Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Sin was amplified by the law! Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Romans 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
Therefore again we see the necessity of sin in order for the superabounding of righteousness to appear! It will not hurt to repeat these verses: Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
But let us be very careful with this. For only the Lord God can cause sin to be used in order that righteousness may abound! The ancient apothecary grew some dangerous and deadly plants in his garden, which had a locked gate and fence around it. But with his knowledge, his mixture was a proper medicine to destroy the disease and leave the patient healthy! The Lord God sovereignly caused sin to abound in order that his glorious grace should much more abound. But as has already been stated, we should abstain from the very appearance of evil!
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Carefully consider the Apostle Paul’s struggle in the Christian life, as do we all. Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
We must call this to mind when we think of our oft repeated verse in Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. And as we rightly believe the Lord God to be THE Sovereign Lord of all, we must understand that abounding sin is solely, of God’s usage in order for our grace to abound.
“My sin; O the bliss of this glorious thought;
My sin, not in part, but the whole;
Is bound to the cross and I bear it no more!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!”
The Lord has told us that his thoughts are higher than our thoughts and ways. Therefore read the following, seeking to understand that the Father accounts His death to be an entering into glory! We must retrain our brains in order to think like this. As death crept in upon him, his soul began to be troubled. But his father reassured him that this would result in glory! John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
John 12:27 ¶ Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
Some of the passing events taking place in our nation give us great perplexity and grief. But we must remember that it is the Kingdom of our Lord that shall endure eternally in a glorious state, not any nation of this world! For as these all, one by one, serve his purposes, they are passed on by, and another takes their place, until all is fulfilled! Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
The Lord Jesus Christ is sovereign over all and has all things under his perfect control! If one complains that it doesn’t look like God is in control. Remember did we not just state that God’s ways are not our ways? Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Pastor Gene Breed
October 29, 2021