The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 18 : GENESIS

[Chapter 3-16] (Genesis 3:1-24) Heaven Can Be Entered Only by Believing in The Righteousness of God

(Genesis 3:1-24)
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’ For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’ Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’ And the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’ So the LORD God said to the serpent:
‘Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.’
To the woman He said:
‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.’
Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
‘Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.’
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’—therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
 
 
If we believe in the God-spoken gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, we will be saved from all sins; but if we don’t believe, we will fall into Satan’s temptation to reach spiritual death. Here in today’s Scripture passage, the serpent asked the woman, “Did God tell you not to eat from every tree of the garden?” Eve then said, “No. We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Eve’s words here indicate that she did not really believe in God’s Word.
In Genesis chapter two, God had told man, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). God had made it unequivocally clear that if Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would surely die. But because Eve did not believe in this Word of God, she changed the meaning of His Word to possible death from certain death. So Eve doubted the Word of God, which means she did not believe in it. It’s because Eve did not believe in God’s Word that the Devil continued on to lay siege to her heart. Saying to her, “No, even if you eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will never die,” the Devil planted a firm conviction in Eve’s heart. He said to her, “God knows that in the day you eat this fruit, you will become like God and know good and evil. So He told you not to eat the fruit, lest you come to know good and evil and become like God.” What was the Devil’s hidden purpose in saying these things? It was to make Eve stand against God. Satan had stood against God before and he was cast out for this, but rather than giving up his ambition and obeying God, the Devil continued to oppose Him, and now, he was using mankind to once again stand against God.
As Eve did not have faith, she ended up eating the fruit. And she also gave it to her husband. It’s because Eve did not have faith in the Word of God that she committed sin, believed in the words of the Devil instead, and faced disastrous consequences as a result. After eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve made coverings with fig leaves. The very moment they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they became ashamed of themselves. When one is ashamed of himself, he is prone to try to hide his shame. The reason why people sometimes find it hard to look at others straight is because there is sin in their hearts. When one has sin in his heart, he cannot look at the face of God. That’s because he is ashamed of himself, for there is sin in his heart. When people fall into confusion from their fleshly thoughts, they are bound to fall into Satan’s temptation and be lost. The Bible says that when Adam and Eve fell, their hearts became void and they wore coverings of fig leaves. Once sin descended on the conscience of Adam and Eve, they were engulfed in darkness all of a sudden, they couldn’t see God anymore, and they couldn’t even remember what God had told them. What happened next? They began to be ashamed. As they became ashamed of their nakedness, they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
But since they had been living naked in the Garden of Eden from the beginning, there was actually nothing to be ashamed of. What happened, however, is that once sin came into their hearts, shame and darkness descended on them as well, and it’s because of this shame that they covered themselves with the coverings of fig leaves. Adam and Eve committed an act that would curse them, all because they had no faith in the Word of God.
The Devil had told them that they would become like God and know good and evil. But what really happened when they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? They reached death. This death means severance from God. If God is the sun, we are plants, and no plant can sustain its life without the sun, far less grow. Life itself cannot survive without the sun. So as a wall rose up between the plants and the sun, the wall cast its shadow over the plants and the sunlight no longer reached them, leading the plants to perish. In other words, it’s because people do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ, our Lord of life, that they’ve come to face spiritual death. Even though the Lord has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit looking for us, because people did not receive this Lord into their hearts, spiritual death has descended upon them. For those who do not know the righteousness of God, and those who do not believe in it even as they know it, death has descended upon them both in their souls and bodies. They are all facing death. Spiritual death has come upon them. And shame has come. Sin has come. Curses have come. Suffering has come. In short, to all those who don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, separation from God has come.
 
 
What Happens to Adam and Eve after Making and Putting on the Coverings of Fig Leaves?
 
God called Adam, but Adam hid in the trees out of shame. God said, “Adam, where are you?” Adam replied, “I hid myself in fear because I was naked.” Shame came to Adam and Eve because they did not believe in the Word of God. Spiritually speaking, this means that they were now visited by curses and death. This happened not because they failed to do good deeds, but first and foremost, it’s because they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That is why they were cut off from their fellowship with God that they had enjoyed before eating this fruit. As such, not believing in the Word of God is sin. That’s why the Bible says, “For whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). If we don’t believe in the Word of God exactly as it is spoken to us, we are committing sin. It’s the most serious sin. To disbelieve in the Word of God is to sin against Him, and this constitutes a grievous offence.
Because Adam and Eve did not believe in the Word of God with their hearts, shame came upon them and they hid themselves. They were cut off from God. They were afraid of God’s appearance. But God appeared before them and said, “Where are you?” “I hid myself because of my nakedness.” “Who told you that you were naked? Did anyone say anything? Did anyone tell you that you were naked?” Man became ashamed as he went astray, and consequently he came to live a weary and toilsome life. All these wretched conditions stemmed from sin, which made man drift far away from God.
If you want to believe in the righteousness of God, then you have to know your forefathers’ sins properly. Here in the Book of Genesis, it’s written that God made tunics of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them with these garments. The tunics of skin here refer to the garments of life. Man came to have sin because his heart was deceived by the Devil. It’s not because of his misdeeds per se.
Fundamentally speaking, man’s heart had no sin at the beginning, but Satan planted doubt in his heart and blew disbelief into it. That’s why God rebuked Satan and punished him, holding him responsible for this sin, as it’s written in Genesis 3:13-14: “And the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’ So the LORD God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.’”
To find out the primary offender, God had asked Adam why he ate the forbidden fruit, and Adam had told Him that he ate the fruit because the woman whom God gave him handed him the fruit. God then turned to Eve and asked her, “Why did you do this?” Eve said, “The serpent made me do it, and so I ate the fruit.” God then said to the serpent, “This is your doing. Because you have thus planted disbelief in Adam and Eve and made them eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you are cursed to eat dust all the days of your life.” God cursed the serpent like this. God’s curses originated from the serpent’s sin of deception, and it is because of this sin that we were cursed. Man was cursed not because he was somehow unclean on his own, but because of the serpent’s temptation. In other words, it’s the Devil who blew sin into the human heart.
You may then wonder here why God made Satan in the first place. But Satan was not made like this from the beginning. When we turn to Ezekiel and Isaiah, the Bible calls Satan, “Lucifer, son of the morning” (Isaiah 14:12). Lucifer, the son of the morning here, means the daystar literally. He was the fallen angel, who was actually the highest of all angels created by God. This angel had revolted against God, and God had cast him out, saying, “You shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.” So this angel that was cast out and brought down from Heaven is the very Devil. This fallen angel is none other than Satan, and his minions are called demons. Although the Bible does not write detailed accounts of the origin of Satan, here in Isaiah we can see that he was an angel who revolted against God. So we can also see that the Devil exited before man. That’s why the Bible makes no mention of God making Satan when He created the universe, the visible world.
God brought enmity between man and the serpent, which had made him eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Nowadays, however, many people are actually friends with the Devil, even though he is supposed to be their enemy. Nevertheless, man and the Devil are enemies to each other. As God put enmity between the serpent and mankind, between the serpent and the woman, and between its descendants and the woman’s descendants, they are mortal enemies to each other. Here in Genesis 3:15, God said that Jesus Christ the Savior would come to this earth as the woman’s descendant, bruise the serpent’s head, and save us humans from sin by being baptized and crucified to death on this earth.
God said in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.” Is there enmity between God and the Devil? Yes. But God also declared enmity between man and Satan in today’s Scripture passage. Since the Devil is no match to God, to call Satan God’s enemy may be overestimating him, but he is still God’s enemy. In the realm of creatures, this fallen angel and man are enemies to each other. As for God, there is no worthy opponent. Yet Satan had revolted against God with myriads of angels, and now, the fallen angel was once again standing against God using man as a proxy. This means that Satan has been standing against God from the beginning to the end. God thus put enmity between man and the Devil. He made them eternal enemies to each other. Doesn’t the Devil stand against the righteousness of God while pretending to help people? Satan still deceives people with his lies so that they may stand against God and His Word of Truth. Even right now, therefore, Satan and man are enemies to each other.
However, it is written that the woman’s Seed will bruise the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15). Who is the woman’s Seed here? It refers to Jesus Christ who came to this earth through the body of the Virgin Mary. It speaks about Jesus Christ who would be born on this earth in the image of man. He is not the Seed of man; He was not conceived through any relationship between a man and a woman. Rather, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. That the woman’s Seed will bruise the serpent’s head means that this Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, will come to this earth in the image of man and destroy the work of the Devil—that is, He will blot out the sin that the Devil had planted in the human heart.
That is the message of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we are preaching now. It is written in the Bible the serpent will bruise the Seed’s heel. This refers to the suffering of Jesus Christ, foreshadowing how Jesus, after being baptized by John the Baptist, would be crucified to shed His blood to death. In other words, it refers to the crucified Jesus Christ, prophesying the death He would suffer by being nailed to the Cross on His feet and hands to pay off the wages of sin. And through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, Jesus Christ indeed fulfilled His covenant. Therefore, the everlasting Savior of mankind is Jesus Christ.
God the Father made tunics of skin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and clothed Adam and Eve with them. While the garments that man made and wore on his own were of fig leaves, the garments that God Himself made were tunics of skin. To make a tunic of skin, a lamb must be put to death. In other words, the tunics of skin here imply that Jesus Christ the Lamb would save us with His own life. The Law of God is just, as it is written, “Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deuteronomy 19:21). It means that God has saved us by passing our sins to one life and killing it in our place. This manifests the very justice of God, and it also means that God has saved us in this way.
This Truth is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Through Jesus Christ, God took upon all our sins and saved us with the water, the blood, and the Spirit. If anyone believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit through which the Lord has saved us, he will be saved; but those who do not believe in the righteousness of God, and instead weave fig leaves together day after day to make his own garments and continues to do so every time his garments are worn out, are under the curse. You must remember that God has determined that only those who believe in His righteousness and His Word should enter Heaven. So Heaven is entered by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and the remission of sins is also received by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, just as all the God-given blessings are received in this way as well.
What people now need is faith in the righteousness of God, and you and I who have received the remission of sins also need faith in the Word of God. God has saved us through this way of faith. That’s why this faith is absolutely indispensable. All those who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will absolutely enter Heaven by faith. We are saved from sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that constitutes the righteousness of God. Do you believe in this, my fellow believers?
We must preach this way of faith. This way of faith is the righteousness of God. This salvation is attained by the righteousness of God. It is God who has saved us from sin. When the Bible says that the Lord God made tunics of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them, it means that God had saved Adam and Eve through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that is, through His baptism and His death on the Cross. Do you understand this?
But how is the faith of today’s Christians? Aren’t they weaving and wearing garments made of fig leaves? Such things as prayers of repentance and incremental sanctification are all nothing more than the garments of fig leaves. This kind of faith kills the soul. Those who have this kind of faith cannot enter Heaven. God made it unequivocally clear in Genesis chapter three that salvation cannot be attained in this way, as it’s written in Genesis 3:22-24: “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’—therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Sinners who have their own standard of good and evil shouldn’t be allowed to attain everlasting life by eating from the tree of life. That’s why Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden as sinners. Although Adam and Eve came to know good and evil, what they now had was actually their own standard of good and evil, and that’s why they were driven from the garden. There is only one absolute standard of good and evil, and it is determined by God alone. Only what is judged to be good by God alone is absolutely good, and only the evil defined by God is absolutely evil. However, after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man also came to know good and evil. But the problem was that this knowledge of good and evil was merely his own knowledge. In other words, man came to have his own standard of good and evil to define what was right and what was wrong. So because man came to have his own standard of good and evil, he was consequently driven out of the Garden of Eden, for it was a sin in God’s sight to have one’s own standard of good and evil apart from Him. And for those who have their own standard of good and evil and refuse to give it up, God did not allow them to eat the fruit of the tree of life and attain everlasting life.
That’s why God placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. This means that the Garden of Eden can be entered only by faith in His grace, as it is written, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). And it is also written, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Angels guard the Kingdom of Heaven. And a revolving flaming sword watches over it. So if anyone with sin tries to enter Heaven, he will be cut down right away. But what will happen when you enter the Kingdom of God by faith, trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? You will be welcomed. The angels there will all welcome you.
Heaven is the Kingdom of Righteousness that can be entered only by faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God. So from Genesis chapters two and three, we can realize the following: Although God made Heaven, this Heaven can be entered only by faith, by those who believe in the Word of God; those who don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that constitutes the righteousness of God will not just end with their disbelief, but they will be cursed and driven out; and therefore, those who don’t’ believe in this gospel are the Devil’s servants.
If we don’t believe in the righteousness of God, that is not where it all ends, but we will be excluded from the Truth that makes us God’s children. In the end, we will turn into the Devil’s servants. That’s what we must realize here. Therefore, no matter how all the people in this world may claim noisily that they believe in Jesus, unless they believe in the righteousness of God, they are all bound to hell. If one relies on his own denomination and just has doctrinal faith, and if he still has sin, then he will surely be cursed and cast into hell.
Among those who have not been born again, there are many Christians who are sure of entering Heaven, all professing to believe in Jesus in their own way. But these people are actually heading to hell, so long as they don’t really believe in the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and they continue to hang on to their own standard of good and evil. In other words, unless one believes in God’s Word of righteousness properly, he is going straight to hell.
The Lord has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Yet people are not even interested in knowing this gospel, far less do they believe in it. What will happen to them then? They will surely go to hell, for this is all that awaits them. Can anyone enter Heaven just because he wants to? No, unless one receives the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he can never enter that place. This place can be entered only by the born-again. It requires true faith. And this true faith that enables one to enter the dominion of God is faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God’s dominion is a dominion of faith.
It is by faith that we can enter the dominion of the Kingdom of God; how can anyone enter this Kingdom of Heaven when he doesn’t even believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are all in Heaven? What matters here is faith. It is by faith that we are made God’s children. This is so self-evident. It’s a ridiculous notion to believe that some sinners will also be found among the inhabitants of Heaven as long as they attend church. If you believe in God according to His Word, you will enter Heaven, but if you don’t, then you will be cast into hell unquestionably.
My fellow believers, it is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we are saved; if we otherwise don’t believe in this gospel, then we would be sinning against God to remain as sinners, only to turn into the Devil’s servants in the end. It is therefore absolutely necessary for us to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God.