The Serpent Genesis 3

Genesis 3

Introduction: First, a reminder, in this series one of my aims to give you a framework for understanding the big picture of the Bible.

Last week we looked at Creation being the way forward to understand the big picture of redemption

  • God made everything good
  • The institutions God gave before sin are things we should seek and desire
    • Marriage and family
    • Work
  • Who we are as creatures is a good thing—made in his image

Then in Gen. 3 we read that Adam and Eve sinned

  • So we could say that Genesis 3 is the reason the Bible was written at all
  • We wouldn’t have needed it ( the written word of God) if there wasn’t sin
  • The main thing we lost in sin was being with God, he could have simply told us what we needed to know
  • After sin, we needed his revelation in written form—not to mention that now his revelation had to include our redemption

To understand Adam and Eve’s sin we need to backtrack into Genesis 2.

  • First the command they disobeyed:  they ate from the wrong tree.
  • There were two trees in the garden:  2:9  “And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
  • But one was forbidden 2:15-17  The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 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.”
  • God made a covenant with Adam in the garden—Hosea 6:7 “but like Adam they transgressed the covenant
    • Founded on grace—creation itself, the garden planted by God, the image in them
    • Framed by the law—obey God
    • This is the covenant of works which is also called the covenant of life
      • Works b/c obedience is required to fulfill it, i.e. works
      • And Life because that’s the reward—embodied in the garden by the tree of life
        • Physical life
        • Spiritual life—presence of God
  • This idea, the idea of covenant works forms the framework for redemption in the Bible
    • The works are still required—but Jesus did them
    • The Covenant of Grace comes in the form of God fixing our sin
      • That’s what Gen. 3:21 is all about “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”
        • The covenant of grace doesn’t annul the covenant of works—it fulfils it
          • Jesus’ works are applied to the believer’s account
          • Jesus’ death pays for sins debts
          • Jesus fulfilled the covenant of works for us
        • A sacrifice for their sins—death came because of  sin (not just theirs, this animal had to die pointing to the need for a sacrifice, their physical deaths were not yet—but spiritual death was immediate—they hid from God)
        • A covering for their guilt—“ But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:14 says, echoing the OT command for the priests to put on their holy robes when working in God’s presence
        • Here’s my goal with showing you this big picture:  All of the Bible works together and when we see these common threads of redemption woven together we’ll see God’s divine tapestry and we’ll appreciate God’s beauty even more because we see the beauty of his word better

But there’s even more riches here—we learn about sin in Genesis 3.

Three sources of sin:  The Serpent/Satan, the world/the curse, and ourselves

Today we’re looking at the Serpent, but it’s important to understand that all three sources of sin work together in us.

  • The Bible gives us these distinctions so we understand the different sources
    • To see the opportunities to sin are everywhere
    • To know the dangers of sin
  • But in reality our sins, our sinning, always comes from more than just one of the sources
  • They work together and interact with one another
    • Satan tempts us according to our natural sinful desires
    • Our natural sinful desires lure us into doing the things the world does
    • Satan entices our sinful natures to be jealous of the world and become more like it
  • Today we’re focusing on the first source revealed in Genesis 3—the Serpent

Three points:  1.  The Serpent in the Bible;  2.  Who is Satan?;  3.  Defeating Satan

  1. The Serpent in the Bible—Satan
    1. He comes tempting Eve to sin and in God’s cursing the serpent we see that the gospel destroys him
      1. Gen. 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
    1. If you follow the Satanic serpent through the Bible the picture is clear, he is God’s enemy
      1. Our NT Reading in Rev. 12
        1. Somewhere, sometime before man was created, Satan was created along with the other holy angels and he sinned in heaven
          1. Rev. 12:7-9 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
      1. And at the end of Revelation he will be cast into the lake of fire with his beast and false prophet
    1. Before we get to the book of Revelation,  we see the serpent pop up in Israel’s wilderness wandering
      1. Satan tempts the Israelites according to their sinful desires—to grumble, to want to return to Egypt
      1. Num. 21:4-5 “From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”
      1. In response to their sin, God punishes the people with a fiery serpent—the very serpent who tempted them, who they gave in to and followed his lead calling God’s manna from heaven “worthless food”
      1. God used serpents like the serpent who tempted them to punish them
      1. And as they were dying from the venom that burned like fire in their veins, God gave them a redemptive cure
        1. Like Genesis 3—in the middle of the curse God promises redemption
        1. He’s always gracious, even when he’s rebuking you
      1. The cure was the Bronze Serpent—a bronze staff with a serpent on it
        1. If they would just look to the snake—the curse of their sins, the tempter who led them to rebel—they would be saved
        1. John 3:14-5  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
      1. Put yourself in Satan’s mind for a second.  Think about he he felt in the wilderness when Israel rebelled and grumbled, a deep satisfaction, especially when God punished them.  And then  with even more satisfaction as Jesus, God’s own son, hung on the cross—Satan rejoiced, but as quickly as he did, he realized he was defeated
        1. As they looked to the serpent—they were healed
        1. Galatians 3:13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—as sinners look to the dying savior, the curse he became for us, they’re saved
  2. Defeating Satan—as Francis Schaeffer said “how then shall we now live?”
    1. Start by acknowledging that Satan is real.
      1. He doesn’t actually have a little red pajamas, but he’s real
      1. And he hates you, believer.  Why does he hate you? Because Jesus loves you.  Satan hates Jesus and he hates anything Jesus loves
    1. Live daily in your awareness of Satan.  That means moment by moment communion with God which is the result of your union with Christ
      1. So we begin this communion with conversion—have you trusted in Jesus as your savior?  You can’t commune with God apart from Jesus, “no man comes to the father except through me”
        1. Communion doesn’t strengthen your union, but it does make you more aware of it
        1. Bible, Prayer, Sacraments
        1. Devote yourself to Bible reading and meditation, to prayer, to his corporate worship with the saints (sacraments)
    1. Just one way Satan attacks you—to keep you doubting your place in Christ by reminding you of your sins.    (Precious Remedies)
      1. Brooks reminds us that every sin you’ve committed in the past, and every sin you will commit was charged to Christ’s account
        1. Like a family member who has incurred a debt, but can’t pay it is charged to the family, so our sin debts were charged to Jesus and he’s already paid them in full.
        1. If you are struggling with past sins that are so big you just don’t know if they can be truly forgiven, ask yourself if they are more weighty than the person of Christ
      1. And remember that Satan can only do what God allows.  So, if God is allowing Satan to torment you in this way, why? 
        1. It keeps you humble, makes you more like Jesus and less like Satan when you realize just how weak you are
        1. In your humility you learn to lean on your Strong Savior instead of your prideful self.
        1. Knowing your sins and sinful condition will make you anticipate heaven’s glory even more!  Brooks writes, “the Lord is pleased to have his people exercised….that they may distinguish between a state of grace and a state of glory, and that heaven may be more sweet to them when finally arrived there.”
    1. Will you fight Satan?  The best way is to be thankful and content.  Th. Watson, “Satan loves to fish in the waters of a discontent heart.” 
      1. It’s the Israelites in the wilderness complaining about the bread from heaven, “we’re sick of this worthless bread”
      1. Be thankful for what God has given—creation, life, his image in you, a redeemer for you
    1. Finally: resist Satan by repenting of your sin, acknowledge it to God don’t hide behind your fig leaf find true covering in God’s garment, Christ.  Live a life of repentance, that is your calling as a Christian—you can’t be perfect, so you must repent.  Repentance is admitting your sin, admitting you need a savior, and admitting you need his strength, his forgiveness, and his grace to continue in this life of grace as you live toward the life of glory to come, which means leaving your sin behind.  Amen.


32 Great is thy faithfulness

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.