Summary: Sin is more than a behavior. Sin is a power in each of us.
We continue a series of messages entitled Creed: 9 Essentials to the Christian Faith. We are exploring the beliefs that form the theological center of Christianity. It is a series devoted to the discovery of what you believe and why it matters. Each of these beliefs serves as lynchpins to the Christian faith, so that if you were to remove one of them you would see the Christian faith crumble. And today we come to answer the question, “What is wrong with the world?” and “What is wrong with us?”
My deceased father was a Penn State graduate and so I was disturbed by the news coming out of State College, PA this week. If you missed it, a 267-page report by Louis Freeh, the former FBI director, where the longtime head football coach, Joe Paterno misled a grand jury about his knowledge of Jerry Sandusky’s actions involving the sexual assault of children. Further, evidence suggests that the iconic coach was instrumental in concealing the evidence against his friend and assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse with minors. According to the report, had Coach Paterno acted on the evidence at hand as early as 1998, then numerous young boys would have been protected against the vicious and vile acts of Sandusky. The question that comes to our minds is “Why?” Why would Paterno do this? Why would the iconic coach, whose reputation was revered by everyone, lie? Why would the most powerful leaders at the university cover up these crimes for thirteen years? Certainly, there was an internal desire to protect the reputation of the school. Certainly, there was a desire to protect the program from the financial fallout of this scandal.
Yet, these are ultimately unsatisfactory answers to this deep stain. There has to be a deeper and more satisfying explanation to what’s is wrong here. The Bible says that each one of us is hard wired to sin. We are hard wired to do the wrong. It’s a story that shows that sin is deeper than our behavior. Indeed, sin is a power.
Today, I want to unpack the meaning of the Bible’s teaching on sin. And I want you to see the explosive power of this story and its practical impact it can make on you.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
8 And 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. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,