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.
- Genesis 3:6
Looking closely, you might see a three-pronged attack hidden within the temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan, the serpent (Genesis 3). There is an appeal to the appetite (“good for food”), appearance (“delight to the eyes”), and what we might call arrogance (“desired to make one wise”). The Apostle John later referred to these as the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16).
Interestingly, this is the same approach taken by Satan in his temptation of Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). Notice the similarity:
Satan first appealed to the appetite or the lust of the flesh (“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”).
Satan then appealed to arrogance or, again in the Apostle John’s terms, the pride of life (“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”).
Satan finally appealed to appearance, the lust of the eyes (“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”).
This was not by accident. Jesus came to succeed where Adam (and we in him) failed. And so Jesus - tempted in every way that we are, yet without sin - responded with Scripture-based resistance and refutation, all in fidelity to God the Father. In other words, Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves.
In fact, Jesus fulfilled the entire law of God on our behalf. For this reason, the Apostle Paul described Jesus as a sort of second and last Adam (Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
Theologians call this the active obedience of Jesus Christ, his fulfillment of the law of God as our substitute. Comparatively, they refer to his life of suffering and submissive sacrifice on the cross as his passive obedience.
Both were necessary for our salvation. By the latter, our sinful record was imputed to Jesus (reckoned to his account) and cancelled at the cross; he suffered the penalty for our sin in our place, once and for all. The former made it possible for his righteous record to be imputed to us (reckoned to our account) by grace through faith. This double imputation is to what the Apostle Paul refers in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Child of God: You stand on the record of Jesus Christ, not your own. His faithfulness, not your failures, ultimately defines you. He died for your sin and lived for your righteousness. Even when you fall short, you always fall into his loving arms.
You're loved. Don't forget it.
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