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Genesis 3:17-19 - The First Judgment Upon Sin (Part 3): Judgment Upon Man

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The first man upon earth sinned tragically and he refused to accept the responsibility for his sin.  Like so many today, he blamed somebody else for his actions and in this case it was his wife.  He accused her of leading him into sin and causing him to sin.  It is true, she did approach and entice him to sin, but Adam himself stood guilty before God.  In fact, he was guilty of at least three sins.  Adam failed in at least three areas.

First, Adam did not try to lead Eve back to God.  Just think how bad this is!  He did not even try to lead his wife to repentance, did not even bring up the subject of her returning to God.  He did not even suggest that she confess and beg God for forgiveness and restoration.

Second, Adam listened to Eve’s enticements and persuasions.  He did not stop her from talking about and presenting the forbidden fruit to him.  He stood there and listened to her persuasive arguments, to her enticements and seduction.  Note, this is exactly what God says: Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, you are to be judged (Genesis 3:17.)  Adam failed by listening to his wife and not stopping her from talking about the forbidden fruit.

Third, Adam himself chose to eat the forbidden fruit.  He blamed his wife, but Eve did not force him to eat the forbidden fruit.  Adam willfully chose—made a deliberate decision—to sin.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  He was not deceived; his eyes were wide open when he sinned (1 Tim. 2:14).  He was guilty, willfully and deliberately guilty, of...

·                     rejecting God

·                     rebelling against God

·                     disobeying God

·                     turning away from God

            Adam was, therefore, to be judged.  He stood before God guilty of the most terrible sin:  Adam had willfully and deliberately turned away from God.  This is the great discussion of this passage: “The First Judgment Upon Sin (Part 3): Judgment Upon Man.”

A.           He was condemned to live in a cursed world (v.17a).

1.            “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife…”  (v.17a).

a)            Listening to others rather than the Lord (Genesis 16:1-2).

(1)           Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with listening to the advice of your wife.  In fact, my wife has given me great advice at times, I heeded that advice and the results were good. 
(2)           But here with Abram, he was now eighty-five years old.  He had been walking with the Lord for ten years and had learned some valuable lessons about faith:
(a)           God had promised Abraham and Sarah a child but had not told them when the child would be born.  It was a period of waiting, and most people don’t like to wait.
(b)           But it is through “faith and patience [that we] inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12).
(c)           God has a perfect timetable for all that He wants to do.  Abrams child was part of God’s great plan of salvation for the whole world.  However, Sarah became impatient.
(d)           Impatience can cause us to sin, as well as just flat out rebelling against the Lord:

Samuel instructed Saul to wait for him, Saul became impatient which led to sin and we read: "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice." (1Sam.15:23-24)

(3)           David himself knew this:

David asked the Lord saying "Hide me from the secret counsel of evildoers, From the tumult of those who do iniquity," (Psalm 64:2, NASB95)

Listen to what happened to King Ahaziah, 2Chronicles 22 says “He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly.  He did evil in the sight of the Lord like the house of Ahab, for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction.  He also walked according to their counsel…" (2 Chronicles 22:3-5, NASB95)

You remember when Jesus was transfigured before His disciples on the mountain?  Matt 17 says "While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"  (Matthew 17:5, NASB95)

!!! 2.            “Cursed is the ground for your sake…”  (v.17b).

a)            A world of imperfection and corruption

(1)           The Hebrew text says: “Cursed be the ground because of you,” “on account of you.”  God cursed the earth because of Adam’s sin.  Why?  Why would the earth have to suffer a curse when it was Adam who sinned?
(a)           Very simply stated, the earth was Adam’s home.  Adam and the earth were interrelated.  Adam was now imperfect, a fallen creature.
(b)           Imperfection and sin do not belong with perfection and righteousness.  Therefore, God cursed the earth as part of the judgment upon Adam.
(2)           The judgment on man also involved his work:
(a)           Paradise would be replaced by wilderness, and the joy of ministry in the garden by the sweat and toil in the field.
(b)           It is not work that is God’s penalty, because work is not sinful (2:15).  
(c)           It is the sweat and toil of work that reminds us of the fall of man.   

Listen to the Psalmist; he says "It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, fearing you will starve to death; for God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest."  (Psalm 127:2, The Living Bible)

Solomon said "In my opinion, nothing is worthwhile; everything is futile.  For what does a man get for all his hard work? Generations come and go, but it makes no difference. The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full, and the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea . . ." (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, The Living Bible)

b)            Creation is subject to corruption.

(1)           All creation suffers hurt, damage, loss, deterioration, erosion, death, and decay; all creation struggles for life.
(a)           The world was made to be the home of man, therefore, when man sinned, man’s world was cursed right along with him.
(b)           Think about the earthquakes, tornados, storms, diseases, starvation, attacks, and struggles for survival that take place.  And these are only a few of the myriad happenings that show the corruption of the world.

c)            Creation shall be delivered from corruption (Romans 8:19-22).

(1)           When God finished His Creation, it was a good Creation (Gen. 1:31); but today it is a groaning Creation.  There is suffering, death and pain, all of which is the result of Adam’s sin.
(2)           Note the words that Paul used to describe the plight of creation: suffering (Rom. 8:18), vanity (Rom. 8:20), bondage (Rom. 8:21), decay (Rom. 8:21), and pain (Rom. 8:22).
(3)           Creation has been subjected to corruption “in hope.”  Creation has the same hope of redemption and of renovation as man.
(4)           Just as man’s sin brought corruption to the universe, so man’s restoration to righteousness will be accompanied by the restoration of the earth and its universe to their divinely-intended perfection and glory. 

(5)           Let’s look at a few passages relating to this:
(a)           Psalm 96:11-13; Isaiah 11:6-9:
(b)           There will be “a new heavens and a new earth”

Listen to what Peter says, he says "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  

Now how can we apply this to our lives?  Listen to this, Peter goes on to say “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." (2 Peter 3:10-13, NKJV)

Speaking about a new heaven, John says in Revelation 21 that he "Saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Also there was no more sea." (Revelation 21:1, NKJV)

And in Revelation 22 he says "There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.”  (Revelation 22:3-5, NASB95)

d)            Creation groans in labor for deliverance (Romans 8:18).

(1)           This groaning is not a useless thing:
(a)           Paul compared it to a woman in travail.  There is pain, but the pain will end when the child is delivered.  One day creation will be delivered, and the groaning creation will become a glorious creation!
(b)           The believer does not focus on today’s sufferings; he looks forward to tomorrow’s glory.  Today’s groaning bondage will be exchanged for tomorrow’s glorious liberty!
(2)           When Paul uses the word “consider” in (Rom.8:18), this word refers to reaching a settled conclusion by careful study and reasoning:
(a)           Paul does not merely suggest, but strongly affirms, that any suffering for Christ’s sake is a small price to pay for the gracious benefits received because of that suffering.
(b)           In the New Testament, (sufferings) is used both of Christ’s sufferings and of believers’ suffering for His sake.

Resist Satan, Peter admonishes, “Firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (1 Pet. 5:9).

Paul says to those in Corinth that "We do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:15-18, NASB95)

Jesus Christ is the supreme and perfect example of suffering for righteousness’ sake: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Heb. 2:10).

(3)           Those who do not know Christ have no hope when they suffer.
(a)           Those who live only for this life cannot look forward to any resolution of wrongs or to any comfort for their souls.  Their pain, loneliness, and afflictions serve no divine purpose and bring no divine reward.
(4)           Christians, on the other hand, have great hope, not only that their afflictions eventually will end but that those afflictions actually will add to their eternal glory.

Long before the incarnation of Christ, the prophet Daniel spoke of believers’ glory as “the brightness of the expanse of heaven,” and as being “like the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:3).

!! B.           He was condemned to struggle for survival (v.17b-19a).

1.            “In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life…”  (v.17b).

a)            Laboring to meet his basic need: food.

(1)           The word “toil” means pain, misery, hard labor, strenuous work.  Before the fall of man, his labor was not a strain.  His work and activity were always a pleasure and joy.
(2)           But after the fall he has to suffer…
(a)           the pain of stress, pressure, tension.
(b)           the pain of toil, labor, and work.
(c)           the pain of mental and physical fatigue.
(3)           And note: he has to suffer this pain all the days of his life.

Paul spoke of the importance of work to the Thessalonians, he said "For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.  For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread." (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, NASB95)

(4)           His point is simple: if people get hungry enough, they will work to get food.

As Solomon put it, “A worker’s appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on” (Prov.16:26).

(5)           Believers who have the opportunity and the ability to work for their own food are to do so.  Those who do not are worse than unbelievers (1 Tim. 5:8).
(a)           It is important to note that Paul addresses here the issue of those not willing to work, not those unable to work.
(b)           Both individual believers and the church as a whole have a responsibility to care for the poor (Matt. 6:2, 3; Gal. 2:10; 1 Tim. 5:4; Heb. 13:16; James 2:15–16; 1 John 3:17).  But neither the world nor the church owes a living to those too lazy to work.

2.            “Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…”  (v.18a).

a)            Man’s struggle against nature.

(1)           Before the fall of man, the earth had produced every good fruit and plant imaginable for man.  Nature was completely under control.  All of man’s necessities were abundantly met.
(2)           But not now.  Nature is no longer under control & it produces all kinds of problems for man.
(3)           Think About This: When Jesus was brought before Pilate and Pilate saw that he could not prevail with the people, he scourged Jesus and delivered Him to be crucified:

Concerning this point, we read in Matthew 27 "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.  And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.  When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”" (Matt.27:27-29)

(a)           It was interesting that Jesus was crowned, not with a royal diadem but with thorns.  Where did the thorns come from?  The curse of God on the ground because of man's sin.  Here he was to bear the sins of man, fittingly, crowned with thorns for man's sin.
(4)           Think about this: Paul talks about “a thorn” specifically “a thorn in the flesh” (2Cor.12:7-10).
(a)           Paul’s distressing circumstances put him in a position to learn some marvelous lessons about God’s grace, which he passes on to us.
(b)           God knows that men are prone toward pride, especially when they are in positions of spiritual privilege.  Therefore He often uses opposition & suffering to teach humility.
(c)           The Greek word translated “thorn” literally means a stake—a sharpened wooden shaft used to impale or torture someone.  
(d)           Further, the phrase “in the flesh” can also be rendered “for the flesh,” which I believe is the better rendering here.  
(e)           Metaphorically speaking, God gave Paul a stake for his sinful flesh to kill it so as to prevent boasting and pride.

3.            “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground…”  (v.19a).

a)            Sweat in order to eat, to struggle all his life.

(1)           In other words, man has to work hard in order to have anything.  This is true in securing the most basic necessity of life – Food!
(2)           Man’s struggle against nature has to go on and on, to last all of his life, until he returns to the ground.
(3)           Think about this: God’s mercy is seen even in the midst of this judgment.  Man’s hard labor and sweat will produce results.  He will be able to feed himself, to meet the necessities of life.  But note: he must labor and labor diligently in order to have his necessities met.

Paul makes this clear, to those in Ephesus he says "Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;" (Ephesians 6:5, NASB95)

He also says in Colossians "Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.”  (Colossians 3:22, NASB95)

However, speaking about the lazy person, Proverbs 24 says "I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins."  (Prov.24:30-31)

C.           He was condemned to die (v.19b).

1.            “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return…”  (v.19b).

a)            Death through sin (Romans 5:12).

(1)           Because sin entered the world through one man, so also death, the consequence of sin, entered the world through that one man’s sin.
(2)           Even before human sin existed, God had ordained that its wages would be death:

Sin pays, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23, NASB95)

The Lord say in Ezekiel 18 "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine.  The soul who sins will die." (Ezekiel 18:4, NASB95)

(3)           A person does not become a sinner by committing sins but rather commits sins because he is by nature a sinner.
(4)           A person does not become a liar when he tells a lie; he tells a lie because his heart is already deceitful.
(5)           A person does not become a murderer when he kills someone; he kills because his heart is already murderous.

“For out of the heart,” Jesus said, “come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matt. 15:19).

b)            Sin brings several kinds of death to men.

(1)           Death is separation, and Adam’s first death was spiritual separation from God, which Adam experienced immediately after his disobedience.

Paul reminded the Ephesian believers, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:1–2).

The unsaved are “darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (Eph.4:18).

!!!!! (2)           A second, and obvious, kind of death that sin brings is physical, separation from fellow human beings.  Although Adam did not immediately lose his physical life, he became subject to physical death the moment he sinned.

(3)           A third kind of death that sin brings is eternal separation, an immeasurably worse extension of the first.  Referred to in Scripture as the second death (Rev. 21:8), this death not only brings eternal separation from God but also eternal torment in hell.
(4)           The unbeliever has reason to fear all three deaths.
(a)           spiritual death prevents his earthly happiness;
(b)           physical death will bring an end to opportunity for salvation;
(c)           and eternal death will bring everlasting punishment.
(5)           But no kind of death should be feared by believers. They are saved permanently by Christ from spiritual and eternal death. 
(a)           And their physical death (or rapture) will usher them into His divine presence. For believers Christ has removed the fear of death (Heb. 2:14, 15).

Speaking about Jesus, the writer of Hebrews says " He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." (Hebrews 2:14-15, NASB95)

c)            The Judgment of Jesus Christ.

(1)           Here we will see how the death of Jesus Christ answered the judgment passed upon the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve:
(a)           Did sin bring subjection into the world?  Christ was made “under the law,” subject to the law, for the very purpose of dying for the transgressions of the law (Gal. 4:4-5).
(b)           Did sin bring the curse upon the world and man?  Christ was made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13).
(c)           Did sin bring thorns upon earth?  Christ wore a crown of thorns for us (Mark 15:17).
(d)           Did sin bring sweat into the world?  Christ sweated drops of blood for us (Luke 22:44; cp. Hebrews 12:4).
(e)           Did sin bring sorrow into the world?  Christ was the man of sorrows.  His death involved so much agony that the sorrow of His soul almost killed Him (Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34).
(f)            Did sin bring death into the world?  He was obedient to death, even to the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8).

I.  The First Judgment Upon Sin (Part 3):

A.   He was condemned to live in a cursed world (v.17a).

B. He was condemned to struggle for survival (v.17b-19a).

C. He was condemned to die (v.19b).

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