Genesis 3

* The serpent deceives Eve. (1-5) Adam and Eve transgress the

Divine command, and fall into sin and misery. (6-8) God calls

upon Adam and Eve to answer. (9-13) The serpent cursed, The

promised Seed. (14,15) The punishment of mankind. (16-19) The

first clothing of mankind. (20,21) Adam and Eve are driven out

from paradise. (22-24)1-5 Satan assaulted our first parents, to draw them to sin, and

the temptation proved fatal to them. The tempter was the devil,

in the shape and likeness of a serpent. Satan's plan was to draw

our first parents to sin, and so to separate between them and

their God. Thus the devil was from the beginning a murderer, and

the great mischief maker. The person tempted was the woman: it

was Satan's policy to enter into talk with her when she was

alone. There are many temptations to which being alone gives

great advantage; but the communion of saints tends very much to

their strength and safety. Satan took advantage by finding her

near the forbidden tree. They that would not eat the forbidden

fruit, must not come near the forbidden tree. Satan tempted Eve,

that by her he might tempt Adam. It is his policy to send

temptations by hands we do not suspect, and by those that have

most influence upon us. Satan questioned whether it were a sin

or not, to eat of this tree. He did not disclose his design at

first, but he put a question which seemed innocent. Those who

would be safe, need to be shy of talking with the tempter. He

quoted the command wrong. He spoke in a taunting way. The devil,

as he is a liar, so he is a scoffer from the beginning; and

scoffers are his children. It is the craft of Satan to speak of

the Divine law as uncertain or unreasonable, and so to draw

people to sin; it is our wisdom to keep up a firm belief of

God's command, and a high respect for it. Has God said, Ye shall

not lie, nor take his name in vain, nor be drunk, &c.? Yes, I am

sure he has, and it is well said; and by his grace I will abide

by it. It was Eve's weakness to enter into this talk with the

serpent: she might have perceived by his question, that he had

no good design, and should therefore have started back. Satan

teaches men first to doubt, and then to deny. He promises

advantage from their eating this fruit. He aims to make them

discontented with their present state, as if it were not so good

as it might be, and should be. No condition will of itself bring

content, unless the mind be brought to it. He tempts them to

seek preferment, as if they were fit to be gods. Satan ruined

himself by desiring to be like the Most High, therefore he

sought to infect our first parents with the same desire, that he

might ruin them too. And still the devil draws people into his

interest, by suggesting to them hard thoughts of God, and false

hopes of advantage by sin. Let us, therefore, always think well

of God as the best good, and think ill of sin as the worst evil:

thus let us resist the devil, and he will flee from us.
6-8 Observe the steps of the transgression: not steps upward,

but downward toward the pit. 1. She saw. A great deal of sin

comes in at the eye. Let us not look on that which we are in

danger of lusting after, #Mt 5:28|. 2. She took. It was her own

act and deed. Satan may tempt, but he cannot force; may persuade

us to cast ourselves down, but he cannot cast us down, #Mt 4:6|.

3. She did eat. When she looked perhaps she did not intend to

take; or when she took, not to eat: but it ended in that. It is

wisdom to stop the first motions of sin, and to leave it off

before it be meddled with. 4. She gave it also to her husband

with her. Those that have done ill, are willing to draw in

others to do the same. 5. He did eat. In neglecting the tree of

life, of which he was allowed to eat, and eating of the tree of

knowledge, which was forbidden, Adam plainly showed a contempt

of what God had bestowed on him, and a desire for what God did

not see fit to give him. He would have what he pleased, and do

what he pleased. His sin was, in one word, disobedience, #Ro

5:19|; disobedience to a plain, easy, and express command. He

had no corrupt nature within, to betray him; but had a freedom

of will, in full strength, not weakened or impaired. He turned

aside quickly. He drew all his posterity into sin and ruin. Who

then can say that Adam's sin had but little harm in it? When too

late, Adam and Eve saw the folly of eating forbidden fruit. They

saw the happiness they fell from, and the misery they were

fallen into. They saw a loving God provoked, his grace and

favour forfeited. See her what dishonour and trouble sin is; it

makes mischief wherever it gets in, and destroys all comfort.

Sooner or later it will bring shame; either the shame of true

repentance, which ends in glory, or that shame and everlasting

contempt, to which the wicked shall rise at the great day. See

here what is commonly the folly of those that have sinned. They

have more care to save their credit before men, than to obtain

their pardon from God. The excuses men make to cover and lessen

their sins, are vain and frivolous; like the aprons of

fig-leaves, they make the matter never the better: yet we are

all apt to cover our transgressions as Adam. Before they sinned,

they would have welcomed God's gracious visits with humble joy;

but now he was become a terror to them. No marvel that they

became a terror to themselves, and full of confusion. This shows

the falsehood of the tempter, and the frauds of his temptations.

Satan promised they should be safe, but they cannot so much as

think themselves so! Adam and Eve were now miserable comforters

to each other!
9-13 Observe the startling question, Adam, where art thou?

Those who by sin go astray from God, should seriously consider

where they are; they are afar off from all good, in the midst of

their enemies, in bondage to Satan, and in the high road to

utter ruin. This lost sheep had wandered without end, if the

good Shepherd had not sought after him, and told him, that where

he was straying he could not be either happy or easy. If sinners

will but consider where they are, they will not rest till they

return to God. It is the common fault and folly of those that

have done ill, when questioned about it, to acknowledge only

that which is so manifest that they cannot deny it. Like Adam,

we have reason to be afraid of approaching to God, if we are not

covered and clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Sin

appears most plainly in the glass of the commandment, therefore

God set it before Adam; and in it we should see our faces. But

instead of acknowledging the sin in its full extent, and taking

shame to themselves, Adam and Eve excuse the sin, and lay the

shame and blame on others. There is a strange proneness in those

that are tempted, to say, they are tempted of God; as if our

abuse of God's gifts would excuse our breaking God's laws. Those

who are willing to take the pleasure and profit of sin, are

backward to take the blame and shame of it. Learn hence, that

Satan's temptations are all beguilings; his arguments are all

deceits; his allurements are all cheats; when he speaks fair,

believe him not. It is by the deceitfulness of sin the heart is

hardened. See #Ro 7:11; Heb 3:13|. But though Satan's subtlety

may draw us into sin, yet it will not justify us in sin. Though

he is the tempter, we are the sinners. Let it not lessen our

sorrow for sin, that we were beguiled into it; but let it

increase our self-indignation, that we should suffer ourselves

to be deceived by a known cheat, and a sworn enemy, who would

destroy our souls.
14,15 God passes sentence; and he begins where the sin began,

with the serpent. The devil's instruments must share in the

devil's punishments. Under the cover of the serpent, the devil

is sentenced to be degraded and accursed of God; detested and

abhorred of all mankind: also to be destroyed and ruined at last

by the great Redeemer, signified by the breaking of his head.

War is proclaimed between the Seed of the woman and the seed of

the serpent. It is the fruit of this enmity, that there is a

continual warfare between grace and corruption, in the hearts of

God's people. Satan, by their corruptions, buffets them, sifts

them, and seeks to devour them. Heaven and hell can never be

reconciled, nor light and darkness; no more can Satan and a

sanctified soul. Also, there is a continual struggle between the

wicked and the godly in this world. A gracious promise is here

made of Christ, as the Deliverer of fallen man from the power of

Satan. Here was the drawn of the gospel day: no sooner was the

wound given, than the remedy was provided and revealed. This

gracious revelation of a Saviour came unasked, and unlooked for.

Without a revelation of mercy, giving some hope of forgiveness,

the convinced sinner would sink into despair, and be hardened.

By faith in this promise, our first parents, and the patriarchs

before the flood, were justified and saved. Notice is given

concerning Christ. 1. His incarnation, or coming in the flesh.

It speaks great encouragement to sinners, that their Saviour is

the Seed of the woman, bone of our bone, #Heb 2:11,14|. 2. His

sufferings and death; pointed at in Satan's bruising his heel,

that is, his human nature. And Christ's sufferings are continued

in the sufferings of the saints for his name. The devil tempts

them, persecutes and slays them; and so bruises the heel of

Christ, who is afflicted in their afflictions. But while the

heel is bruised on earth, the Head is in heaven. 3. His victory

over Satan thereby. Christ baffled Satan's temptations, rescued

souls out of his hands. By his death he gave a fatal blow to the

devil's kingdom, a wound to the head of this serpent that cannot

be healed. As the gospel gains ground, Satan falls.
16-19 The woman, for her sin, is condemned to a state of

sorrow, and of subjection; proper punishments of that sin, in

which she had sought to gratify the desire of her eye, and of

the flesh, and her pride. Sin brought sorrow into the world;

that made the world a vale of tears. No wonder our sorrows are

multiplied, when our sins are so. He shall rule over thee, is

but God's command, Wives, be subject to your own husbands. If

man had not sinned, he would always have ruled with wisdom and

love; if the woman had not sinned, she would always have obeyed

with humility and meekness. Adam laid the blame on his wife; but

though it was her fault to persuade him to eat the forbidden

fruit, it was his fault to hearken to her. Thus men's frivolous

pleas will, in the day of God's judgment, be turned against

them. God put marks of displeasure on Adam. 1. His habitation is

cursed. God gave the earth to the children of men, to be a

comfortable dwelling; but it is now cursed for man's sin. Yet

Adam is not himself cursed, as the serpent was, but only the

ground for his sake. 2. His employments and enjoyments are

imbittered to him. Labour is our duty, which we must faithfully

perform; it is part of man's sentence, which idleness daringly

defies. Uneasiness and weariness with labour are our just

punishment, which we must patiently submit to, since they are

less than our iniquity deserves. Man's food shall become

unpleasant to him. Yet man is not sentenced to eat dust as the

serpent, only to eat the herb of the field. 3. His life also is

but short; considering how full of trouble his days are, it is

in favour to him that they are few. Yet death being dreadful to

nature, even when life is unpleasant, that concludes the

punishment. Sin brought death into the world: if Adam had not

sinned, he had not died. He gave way to temptation, but the

Saviour withstood it. And how admirably the satisfaction of our

Lord Jesus, by his death and sufferings, answered the sentence

passed on our first parents! Did travailing pains come with sin?

We read of the travail of Christ's soul, #Isa 53:11|; and the

pains of death he was held by, are so called, #Ac 2:24|. Did

subjection came in with sin? Christ was made under the law, #Ga

4:4|. Did the curse come in with sin? Christ was made a curse

for us, he died a cursed death, #Ga 3:13|. Did thorns come in

with sin? He was crowned with thorns for us. Did sweat come in

with sin? He sweat for us, as it had been great drops of blood.

Did sorrow come in with sin? He was a man of sorrows; his soul

was, in his agony, exceeding sorrowful. Did death come in with

sin? He became obedient unto death. Thus is the plaster as wide

as the wound. Blessed be God for his Son our Lord Jesus Christ.
20,21 God named the man, and called him Adam, which signifies

red earth; Adam named the woman, and called her Eve, that is,

life. Adam bears the name of the dying body, Eve of the living

soul. Adam probably had regard to the blessing of a Redeemer,

the promised Seed, in calling his wife Eve, or life; for He

should be the life of all believers, and in Him all the families

of the earth should be blessed. See also God's care for our

first parents, notwithstanding their sin. Clothes came in with

sin. Little reason have we to be proud of our clothes, which are

but the badges of our shame. When God made clothes for our first

parents, he made them warm and strong, but coarse and very

plain; not robes of scarlet, but coats of skin. Let those that

are meanly clad, learn from hence not to complain. Having food

and a covering, let them be content; they are as well off as

Adam and Eve. And let those that are finely clad, learn not to

make the putting on of apparel their adorning. The beasts, from

whose skins they were clothed, it is supposed were slain, not

for man's food, but for sacrifice, to typify Christ, the great

Sacrifice. Adam and Eve made for themselves aprons of

fig-leaves, a covering too narrow for them to wrap themselves

in, #Isa 28:20|. Such are all the rags of our own righteousness.

But God made them coats of skin, large, strong, durable, and fit

for them: such is the righteousness of Christ; therefore put ye

on the Lord Jesus Christ.
22-24 God bid man go out; told him he should no longer occupy

and enjoy that garden: but man liked the place, and was

unwilling to leave it, therefore God made him go out. This

signified the shutting out of him, and all his guilty race, from

that communion with God, which was the bliss and glory of

paradise. But man was only sent to till the ground out of which

he was taken. He was sent to a place of toil, not to a place of

torment. Our first parents were shut out from the privileges of

their state of innocency, yet they were not left to despair. The

way to the tree of life was shut. It was henceforward in vain

for him and his to expect righteousness, life, and happiness, by

the covenant of works; for the command of that covenant being

broken, the curse of it is in full force: we are all undone, if

we are judged by that covenant. God revealed this to Adam, not

to drive him to despair, but to quicken him to look for life and

happiness in the promised Seed, by whom a new and living way

into the holiest is laid open for us.
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