The writer of Hebrews said it best when he warned his readers in chapter 3 verse 13 to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
Sin has a way of presenting itself to us as something that is pleasing to the soul, harmless in nature, and delightful to our senses. John Owen once said, “The deceitfulness of sin is seen in that it is modest in its first proposals but when it prevails it hardens men’s hearts, and brings them to ruin.” Sin does not always present itself as something blatantly vile and putrid, but rather as enticing subtleties. This subtlety and deception of sin is first seen in Genesis chapter 3.
A dialogue ensues In verse 1 between the crafty serpent and Eve. The serpent says to the woman, “Did God actually say you shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” Do you see the subtlety in the question? God did not say don’t eat of any tree; rather, He forbade them not to eat of the tree of good and evil.
But Satan in his craftiness distorts the truth of what God actually says.
The question itself was a deceptive one. Eve rightfully responds to the serpent in verses 2 and 3: “The woman said to the serpent, We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die” (Gen. 3:2-3). After Eve tells the serpent what God really said the serpent instantly denies God’s Word (Gen. 4).
God says if I eat from the tree I will die; Satan says I won’t die—but the best lie is one that is mixed with some truth.
The serpent then says, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5)” Again you see the deceptive nature of sin. The serpent flat-out denies what God has said but then goes on to mix it with the truth that if she eats from the tree she will know good and evil. So with the serpent’s temptation fresh in Eve’s mind we read in Genesis 3:6, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Notice the wording in verse 6: she saw it was pleasing to the eye, good for food and desirable for gaining wisdom.
This is how sin tempts us—it presents itself as pleasing, good and desirable.
Sin is deceiving. God’s Word and the Gospel, however, provide the believer with the necessary tools that will expose sin’s true nature.
By Guest Blogger: Jesse Botella