“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17 (ESV)
When God created the earth, His Word went forth and accomplished the purpose for which He intended. And when God told Adam he would surely die if he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, His Word was true. God’s Word is and always has been absolute truth. Adam and Eve did not know what death was, and so, they had to trust that when God spoke of death, He was speaking truth. Even in the Garden of Eden, they had to have faith in God’s Word.
From the very beginning of history, man has been bound to God through faith in His Word. Adam and Eve experienced life through faith and obedience in their relationship to God. They had no reason to think that God would lie to them or that His Word was untrue, until Satan appeared. Satan said to Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 ESV). Satan went straight to the heart of the matter, God’s Word. He wanted to destroy Eve’s faith in what God had said by causing her to doubt His Word. Doubting God’s Word ultimately led to disobedience.
Doubt faces us at all fronts in our walk with the Lord. Our temptations to doubt may not come in the form of a serpent in a tree, but you can be sure that the enemy of God, Satan, still comes and whispers his lies to get us to doubt God’s Word, sounding something like, “Did God really say your sins are forgiven?”or, “Did God really say you are a child of God?” Satan tries to cause us to doubt God’s Word as truth, because he knows doubting creates a rift in our relationship with God and lessens our effectiveness in His kingdom. When we doubt, we move away from God and obedience to His Word.
One of the basic sins of the Christian is unbelief in God’s Word. In fact, many Christians are slaves to and held captive by their doubts. When we choose to live in unbelief, we are saying that we don’t believe what God has spoken in His Word concerning our salvation, our freedom, and our status as children of God. Sometimes we may think, “It’s hard to believe God’s Word when so many bad things are happening around me.” Adam and Eve lived in perfection, and yet they still needed to have faith that what God said was true. Just because they hadn’t seen death with their physical eyes, didn’t make it any less true. Faith is seeing beyond what’s in front of us to what God has declared to be true, even if it does not seem to match our current circumstances. 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us that we “walk by faith and not by sight” (ESV).
God set before Adam and Eve a choice, life or death. God has also given us that same choice. We know His Word. It is as close as our fingertips. God speaks as clearly today as He did to Adam. Choosing life looks like believing God’s Word and trusting that what He has spoken through His Word is truth. This kind of faith leads to obedience. When we truly believe what God says is true, then we will have no fear in obeying what He asks of us. Right believing leads to right living. If God says something is not good for me, I must trust His Word to be good, and that He always has my best interest at heart.
Hannah Whitall Smith shares a story in her book, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, where a mother had brought her two little girls to Hannah’s home to leave them for a short period of time while she ran some errands. One of the girls, with the happy confidence of childhood, played and sang and enjoyed the toys available to her until her mother returned. The other girl, sat down alone in a corner, to worry whether her mother would remember to come back for her and fear that maybe she would be forgotten altogether. She ended up working herself up into such a state of worry. The look on the mother’s face, when she returned to find the crying little girl, was one of grief and wounded love. She wondered how such doubts could be possible. Such doubts should never be possible for a child of God.
How do we combat such temptations to doubt God’s Word and His truth concerning us? As God has given us a choice, it is within our will to surrender all doubts to Him. Day by day, hour by hour as we make a conscious effort to surrender our doubts and lay them at the feet of Jesus, He will, by His Spirit take possession of our surrendered wills and will work in us according to His good pleasure to conform us to His will. It is His “good pleasure” to do so (Philippians 2:13, ESV). This we must also believe to be true. God delights to make us His own and bring us deeper into this walk of faith. It is not the amount of faith on our part, it is in the power of the One in whom we place our faith to do it.
I have a choice every day. Will I choose faith in God or will I “eat” from the lies the enemy tries to feed me? Will I take God at His Word? The way forward in faith then, is to know and study God’s Word. The more I know of His Word, the more I know of His truth, and the more I can take Him at His Word. This is how we are to live victoriously and as overcomers in the kingdom of God. Jesus said in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”(ESV). God’s Word to Adam and Eve was not to bring bondage, but to bring life and freedom as they lived and fellowshipped with Him in the garden. We can experience that same life and freedom today as we put our faith in His Word as absolute truth to us.
Article Written by: Sherilyn Grant