An Untrustworthy God?

“The serpent said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’? … But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”

Genesis 3:1, 4-5; ESV

The serpent implied that God did not have Adam’s and Eve’s best interests in mind and that God’s motive for forbidding the tree was not love for them but to protect God’s own unique status. The serpent accusing God of being untrustworthy planted the seed of mistrust in the mind of Eve.

The beginning of all sin – the origin of all that is unloving – is this judgment about God. We embrace a picture of God that is less loving, less beautiful, less full of life, less gracious, and less glorious than God truly is.

With a distorted picture of God, we can no longer trust God to be the source of our lives. It is impossible to live in God’s love if we don’t believe God is love. When we do not trust God with everything in our lives, we turn inward to trust in ourselves and our own judgment. We create a god of our own designs by magnifying our own fallen conceptions of character, power, and glory.

In doubting God, the eyes then see the world as a more desirable source of life; these are the eyes of the “mindset of the flesh.”

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”

Romans 8:6-7, ESV

When we eat of this tree, rather than trust the love of God, our lives become judging good and evil based on our idolatrous strategy for getting life from the world, rather than living in Christ out of trust and the fulness of God’s love.

The only hope we have of getting out of this fallen condition and walking in the ecstatic love of the triune God is to resolve that God’s revelation in Christ is true, however much it may contradict our fallen, worldly perceptions and expectations.

If we are to grow in love, Christ must be the central focus of all our thinking and living. We cannot overemphasize the centrality of Christ in our understanding of God. Christ is the preeminent revelation of God’s unsurpassable love.

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

John 14:9, ESV

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”

Colossians 1:15, ESV

Jesus died a God-forsaken death on the cross in order to open up the fellowship of the perfect, loving, triune community with us.

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

1 John 4:9-10, ESV

Only if we resolve in our minds and hearts that God looks like Jesus can we make progress in trusting God and expressing His love in our lives. God is this kind of love.

Boyd, Gregory A. Repenting of Religion – Turning from Judgement to the Love of God. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004. pp. 126-133.

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