The Burden Of Sin
by Nellie Shani
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Satan’s proposition sounded like a winner! “…When you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” It was an issue of control and independence. Eve knew that God was in control, and that he ran things the way He wanted. Eve was basically lured by the thought of running her own life and doing things her way. She did not for a moment even contemplate, that what glittered to her right now was not gold, but a heavy burden. A burden, that was going to be tied around her neck, and the necks of her offspring like an albatross for generations to come.
After Adam and Eve sinned against God by disobeying His command, and eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they encountered the first burden.
Their eyes opened up to the fact that they were naked. The issue of nakedness had never been a burden before. Now nakedness came with the element of shame. Why did Adam and Eve not feel naked before? The Bible tells us that they were covered with God’s glory. “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5). What happened to this glory when they sinned? The Psalmist laments in Psalm 4:2, “How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?...” Adam and Eve’s glory turned into shame. With the introduction of shame, came the burden of feeling responsible to cover it. As they considered the solution to this problem, they decided to sew fig leaves together
It was a very deep shame that could not be covered even by the fig leaves, because when they heard the sound of God walking in the garden, they hid because they still felt naked despite the covering from the fig leaves. They now felt a burden to make themselves acceptable before God, something that never bothered them before.
This shame was introduced into the human race, so that today, we see people trying to cover their shame with “fig leaves,” to make themselves acceptable to God. An example of fig leaves that people try to cover themselves with is, good works. Many different religions have “Fig leaves” like giving to the poor, praying five times a day, making pilgrims to certain places of worship. None of these things that people burden themselves with in order to make themselves acceptable to God actually do anything to make them acceptable before God.
God rejected Adam and Eve’s fig leaves. He stepped in and made coverings for them that was more acceptable to Him. Genesis 3:21 says that, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” In order for God to get skin to cover Adam and Eve, He had to kill an animal. Blood was shed to deal with the burden of shame. Only God could cover their shame then, and it is only God who can cover man’s shame as a result of sin today.
With shame came fear, a burden that Adam and Eve had never had to deal with before they sinned. God was seeking them for fellowship, but they were afraid and hid from Him. “I heard you in the garden, and was afraid because I was naked” (Genesis 3:10). Fear made Adam and Eve miss out on the wonderful relationship that God had offered them, and fear is also causing many people today to miss out on the wonderful relationship that God is offering them. In most cases we fear to draw near to God because we feel like we are not good enough for Him. We are aware of our sinfulness and it causes us to retreat from the One who says to us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened (with sin), and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”” (Mathew 11:28,30).
The last burden that we see in the account of the fall of man is blame. Neither Adam nor Eve were willing to accept their sin. Adam blamed Eve, and ultimately God, who had put Eve in the garden. Eve also took the cue from her husband Adam, and blamed the Serpent. As a result of this burden of blame, people today will look for every conceivable excuse for their sin rather that take the blame. We blame our upbringing or our environment for our sins or for the darkness of our hearts that manifests through pride, greed, lust, anger, envy, dishonesty, cheating and deceitfulness.
At this point one might wonder how the sin of Adam and Eve affects us today. Are we not innocent?
The Bible tells us that every burden that sin brought upon Adam and Eve, it also brought upon us. Romans 5:12 makes this very clear. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way sin came to all men, because all sinned.” A terrible burden of sin is that it affects succeeding generations of those who are not responsible for the original sin. “Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam…” (Romans 5:14).
The pervasive nature of sin is clearly seen in the suffering that many children bear because of their parents’ sins. An adulterous spouse who eventually causes the marriage to break up will adversely affect the lives of the children who are then brought up in single parent homes. Pre-marital sex that ends up in an unwanted pregnancy will bring untold suffering to the child of a teenage parent, if they survive an abortion.
That sin has a grip on humanity as we know it today, does not need to be belabored. One just needs to read newspapers or listen to the news to realize this. The difficulty of removing ourselves from the grip of sin is deeply seated in the fact that people are born evil. We have inherited the “Adamic” nature, and the sinful streak is in our DNA at birth. Man is inherently evil, and cannot be changed through reformed behavior, but through a transformation of the heart. In answer to the question, “Who is responsible for sin in the world today?” The long bony finger points at man! Yes man has been weighed on the scale and been found wanting! Listen to God's sorrowful lament in Genesis 6:5-7 "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of all the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to His heart...."
Without understanding that sin is imbedded deep inside human beings, we are prone to try and change people from the outside in, instead of from the inside out.
When God saw what pain man was causing to his fellow beings, He was grieved in His heart. If God felt pain thousands of years ago as primitive man devised ever more wicked ways to injure each other, can you imagine how much pain He feels with all the sophisticated ways that man has devised to injure each other?
Sin has a consequence that is ultimately borne by the one who practises it. Simply put, sin is disobeying the commands of God in any shape or form. Once we disobey the commands of God, we are alienated from the blessings of God, which are only accessible to us when we are in a close and intimate relationship with Him. Isaiah 59: 2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you…”
An example of a sin that ends up hurting the person who harbors it is the sin of un-forgiveness. Unfortunately, the unforgiving person is often the one who bears, and is eventually hurt by having an unforgiving spirit. In most cases the person we hold un-forgiveness towards may not even be aware that someone is holding un-forgiveness towards them. Psychiatrists tell us that un-forgiveness may bring about ulcers and other physical sicknesses as well as mental stress.
In Matthew 18:21-22 we hear the Apostle Peter asking Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother when his brother sins against him. Peter thought that forgiving even times was pretty good. Jesus corrected him and told him that he needed to forgive not only seven times, but forgive seventy-seven times. Other Bible versions quote Jesus as having said, Seventy-seven times seven times!
Jesus then went on to tell a parable of an ungrateful servant whose huge debt was cancelled by his master, but who threw in jail, a person who owed him much less. Verse 34 of the same chapter says that when the master heard that the servant he had forgiven his debt did not forgive somebody else, he turned him to the jailers to be tortured until he had paid his debt. Jesus ended the parable by saying that that is how the heavenly Father will treat us unless we forgive our brother from our heart. We learn from this parable that people who harbor un-forgiveness are tortured.
Jesus dealt with sin for us, when He died on the cross of Calvary. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ who knew no sin, became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. By simply recognizing that we are sinners and accepting the price that Jesus paid for our sin on the cross, and letting Him be Lord of our lives, the burden of sin is ultimately removed from our shoulders and placed on Jesus Christ. That does not mean that we will never sin again. However 1 John 2:1 says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ the Righteous One.”
As we maintain a close walk with God through Bible-reading, prayer and fellowship, the Holy Spirit who resides in us brings about a transformation which eventually changes our sinful behavior.
Nellie Shani lives in California with her husband and three children. She has been writing articles for the last fifteen years. Her first book, "Stand Your Ground," is now available on amazon.com and on her author's website: http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/StandYourGround.html
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