Satan’s Sales Pitch
“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.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:4-6, ESV).
Adam and Eve, our first parents, were seduced by the subtle and tempting sales pitch of Satan. They sinned by eating the fruit that God had forbidden, and because of this sin, they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God.
Since Adam is the root of mankind, the guilt of his sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature were conveyed, to all who descended from him by ordinary generation. From this original corruption, we are utterly disinclined, disabled, and antagonistic to all that is good, wholly inclined to all that is evil. It is from this original corruption that all actual transgression proceeds.
As a result, we are dead in sin and totally corrupt in every faculty and every part of our soul and body. (Total doesn’t mean that we are as evil as we possibly could be all the time, but rather that the damage of sin reaches every aspect of our being and personhood.)
That’s the history of the doctrine of sin summarized in three paragraphs!
But let’s get more precise. It’s key to understand the nature of Adam and Eve’s disobedience and what part of Satan’s sales pitch specifically hooked them, because the same temptation snares us daily.
The phrase, “it was desirous to make one wise,” is what magnetized Eve because Satan’s sale pitch offered not just wisdom but autonomous wisdom. That is, wisdom that did not require reliance on and submission to God.
Eve desired God’s position. She did not want to depend on God; she wanted to be him. Sound familiar? I wish it weren’t true of me, but it is.
For the very first time, Eve worshipped something other than God. More accurately, someone. Love of self replaced love for God. In this fatal, disastrous moment, Eve inserted herself in the middle of her world and made life all about her. Because she did, she was willing to disobey God and eat what he had forbidden.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:15 that the DNA of sin is selfishness, or the idol of self: “And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves.”
The idol of self is at the base of all forms of human dysfunction. Every sin is idolatrous; it puts us on God’s throne, sovereign over our own lives and doing what is our good pleasure. When love of self replaces love for God, there is no end to the evil that will result.
When you read Genesis 3, it should take your breath away. Adam and Eve’s selfish, idolatrous, and rebellious choice in the garden cursed every human being who would follow. But you can’t read Genesis 3 without its glorious concluding promise. The Lord God curses the serpent and counters his sales pitch with the first promise of Christ:
“And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
(Genesis 3:15, NIV)
The only hope for a cursed race of selfish, idolatrous, and rebellious people is a powerful Savior who has the willingness and the power to free me from my bondage to me.
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
Paul David Tripp
1. What does Satan’s sales pitch sound like when he whispers in your ear? Be specific. What is he saying about why its delight is worth the transgression? How is he trying to persuade you that the danger is not as bad as it seems or that God doesn’t know best when he forbade it?
2. How has the enemy deceived you in the past? What forbidden fruit did you pursue, only to discover that the devil was indeed lying, that its promise what empty, that God was wise, and that the consequences of that sin were significant? Did you learn anything from that experience, or are you again falling for the same sales pitch?
3. How has Christ destroyed at least some of the works of the devil in your life? In other words, how have you been freed from certain temptations? Celebrate some of the ways in which you have matured spiritually and are no longer vulnerable to sins or desires like you used to be.
4. Are you tempted to consider your spiritual growth and think that you are a grace graduate, entirely free from temptation? Why is this a dangerous posture to have spiritually? How are you perhaps most vulnerable when you think you are independently strong enough to fight the devil?