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Monday, November 4, 2013

Off Limits

Genesis 2 : 9, And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. NKJV
There are some things in the Word of God that on the surface seem contradictory. However, we’re commanded in scripture to study the Word and learn how to divide the truth rightly so that we won’t be put to shame. Have you ever had someone take something you have said out of context and twist it to make you look bad? If you have, then you’re in very good company. People often take scriptures out of context in order to make them fit either their beliefs or their lifestyles. Some have even attempted to defame God by using certain scriptures that seem to contradict other scriptures. Nevertheless, they, too, are taking the Holy Scriptures out of context.
I would like to pose a couple of questions to you. When God created the tree of knowledge, did He create evil? If we read Genesis 1: 12, we find that God has finished creating the trees which bear fruit…, and He calls them good. Later, in verse 31 of that same chapter, God looks at EVERYTHING that He had created, and He said it was very good. Therefore, if God created the tree of knowledge and included it with all the other trees that were created was He calling evil good? Let’s take this discussion even deeper. Jesus said in Matthew 15: 11, “It’s not what enters a person’s mouth that defiles them, but that which comes out of the mouth which defiles a person. Even though Jesus made this statement, God is recorded in Genesis 2 telling Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge. Therefore, is this a contradiction?
We are now at a place where the Spirit of Truth must come into the scenario. God didn’t just give us His Word and leave the interpretation up to us. In his epistle, Peter warns us against forming personal interpretations from the Word. Now let’s answer those questions. Did God create evil? No, He didn’t. James tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from God. He also teaches us that God doesn’t tempt man with evil. However, we are tempted by our own evil lusts. The tree of knowledge of good and evil wasn’t evil. Nevertheless, it was off-limits to mankind because God forbade them to eat of it. A physical tree took on spiritual connotations because God had set boundaries in man’s heart concerning the tree.
Consequently, when Adam and Eve ate of the tree, it was a sin to them because they chose to break God’s commandment… not because the tree was evil. What seemed confusing about Jesus’ statement is now clarified because He, too, said that it is that which proceeds from the heart of man that defiles them. In Genesis 3, we learn that Eve said to herself (from her heart) that the tree was desirable and could make them wise. She acted in disobedience to God’s command in her heart before she ate of the fruit with her mouth.
We see another illustration in Acts 10 when God lowers some food down on a cloth for Peter to eat. When Peter saw what types of food were on the cloth, he told God that he had never eaten anything that was common or unclean. God told Peter that He had made it clean. Consequently, he should no longer call it unclean.
You can’t live life to yourself, and you won’t die unto yourself. We will all answer to God for the life that we have chosen to live on earth. Therefore, we should consider God and His Word when making decisions that will affect our lives, but more importantly, our souls. If you’re saved, then you have the Holy Spirit living within you. Allow Him to guide you through this life so that your soul will live. He will show you what is right for your life, and He will also reveal to your heart what is off limits.
Looking Unto Jesus,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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