A Summary of Christian Doctrine
An Adult Bible Study on the Basics of the Christian Faith
Lesson 3 - The Fall, Sin and the Law
Opening Prayer & Introduction
What happened soon after Adam and Eve had been created and placed in Eden?
Genesis 2: 15-17
"The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17. but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'"*
Genesis 3: 1-24
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?' 2. The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' 4. ‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. 'For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' 6. When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9. But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?' 10. He answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.' 11. And he said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?' 12. The man said, 'The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.' 13. Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.' 14. So the Lord God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15. 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.' 16. To the woman he said, 'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.' 17. To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’ 20. Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. 21. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22. And the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.' 23. So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."
What is now the natural condition of all people?
Genesis 5: 3
"When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth."
Psalm 51: 5
"Surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."
Genesis 8: 21
"The Lord smelled a pleasing aroma and said in his heart, ‘Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done."
Ephesians 2: 1-3
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2. in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."
Romans 8: 7
"the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so."
Romans 3: 23
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"
Romans 6: 23
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
What is the effect of this original sin (also called inherited sin or the Old Adam) on our lives?
Matthew 7: 17
"Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit."
Matthew 15: 19
"For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander."
James 4: 17
"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn”t do it, sins."
Is there any hope? How can we be saved from the consequences of the fall?
Genesis 3: 14-15
"So the Lord God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the day of your life. 15. 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.'"
Acts 10: 43
"All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
Romans 1: 16
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."
How do we define sin?
Any transgression against God's law.
How has God revealed His Law to His creation.
1. He wrote it into people's heart at creation.
Romans 2: 15
"since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)"
2. He wrote it on two tablets of stone and gave it to Moses. (Exodus 19 and 20; Dueteronomy 5).
Exodus 31: 18
"When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God."
Note the sharp distinction between Law and Gospel: The Law teaches what we are to do; the Gospel teaches what God has done and still does for us. The Law shows us our sin and God’s anger; the Gospel shows us our Savior and God’s grace. The Law is proclaimed to sinners, especially the impenitent; the Gospel is proclaimed to troubled sinners only.
* unless otherwise indicated, the Scripture references are taken from The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.