Stop signs don’t stop cars – people still fail to stop.
Laws don’t stop crime – people still commit crimes.
God’s commandments don’t stop sin – people still sin.
When something is prohibited by law or command, it doesn’t prevent someone from doing it. Road signs only regulate traffic. Laws against an activity only state that it is against the law to do it. God’s prohibitions only state what is forbidden. The “teeth” in a law or a command is in the punishment (consequence).
The tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden was easily accessible. There was no fence or wall around it. No locked gate. Adam and Eve had the ability and opportunity to eat its fruit at any time. God’s command did not keep them from eating the fruit of that tree.
The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).
THE SERPENT SAID
“Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat of thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).
Deny the consequence. Won’t die.
(Plant the seed of doubt.)
Promote the benefits. Will gain knowledge, be like God. (Plant the seed of desire.) Question God’s motive. Why?
(Plant the seed of distrust.)
THE SLIPPERY SLOPE
First – Doubt the consequences. (Doubt either the possibility or the severity.)
DEFENSE: Don’t doubt or question the awesome power of God.
Second – Consider the benefits. (Savor the thought of having or doing.)
DEFENSE: Look past it and focus on the consequences that will surely follow.
Third – Question the reason for the prohibition. (Why is it prohibited?)
DEFENSE: Realize your wisdom is limited; trust God’s infinite wisdom.
“Put on the full armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandment and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).
God’s commands are given for our benefit: (1) to lead us in the right direction and, (2) to keep us from harm.