The Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil
All too often I feel that as Christians, we base our relationship with God on weather or not we were able to follow what we perceive to be His commandments. I know one of the things I used to do was to ask forgiveness of any sins that I may have committed, both knowingly or unknowingly, before I would proceed into my other “prayers.” It was a real difficult time because I knew I was saved but felt so inadequate in my relationship with God when I fell, but I would feel awesome when I did not. Does His love change based on how well we performed that day? Should we related to Him this way at all?
I haven’t lived that way in a while but I was considering it lately. I often see post and hear comments by people who either relate to God in this way, or they’re trying to set others free from this mindset. Where does this pattern come from? Why is it such a struggle? Many call this ‘the cost’. But, that always seems to end if someone who is good has an evil struggle exposed, then they are of course called heretics by the church–which by the way has its origins in a system of religion and not in the heart of God.
The Tree Gate
I think it comes down to the way sin entered the world; it was through a tree. Remember in the garden, Adam was commanded not to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? What was so bad about eating of it? Obviously, it was disobeying the direct word of God. God didn’t want us to eat of it because that knowledge would skew our relationship with Him. Once it was eaten, they could no longer come to God freely in the life that He had given them. They now had to come to God through the lives of some other living thing, which was sacrificed. The relationship with God was based on a system of “Do good, get to God,” and “Do bad, be removed from His presence.” Their life was now bearing the fruit of that which they had eaten.
Relating to God through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil means we base our relationship with Him on weather we did “good” or “bad.” Why? What did Jesus do? Jesus was crucified on a tree, breaking its curse over us by becoming a curse for us. Sin entered the world through a tree and exited the world through a tree as well. What was that tree? The cross.
Here’s a thought: the cross is two pieces of wood. Could it represent two trees? The tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life? Sin left through the cross and eternal life came through it as well. Through Jesus, we have eternal life, like eating from the tree of life. We should be bearing the fruit of this tree in our relating to Jesus.
When Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden of Eden an angel with a flaming sword was there to guard them from eating of the tree of life, so that they would not be eternally stuck in a state of relating to God based on good and evil and performance.
Relation Based on Life
Now we relate to God from the tree of life. Before Adam and Eve fell, there was not a worrying about sinning, they did not know it even existed. Have we not been restored to this state? I would say so, I mean if we have Jesus, who came to restore all things, right? Are we not restored?
I think Paul challenged this way of thinking in Romans chapters 6 through 9. He was trying to say that we aren’t who we used to be, we have grace. There should be total freedom in our lives.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 ESV)
Remember that the word “repentance” means to change the way that we think. Jesus changed the way that we think about relating to God. The way of relating to God through what we’ve done is now changed to relating to God through what He has done in us. That’s the only way to truly overcome sin anyway. We are set free from “sin” and “death,” from “good” and “evil” as it pertains to our relationship or right standing (righteousness) with God.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. ‘By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.(Rom. 8:3-4)
We are made righteous. We walk in the Spirit. Sin has been condemned by Jesus who became the eternal sacrifice. There is now no need for the life of another to be given on behalf of our sins. If our sin remained, then there would still remain the need for a sacrifice. But as it is we have been restored.
Does this mean we never sin? I am not saying that. It means that our sin is no longer a positional barrier in our relationship with God. We are in life. Our sin is destroyed be the ever-present testimony of Jesus. Jesus! What he has done in us, for us, and what He is now doing through us!
Live from the Tree of Life
We are eternally His through grace. We are on the ship built from the wood of the tree of life. The ship built from the wood of the tree of knowledge, He has sunken. Why would we jump off the Life ship and try to cling to the remains of the death ship? Why would we try to relate to God in this manner ever again. WE ARE FREE!
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 ESV
The cloak of bondage and separation has been ripped from our lives. The presence and manifestation of God responds to those who love Him (see John 14). To enter His presence, all we have to do is believe what He did and said about us.
It’s not an “earn me system.” It’s a “love me family.” We’re positionally and relationally in “Life.” The faith that we have in Jesus has “indeed” done this. He rescued us and brought us aboard His ship. Once you eat of the tree of life, you’re in life forever. Don’t undermind your position in Christ by jumping overboard. Relax and relate to God from life and not from how good or bad you’ve been.