God put a forbidden tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. Was this cruel? Or is it because true love requires a choice?
Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.
Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. (1 John 3:4-7)
As believers, when we are living for the world, we are not abiding with Christ.
If we want to abide with Christ, then we need to listen to Him. We need to do what Christ says, for His burden is light.
Today’s passage indicates that when we are continually abiding in Christ we will be empowered to treat sin as the defeated enemy it is. And yet sin can still be a stumbling block for those who wish to follow Christ.
By examining the first sin, we can begin to understand why we stumble. Because true love requires a choice.
Understanding the Sin of Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve wanted to have the same knowledge as God. In doing so, they would be a god unto themselves. They chose to be their own god, rather than to be under the true Creator God.
However, Adam and Eve did not feel like gods after listening to the serpent. They were afraid and hid.
Before we judge them, we need to understand we all can do that very same thing
The crazy thing is that when we choose to be our own god, our burden is heavy, but when we choose to be under God, by choosing Jesus, then our burden is light.
Adam obviously made a big mistake. But why would God put a beautiful fruit-filled tree in the middle of the garden and then tell His creation not to eat of it?
It is to help us to understand that true love requires a choice.
Understanding the Reason for the Forbidden Fruit
God put the forbidden tree there as a sign of allowing His creation to have a choice. The tree’s very purpose was to give them a choice to make.
In the past I had felt that it would have been so much better if God would make it easy for us by removing the devil, by removing temptation, by just allowing us to have only what God would allow.
I thought it would be best for God to stop allowing too many choices, but then one day my wife Karla helped me to see that true love requires a choice.
There was something that I always wanted her to do. Something that in my mind was simple, something with the house, but Karla was bound and determined that she was not going to do it.
Finally, one day she said with an angry tone, “I will just do what you say because you are not going to let it go; I will do it your way.”
At first, I thought, wow I won! But as she was doing it, I realized that I got no pleasure out of her doing this spitefully, but rather I wanted her to choose to do it.
I wanted Karla to want to do this simple thing out of love for me. I could have just paid someone to do it. The task wasn’t even that important, so I am not sure why I made it a big deal, but I got a good lesson from it happening. That’s when I understood God’s reason for the tree.
God Wants us to Choose Him
God is almighty; He could have forced Adam and Eve to not eat of the apple or even take out the serpent at any time.
But the forbidden fruit is God giving His creation a choice.
That is amazing. You see, the Almighty One can have everything and anything He wants, by making it. He could make things serve Him, but instead what God really wants is someone to choose Him.
What God wants is His creation to choose to love Him.
God made himself vulnerable in this way because He wants us to choose Him for who He really is. Jesus wants us to repent of our sins and abide with Him so that we can do what is righteous, as today’s passage says.
God wants us to make the choice, but the reason we can make the choice is because He chose us first.
What Keeps Us from Choosing God?
Just like Adam and Eve, if we don’t make the choice to love God, we will not be able to commune with Him. After their eyes were open to the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve felt exposed and hid themselves.
When we are afraid to trust God and admit we are sinners in need of salvation, then we will never repent, because we are too busy putting on a show and hiding from God. If we are putting on a show, it is usually because we are too proud to humbly repent.
You never know actual love until you are ready to show someone who you really are. Once you do and they accept you as you are, then you experience true love.
It is not something you are going to get from this fake world, so don’t try to be fake with God. He wants you to know Him fully and He wants to know you fully. But you have to make that choice, because true love requires a choice.
More Bible verses that teach us true love requires a choice: