God had planted two special trees in the middle of the Garden of Eden: the ‘tree of life’ and the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. God had said to Adam and Eve that they should not eat of the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’, but that they could eat all they wanted of the ‘tree of life’. It is the same for us. “I want you to be wise about what is good. And I want you to have nothing to do with what is evil.” Romans 16:19 (NIRV).
We should not let evil rule over us
God knows good and evil, but evil does not rule over Him. This is how godly nature is. (Genesis 3:22.) But as natural human beings we are so weak that we easily let evil rule over us. God wants to keep us away from the evil because He loves us so much. The only way Adam and Eve could be kept away from evil in the Garden of Eden was by obeying God’s commandment not to eat of the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’.
Today, it is also God’s will that we should not let evil rule over us. His will is that we should not only receive forgiveness of sins, but that we should also fully defeat the evil.
Satan also knows this. He tricked Eve into eating of the tree of knowledge, lying to her and saying that she would be like God and would know the difference between good and evil and not die, because God does not die even though He knows good and evil. He tricked Eve by making disobedience to God’s Word seem like something good, or something that would make her clever. It is the same today. (Genesis 3:4-5.)
Satan tricked Eve into doubting God’s command. By doubting she started to drift away from God’s will, which was simply obeying His command to not eat of the tree of knowledge. The difference between good and evil became blurry and unclear and Eve sinned. (Ephesians 4:14; Galatians 5:10; 1 Timothy 2:14.)
Simple love for Christ
“But I have a fear, that in some way, as Eve was tricked by the deceit of the snake, your minds may be turned away from their simple and holy love for Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 (BBE). It is this simple and holy love for Christ that keeps our thoughts far away from all the religious lies and confusion in these days. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15. This is heavenly simplicity!
Even though the Galatians accepted Paul’s preaching in the beginning with joy, they were deceived and lost their way. So-called “important” or great apostles got the Galatians to think that it was not necessary to be “crucified” with Christ every day - that they didn’t need to say No to their sinful desires every day. They thought they could be saved much more easily without doing it. Everything would be alright if only they were circumcised physically. This was preached to them in those days. (Galatians 5:10; 2 Corinthians 11:5.)
Today it is preached that everything is alright if only we believe that Jesus has done everything in our place. What we do is no longer important. “O foolish Galatians, by what strange powers have you been tricked, to whom it was made clear that Jesus Christ was put to death on the cross?” Galatians 3:1 (BBE).
For Paul Jesus was not only crucified on Calvary but He was also his “forerunner” (Hebrews 6:20) who took up His cross every day, always saying No when He was tempted to sin. Those who follow Him do the same. “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” Luke 9:23.
Read more here about what it means to take up your cross daily.
God’s Spirit told Jesus to take up His cross every day, and the Spirit tells us to do the same today, and He teaches us to do it with joy. This is what encourages us, makes our faith stronger and helps us in temptation to choose God’s will and be changed to be like Jesus.
We must not be without deeds (James 2:14,17), because if we are, we will lose God’s power and even the salvation of our soul. When we don’t have deeds, we just end up in having a form of godliness, a life without victory over sin.
Satan is very clever and he is a deceiver. “Be firm in your faith and resist him,” is written in 1 Peter 5:9. That is heavenly simplicity! We must be awake in our thought life; our thoughts must be pure no matter what happens, so that Jesus is our only love. Then we don’t obey another spirit or another gospel which we have not received from the beginning. (James 2:14,17; 1 Corinthians 1:17-18; 2 Timothy 3:5; 2 Corinthians 11:2,4.)