Pentateuch: Genesis 3-5

Sin enters the world

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After the first two chapters gave us a glimpse of the Person of God, we now get a taste of the problem of sin. Beginning with Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden and finishing with Cain’s murder of his brother Abel, these three chapters tell us so much about sin in the world and in each of us. Knowing we are broken by our sin gives us a deep sense of inadequacy, which drives a huge effort to cover up and hide our sinfulness. Just as Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together, we are desperate to cover our nakedness and shame. Perhaps we work very hard, trying to prove our acceptability. Or we hide behind anger, convinced the world owes us. Yet the fig leaves we use never work, and our all-seeing God still knows us better than we know ourselves. We see in the story of Cain and Abel, how God lovingly and mercifully reached out to Cain, warning him that sin was “crouching at your door”. Another way we try to cover our sin is to diminish its seriousness, to tell ourselves “Well, at least I’m not as bad as that guy” as we compare ourselves to someone else. If we are not vigilant against sin in our hearts, we may be consumed by it, as was Cain. Our only hope is in Jesus Christ. Because of His sacrifice for our sins, He now clothes us with His righteousness. When we sin, we must confess and turn away from it. God, in His great mercy, brings us along the path of repentance. While Abel’s blood cried out to God for justice, the blood of Christ called out to God, “Father, sin must be paid, I have paid for their sins. In the name of justice, save them.”

Pre-Video Reading

Read Genesis 3-5.

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Supplementary Reading - Biblical Lineages

In Genesis 4 and 5 we are introduced to Biblical lineages, first with Cain’s line and then the genealogy from Adam to Noah. Lineages recur throughout scripture. Although it’s tempting to skim through genealogies, they hold an important place in Scripture. Genealogies affirm the historical validity of Scripture, confirm prophecy, and give us insight into the lives of God’s people and God Himself. 

Lineages help substantiate the historical accuracy of the Bible. These lists confirm the physical existence of the characters in the Bible. By knowing family histories, we understand that the Bible is far from a parable or morality tale about how we should live our lives. It is a historical truth. An actual man named Adam had actual descendants.

Genealogies also confirm prophecy. The Messiah was prophesied to come from the line of David (Isaiah 11:1). Matthew records the lineage of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:1-17, confirming that Jesus was descended from David (see Matthew 1:1-17). The genealogy is yet another attestation of Jesus Christ’s fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies.

Sometimes the lists include narrative portions that give us glimpses into the lives of the people. For example, genealogy reveals that the Gentile Tamar is in the Messianic line (see her story in Genesis 38 and Matthew 1:3). We see that God values the lives of these individuals, even though they were not part of His covenant people.

Finally, lineages give us insight into God. They demonstrate the detail-oriented nature of God and His interest in individuals. God did not see Israel as a general group of people; He saw them personally and intimately. There is nothing detached about the genealogies. They show that God is invested. The inspired Word mentions people by name. Real people, with real histories and real futures. God cares about each person and the details of their life (see Matthew 10:29-31Psalm 139).

Application Questions

Spend some time processing what you have learned with your LifeGroup/Discipler/CLASSES@FGA study group. 

  1. Read Genesis 3:1-6
    a. How do temptations cause people to question God’s character?  
    b. What role do our desires play in temptation?  
    c. What temptations do you currently face?
  2. Read Genesis 3:6-13.
     How did Adam and Eve rationalise their sin?  
    b. What do you notice about God’s response? 
    c. How have you tried to cover up sin in your life?
  3. What were the consequences for Adam and Eve’s sin? 
  4. Read Genesis 3:20-24.  What actions did God take and why?  What does it teach you about God?
  5. Read Genesis 4:1-7.
    What are some factors that contributed to Cain’s anger?  
    b. How do you react when someone suggests you are wrong? Why? 
  6. Read Genesis 4:1-12.
    What do you learn about God from His interaction with Cain?
    b. What truths about temptation and sin do you learn? 
    c. What sins in your life have you underestimated?  
  7. Read Genesis 4:17-26. What hope was there in Seth’s birth and for all who “called on the name of the Lord”?

Closing Reflection

In Genesis 3-5, we learn a lot about temptation, sin, and how we respond to our own sin. We also see a God who cares: when we sin, how we react when we sin, and the condition of our heart. He works in us, guiding us towards confession and repentance. Have you seen God work in your life in a similar way? Is there unconfessed sin in your life that God is drawing to attention? How is He calling you to repent? Are there areas of your life where you have not accepted the righteous robes of Christ and are trying to cover yourself in fig leaves? Confess to the Lord that you want to wear His clothes and ask Him for strength to put aside the fig leaves.  

Take time to respond to these closing questions:

  1. What challenges did God place on your heart during the time of personal reflection? 
  2. How can your Life Group members pray for you and keep you accountable to grow in this area of your life?

Prayer: Connecting with God

End the time by praying…

Pray for a heart sensitive to the correction and conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Pray for a proper view of my own sin.
Pray that I will trust the security bought by Christ on the cross, that I do not need to try to cover my sin.
Pray that I will be quick to confess and repent each time I sin.