Trembling under God’s righteous law
‘And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.… And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.’ Genesis 3:9–13
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 51:1–8
At length they are constrained to appear. Adam confesses his fear, but not his sin. He was stubborn, but the Lord followed him closer. Hast thou—is it possible?—hast thou made light of my command? He is forced to own it, but still would find excuse. He lays the fault upon the woman and in effect upon the Lord himself for giving him such an ensnaring companion. The woman in her turn tries to remove the blame to the serpent. Hitherto the Lord had not revealed his gracious purpose of forgiveness—but they stood trembling under the convictions of having broken his righteous law. From hence we may observe that legal convictions will never humble the sinner’s heart to a true and gracious repentance for sin. Nothing that passed as yet reveals the frame of Adam’s mind to have been better than that of the serpent himself. I mention this for the sake of some who are ready to question whether they are right because they have not been in such great terrors as some others. If you felt the terrors of Judas, they could not effect one gracious desire. Again, whatever uneasiness people may sometimes feel on account of sin, if their hearts are not humbled under a sense of its vileness, we cannot be sure that it is the effect of a good work upon their hearts.
FOR MEDITATION: The calling is wrought by the Spirit of God and it lays hold of the spirit of the sinner. It is something more than that alarm and uneasiness which is often felt while the sound of the preacher’s voice is in the ear and from which people quickly recover as soon as they get into the open air. It is more than a half reformation from a few gross sins. It is the voice of God that brings the law to the conscience and the conscience to the bar, that cuts off every plea for hope and brings the soul into the state of a trembling prisoner, till a way of escape is opened by the knowledge of Christ.
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 9 [2/3], GENESIS 3:8–13