Wrapped in shiny wrappers, sin promises life but delivers death. Because God is loving, he warns us against sin by instructing us in the path of life.
In the Garden of Eden, God warned our first parents, Adam and Eve, with these sober words that echo through the ages, “the day you eat of it, you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). We know how the rest of the story goes. Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s Word and ate from the tree. They plunge themselves and their posterity—all of us—into sin.
When we think about God’s warning here, we have to observe his love. It’s love that warns Adam and Eve what not to do.
Love for Adam and Eve
By warning us of what is wrong, God shows love for his creation. This is love because what is wrong is what will hurt us. Sin corrupts God’s good gifts. It perverts his gifts and harms us. Think of the pain and suffering that you have experienced in this world. Now consider how you may have hurt others. What, at the root, is the cause of this? It is sin. Sin brings separation, pain, and death (Rom. 6:23; Col. 1:21).
These warnings also preserve God’s blessings. We know that following this sin, Adam and Eve were ushered out of the Garden (Gen. 3:17-24). Banished from the happy and intimate fellowship with God, they were relegated to a world plagued by their sin. Had they obeyed, they would have remained in the garden and squarely in the realm of blessing.
When you think of God’s words of warning to you, remember that they are words of love. He wants what’s best for you. Your joy is not found by opening the shiny and forbidden wrappers of sin but through the trusting and treasuring of God’s Word.
Love for God Himself
God’s warnings also reflect a love for God himself. Yes, God shows his love for himself by warning us not to sin. How so? God’s Word, the Bible, reflects God’s character and will. Doing what God has commanded brings honor and glory to God (John 15:7-8). This pleases God. Disobedience to God’s Word dishonors God. This displeases God. God, out of love for his glory, commands his people to obey him.
It should be obvious if we are thinking in a way that reflects God’s thoughts, then we would want to obey his Word. This is what gives him glory. It also reflects our love for God.
As you read God’s commands to you in the Bible, remember the goodness of them (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Word of God not only protects us from hurting ourselves, but also preserves his blessing and good to us. Disobedience to God’s Word has a double evil: it assaults God and injures us.
Consider how Jesus brings both of these together. Motivated by love for his people and in obedience to his Father’s will, Jesus became a man and lived in perfect obedience to God’s Word. He never sinned (Heb. 4:15; 2 Pet. 2:22). Then he died upon the cross to pay the penalty for our sin (Isa. 53:5-6). So in Christ, we have the highest love for people and the highest honor to God (Gal. 2:20; John 10:17). He secured our blessing and satisfied God’s righteous requirements. How can we respond with anything else but loving gratitude (Gal. 6:14)?!